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A Technology Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is often a reflective time of year. Many take vacations, visit family and friends, stuff their faces silly with food... and hopefully take a moment to give thanks to the positive aspects of life. As I was sitting down to write this blog, I thought about how much technology can influence our experiences every day. I also realized that this changes so very rapidly from year to year. I thought that this holiday, it would be fascinating to take a look back at an old blog from 2014 A Thanksgiving to our Technologies, and see what technology the team was thankful for then, and compare it to what we are thankful for today. For example, I was most thankful for pregnancy apps back in 2014. This year the Amazon Echo has my heart. I love that I can play any type of music easily without hooking my phone up to my computer or speaker, signing in some app and playing a playlist. The Echo makes it so effortless. Now let's take a look back and see what else was on our minds a few years ago. In 2014, overall, the technology we were most thankful for was more general in nature, with the iPhone being the most popular choice: Electric Car – “My electric car because it is saving me money and is good for the environment.” – Lisa Black iPad – “My iPad for keeping my two boys entertained on the long drive to my in-laws for Thanksgiving.” – Angela Wells iPhone – “I'm thankful for the iPhone. I can carry one device for phone, calendar, music, run tracker, access to Google to answer questions and maps when I get lost. I forgot my iPhone at home and could NOT function." – Sandy Yu Internet – “I'm thankful for the Internet because it's a platform that allows us, and our customers, to innovate, stay connected, and get more done.” – Kevin Middleton In 2017, the theme was personalization. Most people now are thankful for devices or apps that help solve a specific problem or simply make life easier and more enjoyable: "Zwift - I can ride my bike indoors, go for virtual rides with friends, and monitor my progress and fitness. It makes winter indoor riding fun and motivating!" - Olaf Kowalik "Amazon Echo - “Alexa what’s the weather in Thailand?”, Apple Watch - Beats riffing around in my pocket every time I get a text or email, Apple wireless earbuds - Wires are the worst, TV Apps - Netflix, Amazon, etc. Life on demand." - Wes Barnes "UberEats - I can order from restaurants I actually love without being judged for wearing yoga pants, when I’m not actually doing yoga. I’m not stuck with boring options like pizza or Chinese because they are the only places that deliver. And if I’m starving I can stalk my food from order to delivery!" - Ashley Johnson "I’m grateful for technology savvy news and media. NYTimes in particular has embraced a remarkable adaptation of old-meets-new media with their stellar (and award-winning) visual journalism. The Pulitzer prize winning photo essay by Daniel Berehulak deftly combines internet media and eye-popping editorial layout for a knock-down essay on the chaos of Philippines’ stealth justice. This new visual medium speaks a thousand words and more. I’m thankful every day for the risk that today’s journalists take to bring light to the dark corners of our globally connected world. Thank you @nytimes!" - Paul Lawbaugh "Instagram - I love having a curated feed that delivers daily inspiration, affirmation and travel ideas!" - Whitney Durmick "My fav tech is airbnb. I love it because it allows me into the homes of locals of the places that i'm traveling to." - Sandy Yu I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving holiday. And thank YOU ALL for reading this blog and being a part of the Oracle Social Cloud tribe!

Thanksgiving is often a reflective time of year. Many take vacations, visit family and friends, stuff their faces silly with food... and hopefully take a moment to give thanks to the positive aspects...

The State of AI for the Social Marketer

Marketing via social has its own set of unique advantages and disadvantages. Add AI technology to the mix and companies experience another layer of difficulty. But according to the latest research, those who can adopt and successfully adapt artificial intelligence into their digital marketing strategy, will most certainly rise above the rest. eMarketer recently published a report, Artificial Intelligence for Marketers in 2018: Finding Value Beyond the Hype. Their research highlights benefits of brands who have already implemented AI. But before looking at the data, let's look at what falls under the umbrella of artificial intelligence. Consulting firm McKinsey & Company defines AI under eight categories: Natural Language Processing (NLP) Natural Language Generation (NLG) Speech Recognition Machine Learning Decision Management Virtual Agents (chatbots, etc.) Robotics Process Automation Computer Vision So what kind of advantages have organizations experienced since implementing AI? eMarketer reports: The overall benefits are encouraging. To dive even further into real world applications of AI, eMarketer found that retail marketers are using this technology to craft a better customer experience across the board. While this data is promising for organizations to see, the question some grapple with is, where do we start? eMarketer shares some solid advice to those looking to incorporate AI into their business efforts. I think the best advice the research revealed is to forget the "hype" and really understand what AI can do for your brand. Allen Nance, Global CMO of Emarsys, suggests asking questions like: What data sets can we use to inform AI systems? Who will develop the algorithm? Will we have on-staff data scientists? Show me how it will change my role and my organization? While AI is in growth stage, it is clear to see it will be one of the most important investments marketers can make for the future. And as you can see from the data, many have already started down that path. Is your organization ready?

Marketing via social has its own set of unique advantages and disadvantages. Add AI technology to the mix and companies experience another layer of difficulty. But according to the latest research,...

Content Marketing

Social Media + Holidays = Campaign Wonders and Blunders

We all know not EVERY holiday digital campaign is successful. Remember when Kmart announced they would be open on Thanksgiving and Black Friday? Social media was up in arms over how taxing and unfair this was to their workers. #fail But, if you are a brand looking to insert some campaign fun and creativity into your social content calendar, don't fret! I have some tips for how to craft a message that will engage your audience. Tip 1:  DON'T BE PUSHY. Make sure your message is not overtly sales oriented. Craft a fun or humorous message that appropriately incorporates the holiday and your brand. Tip 2:  CONSIDER INVOLVING YOUR AUDIENCE. Holidays are the perfect opportunity to invite your audience to showcase what they are doing. Costume and best recipe contests are a great example of how to engage with your viewers.   Tip 3:  DON'T BE OFFENSIVE. Instructions should not be needed here (I think?!), just don't do it. Adidas made a serious mistake when sending out a poorly worded email. Social media users shared their outrage. Tip 4:  CHECK YOUR POST FREQUENTLY. If your message has even the tiniest potential to cause offense to somebody (see tip 3), check the engagement often, and have a plan in place to confront any situation that might arise. The image Coca-Cola posted below is one good example of a seemingly innocent post. The ad shows an outdated map of Russia that omitted Kaliningrad, upsetting many Russian patriots. Tip 5:  CONSIDER A DONATING TO A CHARITY. There is never a bad time to support a charity. As consumer sales skyrocket during holidays, it is a good reminder to help others in need. Tip 6:  OFFER ADVICE. Much like this blog post, tips and tricks are usually welcomed by audiences. If your brand sells sugar, post 5 great dessert recipes to make.  If your company is a travel agency, create a social post why viewers need to "get away" during the holidays.  Tip 7:  RUN PROMOTIONS. Holidays are the perfect excuse to offer discounts.  Hopefully these ideas have inspired you to have some (appropriate) fun with your holiday social content!  Please comment and share any great holiday posts you have seen.     SaveSaveSaveSave

We all know not EVERY holiday digital campaign is successful. Remember when Kmart announced they would be open on Thanksgiving and Black Friday? Social media was up in arms over how taxing and unfair...

eMarketer Releases Global Social Media StatPack

Which country uses Facebook 6.5 BILLION times each month?  Read on to discover some interesting (and surprising!) stats that eMarketer published from their latest social network research for 2017.  A few interesting takeaways from the report: The top five countries who have the most social network users include: China: 626 million India: 262 million United States: 194 million Brazil: 107 million Indonesia: 87 million India loves Facebook!  From the country that boasts 262 million social network users, 200 million use Facebook, which also accounts for 10% of Facebook's overall subscriber base. ​   Russia stands out from the crowd. Two of their very own social networks are most popular, VK and Odnoklassniki. Instagram is the third most popular network, even before Facebook.   Instagram users in Indonesia doubled from 22 million in 2016 to a whopping 45 million in 2017!     Surprisingly, social networks in Japan are not very popular with the exception of Line, which is actually considered more of a messaging app. If the Line user numbers were excluded, not one social network would reach a majority in any age group.    Of the three sites that dominate social network usage in China, two are owned by Tencent: WeChat and Qzone.    Like Russia, Argentina counts Taringa!, a homegrown network, as one of its most popular networking sites.   While Facebook is the most popular site in Europe overall, it is interesting to note that social network users in Norway are keen on using Snapchat: ​   Facebook continues to be the number one social network used in the United States. In just one month, users visited the site 6.5 billion times! ​ ​Thank you for visiting Oracle Social Cloud's blog, to access the full eMarketer report please visit:  2017 Global Social Media StatPack. SaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSave

Which country uses Facebook 6.5 BILLION times each month?  Read on to discover some interesting (and surprising!) stats that eMarketer published from their latest social network research for 2017.  A...

Social Media Events

Top Takeaways from Oracle OpenWorld for B2B Brands

Today's blog was written by Sally-Anne Kaminski, Manager of Global Social Media Strategy at Zebra Technologies Corporation. Last week, I had the honor of attending Oracle OpenWorld to participate on a panel about successful B2B social media. With every conference or event I attend, I always come back with tons of ideas swirling in my mind and this was no different. Whether you're a seasoned B2B social strategist or just getting started with B2B social, there was something for everyone. Here are my top takeaways from the event.  Rome wasn't built in a day. Social media is a fast-paced medium. If you're not staying on top of trends and changes, you could be left behind. That said, don't expect your content to go viral or that results will be immediate. It takes time and optimization to grow and scale your presence. Oracle Social Cloud's Listen & Analyze console gives you the keys you need to determine what content resonates with your audience on a platform and post-level basis. Study that data, and refine your strategy around the insights you surface. Are certain topics or post types not garnering engagement? Pull them out of your rotation and see what happens.  Not all innovation is external.  One thing kept popping up repeatedly, and that's the idea that sometimes innovation comes from within. Michael Nagel, my co-panelist from Cummins, talked a lot about how becoming a Six Sigma organization has transformed their social media strategy and how they handle social customer care. At Zebra, building a solid operating model and guardrails for how we utilize social for demand generation campaigns, including designing an intake process for handling project requests, enabled us to grow our followers and engagement by over 150% in just 2 years. All of these things would never be fully visible to our audience but certainly have a significant impact on how we're perceived in the social space. Success doesn't always mean sales.  Not every company sells their products online, which can make it challenging to prove why social is an important part of your marketing mix. If you're in that boat, what can you do? Consider measuring how you use social for customer care, whether that's by number of customers served or response time. How long does it take for a complaint to be resolved via social media versus a call center? Sometimes, all it takes to de-escalate a situation with a frustrated customer is to let them know you're checking into their problem and will get back to them with a solution as soon as possible. Isn't that a better feeling than the one invoked by hearing on-hold music for an extended period of time? Be relentless.  Especially if you're just getting started. If your initial results aren't great, keep trying. If you're having trouble getting buy-in from your organization, take the opportunity to educate your stakeholders on how social media can help them. (I have no shame and will invite myself to meetings where I think social media might be beneficial.) Embrace the idea of "piloting" something you've never tried before, like a new paid advertising unit. Just don't give up! It was a great few days in San Francisco and I'm already looking forward to learning more at Modern Marketing Experience in April. Did you attend OpenWorld? I'd love to hear some of your top takeaways!   

Today's blog was written by Sally-Anne Kaminski, Manager of Global Social Media Strategy at Zebra Technologies Corporation. Last week, I had the honor of attending Oracle OpenWorld to participate on a...

Best Practices

Preparing for Data Compliance with Oracle Social's Workflow & Automation Features

Today's blog was written by Sally-Anne Kaminski, Manager of Global Social Media Strategy at Zebra Technologies Corporation.   With offices in more than 80 countries worldwide, one of the things that has been top of mind for me for the past year is how we ensure our social media activity complies with GDPR. If you're not familiar with GDPR, it stands for General Data Protection Regulation, and it's been touted as " the most important change in data privacy regulation in 20 years." (No pressure, right?) The goal of GDPR is to protect the personally identifiable information, or PII, of individuals living in the EU. Enforcement begins on May 25, 2018.  The thought of ensuring compliance may seem daunting, especially if that's not your day-to-day job, but it doesn't need to be. Within Oracle Social Cloud, there are many features and settings that we'll be using to design audit controls and workflows to help us take the utmost care in handling PII. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing the nitty gritty of how we’ll use each console within Social Cloud.  Today, we’ll feature Workflow & Automation, where we control user access. Workflow & Automation: Resources Tab, Bundles We have one main Bundle that my team uses for visibility into global activity from one centralized location; we literally call this the "Main Bundle". All 22 of our Social Properties are authorized here. Since Zebra has both global and regional marketing teams, we use Bundles to manage their access.  Each region receives its' own Bundle, where only that region's Social Properties are accessible. Within each region's Bundle, we create sub-Bundles for any agency partners that are activating social on the region's behalf. This helps us see exactly what each agency is doing and where. And, if we part ways with an agency partner, we simply deactivate their Sub-Bundle so no other users are impacted. Workflow & Automation: Users Tab We no longer grant access to our social networks directly; all access is granted through Social Cloud. Since Social Property access needs vary amongst users, we rely on User Roles to configure each individual user’s access to ensure they only see what they have a need to see. We call this concept "Least Privilege", where you can only access items on a "need-to-know" basis. While the name may seem restrictive, it's done by design to prevent unauthorized account access. Here are the most common User Roles that we assign for Bundles. Our users have the exact same User Roles for the individual Social Properties, too.   Editor: Used for content creators. Author: Used for temporary employees like interns, who may need someone to review their work prior to publishing. Moderator: Used for those handling customer support, who need access to review Engage for social mentions that need follow-up. Media Manager: Used for agency partners who are creating dark posts for Facebook Advertising Analyst: Used for employees or agency partners who are only doing social network-specific reporting.  For example, if we have an agency partner that is only publishing and reporting on organic Twitter posts for our North American team, this is what their configuration would look like. Bundle: North America Sub-Bundle: Agency XYZ Social Properties: Twitter User Roles: Editor, Analyst Workflow & Automation: Account Tab There are several important settings within the My Account page that we have configured for users Default Timeout Value: We leave this at Oracle's default value of 8 hours, so that users get logged out once a day. This helps us ensure that if someone ever loses a laptop, they'll have been logged out. And, if we see that someone has not signed in within the last 1-2 months, that's a good indicator that  Password Expiration Value: Our company policy is to reset passwords every 90 days, so that is what we have configured.  Add Unpublished Posts to Engage: Checking the box here allows our Moderators the ability to monitor dark posts created for Facebook Advertising within Engage, eliminating the need to grant access to Facebook Ad Manager.  Workflow & Automation: Workflow Tab We use Workflow for two primary use cases: As a way to proofread posts that Authors have created, prior to publishing. Route customer service inquiries from Engage to the appropriate call center contact, who has a login to the tool. Using Workflows gives us the ability to create Threads within Social Cloud, where multiple users can collaborate on specific items within each Workflow. If an Author needs to change something in a post before it is published, that request is then documented within the tool. And for customer service inquiries, responses are stored securely within Social Cloud, versus being taken offline to e-mail where someone could easily forward on and mishandle customer contact information. These are the main ways that we're using Workflow & Automation to keep personal information safe. Are there configurations you're using that we may not have covered? We'd love to hear how you're configuring your instance of Social Cloud for data privacy. Leave us a comment below!  

Today's blog was written by Sally-Anne Kaminski, Manager of Global Social Media Strategy at Zebra Technologies Corporation.   With offices in more than 80 countries worldwide, one of the things that has...

Content Marketing

Part 2: With AI Chatbots, Commerce is Conversational (Again!)

Last week, we discussed how chatbots are revolutionizing the digital experience with Rebecca Clyde, Co-Founder of Botco.ai and digital agency Ideas Collide. I'm excited to share more from our conversation, including the role they play in the customer experience and what the future could bring for this fascinating technology. 1.  How have chatbots become a valuable channel for the digital customer experience? At a minimum, this channel is about helping customers get what they want faster, and giving them a sense that they are heard and understood. When brands utilize conversation to engage with their customers, and do so in a way that is personalized at scale, they can start to see big results. Tata recently reported that when it deployed its first chatbot, lead conversion rates increased by 600%. Many customers fall through the cracks because we make them do the work: they have to search around our websites to figure out what we do, to find out about our products and then decide if they have enough information to move forward. With this new channel, we turn that model around and use AI to assess intent and more quickly deliver what the customer needs help with.  2.  What role will chatbots play in the future of social? Every brand will eventually find it essential to maintain a strong messaging presence that allows your audience to interact with you directly. If you are on Facebook already, then a Messenger bot makes the most sense to start with. Our customers with a strong presence in China are stepping up their game on WeChat with chatbots. In B2B, we are also seeing strong use cases for chatbots on Slack to engage buying teams or help drive sales engagements.  Conversational marketing allows for many exciting possibilities to drive engagement, conversion and ultimately, to generate brand advocates. It’s also an excellent way to generate micro-moments with customers, to reward your most loyal customers and also to help those prospective customers more easily find the answers they need to make a decision.  To create these micromoments, we are using social listening (in our case, Oracle Social Cloud), to listen to what customers are needing and creating conversational interactions that address those needs. This capability needs to be part of any informed content development effort.  3.  Given your experience, how do customers feel about interacting with a chatbot? They are rather intuitive and when they work, they can be deeply engaging. I have watched my first grade engage with chatbots without needing any explanation – and she has a very early reading level! Her favorite bot is Marfa, she is a “Best Friend Bot” that is a chatty friend. However, there are more serious, helpful bots that do important work. For example, I happen to use Healthap a lot, which curates healthcare advise from MDs that specifically address my particular questions. Another great bot I use almost daily is GrowthBot, which gives me great insights into marketing technologies being used by whom and where. It’s a great research tool for selling. For Botco.ai, we are helping each of our customers develop use cases that either fill in a specific gap in their customer experience, or that might augment or improve on something the currently exists. One of our customers is building a bot to recognize and reward its most elite partners, providing them with additional perks only available on Messenger. They are giving those elite partners the fastest possible access to rewards program information and inside tips on how to get more out of their membership.  4.  What can you tell the brands out there that are hesitant to invest in chatbots?  I really believe the time will come (very soon!) when our customers won’t come to our websites anymore…that trend is already underway. Instead, they will jump onto their favorite messaging channel and simply ask for what they need. Now is the time build up our knowledge bases to help train intelligent AI chatbots that will deliver meaningful, engaging conversation with each of our customers. Those brands that are ahead of the curve and start early will be on their way to delivering a truly engaging experience that accelerates business outcomes.     

Last week, we discussed how chatbots are revolutionizing the digital experience with Rebecca Clyde, Co-Founder of Botco.ai and digital agency Ideas Collide. I'm excited to share more from our...

Part 1: With AI Chatbots, Commerce is Conversational (Again!)

AI technology is thriving and only getting smarter. And as machines continue to advance at a rapid pace, the case for utilizing chatbots as part of a brand's customer experience is strong. A recent study conducted by Juniper Research predicts that chatbots could save businesses $8 billion annually by 2022. While some may fear what automation may bring (think Elon Musk), as one Oracle colleague suggests, "The future is about working along with robots not working against automation or robots." Rebecca Clyde, Co-Founder of Botco.ai and digital agency Ideas Collide, shares her thoughts on how chatbots are going to revolutionize the digital experience. 1.   Rebecca, what inspired you and your team to develop a chatbot solution? I noticed three important trends. First, that messaging applications surpassed social media in terms of number of active engaged users in a major way. People are spending more time on messaging channels than any other form of communication: social media and email included. I believe this digital medium (the messaging application) more closely matches our natural inclination to conversation and human connection than any other digital medium. Second, I saw that for the first year ever, in 2016 we deleted more apps on our phones than we downloaded. This means users are being ever more selective in terms of their phone real estate, yet they want to still be highly mobile in terms of how they engage with brands. As application downloads dwindle, a few mega-apps will take over. Many of these will be the messaging apps. Much like WeChat is used in China, we are going to prefer using one mega-app to tap into mobile services and interactions with the brands/businesses we love, instead of being forced to download each of their apps. And third, we noticed that large companies, many of whom I have worked with for more than 15 years, are still using older forms of communication that are not designed for conversation. This is because they don’t have the proper tools or infrastructure to enable personalized conversations at scale with their existing and prospective customers. Or, they are still pushing in-app messaging which has limitations…because it requires the user to download their app which nobody wants to keep doing. Businesses need tools to address items 1 and 2. 2.   Tell us about your product, what can it do? Botco.ai is a conversational marketing platform that enables meaningful and intelligent conversations between businesses and their customers. With the help of AI and NLP technologies, we can help businesses connect with their customers in a way that improves the overall experience and generates growth. We also help businesses leverage their existing investments in marketing automation platforms such as Eloqua, reimagining nurture campaigns into conversational interactions that accelerate content consumption and help buyers more quickly get what they need. These AI-enabled conversations can be enabled across any messaging channel that supports bots: including Messenger, WeChat, Kik, Telegram, Skype and others. 3.   How is it different from other solutions?    Most existing digital communication solutions can be personalized to some degree, but they lack the ability to deliver content that is individually personalized AND conversational AND automated all at once. For the first time, businesses can hold individualized conversations with millions of customers at once with an automated solution that actually works to solve real problems and deliver meaningful services.   4.   Can you give us some examples of how chatbots have enabled brands to run more efficiently?  Chatbots can help in many ways. There are benefits to both sides of the chatbot equation. Let’s start with the business who is setting up the chat conversation. For them the ability to engage limitless number of customers at once, with conversations that help advance the relationship, is key. They can increase the velocity in which business is done and reduce latency in the process (such as lag time in “waiting to hear back” on something.) Additionally, as businesses engage their customers using chatbots, they have the ability to log each conversation and have a better sense of their customers’ needs and intentions, thereby giving brands the ability to improve products and service levels overall. Brands can A/B test on a massive scale that may not have been possible before, refining and tuning their offerings and user experience at every turn. For the customer, there are also significant benefits. By interacting with a chatbot, customers can access to important information they need to make a decision. It’s much faster to ask “what is the return policy?” versus sifting through a website to locate this information. Or worse, downloading an app and then looking for the information within the app. I was recently frustrated by encountering an issue in paying a bill online with Century Link, but nobody in customer service was available to answer my question because it was 10 pm. If they had a chatbot to help customers in off-hours, or even around the clock, they could be “always on” and reduce that kind of frustration. Also, bots are not judgmental the way people are. So it’s easier to ask a bot a question that might otherwise be embarrassing to ask a human. For example, topics of sensitive nature around our health or maybe technical topics that we don’t want to reveal to humans as not understanding. These are all situations where engaging with a bot may allow customers to be more forthcoming about what they really need. Stay tuned next week for a continuation of the chatbot conversation with Rebecca, who will discuss the role they play in the customer experience and what the future could bring for this fascinating technology. SaveSave

AI technology is thriving and only getting smarter. And as machines continue to advance at a rapid pace, the case for utilizing chatbots as part of a brand's customer experience is strong. A recent stu...

Best Practices

Using Social Media to "Advertise"

Today's blog was written by Sally-Anne Kaminski, Manager of Global Social Media Strategy at Zebra Technologies Corporation.  Forrester recently released a new report entitled "The End of Advertising as We Know It," suggesting that brands will pull nearly $3B from display advertising this year. The report cites poor targeting and low click-through rate, among other items, as some of the main causes for the budget shift. Whether us marketers want to admit it or not, ads can be really annoying. They're disruptive. They take our focus away from what we came to do online. Those obscenely large homepage takeover ads are, quite frankly, irritating. And if you're not careful, poorly executed ads can lead to brand resentment and negative sentiment, which is the opposite of what we want to achieve. If the focus is shifting away from display, it's likely some of those funds may shift to social media. As a digital native (I was a member of The Facebook back in 2004!), I'm passionate about making sure social media content isn't overly promotional. When done the right way, social can be an effective way to "advertise". (Note I said "done the right way" and notice the quotes around the word advertise.)  If your social content strategy doesn't align with your audience, you could experience some of the same issues that brands are seeing with display. Remember the medium. If I'm looking for a recipe online, I'm likely not interested in an ad for some random music festival blocking the ingredient list. Scrolling through my Facebook news feed from my iPhone, I'm not searching for a 30-minute webinar on why I should switch cell phone providers or an interactive tool to help find the right checking account for my financial needs. Social media started out as a way to... you know, be social with others, and marketers sometimes seem to forget that. Don't be a billboard. Or bulletin board. Or any kind of board, bored, etc. Even though social best practices indicate that shorter posts get more engagement, you're not tied to a headline or "7 words or less" like you might be on a display ad. Use those 140 characters to your advantage. Don't just push out content without engaging in conversation with your followers, though, or else you look like a bulletin board full of flyers about sales or events. That approach can make your followers quite bored. (See what I did there? Ha.) Relevancy is king. "Wow, that BOGO banner ad randomly popped up on my screen at the most opportune time possible!," said no one ever. (Ever.) Don't take a "spray-and-pray" approach to publishing social content by repeatedly pushing the same messaging out to multiple networks and hoping it gets engagement somewhere. Study your demographic data by social network to align your messaging with your audience, review what posts led to negative feedback, and use that knowledge to give your followers what they really want. A tweet or Facebook Offer with a printable 25% off coupon just days before a major holiday is absolutely relevant if it appears in someone's feed at the right time. What do you think? Do you see display funds shifting to social or other mediums this year? How big of a role does social play in your marketing and advertising mix? Sally-Anne Kaminski is Manager, Global Social Media Strategy at Zebra Technologies. Thoughts represented in this post are those of the author only and not those of her employer.  

Today's blog was written by Sally-Anne Kaminski, Manager of Global Social Media Strategy at Zebra Technologies Corporation.  Forrester recently released a new report entitled "The End of Advertising as...

Best Practices

The Importance of Employee Social Media Education

Today's blog was written by Sally-Anne Kaminski, Manager of Global Social Media Strategy at Zebra Technologies Corporation. ​ As I was enjoying my morning coffee today, I came across an article from Entrepreneur on the importance of companywide social media transparency. The author makes some good points on communication and training: Even if your social media account is locked or "private", nothing is truly private on the internet anymore. You can screenshot a post and e-mail it around the world in a matter of minutes.  Companies could potentially review your personal social media activity when deciding to extend an employment offer. (The same can be said for colleges and universities deciding to extend admission to students.) Having guidelines in place for what you expect from your employees when participating in social media is imperative.  That said, I was surprised to find what I consider to be two very important items missing from the advice given in the article. Employees who are writing and enforcing your social media policy need education as well... on protected speech. These individuals could be from your HR, Legal or social media teams. While no one wants to see their employees generating social media chatter surrounding working conditions or unequal pay, certain types of conversation around those topics are protected by the National Labor Relations Board. Remember the Chipotle debacle? This is what happened there. (Note: I'm not suggesting that you encourage that type of activity or specifically call it out in your policy. Just saying you should be cognizant of what may be protected speech.)  You must educate your employees on the FTC Endorsement Guides. Especially in light of the recent warning letters, your employees need to understand that they must disclose their employment relationship when posting about you in social media. It isn't (and shouldn't be, really!) about rules and regulations that your employees begrudgingly follow. It should be part of your culture, where your employees want to talk about how great of a company you are! Check out my post on the Endorsement Guides for more in-depth guidance.  How do you handle employee social media education? Have you seen any well-executed employee disclosures lately? I'm always curious about what other brands are doing. Leave a comment and let me know. Sally-Anne Kaminski is Manager, Global Social Media Strategy at Zebra Technologies. Thoughts represented in this post are those of the author only and not those of her employer.  

Today's blog was written by Sally-Anne Kaminski, Manager of Global Social Media Strategy at Zebra Technologies Corporation. ​ As I was enjoying my morning coffee today, I came across an article from...

Best Practices

How Video Can Turn a One-Man Show Into Major Social Revenue

Are you sick of seeing the same perfect looking, beach stock photo along with an ad about why you should be there?  Marc Babin, Social Media Manager of The Westin Grand Cayman was, so he decided to embark on a mission to let his audience, and the world, see what they were REALLY missing and why they needed to book a trip to visit his beloved island and hotel.  I sat down and chatted with Marc who shared how a little creativity (and fun!) with video can turn a one-man show into major social revenue. A:  Marc, you’ve had some amazing results with your social media initiatives.  Can you tell me about some of campaigns you are most proud of? Marc:  I’ve really enjoyed creating videos that make hotel marketing personable.  Usually hotels post fancy, stock photos, but I have found that using video has been a super engaging way to reach out to our audience.  One successful campaign example is of a video we produced and posted during a storm in the Northeast section of the U.S.  We heard about the bad weather and thought it would be an opportune time to reach out to people and show them a way to escape.  We received incredible feedback and engagement from posting this simple, straightforward video.    Another campaign I enjoyed working on was a video that showcased “A Day at the Westin”. I shot this video myself and basically took the viewers through what a day would look like if they were here at our hotel.  It showed a real life (and not overly edited) view of the hotel and exactly what they could expect.  From sharing that video on our social channels, we received over $40k in room revenue.  It took only about three days to make the video and I spent less than $1000 in Facebook ads. Results from the “A Day at the Westin” video: A:  What are some tips you can share with others on how to make a successful video? Marc:  It is incredibly important to show some personality and be authentic!  Don’t be quiet, let the audience see how much fun you are having.  Other tips I have learned along the way include: Concentrate, don’t be distracted, think about how you are talking to an audience Commit to it and practice, practice, practice! The only way to get used to talking to a camera is to talk to it…a lot! Get used to talking to the camera before you go live which goes back to making sure you practice beforehand Have a purpose and a rough plan of what you want to make a video of. This includes conducting research, draw on others for inspiration Use real, live people, not actors – for example, I recently took a video of one of our baristas making his favorite drink from a paddleboard in the ocean. Picking up on the last note, make that video stick in the audience’s memories. Do something “different” Don’t be afraid to mess up, editing is possible and mistakes show personality A:  Marc, do you have any other advice for marketers to think about as they embark on using video in their marketing strategies? Marc:  I think one of the most important things that I always try and remember is to reach out and talk to our fans and guests.  They are the customers, so they will have the best, most pinpointed suggestions on what they want to see from us at The Westin. Another important part of my job is to put myself in their shoes.  I often come to find that most want the feeling of exclusivity.  So I make sure to share with the audience local treasures, things that are not easy to find and are definitely NOT touristy.  I strive to make them feel special and give them access to things that not everyone has the chance to enjoy. My final piece of advice is to truly enjoy what you are doing in your video because your enthusiasm, happiness and love for the experience will shine through, and people are will always be attracted to that. The Westin Grand Cayman continues to use video as their primary advertising tool on social media. To date they have over $90K in room sales, exclusively from the videos, boosting ROI up over 3000% since using static photography in their ads.    

Are you sick of seeing the same perfect looking, beach stock photo along with an ad about why you should be there?  Marc Babin, Social Media Manager of The Westin Grand Cayman was, so he decided to...

Best Practices

Redefining the Social Media Audit

Today's blog was written by Sally-Anne Kaminski, Manager of Global Social Media Strategy at Zebra Technologies Corporation.  Google the phrase "social media audit" and you're going to see pages upon pages of search results about how to review your social marketing efforts to determine their effectiveness, usually once per quarter. Google the word "audit" next, and you'll find information on how companies are examined to determine the validity of financial records, or review their business processes, or determine their compliance with laws and regulations. Reviewing the effectiveness of your social content is something you should be doing on a weekly basis at a minimum, if not more frequently. With more than 313M monthly active users on Twitter alone, the amount of content being shared and consumed on the platform is certainly not insignificant. This medium moves far too quickly to not review your performance data at the same pace. Social strategists should approach an "audit" the same way that any company approaches a financial or compliance audit: with a careful eye towards reviewing the processes and procedures that are in place for social media account access. Here are the top 3 items that you should include in a social media audit: Who can access your social media accounts. People leave companies. Brands change agency partners. It happens. But the last thing you want is for someone to still have access to your social accounts once they've left their organization, especially if they left on negative terms. Within Oracle Social Cloud’s Workflow & Automation, set your Default Timeout Value, or the time duration in hours for which SRM users can be logged into their accounts. Periodically check the last time your users logged in; if the timestamp is 30 days or older, that may be a good indicator that the user may have left the company or their responsibilities have changed. If it's been longer than 90 days, deactivate the user's credentials. (They'll come find you if they can't log in, I promise!)  What those users can access. If you have individuals that only utilize social listening dashboards, for example, grant Listen Editor access only so that they do not have the ability to publish content. Does an agency only handle your paid content and not organic? Grant them Media Manager access, so that they can only create unpublished, or "dark", posts and not live page posts. Have a community manager that only responds to mentions and messages? The Moderator role allows them to respond and engage, but not publish content. The intent here isn't malicious; certainly you trust the individuals that you are giving access to. However, accidents can happen and an employee messing around could lead to a slip-up that goes viral. (#gettingslizzerd, anyone?) Account passwords. Always recommend that your users create a secure, randomly generated password. Within Oracle Social Cloud’s Workflow & Automation, set your Password Expiration Value to 90 days, so that your users are forced to update their password once per quarter. The Google Docs phishing incident is a good reminder that even those who are technologically savvy can be fooled sometimes. It's always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to social media! 

Today's blog was written by Sally-Anne Kaminski, Manager of Global Social Media Strategy at Zebra Technologies Corporation.  Google the phrase "social media audit" and you're going to see pages upon...

Social + Data

Ideas Collide: Staying One Step Ahead of the Game with Social Listening

Digital Agency Ideas Collide nails it when providing data-driven marketing solutions to their clients, using a powerful dose of “creativity and imagination that yields results.”  Part of what powers this creativity and gives their clients a fantastic ROI lies in their ability to successfully utilize social listening and data.  Rebecca Clyde, CXO and Co-Founder of Ideas Collide, shares her thoughts on social listening and data: Check out these examples of the work they have done integrating social into their projects: Unifying Digital Touchpoints Data has helped Ideas Collide provide a seamless customer experience across digital touchpoints. One example includes unifying over 90 different municipalities in Arizona, and providing a single brand experience - quite a feat to accomplish with so many different stakeholders.  Without data and listening analysis, it would have been much more difficult to map out how to combine so many sources     Listening To Target Audiences Sometimes it is difficult to know when a start-up is really going to make it...but not with Ideas Collide.  They use social listening to find out what will resonate with audiences and data to know whom to target.  They support new brands by arming them with information to make them as successful as possible.  Take the company Norton Point; Ideas Collide optimized their Kickstarter campaign and used social insights to determine ideal targets. The result? Norton Point exceeded their seed money goals and is on the way to mass marketing. Devising Better Campaigns with Data When Ideas Collide pitches to a potential client for the first time, they don’t go in blind.  They are already equipped with information that gives them a competitive edge.  Using social listening, they can find out ahead of time who is talking about the brand, what they are saying, and the sentiment behind the content.  In addition, they can use listening to look at the competitors so they know what they are up against, what problems they might face, and even gaps in the industry.  It allows them the extra time and knowledge to form a strategy that is better informed than the competition. Utilizing social data and listening tools have helped the brilliant minds at Ideas Collide succeed in their space.  We are so impressed with their results and proud to partner with them. We cannot wait to see what they come up with next!

Digital Agency Ideas Collide nails it when providing data-driven marketing solutions to their clients, using a powerful dose of “creativity and imagination that yields results.”  Part of what powers...

Content Marketing

Pulling Back the Curtain: Content Marketers and the Future of Social Marketing (part 2)

Last week’s blog highlighted Maren Williams and Michael Grunseth, two brilliant Content Marketers from Oracle Data Cloud, who revealed that producing great content comes down to getting to know your audience (let them into your world!), being crafty, and focusing on creating something they truly want to read. Today, I’m looking forward to sharing their thoughts on social marketing and where they see it going in the future. Where do you draw inspiration? MAREN: I’m inspired by great writing, wherever that’s found! From journalism to industry op-eds, I’m inspired by writers who can clearly and succinctly tell a story—persuading me to learn more. Good writing is key to any industry, but in data, it’s even more vital – when someone can explain complex subject matter in an easy-to-digest way, you open up the conversation in so many ways. MICHAEL: Youths! I’m not even kidding. These kids nowadays (I say that like I’m not a millennial myself) are so adept at crafting quick, concise, contextual messages that it’s sometimes disheartening to me as a professional. There is an art to Snapchat and Twitter, and these kids who grew up with social media absolutely nail it. How do you keep your finger on the pulse of what your audience cares about? MAREN: I have Google alerts set up to help keep me up to date on what’s happening in the industry, as well as researching online and having conversations with colleagues. Additionally, I get a lot of value out of our industry events, such as our recent Data Summit 2017 or our upcoming participation at Cannes Lions. Those are exciting opportunities to listen to the best and brightest in the industry, attend fireside chats, and meet with partners. How do you see social media changing how people interact? MICHAEL: We’re all constantly watching—the news, our feeds, what’s going on here or there. Think of just how many posts, Tweets, or Snaps you consume on the daily. It’s rare that we’re able to surprise each other because people update Facebook before anything else. I skipped my 10th high school reunion because I didn’t need to go, I see those people all the time. There’s something magical that gets lost when you know too much about the other person you’re talking to. What digital marketing technology/innovation are you most excited about? MICHAEL: I am both excited and slightly terrified by augmented reality, and the ways that we can shape the world around us. The marketer in me is excited to be able to show more keyed in, context-based content, but the old-fogie side is worried we’ll lose something in the present. MAREN: I’m really excited about AR and VR – as well as self-driving cars. I think our lifetimes are going to change greatly due to these technologies, and I can’t wait to see what happens. Where do you see social media marketing in 5 years? 50 years? MICHAEL: I think the further we go, the more engrained and subtle social media will become. There will always be flashy noisy content running around, but blurring the lines between real and constructed is where I see it going. MAREN: Social media has changed so much over the years – I remember being one of the first Facebook-ers, back when only Universities could sign up. I also remember when a “social media team” was such a new concept, and for a while, companies didn’t know why they needed social, only that they should be utilizing it. Once best practices with social were established for businesses, and teams were built around evangelizing brands online using these channels, that’s when things really took off. Social is constantly evolving—and brands know that the next big thing in social is right around the corner. For me, the mastery comes with understanding that everything will change – learning how to be nimble and adapt to whatever happens next. For more great insight from Maren and Michael, please visit the Oracle Data Cloud and AddThis blogs.  

Last week’s blog highlighted Maren Williams and Michael Grunseth, two brilliant Content Marketers from Oracle Data Cloud, who revealed that producing great content comes down to getting to know your...

Content Marketing

Turning Words Into Art: A Day in the Life of a Content Marketer (part 1)

A day in the life at Oracle can manifest in a million different ways, but today we are going to focus on the lives of two content marketing gurus, Maren Williams and Michael Grunseth of Oracle Data Cloud. This blog will give you a glimpse into their world – what makes a content marketer tick as well as tips and tricks to creating desirable content.  These days, social media isn’t just a set-it and forget it type of thing. What does your day-to-day social media operation look like?   MAREN: Monitoring our social accounts is something I do as soon as I step into the office. It’s important to know what are people talking about on which channel, who has mentioned our brand, our colleagues or other partner brands, what types of events are coming up and which are happening now. Not to mention, what’s trending and what topic is everyone talking about? It’s vital that the social team be connected to the channels they manage in real time. Engagement on social is key for brands – when a brand posts something, who is liking it? Who is sharing it and who is commenting on it? Are they real people, relevant to your product and goals? Engagement is what propels a brand from talking into an echo chamber to actually getting real with clients and potential clients in the space. What is the biggest challenge facing marketers today? MICHAEL: The biggest challenge facing marketers today is first the competition for brain space, and second leaving a positive impression after you’ve won your share. Somewhere between the constant push notifications on our phones, the never-ending news cycle of bombastic headlines, and every other bit of media we consume (willingly or not), marketers compete to carve out little spaces to tell our stories. Being loud and bright will get you attention, but what impression are you leaving? How does your audience feel afterwards? We have to be crafty enough to grab the focus of our audience, but focused enough to craft a meaningful narrative. MAREN: Agreed. If you think about it, the customer journey has evolved from that of the past, in large part to where consumers gather information about products or services, how they choose to engage with brands, and ultimately, their path to purchase. For example, challenges arise in targeting across the many devices used by consumers today, and for data-driven marketers, it’s vital that their advertisements are being consumed by the right person, at the right time. From mobile to tablet to desktop and more, knowing you have the right audience is paramount to an effective marketing strategy. How do you decide what content will resonate with your audience? MICHAEL: Trick question! We don’t. I’m serious, I have not met a single content marketer (or any related kinfolk) who is able to predict with 100% certainty what pieces will take off, and which will crash and burn. Every piece of content we put out is like a little depth charge. You hear a little ping or hint of something positive (or dead air), and then course correct. You steer towards what works, and stop doing what doesn’t. MAREN: For Oracle Data Cloud specifically, we’re creating content that is helpful and valuable to data-driven marketers. Being platform agnostic is really helpful for this goal because we work with many of our partners on thought leadership posts, highlighting key issues, themes, topics or best practices in the industry. After the content is released, we research and track which topics resonate most, depending on the data. Like Michael mentioned, there’s no exact formula for knowing which content will work best, until you try it and analyze the data from it. Perhaps a post series was very popular a year ago, but has since been surpassed by another series or topic. Instead of continuing on with a series that’s not working, we let the data drive us, and embrace what our audiences do want to read about. A lot of brands think they need a blog for the sake of having a blog. What advice do you have for brands that are thinking about launching one? MAREN: I think a lot more companies understand that content is key when connecting with the audiences they care most about. We’re consuming more content than ever – not just the written word, but images and video, too. It’s important to create a strategy before launching a blog, or any social channel. The first question to ask yourself is, “Who is my audience?” followed by, “Where does my audience spend the most time?” That can help narrow down your social channels, saving time and effort (not to mention, saving on spend). After identifying the right audiences, I’m a big believer of companies going “all-in” on a small amount of channels when starting out – rather than trying to open an account on every channel and posting very infrequently. Compare it to a restaurant that only serves one style of food, with a smaller, curated menu and then expands from there as they master the craft – rather than trying to be a buffet and serve everything from pizza to sushi. It’s a good way to see what’s working and what’s not, and leveraging your social team’s focus and resources. MICHAEL: My advice would be to get realistic about who you are as a brand, and then define what you’re trying to achieve. Developing branded content with a clear voice takes skill, time, and patience. If you’re looking at creating a blog as a place to manifest together all of the different ideas and conversations you’re having, that you want to share, that’s awesome. If you’re looking to create a blog because your competitors have one and so you should too, that’s not going to work out too well in the long run. Define your purpose, and then set expectations accordingly. Thought leadership pieces or opinion pieces are great when written and delivered straight-up. It’s when we as marketers—usually driven by external stakeholders—try to pad out a sales pitch into becoming a blog post that we stumble. The jig is up, and rightfully so. What’s the most valuable lesson a campaign has taught you? MICHAEL: Stop projecting. As humans we are programmed to find patterns and make sense out of noise, but we sometimes (often) project bits of ourselves (or our entire self, let’s be honest) onto our audience. I spoke before of how important and enlightening it can be to let your audience surprise you.  I’ve learned to put my baggage and ego aside and welcome the possibility of being pleasantly surprised. It’s very zen. It’s also easier said than done. For more great insight from Maren and Michael, please visit the Oracle Data Cloud and AddThis blogs.  SaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSave

A day in the life at Oracle can manifest in a million different ways, but today we are going to focus on the lives of two content marketing gurus, Maren Williams and Michael Grunseth of Oracle Data...

Best Practices

Social Commerce Success: Challenge Your Assumptions

Only read this post if you want to generate more revenue on social – find new product ideas, leverage influencers to really drive sales, and find new ways to connect with customers. Selling something unexpected, expensive, or in the middle of the night? Real brands are proving it’s all possible. Social commerce may reach $90B by 2020, according to eMarketer. Is your social strategy today going to help you generate as much revenue from social as possible? Yesterday, I spoke at the Social Shake-Up (So much fun! Make sure you go next year: May 7-9 in Atlanta), and was reminded how many companies are still using social for “awareness”, not actual sales. This blog will help you demystify the art behind selling on social, with tips and case studies to help you generate revenue. Tip 1:  Listen to Your Customers Research and development is an important part of any organization, but have you explored social listening and analytics to conduct a different type of customer research?  Polaris Industries uncovered a new product opportunity when listening to customers’ conversations on social media and hearing the words “pink” and “snow mobile” so close together. This clue about “pink” ultimately led to a wonderful collaboration with the Pink Ribbon Riders, and an opportunity to support breast cancer research and grow revenue. Here Holly Spaeth, Director of Digital Marketing at Polaris industries, explains: Tip 2:  Challenge Your Assumptions “Twitter is the new CB radio”, according to Neil Tolbert, Director of Marketing Communications for Mack Trucks. So it’s proven to be a wonderful way to connect with both the companies that buy trucks (B2B) and the truck drivers themselves (B2C). If you’re thinking that social commerce is only for B2C, and maybe even only for small items you can quickly throw into an online cart, then think again!  Mack Trucks has successfully generated sales through combined social and email campaigns to generate more than 600 qualified B2B sales leads straight into Oracle Eloqua. Hear Neil Tolbert share their story here: Tip 3:  Concentrate on Sites & Segments Think outside the box - many companies generate sales from other social platforms (not just Facebook) depending on the industry.  Here are some examples of different industries and the platform that generates the most revenue for social commerce. You can also use specific sites to connect with key target customers… even while your competitors are sleeping! Mothercare, a leading retailer which specializes in products for expectant mothers and young children, realized their social posts were getting a lot of attention in the middle of the night. So they used #2amClub to connect with customers, show empathy, and generate social commerce. Hear how Claire Dormer, Head of Content & Community at Mothercare, seized this opportunity: ​ Hope this post gave you some new ideas for how your organization can generate revenue from social commerce. Ask yourself: What new product ideas are you missing? What’s your Polaris “pink” moment? Why can’t you sell what you offer on social? Mack Trucks is selling giant 18-wheel trucks with social and email campaigns, so don’t think you can only sell small retail items on social. And what’s your “2am” like Mothercare? How and when can you uniquely connect with your target customers? Share your social commerce insights in the Comments section!  See you on Social,  Angela 

Only read this post if you want to generate more revenue on social – find new product ideas, leverage influencers to really drive sales, and find new ways to connect with customers. Selling something...

Content Marketing

So You Want to be Part of the Social Commerce Conversation…

Have you heard the saying, "Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply?"  Listening, as in truly understanding what others are saying, has become a rarity.  Because many brands still are not leveraging the power of social listening analytics, the easiest step to take when trying to capture interest, is to do anything to get attention.  This results in consumers being constantly bombarded with hyperactive, in your face media – desperate to grab their coveted and shrinking attention span. Rather than compel people to hit that metaphoric mute button, brands should figure out how to play the perfect tune for their audiences.  If this is your company’s pursuit, then I suggest you (literally) listen up.   Insight into the mind of your consumer is essential – not just their age, sex and basic likes/dislikes, but their passions, ideas, and reactions to things happening in their lives and those who surround them.  Social listening allows companies to hear people in unguarded moments… and THAT is a powerful privilege.  Along with social listening, social commerce offers a unique chance to “drop in” someone’s personal space and attempt to woo him or her with your wares, even though they cannot physically touch or see what is being offered.  Because ecommerce presents this intangible challenge, leveraging social listening is imperative.  If you don’t approach the drive-by correctly, you will end up the wallflower rather than the bright new shiny, must have item. So how can social listening help companies?  Gives brands a lay of the land Helps marketers understand consumer needs, behaviors – and not just basic wants, but true unfiltered thoughts that would otherwise be difficult to discover in traditional research. Identifies trends – social is an outlet and people use it as such, many will search, comment, and ask for advice for things they are interested in.  This can give companies a really good indication of what will translate to sales. Aids in product research and development Listening can uncover new product ideation – researching reactions or comments on a product or service, can lead to unveiling a new (or variation of) the item that is not available. Support product research – wondering if a new color variation of your product will succeed?  Test it out on social and listen to the feedback. Gives companies a competitive edge Know the trends in real-time as they are happening – traditional research still has its place in product development, but if you want to stay on top of what is happening as it happens, social listening is a great way to gain quick knowledge Understand what people are saying about products/services (good and bad) - companies make mistakes and stumble upon successes, learn from them as they happen by following and listening to what is going on in your industry, and align your brand to respond quickly to what people want Listening helps find influencers that will support the brand – want to know who is advocating your product or service?  Find influencers and try to work with them.  Brand advocates are extremely powerful in social as many purchase decisions are based on what others say. Helps spot and support potential customer service issues Watch what competitors are doing (the good and the bad) – think about recent news in the airline industry, we all know how quickly things can go south on social.  Learn from the mistakes of your competitors and put in place emergency procedures for customer service issues. Understand how consumers are experiencing your brand and adjust strategies as needed to create a better customer experience.  Listen to what customers are saying – if there is an overwhelming majority who are not happy with a product, find out why and work to change it. How do you know which social channels you should be monitoring in particular for social commerce?  eMarketer research reveals that Facebook was responsible for 82.7% of purchases made on social platforms. While Facebook may be king of social commerce overall, Shopify research reveals that depending on the industry, other social channels might be the better choices. No matter what industry you are in, it’s important to know your audience and simply listen to them – they are probably telling you exactly what you need to do. Social listening is not easy, so to understand some common mistakes, check out Common Social Listening Mistakes (You’re Probably Making) and discover some additional tips on how to make social listening work for your brand.   

Have you heard the saying, "Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply?"  Listening, as in truly understanding what others are saying, has become a...

Content Marketing

You Asked, They Answered: How CenterPoint Energy Does Social Customer Service

Last week at Modern Service Experience, we held a session called, "Digital Delight: Answering the ‘Call’ for Social Customer Care” where we discussed how major brands provide customer service on social media.  It was wonderful to share the stage with Steve Waters, Digital Marketing & Automation Supervisor in Marketing Communications, CenterPoint Energy, so I wanted to follow-up with Steve to dive even deeper into CenterPoint Energy’s approach to social customer care. Angela Wells: First, can you help people get to know CenterPoint Energy? What does your company do, and why does that make social customer care so challenging? Steve Waters:  CenterPoint Energy, headquartered in Houston, Texas, is a domestic energy delivery company that includes electric transmission & distribution, natural gas distribution and energy services operations. We serve more than five million metered customers primarily in Arkansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Texas. If you follow the weather, you may know that Houston can get some very intense weather. So social customer care is challenging because of our line of business: imagine if 95% - or two million – of your customers could be without service in an instant. That’s what happened when Hurricane Ike came through Houston in 2008 and knocked out power to nearly all our customers and, of course, we understand that they want their power back on as soon as possible… and at least to be kept informed about the progress. Angela: Recent research indicates that 65% of consumers want brands to respond on social within an hour, and that the percentage jumps up to 72% if they’ve reached out to the brand with a complaint. That’s a really high service expectation to handle… and it’s only on the rise. How is CenterPoint Energy adapting to these expectations? Steve: Well, if your power was out, how fast would you want the power back on? So expectations are very high. We had one customer tweet to us that we “obviously didn’t care” about them because they had tweeted to us nine minutes before and we hadn’t yet responded. Nine minutes. So we have set up our Oracle Social Cloud solution to respond to every incoming tweet right away to acknowledge we heard them and are getting to work on their issue. We know people want to be heard, and then we can follow up for more information if it’s needed like a direct message for their service address. Angela: How has your social media strategy evolved? Surely, you couldn’t have started out with responses right away. Steve: Hurricane Ike was probably our biggest wake-up call. We had over 90,000 calls to our Customer Support team in just one day, and had to respond to over 2,200 individual emails. In the years that followed, we started listening on social media to hear of problems, and we used social media to complement, enhance and amplify other media channels. By 2015, we really committed to leverage social to listen to and understand customers, deliver exceptional experiences, support growth and reputation/brand loyalty. Now we can Operate at scale and grow with customer volumes using appropriate people, processes and technologies Angela: As CenterPoint Energy’s social media maturity has enhanced, who did you involve through this process? How did you structure the team for success? Steve: We created a Social Media Innovation Executive Council and invited members from key roles across the business, including Marketing, Media Relations, the Chief Customer Officer, Operations, and IT (see figure). Also, I have learned that it’s best to involve the Legal department as a way to build trust. If you hide from Legal, you may increase your risk; if you engage with them, they will help you. For example, we want to use Facebook Live to communicate to customers during major events like hurricanes, so we worked out appropriate guidelines with legal based on situations we can control, and where our live “reporters” have the necessary training. 

Last week at Modern Service Experience, we held a session called, "Digital Delight: Answering the ‘Call’ for Social Customer Care” where we discussed how major brands provide customer service on...

Social Cloud

Connect with Social Cloud at Oracle’s Modern CX Conference in Las Vegas

Do you want to be a part of the next wave of customer experience innovation? Come join Oracle Social Cloud in Las Vegas for Oracle's Modern CX conference, where you can learn and take home strategies that will not only put you ahead of the competition, but produce meaningful and measurable business results. Oracle Social Cloud is here to be your shelter in the storm of Modern CX activity; we'll lead sessions, offer 1:1 engagement with an expert at the Wizard Bar and host a demo pod to show the tool in action. We would love to meet you at any (or all!) of these fun engagements. Event details are below: SOCIAL CLOUD CONFERENCE SESSIONS: Find us and our fabulous customers leading the following social sessions. We hope to see you there! Tuesday, April 25th: 5:10pm inthe Modern Marketing Theater: Finding B2B Social Success:  How Mack Trucks Excels in Multi-Channel Campaigns:  From lead generation and community development, to design innovation, Mack Trucks has achieved the elusive B2B social success by integrating social into their multi-channel campaigns.  Join Oracle's Angela Wells and Neil Tolbert of Mack Trucks to hear how they’re using these engagements to generate hundreds of valid leads and build a multi-million dollar pipeline.   5:40pm in the Modern Marketing Theater: The Power of Listening in the Age of Conversational Commerce:  How well do you listen to your customers and understand their pain points? In this session, we will share three case studies demonstrating how digital agency Ideas Collide utilized Oracle Social Listening to launch a startup, pitch new business and create chatbot conversation scripts.  Wednesday, April 26th: 11:45am in Room Lagoon J: Digital Delight: Answering the “Call” for Social Customer Care:  Are you answering customers’ “calls” on social to you and your competitors? By 2018, analysts estimate two-thirds of support interactions will happen in the digital space. Attend this session to hear how leading brands are achieving social service success, and learn about Oracle’s new Social Service integration powered by Accelerator technology.   1:30pm in CX Hub Theater: Find Social Success: Oracle Social Engagement & Monitoring:  Social listening is becoming increasingly crucial to brands as marketers realize social intelligence not only creates a deeper connection with the customer, but also provides data to support marketing, product development, and measure the health of brands. Join us to hear Oracle's Olaf Kowalik discuss how Oracle’s Social platform helps brands to analyze and use data most effectively.   5:45pm in Room Reef A: How Oracle Social Cloud Helps Guide the Customer Experience:  Social has proven its worth as a strategic business tool that enables almost every enterprise function, from service to product development. Join us to hear Oracle's Lisa Black discuss how Oracle Social Cloud helps clients enhance user experience throughout the customer journey. WIZARD BAR: Join us at our Wizard Bar located in the Marketing section of the Exhibit Experience, where you can connect directly with an Oracle Social expert, as well as specialists from other Oracle products. DEMO POD: Want to see Oracle Social Cloud platform in action?  Come join us at our Demo Pod!  Onsite support hours include: Tuesday: 5:00 - 6:30pm Wednesday: 7:30am - 7:30pm Thursday: 7:45am - 5:00pm

Do you want to be a part of the next wave of customer experience innovation? Come join Oracle Social Cloud in Las Vegas for Oracle's Modern CX conference, where you can learn and take home strategies...

Social Cloud

Connect with the Experts at #ModernCX

Set against the glittering backdrop of Las Vegas, the Modern Customer Experience (#ModernCX) brings CX leaders together for one expansive event.  Thousands of like-minded professionals will convene April 25-27 to explore the latest technology innovations designed to differentiate brands on the CX battleground.  Modern CX, split into functional tracks like Modern Marketing and Modern Service, delivers business and industry intelligence through keynote speakers (including celebrity guests), focused breakout sessions and personalized formats like the Wizard Bar. Located in the Marketing section of the Exhibit Experience, the Wizard Bar offers dedicated 1:1 time with Oracle product experts. I spoke to three past and future Wizards, who shared their insights and advice for maximizing time at the Wizard Bar and getting the most out of #ModernCX. The Panel Lisa Black - Lisa is Senior Manager of Product Management and frequent contributor to the Social Spotlight blog. She has been with Oracle for "almost exactly" four years. This will be her third trip to Modern CX.  T.J. Fields - T.J, a Principal Product Manager, joined Oracle with the Eloqua acquisition in 2013 and has attended every Modern CX event including its Marketing-specific predecessor, the Eloqua Experience. In his tenure, he has had the pleasure of witnessing first-time customer attendees grow into Platinum-level sponsors.  Preston Jones - The newest member of the Wizard Bar, Preston joined Oracle as a Senior Principal Consultant mere months ago, but boasts extensive product experience as a DMP customer.  The Advice  “If you’ve never been to Modern CX, it’s hard to explain,” warns T.J. Fields. “Expect a lot of excitement.” Why not take a break from the keynotes, concerts and breakout sessions by reserving 30 minutes to connect directly with an Oracle product expert? Besides mitigating some of the overwhelm, meeting with a Wizard is your chance to get inspired and learn new ways to solve problems. If you’re unsure about what you’d ask, the Wizards have a few suggestions: Offer Feedback. The Wizard Bar is designed for a two-way conversation, and Wizards love the opportunity to speak directly with the customers who use the products they help build. Share your thoughts about the obstacles you deal with every day; if you think something could be better, say so!  Users' thoughtful questions and comments inspire ideas for product enhancements that haven’t been explored. “I want to know the things we haven’t thought of yet,” says T.J. Fields. Get Technical. This is your chance to get face to face with the people who actually build Oracle tools, so go ahead and ask that question that might have been too in-depth for the last check-in with your CSM. Bring your deep-dives, but Fields advises to keep them focused. A 30-minute appointment will fly by; optimize your time with a clear question and a result in mind.  Modern CX offers plenty of opportunities to engage with experts, so balance your Wizard session with a trip to a demo pod to see the tools in action and keep the conversation going. Lisa Black extolls the virtues of Modern CX as an incubator for ideas and an opportunity for customers to get ‘unstuck’ from obstacles and return to work as heroes with fresh Oracle solutions straight from the source.  Ask for Advice. No two companies use the same software the exact same way. If you have a unique use case that could be addressed with Oracle tools - but you’re not sure how to execute -  the Wizard Bar is the place to ask.  Lisa Black, who will help guests check in to the Bar this year, appreciates how the Wizard Bar opens a dialogue between customer and product manager. She wants to hear about the unexpected ways customers use technology to solve problems, asserting that Modern CX “is the chance to start a discussion around how customers could be maximizing other areas of the product.”  Explore Untapped Potential.  As a Senior Principal Consultant, Preston Jones spends his days providing advice, training and configuration directly to customers. As a power user himself, he hopes to spend his time at the Bar exploring customer’s journeys. That means going beyond just solving short-term issues, and getting to the point of discussing actual digital transformation. Unsurprisingly, Preston is unafraid of “big picture” questions like leveraging cross-platform integrations, exploring AI or proving business value to stakeholders.  “No question is off limits,” he urges. "Don’t be afraid to go there." Make a Friend. Sometimes what happens in Vegas doesn’t have to stay there. Leave a business card; your Wizard might want to follow up and see how you’re doing. Lisa Black urges interested customers ask their Wizards about partnering with Oracle product groups for early adopter programs, case studies and dual-marketing opportunities.  Meeting with a Wizard can go beyond just the product to elevate the relationship too. Case in point - the Markie Awards prove how building strong relationships can bring about positive (and shiny!) results.  Win a Prize. The Wizard Bar offers more than just great conversations, advice and problem solving. Participants can leave feedback and enter to win prizes like a $50 gift card.  We can’t wait to see you at the Wizard Bar in Las Vegas. If you haven’t registered for Modern CX yet, it’s not too late! Register today.  Once you’re registered, click below to reserve your spot at the Wizard Bar!

Set against the glittering backdrop of Las Vegas, the Modern Customer Experience (#ModernCX) brings CX leaders together for one expansive event.  Thousands of like-minded professionals will convene...

Product News

WeChat: Tap into China's #1 Social Network

Written by guest author Samantha Liu, Principal Outbound Product Manager, Oracle Social Cloud: If you’ve ever tried to define a global social media strategy, you’ve probably known that the digital world is being split into two – China and everyone else. With no access to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, people in China use WeChat for all types of mobile activities. WeChat was a mobile messaging app launched by Chinese Internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. in 2011. In the last six years, it has quickly evolved into an all-in-one “super” app or even a “mobile operating system”, as dubbed in the industry.  WeChat’s 889 million users tap the service to chat with other users around the world, share moments, make free voice and video calls, send money to friends, play games, pay bills, shop online, read news, and even meet local strangers. 94% of its users are daily active users and 50% of its users use it at least 90 minutes a day. According to eMarketer, WeChat is China’s most popular mobile app. It is also the fifth largest social network worldwide and the second largest in China based on Statista’s report. No doubt, WeChat has become a very robust channel for business to tap into China’s vast market and connect with its consumers. Oracle Social Cloud customers can now tap into the vast potential of the WeChat network. We’ve extended our partnership with Tencent and have added WeChat to Engage and Custom Analytics. With this addition, Oracle Social Cloud supports three of China's top social networks, including Weibo and LinkedIn. The ability to monitor and manage WeChat conversations is now available in Engage. You can also access 19 different metrics and various Engage KPIs for WeChat in Custom Analytics.  For more details, please visit our Cloud Release Readiness page. Now you can use China’s leading social network to connect with a vast market of consumers right from Oracle Social Cloud.  How will you incorporate this powerful social channel into your global social media strategy?

Written by guest author Samantha Liu, Principal Outbound Product Manager, Oracle Social Cloud: If you’ve ever tried to define a global social media strategy, you’ve probably known that the digital...

Social Attribution - Measure, Rinse, Repeat

This blog post was written by guest author Lisa Black, Senior Manager of Product Management for Oracle. “Kaizen” is a Japanese word meaning continuous improvement. It’s also a concept that fascinates me, and can be applied to most anything. (Side note: maybe I ought to try this on my laundry folding habits.) As with many areas of a business, Social Marketing generates two kinds of data: quantitative and qualitative. Both are critical to a process of continuous improvement. Let’s use lead generation as an example of a Social Analytics cyclical loop: Analyze what happened: Review messages & related activity Analyze why it happened: Dive into semantic analysis Take action: Respond to actionable message Re-analyze: Measure impact of reply Take action based on outcome: Nurture lead(s) accordingly It starts with listening. Your brand listens to the social conversations and evaluates the qualitative aspects. Are people making positive comments about the brand? Let’s say the comments are overwhelmingly positive, and that someone mentions your brand (and tags your brand) in the market for a new product that you just happen to sell. Should you reply? Heck yes! This is the potential start of a lead. Did your reply work? Are you even measuring the impact of your reply? With integrated solutions, social data can enrich knowing where leads are coming from. Instead, let’s say the person doesn’t tag your brand but they click through to a landing page that has a buy-one-get-one offer. Did the person come from a social channel? Last month your brand ran multiple campaigns with incentive offers. Which one did they click on? Using social attribution, a brand can identify – down to the individual social post level – exactly where the traffic is coming from, which can help inform more efficient marketing strategies. The campaign was on Facebook. Should you repeat it on Twitter? Let’s say your brand decides to expand the campaign across multiple social networks. Can you easily compare across networks with configurable reporting that allows your brand to select which aggregate metrics to focus on? With advanced reporting – either in a purchased application, or by extracting the data to combine in your own applications (via API), your brand’s view of data is broadened beyond a single network. So how are Oracle customers putting this into practice? Mack Trucks is using social attribution to drive leads and sell trucks: learn more via Forbes and the Oracle Social Spotlight. Cummins implements Six Sigma measurement: read about it at Forbes and the Oracle Social Spotlight.  

This blog post was written by guest author Lisa Black, Senior Manager of Product Management for Oracle. “Kaizen” is a Japanese word meaning continuous improvement. It’s also a concept that fascinates...

Social + Data

A "Dark" Future Ahead for Social Analytics

Today's post comes from guest contributor Vivek Sonkhla, Principal Product Manager for Oracle Social, who highlights the latest social analytics trends and predictions for what's next.  Social media listening tools have come a long way since stepping on the scene in 2006. Social media analytics as a discipline is now a teenager - and boy is it behaving like one! In early years, it was a closed system, and access to data and analytical tools was highly controlled and limited to the high and mighty. Current generation tools have truly democratized social data to the point that more than 90% of marketers now use social media as a part of their marketing strategy. Just as social media has gone through a series of transformations, social media analysis solutions have changed thanks to rigorous developments in technology fueled by startup funding, mergers and acquisitions. The last decade has seen business intelligence giants taking over, acquiring or developing niche capabilities and integrating them into their core platform. Now, we are sitting at an inflection point where the focus is shifting from just listening, to listening and more importantly, utilizing social data. Looking forward, I expect the following social analysis trends will become increasingly important: Visuals will continue to kill it on social. Nearly 75% of the content floating around social media consists of videos and photographs. Over the last two years, that spike in visually driven interactions has become a marketer's goldmine. While social analytics providers continue to build visual listening capabilities into their platforms, users are becoming more and more confident with using visual social as a part of their social strategy. A quick look at the stats gives you a clear indication of where we are heading: 60% of marketers used videos in their social marketing in 2016 14% of marketers used live videos in their social marketing in 2016 2016 was Instagram's best year in advertising, raking in nearly $600M in ad revenue 73% of marketers plan on increasing their use of videos In the upcoming year, social analytics providers will strive to integrate visual listening capabilities into their solution, from planning stage and publishing to analysis and reporting. While these capabilities already exist, the key to success will be to make marked improvements in data actionability.  Dark Social is the next big elephant in the room. Dark social is characterized as anything that is not on the major social platforms, such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. It stands for the social traffic that is hard to measure and mostly happens outside the frame of reference of a social media watcher. Dark social mostly includes messaging apps like WhatsApp, Viber or Snapchat. According to recent research*, 82% of content shared on mobile is shared through dark social – via messaging apps, email, or text. That’s up from less than 50% in 2014.  By contrast, 90% of social marketing investment is on public platforms. Dark social not only erodes social ROI, but also takes a lot of social activity under the radar. It frustrates SEO experts and poses a big challenge to social marketers and strategists, as it becomes harder for them to understand what’s happening inside these closed systems. But dark social has the potential to become the most reliable source of product/brand specific sentiments. These conversations, happening in the safety of a walled social space, invite expressions that are honest and free from public bias. Though tools that help discover and analyze dark social data have emerged, they are still in their infancy. Until these tools mature, marketers will have to find ways to avoid being left out of the conversation altogether. How can brands achieve success with social data analysis? Social media will continue to play a role in most consumer’s lives in some aspect.  And as the amount of social interactions continues to grow, so does the quantity of data companies have to wade through. In the next couple of years, those who learn how to capitalize on visual listening and unveil dark social content, will be the most successful at utilizing social data.   *June 2016 report from RadiumOne  

Today's post comes from guest contributor Vivek Sonkhla, Principal Product Manager for Oracle Social, who highlights the latest social analytics trends and predictions for what's next.  Social media...

Product News

What's New in Oracle Social Cloud

This article was written by Lisa Black, an Oracle Social Cloud Product Management leader. Oracle Social Cloud continues to release exciting new enhancements! These are just a few of the recent highlights: Spotlight on social listening metrics. Brands can own their buzz with enhanced social listening metrics.  Top Contributors: Identify your brand's next advocate with visibility to the top contributors by mention (of search term) Top Trending Hashtags: Gain more insight into social conversations with the top trending hashtags within a listening topic. Drilling into a specific hashtag will show social mentions that contain the selected hashtag Enhancements to configurable reports. What is moving the needle on social channels? Social analysts can now select a custom date range for both the Key Performance Indicator module and the KPI for Engage module. Time series charts of the Engage metrics Select multiple social streams for Engage KPI and line charts Select multiple users for Engage KPI and line charts KPIs for Facebook Unpublished Posts. Brands are able to measure and compare the performance of unpublished posts vs. published timeline posts, including,  Analyzing performance of Unpublished Posts Viewing Paid Reach & Impressions on Unpublished Posts that are hidden and not visible on timeline Comparing performance of tagged Unpublished Posts with tagged published timeline posts within the Social Campaigns analytics section of Oracle Social Cloud  Improved message metadata in New Engage Experience.  "12 minutes ago" or "March 9, 2017 4:00 PM”?  Recent messages are now labeled with relative time to maintain consistency with many social networks.   

This article was written by Lisa Black, an Oracle Social Cloud Product Management leader. Oracle Social Cloud continues to release exciting new enhancements! These are just a few of the recent...

Oracle Social Life

Orchestrating Success: A Day in the Life of Oracle Product Management

Oracle Social interviewed Lisa Black, Senior Manager of Product Management for Oracle (and newly minted college basketball fan) to learn how being a good product management leader relates to basketball and the 'circle of life'.  Oracle Social: What’s a day in the life of a Senior Manager of Product Management like? Lisa Black: Well, for starters, no two days are alike – and I love that! If I had to describe my role in one word (tough to do!), a word that comes to mind is “coach”. On any given day, I’m coaching an employee, a customer, a colleague (or all of the above!).  OS: What does being a product management leader have to do with basketball? LB: Historically, I wasn’t an avid basketball fan, but I am a fan of all things related to my alma mater. This year, our men’s basketball coach – in his first year at Georgia Tech – won ACC Coach of The Year. I had the opportunity to attend a couple of home basketball games, including a post-season game last week. As I watched, I grew an appreciation for how much coordination there needs to be not only between the players on the court, but between the players and the coaches, the head coach and the fans / community at large, and so on - forming lots of intertwined working relationships. The same is true when leading product management. It takes coordination across more than just a single product manager to get enterprise software into the hands of customers. Having empathy for what each role and person contributes is important. Fostering an environment where people feel safe taking calculated risks because they have the safety net of a great team can lead to impactful innovation. Just like the basketball coach, the product management leader influences the overall experience – both internally (e.g. the team’s players) and externally (e.g. the fans and potential fans). Everyone is my customer. OS: You said we would talk about the “circle of life”, can you expand on that? LB: Perhaps lifecycle (as in product lifecycle) is a better way to describe it, but “circle of life” sounds a lot fancier (see what I did there? Communication and the words I choose have always been something I rely on to accomplish goals). Let’s think about the fan experience at a basketball game. First, the fan (or potential fan) has to be interested enough to make an investment in the product (in this case, the basketball game). The fan purchases a ticket, attends the game, celebrates the win…and decides if they want to repeat their experience with the product. It’s clear why GT’s Coach Josh Pastner has repeat customers: part humor, part focus, part skill, part luck (right place at right time when he took the job), and most of all motivated by a coaching mentality. OS: You work in software product management, are average height, and we’re pretty sure you’ve never played (or coached) basketball. LB: Yeah that’s right – but it’s a great metaphor. Just like the basketball coach, the product management leader orchestrates the “what” to accomplish the “why”. In other words: they support the product lifecycle. In the case of enterprise software, product management leaders coach their team members to envision features (what) that customers want to use (why). Success is making sure their team members have the support they need to deliver great product(s), and customers who ideally want repeat experiences with the product. A bit of humor (making people smile) and a bit of luck (right place at the right time) never hurt either. Catch Lisa on Twitter.   

Oracle Social interviewed Lisa Black, Senior Manager of Product Management for Oracle (and newly minted college basketball fan) to learn how being a good product management leader relates to...

Oracle Social Life

SXSW - Getting to the Essence

South by Southwest is an expansive event.  For a few dewy spring weeks since 1987, the festival that celebrates film, music and technology takes over Austin, TX. Finding its rhythm catering to thousands of hungry creative minds, SXSW blends content-heavy speaker sessions with live art performances covering the latest tech and trends. This year, one theme emerged from the diversity of content: authenticity. Did you just roll your eyes? I get it. ‘Authenticity’ is speedily approaching ‘synergy’ on the buzzword scale of meaninglessness. But that’s kind of a shame, because I’d like to pivot into a deep dive of value-added ideation, leveraging forward-thinking narrative for a high-impact deliverable. Still here? Let’s talk about what authenticity can actually look like for modern digital communication. So, where are you from? Straight out of the small-talk-for-beginners handbook, this question might be the most uttered phrase of SXSW. People flock to Austin from across the globe, so discussing hometowns tends to ground conversations about what we do with the concreteness of where we do it. When we talk about where we’re from, we’re telling the story of how the what is informed by the where. By returning to the subject of place, conversations onstage and off add a pop of color with tales of small-town upbringings or buzzing urban comings-of-age. Speakers share how their city shapes their business, or vice versa.   The golden child of this place-based authenticity thread was watchmaking wunderkind Shinola, which has built a brand on re-invigorating American manufacturing from the once-great city of Detroit. Shinola’s rustbelt setting proves fertile ground for a redemption story—one that is authentically their own, and that they share with consumers who want to be a part of the comeback. What can social media marketers take away from Shinola’s success? Humanizing works, as long as the stories being told are true and matter to the audience. Leverage social media to amplify stories that show the human side of your brand. Most importantly, don’t try to be something you’re not. Just because a technique works for other brands or industries doesn’t mean it’s the right fit for your story. Consumers can sniff out a fraud from a mile away. Love = Energy     Despite wishing he had a cooler wrestling name, entertainer John Cena wouldn’t change his moniker. “Sterling Awesomeness” might be more interesting, but it wouldn’t be him. As inspiring as he is imposing, Cena used his featured speaker session to remind an audience of workaholic technocrats that joy and love should not be neglected in the toolbox for success. Asked how he has the energy for everything he does (wrestling, acting, charity work including granting over 500 wishes through the Make-A-Wish Foundation and acting as spokesman for brands like Crocs and Wonderful Pistachios), he returns to the nourishing properties of emotional fulfillment. He wouldn’t do it, he says, if it wasn’t something he tremendously, authentically loved.  While Cena’s fights take place in the ring, social marketers face a completely different battle online, to consistently share content that resonates. Let’s not market ourselves as a “Sterling” when we’re a John. Shinola and Cena alike remind us to keep the message positive and on brand, and to always follow the love.   Serve the Base The brands that resonate tell stories that ring true to their audiences. To truly “be yourself” as a brand online requires not only a deep market understanding but also the courage to potentially neglect a target that isn’t the right fit. The ads for Duluth Trading Company’s “ballroom jeans” come to mind. Showing a large man squatting comfortably in their carpenter denim next to some tongue-in-cheek phrase, the ad is funny, down-to-earth, and a little rough around the edges. I scoff every time I see it.  But that’s okay! A millennial urban female, I am clearly not the target for that ad. By communicating their brand message authentically, Duluth sacrifices universal appeal to score a direct hit with their base. Conclusion From keynotes to concerts, pitches to pork ribs, there is a lot to take in at South by Southwest, and the theme of authenticity permeated throughout. An otherwise nebulous concept, authenticity in context offers a solid blueprint for digital pros. What does building authenticity on a brand-level look like? It starts with a foundation of deep market understanding, then grows into a relentless campaign to communicate honestly and passionately, connecting the people and places that have built the brand with those it serves. But if that’s too wordy for a post-it note on your laptop, just do you boo!       

South by Southwest is an expansive event.  For a few dewy spring weeks since 1987, the festival that celebrates film, music and technology takes over Austin, TX. Finding its rhythm catering to...

Oracle Social Life

The SXSW Social Sessions We Won't Miss

Mere days remain before hordes of tech’s best and brightest converge upon the streets of Austin, Texas to participate in the ideation mecca that is South By Southwest. An enthusiastic first timer, I look forward to lacing up my carefully-chosen shoes (they fit neatly at the intersection of style and comfort, thank you very much) and exploring the labyrinth of talks, panels, brand experiences and trade shows. Perusing the schedule, the scale of information is overwhelming. Even focusing solely on the events with a social media bent, content ranges from health and wellness to social responsibility, e-commerce to food porn. These are the sessions I’ve earmarked: Content + Social Engagement Attendees of this 90-minute trade show get a crash course on the latest innovations in social content straight from the freshest vendors. Among the up and comers is Final Thoughts, a platform that serves up images and videos after a user has passed away. Consider my morbid curiosity officially piqued. Social Video and the Future of Consumption Publishing experts from Vice, Vox and NYT will discuss the undeniable takeover of video on social channels, and offer their take on where social media tech and consumption are going as networks proliferate and attention spans shrink. Social is More than a Metric   Presented by Spredfast, this session explores how brands can determine better ways to measure ROI based on their business case, moving away from standardized ROI metrics that might be meaningless to their goals.   In an increasingly data-rich landscape, social measurement providers worth their salt will encourage their customers to find unique metrics that align with their social ambitions, so I’m curious to hear Spredfast’s take. Shopping & Sacred Social Space E-commerce specialists from eBay, Facebook, Flipboard and Imgur converge to share their strategies for engaging with consumers authentically.  Online shoppers continue to grow fickle in the types and frequency of brand outreach they’ll accept, so this think tank offers ideas to combine content with commerce to deliver value to the customer. As a frequent shopper with high CX expectations, I am hotly anticipating this one.  #FoodPorn or Bust: The Socialization of Food Asking the important question about eating in a digital world; “If you didn't take a picture of it, did you really eat it?” Building Healthy Habits – More Social Less Media Explore the intersections of mental and physical health as they relate to exercise and social media in this session hosted by active lifestyle brands Adidas and Peloton. Payments Gone Viral: The Rise of Social Commerce Social payments are the natural next step in digital commerce, and represent a fundamental change in how people could pay for things in the future. Moderated by a longtime finance pro, this panel of experts will muse on the opportunities and obstacles for social currency exchange. Creators in Social Media: Enhancing Your Content With no lack of quantity available to consumers, content producers need to embrace tools that foster quality in photo and video deliverables to stand out in the saturated social content market.  This talk features YouTuber Devin Supertramp, who is well known for his prolific video chronicles of heartpumping adventures involving jetpacks, parkour and skydiving. Social Media Real-volution: What’s After Perfect This is one of many sessions woven into the SXSW curriculum looking at the role of technology in activism and social change. Social media allows people to show off the highlight reels and hide the low points of their lives, misleading observers who might react by feeling left out (FOMO, anyone?) or even marginalized. The session will foster a discussion of the role of authenticity in how we present our selves and our lives on social networks, and where self-acceptance fits in.   Follow Oracle Social on Twitter and Instagram to keep up with us at SXSW.   

Mere days remain before hordes of tech’s best and brightest converge upon the streets of Austin, Texas to participate in the ideation mecca that is South By Southwest. An enthusiastic first timer, I...

Best Practices

Where's The (Social) ROI?

Today's blog was written by Greg Robinson. Since Greg manages presales for Oracle in North America, he's in a unique position to see what's happening on the ground in social media.   Some of you are old enough to remember a memorable commercial that swept the land in the 1980’s where Clara Peller would go to non-Wendy’s restaurants and shout, “Where’s the Beef?” The same could be said about social ROI today. Just as Clara Peller famously questioned fast food hamburgers in 1984, prospective social customers are questioning “Where’s the ROI?” as they go about determining if they should take the plunge into the world of social media. ROI = Increased Revenue, or Reducing Costs  As a reminder, return on investment (ROI) is made up of three main categories: increasing revenue, reducing cost, and the result of doing either increases margin. This is where the dilemma starts for social media; however this challenge isn’t restricted to social media alone. After being in software for over 20 years, I have yet to meet a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) that would buy into the fact that software would help their company increase revenue when making a buying decision. This doesn’t mean that it didn’t actually increase revenue. I’m saying that beforehand, in the negotiation, it would be discounted - no matter how solid the business case. On the other side of the ROI equation, CFOs (typically) would discount increasing efficiency as a means to cut costs because unless they were cutting headcount, they didn’t feel they were actually cutting expenses. Of course those CFOs were negotiating, but they had firm ground to stand on. This leads me to the next dilemma for social media: there’s no previous benchmarks. You Need Good Benchmarks   The ROI challenge is exacerbated with social because many companies are not using social tools today. This is not like ERP (enterprise resource planning) or CRM (customer relationship management) tools. Many of the companies purchasing ERP and CRM are on their second or third foray into purchasing these systems. For example, Oracle replaced many systems that were not as full featured as the Oracle Ebusiness Suite or companies simply outgrew their ERP systems. The same happened for CRM with applications; companies that were using CRM applications could compare ROI by migrating from on premise applications such as Siebel to Oracle Sales Cloud. By comparison, social is still early in its evolution. How can you expect benefits if you’ve never used social media tools before? You may try to compare your business to someone else’s to project ROI, but unless they’re doing exactly what you’re doing with the same audience then ROI is suspect. Unforeseen Benefits Imagine being a sales person who is walking into a prospective customer and saying something like, “by using social listening, you’ll stay in touch with your customer’s desires. You’ll give your customers the proverbial “seat at the table” to provide guidance on the products you develop.” Now, imagine telling them that by listening to their customers and developing to their needs, they’d create one of the best selling products they ever made! Who would listen to this message? Well, that’s exactly what happened for one of Oracle Social's customers. This customer understood that the color pink was top of mind for their customers, and developed a pink product to accommodate them. Who would have predicted that? It’s a great story to talk about, but few businesses will achieve this type of success by making their product pink. Every situation is unique. Every product is unique. Every customer is unique. The benefits of social for one customer may not apply to another prospective customer. Certainly the possibilities are there for something like this to happen, but quantifying this and translating that into ROI is unrealistic.  Where’s the ROI? Where’s the ROI? We hear you Clara! All is not lost. For companies that are using a social media application, comparing current tools to next generation tools, such as Oracle’s Social Relationship Management (SRM) tool, is easier to justify. For example, Oracle’s listening technology is far superior to products using only Boolean or Natural Language Processing technology. The efficiency gains are measurable and proven. Revenue gains using new names collected from social marketing campaigns are also proven, especially when using tools such as Oracle Marketing Cloud in addition to Oracle SRM to drive relevant marketing campaigns to expanded audiences. What if you’re not using any social tools today? First, work with social experts to understand what benefits you can expect to achieve and help you develop strategy. Oracle has plenty of experts that have years of experience in social media. As with any new technology that business adopts, there’s a certain amount of risk associated with it. However, this risk is minimized because all social products are in the cloud. Getting a one year subscription with Oracle’s SRM for example, you can minimize the risk and cost. Another benefit is that with relatively little training, you can start using it and benefitting almost immediately. Finally, as with any project, measure the results against the projected benefits and adjust accordingly.  Summary Social media is an important aspect of business to develop. Since most companies lack previous experience, ROI is challenging to project. Over time, business will start to evaluate efficiency gains and projected revenue based on previous experience with various social tools, but this is years away for about half of the companies we work with. The good news is the “I” in social ROI is small compared to most investments. Since social is in the cloud, you can take advantage of subscriptions that don’t lock you into long-term relationships with software suppliers. We can all agree that social isn’t going away. Social touches everything. It’s just a matter of when for your business.

Today's blog was written by Greg Robinson. Since Greg manages presales for Oracle in North America, he's in a unique position to see what's happening on the ground in social media.   Some of you are...

Social Cloud

Social Digital Communities: Where Industry Experts Connect Online

Jim Cahill is an expert among experts. Emerson Automation Solutions' Chief Blogger leads a team that manages a network of engineering, manufacturing and industry subject matter experts via digital channels including the Emerson Process Experts blog.  With headlines like “Chemical Injection: Why Waste Money on Injecting Chemicals?” and “Improving Burner Control with Gas Chromatographs”, the content stream is a dream come true for Emerson’s highly technical audience. Since manufacturing and engineering professionals are constantly in the market for new ways to overcome obstacles that impede efficiency, Jim creates and curates content that shares proven methods to counter known problems with solutions.  In years past, engineers would meet in local, typically small-scale groups to compare notes on the latest industry innovations. Now with digital communities like those managed by Jim and team, professional engineers with niche specialties can cultivate professional relationships online with others in their niche fields of expertise. The Business Case for Blogging While the primary focus of Jim’s work is brand and community building, he understands the fringe benefits of increased awareness in the digital space. In his words, "We’ve always been known for our technologies and powerful systems, and less known for our people. We want to build a reputation as problem solvers. Along the way, this naturally leads to sales lead generation." The sales process proves complex in Emerson Automation Solutions' space. One cycle to scope and sell an entire system can take 2-3 years, so social engagement does not need to be transactional in a micro sense. But well-timed, informative posts can have a subtly powerful influence on the path to purchase.  If a blog post reaches the right person at the right time in their project, Jim posits that the message has the potential to guide them to reconsider their current approach and bring an expert in earlier, giving Emerson an opportunity to play a larger role in their project.  A Trusted Resource in the Industry Sites like LinkedIn offer a sense of community to a traditionally socially averse B2B landscape. Connections facilitated within the Emerson Process Experts online ecosystem leverage peer-to-peer relationships to help engineers and manufacturers solve problems with help from people who have been there. And when the community is stumped on an issue, Emerson’s own subject matter experts step in to fill the gaps with knowledge gained from their direct access to Emerson lines of business.  According to Jim, “We don’t do this because social is ‘new and cool’. We’re trying to build our expertise in the eyes of people in the industries we serve."  The Art & Science of Social Media Professionals used to have to wait for research papers to be printed and distributed, or for the next sanctioned industry meet-up. Social media has quickened the spread of information in the manufacturing space, allowing for faster adoption and knowledge sharing. Jim understands that effective social engagement is as much art as it is science, so he keeps his eyes on the analytics running behind social posts like blog entries. "The week’s most popular post might be from four years ago," he muses. “It’s not science. It’s living in the flow and using your gut.”  Jim lets the industry, not a set-in-stone campaign calendar, dictate the direction of his content. Inspired by an issue that is top of mind in the community, or an innovation that was recently covered in a trade publication, Jim taps the collective consciousness and delivers a unique take on solving a problem in the field. More than anything, Emerson Process Experts is designed to educate. And it works. The Emerson Process Experts blog turns eleven years old this year, representing one of the most enduring sites of its kind.  

Jim Cahill is an expert among experts. Emerson Automation Solutions' Chief Blogger leads a team that manages a network of engineering, manufacturing and industry subject matter experts via digital...

Best Practices

2 Social Listening Mistakes to Avoid in 2017

Social listening is quite possibly the best way to understand and engage with your audience. But with billions of messages created every day on millions of unique platforms, the task of listening for relevant content is more than daunting. With effective tools and a clear-cut strategy, however, social listening can become your greatest ally. From brand analysis to trend tracking, competitive analysis to campaigns, social listening delivers the insights of a focus group at a massive scale.  While there is no single “right” way to listen, there are plenty of potholes on the road to actionable social insights. Avoid these, and you’ll be closer to cutting through social noise and leveraging data to optimize your decision-making. Common Mistake #1: You’re Not Listening Strategically How are you going to use what you learn from social listening? Answering that question should be the first step in launching a social listening strategy. I’ve heard brands start a listening effort with the weak affirmation that they don’t know what they don’t know. That’s fine, but I’ll task them with brainstorming what they would like to know. If you otherwise feel overwhelmed by the prospect of social listening, start with what part of your audience, industry or reputation you want to understand better. The process requires some forethought: are you listening for brand awareness? Competitive intelligence and SWOT analysis?  Tracking your latest campaign? The goals you set at this phase will inform how you configure and deploy your searches. In that way, listening is a bit like fishing. To catch a certain type of fish, you should know a few good spots, and you’ll need the right bait. Your searches should be consistent with your goals. For instance, don’t create a broad search for every single iteration of your brand name if you’re hoping to discover how people are talking about your recent hashtag campaign. (That’s like using a head of broccoli to lure a Great White.) Instead, try launching multiple searches, each with sharper focus. Want to learn about how people are reacting to your hashtag? Build a single search around just the hashtag, giving you direct access to the overall themes of conversation specific to the campaign and saving you precious time on analysis. Common Mistake #2: You’re Listening Too Much Now that you’re thinking purposefully about the content of your queries, let’s talk magnitude. Some brands come to social listening with the notion that they must capture literally every single mention of their brand. My question for them is always “but why though?” They often don’t have clear plans for what they’ll do with that data once they’ve captured it, and even more, they don’t have a platform that can easily analyze those messages to uncover insights. With this unfocused passion for sheer volume, they’re signing themselves up for hours of manual data mining and analysis. To continue with my fishing analogy (last one, I promise), capturing every single last message is a bit like casting the broadest possible net into the sea and hoping for the best. What comes back could be worthwhile, but you’ll also have some garbage in your net. You’re better off casting a targeted net to catch a couple juicy lobsters that you can really sink your teeth into. A Real Life Example Of Great Social Listening: Polaris A focused approach not only saves time and resources, but it also helps brands utilize listening data to inform business decisions. Take adventure vehicle maker Polaris, for example. During a campaign launch for a motorcycle event, Polaris used social listening to gauge feedback from their audience. When the responses flooded in, Polaris realized that their branding had missed a mark with their fans, so they course corrected and ended up gaining more visibility for the event overall.  “It was just feedback on a t-shirt but it showed us the power of engaging and learning from our customers,” affirmed Holly Spaeth, Polaris’ Interactive Media and Content Manager. “Social insights are being shared across the company and making a positive business impact regularly.”

Social listening is quite possibly the best way to understand and engage with your audience. But with billions of messages created every day on millions of unique platforms, the task of listening for...

Best Practices

5 Things You Won't Hear in 2017

Thanks to countless thinkpieces, we know what to expect for social marketing in 2017—and the outlook glows with tech-savvy visions of bots and big data domination.   With natural social media evolution, we’ve gained smarter attribution models, platforms with Mercedes-level engineering and brand engagement master classes perpetrated during every major event.  But these improvements haven’t made the lives of social professionals any easier; they've only led to more complex social decision-making. But before we jab another hole into our Mark Zuckerberg voodoo doll, let's explore a few things we won’t hear a social media professional say this year. “Wow, I Have the Perfect Amount of Content!” Social media offers a multitude of ways to get campaign messaging in front of customers and prospects. But danger lurks around every corner of the news feed – push too much content and your customers may silence you. Share too little and risk no return on your social efforts. Like many marketing tasks, social content should strike a balance. Use what you know about your audience and campaign goals to determine if content is needed or not. Social media is not a monolith; your LinkedIn network may crave info-heavy datasheets, while Twitter wants digestible tips they can use in real time.  If it’s inspiration you seek, turn to content curation solutions or RSS feeds (I like Netvibes), or use social listening to tap into the hearts and minds of your audience. “I’ve got my audience pegged.” It’s the rare marketer who has never held their head in their hands and asked resignedly, what do these people want from me? Even after hours spent defining customer personas, your content can seem like a wide-eyed kid on the first day of school, hoping the other kids will like him. Your audience is a living, breathing creature; there is no one-and-done approach to understand, reach and delight them. Only an ongoing system of refining, testing and listening will determine what they need from you. You may even discover an untapped audience that wants to hear from you.  “Social Media Mix? We Solved that Years Ago!” Is a social strategy ever actually finished? Shiny new networks and ad offerings enter the scene constantly, so a set-it-and-forget-it approach leaves a social marketer in a lurch when network favor (or algorithms) change. Savvy social professionals practice what they preach, using social networks and content to stay up to speed on the latest social developments, to see which networks are rising and which have lost relevance.   You obviously need a social media plan, but it should include room for improvisation when a new opportunity emerges for customer engagement. “This data is almost too actionable.” Social marketers have been chasing the unicorn of social ROI for years now. Some have it figured out, with social attribution metrics that track sales back to social campaigns. Many more still try to make sense of social data in a vacuum, but social ROI is often proven with external metrics like leads and revenue. Social data also offers an opportunity to capture real voice-of-the-customer insights for content creation, product direction and customer service. The key is integration: social media, like social teams, works best when freed from the silo. Which brings us to our final example. "Inter-departmental collaboration is so on point. #Blessed!" One significant shift in how businesses use social media has been the expansion of social functions outside the marketing department. With social customer service becoming a huge priority and social engagement tied closely to overall customer experience, brands are embracing social media across the enterprise. While collaboration can be politically awkward at first, aligning disparate groups (customer service, sales, analytics) creates process interlock and transparency which are mutually beneficial.  Conclusion The role social media plays within a business will continue to evolve as new technology emerges and customer expectations change. Perhaps by this time next year, we’ll laugh at these archaic challenges as we train our virtual assistants to use machine learning to develop predictive lead scoring models while they whip up a chai latte. Until then.  

Thanks to countless thinkpieces, we know what to expect for social marketing in 2017—and the outlook glows with tech-savvy visions of bots and big data domination.   With natural social media...

Product News

It's Time to Connect Meaningfully with Your Social Audience

This post was originally published on November 10th, 2016. We are thrilled to announce that every Oracle Social Cloud customer with access to Engage can now leverage a brand new engagement experience. To deliver on the promise of meaningful social engagement, brands need to quickly monitor and respond to high volumes of conversation. With several active social networks in play, plus mentions taking place away from owned sites (like consumer reviews, message boards, etc.) this can be a daunting task. The new Engage empowers brands to manage all of these activities through a visually inspired, easy-to-navigate interface. Designed with customization and flexibility in mind, these enhancements offer greater efficiency for community managers, service agents, and anyone who needs to keep their finger on the pulse of social chatter. A few key benefits: No More Flipping Channels: Forget jumping from one network to the next; Engage displays messages from multiple social channels in a single comprehensive view. Monitor mentions on owned pages side by side with important topics related to customer service issues, campaigns, events, brands, or competitors. Become a productivity powerhouse with message context that helps you take the right actions on the right messages. An intuitive interface and vividly displayed images make for a tool you’ll actually enjoy using. What You Want, When You Want: Fully customizable, flexible and unique, Engage enables each user to create the workspace they need to be their most productive. Content streams can be populated with the most important social channels and topics, and configuration is unique to the user and will persist between sessions. Powerful New Features: The new Engage includes a host of powerful new features, thoughtfully designed to help you engage with your social audience more meaningfully. For example: Diminish the impact of trolls with one-click blocking for Facebook users and spam. Quickly pinpoint important messages related to your event, product or campaign (search by sentiment, user or search term). Maintain brand consistency with a built-in branded link shortener. Since its inception, Oracle Social Cloud has actively collaborated with our customers to hear suggestions for improving the SRM platform. With your feedback in mind, we make continuous efforts to modernize and personalize your experience. The new Engage interface is just one of these latest initiatives. We hope you’re as excited as we are about an enhanced Engage experience. If you are an active Social Cloud user, jump in and try it out! We can’t wait to hear what you think.  And stay tuned for more updates, new Engage is just the beginning!  ​This blog comes from guest author Samantha Liu, Principal Product Manager for Oracle Social Cloud. 

This post was originally published on November 10th, 2016. We are thrilled to announce that every Oracle Social Cloud customer with access to Engage can now leverage a brand new engagement experience. To...

Best Practices

3 Fresh Uses for Social Data in Customer Service

Welcome back to the final blog series on social service issues!  Of course, if you want to get the most comprehensive and complete view of how to solve social service issues, I encourage you to download the entire white paper 5 Social Customer Service Issues (and How to Solve Them!). Today I want to talk about the massive explosion of data we have been experiencing for some time now and how brands can use it to benefit social service initiatives.  Whenever I think of “big data”, I always think of chocolate.  I know this will illicit a few “what the…?” from you all out there, but hear me out.  There is an over abundance of such sweet information out there that is just begging to be consumed.  Like chocolate (for me anyways, pick your vice as you see fit), I want to consume as much as possible, but know that I will get sick and unhealthy if I just grab at every delicious morsel out there.  Same thing applies with the proliferation of data.  It is easy to try and grasp at every bit of material out there, but to really make sense of it, to not get overfed with data that is not necessary; you need focus and a plan. To make sense of how data can most benefit your social service tactics here are my top three tips: Partner with a company who has the wingspan to help harness and integrate all of the data out there. Arming your social service department with useful data will make it even more successful. As Deloitte executive Julio Silva, Brand Manager of Social Media Analytics states, “Find a vendor that can help you connect the unconnected, that has databases that speak to each other and allow the company to visualize the data in a more compelling way.”​​ ​​ Do not pay too much attention to vanity metrics and focus on what can actually help you make a difference in your customer interactions. “You’ve got to drive actionable insight that aligns to the highest level business objectives or you will end up with C-level executives trying to understand why there’s a 200-person social team. Provide metrics that actually matter and can tie back to retention and acquisition.” – Michael Callahan Director of Customer Experience and Enterprise Analytics, Blueprint Consulting Services Take note of recurring issues and trends that are seen on social. It could signify that a product/service needs to be modified or enhanced. Act quickly. Deliver data to other departments so that they can nip problems in the bud or act immediately on feedback. Customers move quickly on social, companies need to follow suit to keep up. To learn more about how to use social data successfully, and other social service issues and tips, download the white paper below:

Welcome back to the final blog series on social service issues!  Of course, if you want to get the most comprehensive and complete view of how to solve social service issues, I encourage you to...

Best Practices

Challenge Your Assumptions (And Other Tips for Awesome Social in ‘17)

As 2016 draws to a close, we face an inevitable onslaught of social media predictions for the upcoming year. So let's take this opportunity to reflect, once again, on the future of Twitter.  Just kidding! I've got some actual tips and tricks to carry your social media strategy safely into the New Year.  Earlier this month, I joined Kathryn Schotthoefer (President of M&C Saatchi / Heavenspot) onstage at the Digiday Brand Summit in Deer Valley, Utah to discuss key resolutions for social media marketers in 2017. Here are your main takeaways.  Angela Wells: Your first resolution urges marketers to challenge their assumptions, which is especially important after this tumultuous year. What did 2016 teach you about your assumptions, and how can that help marketers? Kathryn Schotthoefer: Many marketers begin with bias from their own personal experiences and aspirations – which can start you on the wrong path before you even get started. Don’t assume everyone is coming from the same place that you are, that they want the same things or find the same things appealing that you do. The election really proved the point that, while most professional marketers made the assumption that everyone aspires to be a cultural elite, living in large cities or along the coasts of the U.S., with the priorities often associated with that lifestyle, millions of American voters showed that they have very different ideas and aspirations.  This is an excellent reminder to treat everything as variable and constantly changing.  Remember that  “more polished” doesn’t always equal “better” in the eyes of consumers.  Angela: Absolutely. Marketers need to accept this challenge for the new year. The best recent example I’ve seen of challenging assumptions has been from Mack Trucks, a company that Kathryn and I both know well through our Oracle Social Customer Advisory Board. You may be thinking that it would be impossible to sell a $175,000 truck through social media, but you would be wrong. After all, as my friend Neil Tolbert of Mack Trucks says, “Twitter is the new CB radio,” and we can all understand that truckers have had handles and short forms of communication for decades. So Mack Trucks was able to run a cross-channel campaign across social media and email to generate millions dollars in qualified sales pipeline for their trucks.  The second resolution is to develop content and distribution together. Don’t most marketers think they do that already? Kathryn: You said the key word: “think.” So often at our agency we hear companies rave about their “amazing new videos” and they ask for our help to push the videos without media dollars… but that’s not how it should work. The better way is to create authentic organic media together, not to create something and then try to find a home for it with an audience you hope to entertain. Influencer marketing is another key piece of this, as companies look for people with a lot of reported followers (which can be bought) and engagement (which can also be bought.) Marketers need to ensure thorough vetting up front, first for legitimacy, next to make sure that the influencer and their followers align with your brand’s values and message, then work to engage the influencer more deeply throughout the entire process to ensure authenticity.  Angela: This resolution is also about having a full plan thought out before you get too caught up in a “creative idea.” My favorite recent example of this has been Dr Pepper Snapple Group’s college football campaign. It’s no wonder AdAge recently named them one of the marketers of the year for 2016! Dr. Pepper has used the character of a college football concession vendor named Larry Culpepper for years. This past fall, however, they let Larry loose across marketing channels – in-person, online, TV, etc. – to cement Dr. Pepper as the beverage of choice for being social during football games. The result has been improved sales (while competitor sales have dropped). Your last resolution is to “Be Relevant or Be Quiet.” What does that mean for marketers? Angela: How many white papers do financial services companies think I need about saving for my kids’ college education? And how many times have brands tried to purposefully create a funny ad that was only funny to the people who made it? In 2017, brands need to really consider if anyone really needs these so-called ‘new' assets. Kathryn: Definitely. Marketers have created self-imposed pressure to fill a content calendar, and they frequently do it with watered-down humor and mediocre creative. Your customers didn’t check their social media account to hear from you – they did it to be informed, entertained, and connected. You have to earn your place at that table. Do your customers really want to hear from you every day?  Or is your repetition leading to ad blindness? Leverage the moments that are right for your brand - some you can plan for, some you cannot. This doesn’t mean just harnessing big media moments (a la the Super Bowl) but could be anything from schools closing for a blizzard to a celebrity faux pas. Instead of planning your content calendar, set up your organization in a way that allows for rapid transfer of information and decision making to really take advantage of real-time opportunities. Angela Wells is the Senior Director of Outbound Product Management at Oracle Social Cloud.  Kathryn Schotthoefer is President of M&C Saatchi / Heavenspot. 

As 2016 draws to a close, we face an inevitable onslaught of social media predictions for the upcoming year. So let's take this opportunity to reflect, once again, on the future of Twitter.  Just...

Best Practices

Choosing a Social Customer Service Platform

Thank you for returning to this blog series on social service issues!  To start off, I think it is best to note right from the start that I am an Oracle employee (#obvious), and believe that our product has what it takes to support brands on their journey to implementing social service capabilities.  While I am an enthusiastic cheerleader for our product, companies should consider the following points no matter which vendor they choose. It is a daunting task to weed out and then choose the best social management platform for your business.  I have picked out a few common issues that some of you will find relatable.  If you haven’t encountered them, take note! They will most likely pop up at some point in your brand’s journey to providing successful social customer service.  ISSUE - A team member goes to respond to a customer and finds that once they have submitted their message, another person has already contacted the individual.  Unfortunately, when this happens, the answers sometimes differ which makes our department look unorganized.  What should we do?  Make sure your platform has comprehensive workflow and automation capabilities that enable managers to assign posts, which avoids confusion and the doubling of work efforts. Refer to “How Do You Implement Social Service Structurally and Culturally?" to ensure that your brand strategy for social service tone and response is consistent.​ ISSUE - We have over 1,000 mentions that come through each day to our Twitter handle.  We want to answer or acknowledge each interaction, but with such a small department, it would be impossible.  To top it off, many of the interactions are spam or bots that require no response, but are still taxing as we have to wade through them.  What should we do?  Check that the platform has powerful filtering capabilities that pinpoint what they need to respond to through all the noise. Determine if your team will be focusing on just your own social properties (Facebook page, Twitter profile, etc), or if proactive social listening will also be implemented to find customers outside of owned channels.  ISSUE - A customer has contacted us in regards to a problem they encountered with our product.  This is the second time he has contacted us but we did not know that when the conversation was initiated.  In fact, we had to ask him to give us his name, address, and order number.  It was apparent that this was annoying to him (and to us as well).  What should we do?  Take the time to find a platform that has the ability to access previous conversations with customers. (Consider data integration tools, which help your brand provide a seamless, easy experience for customers.) Remember these essential capabilities when choosing a platform vendor that will support your social service initiatives: To learn more about how to choose a social vendor, and other social service issues and tips, download the white paper below: Stay tuned for the next post in this series, which will discuss the benefits of using social service data. 

Thank you for returning to this blog series on social service issues!  To start off, I think it is best to note right from the start that I am an Oracle employee (#obvious), and believe that our...

Best Practices

What Do Consumers Expect?

Expectations - a word dreaded by many, no matter the topic. Why does "expectation" strike fear in our minds? They are prone to swift and sudden changes, and therefore difficult to manage and to keep up with. This proves especially tricky in the business world where technology has been both a blessing and a curse. The sheer amount of technological advancement we have seen in the past ten years has changed the landscape of consumer expectation. Based off my own experience, I think of Amazon as a prime example.  As a new mom, I frequently order diapers from Amazon.  They typically arrive exactly when I want, so I've come to expect to receive my shipment of diapers quickly.  So what happened when they didn’t arrive the other day?  I freaked out.  I hit the "track package" button probably 20 times that day, and bothered my husband with a whiny, “what should I do” phone call.  He calmly, and with a smirk I could sense through the phone, told me that I might just have to go to the store.  Gasp!  The point here is, technology has made our lives easier, but unfortunately a wee bit spoiled. Beyond Amazon, it’s easy to see the effect technology has had on all facets of business. Especially in the fast moving industry of social media, customer service expectations are intense.  We are now a society with the ability to instantaneously broadcast our feelings, thoughts, questions and reactions online.  This makes providing customer service via social difficult, but brands are more likely to succeed if they: Have a solid social service strategy. Dive in and participate. Stay up to speed with the ever-changing social media climate. So how can your brand successfully respond to customer service expectations?   Start by listening and investigating on social before engaging.  Know the landscape and what others are saying about your company (and your competitors).  Set up a social service plan to meet expectations. WHERE do you want to interact with customers? 
 HOW you want to interact with them (setting brand tone guidelines) 
 WHEN (9–5 or 24/7)?
 Try to solve the customer’s problem during the first contact.​ ​ Save money (and the consumer’s time) when you can.  If you can proactively educate the customer or allow others (advocates) to educate the customer via social channels, some service exchanges can be avoided and money will be saved. Be as authentic and empathetic as possible when responding to a brand crisis situation. Consumers are quick to call out brands that are less concerned about the customer and more concerned about how they look to the public. Remember that social service expectations are high – so the quicker the better. ​   Stay tuned for the next post in this series, which will discuss what to look for when choosing a social management platform.                                     

Expectations - a word dreaded by many, no matter the topic. Why does "expectation" strike fear in our minds? They are prone to swift and sudden changes, and therefore difficult to manage and to keep...

Social Cloud

In the Mix: Social Chatter for Live Events

If you frequent business events, you've probably noticed an increase of digitally displayed social media chatter. These command centers often capture social posts from geo-targeted searches, sponsor accounts, and event-specific hashtags and display them as an interactive feed. Since a well-executed hashtag strategy can have thousands of people joining the social conversation about your event, have a plan in place to capture, display and promote the buzz!  As part of their license, Oracle Social Cloud customers can access easy-to-use, flexible modules that are designed to display social activity in dynamic galleries and command centers. Content streams can be configured to pull directly from branded accounts and organic conversation to show activity in near real time, with a variety of display options:  Social Media Mixer Captures mentions from specified users and hashtags and displays them in a dynamic gallery (with optional moderation). Social Station: Demographics Employs social listening to display a dashboard of who is talking about a certain topic (like an event or product launch). Social Station: Themes Highlights evolving themes and top terms in conversation around a topic. Social command center modules support a number of use cases. For instance, the Social Media Mixer has been used for everything from a day-to-day display in offices and lobbies to large focal point displays at trade shows. Recently, the Mixer had a chance to shine at Rockwell Automation’s biggest annual event, the Automation Fair. Held in Atlanta, GA, this year’s Automation Fair offered over 150 exhibits as Rockwell Automation and their PartnerNetwork™ showcased the latest industry innovations. The Social Media Mixer presented social posts on multiple 70-inch screens throughout the entrance and showroom. Attendees posted using the hashtag #AutoFair16 and the Rockwell social team actively reviewed and approved content they wanted displayed, so only the best images and content made it to the big screen. We love seeing a command center in action, so we sent some of our Atlanta social team to take a peek at the Social Media Mixer, which looked awesome throughout the Automation Fair. Keep the Social Media Mixer in mind for your next conference, product launch, or any time you need a beautiful live social content feed.  

If you frequent business events, you've probably noticed an increase of digitally displayed social media chatter. These command centers often capture social posts from geo-targeted searches, sponsor...

Oracle Social Life

Oracle Social Cloud Gives Thanks

Thanksgiving is a day for family, football and food comas. It's a day off we can use to reflect - why did I eat that third slice of pie?! - and remember the things and people in our lives that give us a sense a gratitude.  Oracle Social is especially thankful for our customers, who continually demonstrate that social media works best when it creates a seamless customer experience. These five Social Cloud rockstars embody the vision of social media management for the enterprise, deploying meaningful social initiatives that engage customers, solve problems and increase efficiency.  Helloworld   Leading Australian travel agency Helloworld espouses one of the most valuable tenets of social media—making the world a more connected, accessible place. Using Oracle Social Cloud to improve efficiency in their organization, they listen to their customers and deliver relevant content to engage with them 3x faster than before.    Helloworld is the cool relative that shows up to the party with effervescent joy and brightly wrapped packages for every guest, and spends dinner sharing animated tales of international travel adventures.     Modere Socially driven business represents half of Modere’s overall revenue. With a global footprint, Modere recognizes the need for an integrated social and marketing solution with far-reaching capabilities. They implement Oracle Marketing Cloud and SRM to drive engagement with such campaigns as their recent Share the Love initiative.    Modere is the savvy friend that coordinates the coolest Friends-giving celebration in town, complete with plenty of inspiring people and Pinterest-ready table settings. They ensure the event is well publicized with cool pictures aplenty on social networks like Facebook and Instagram.    General Motors   As the preferred tool for customer care, Oracle Social Cloud empowers General Motors to be there for their customers when they have questions or concerns. GM unifies and enriches global data with social history to deliver personalized service so customers receive the care they expect from the global automaker.    The attentive family member who makes sure your plate receives second-helpings and that your drink is never empty, General Motors ensures everyone leaves happy and full.      Cummins   Implementing social media as part of unified customer experience strategy, Cummins uses social intelligence to engage across all customer-facing touchpoints, and integrates social with marketing and customer service. Their Marketing Intelligence group uses social listening to discover industry trends, which it uses to influence product strategy.    Cummins is the tech-ready relative who sees that Thanksgiving goes off without a hitch. They know exactly how to stream the best parades and football games, and make sure your turkey is cooked perfectly with expert online tutorials.      This Thanksgiving, we give thanks for time spent with friends and loved ones, and for our customers who make a more connected world possible.    p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 13.0px Helvetica; color: #333333; -webkit-text-stroke: #333333} span.s1 {font-kerning: none}

Thanksgiving is a day for family, football and food comas. It's a day off we can use to reflect - why did I eat that third slice of pie?! - and remember the things and people in our lives that give us...

Best Practices

3 Must-Haves for a Successful Digital Transformation

Last week, I flew to Chicago for CMS Wire's DX Summit, but my digital experience immersion training began before the event even kicked off.  As I checked my luggage in the airport terminal, I realized the TSA pre-check logo was missing from my boarding pass. No biggie, I figured. I always get to the airport early anyway, so I approached the desk and hoisted my suitcase onto the scale to complete the bag check process. Noticing then that there was no line behind me —Veteran’s Day must have calmed the usual travel rush— I tentatively asked the agent if there was a reason I hadn’t gotten pre-check. I expected the agent to brush me off or point me to a customer service phone number, so I was delighted when she plucked the boarding pass and ID out of my hand and started typing.  Within a few moments, she had patiently resolved the issue and sent me on my way with a new boarding pass and a smile. I breezed through security and even had time to grab breakfast before boarding. In the spirit of giving thanks, I tweeted a message to the airline to let them know their ticket agents were #crushingit. A few minutes later, I was contentedly sipping my coffee when my phone buzzed. The airline had responded to my tweet! I felt almost star-struck. Their response conveyed both appreciation and playfulness, consistent with the experience I’d had in person moments before. After we exchanged a few more messages, I had finished my breakfast, and they'd sent me a movie voucher. As I took my seat on the plane I noticed I hadn’t stopped smiling since the terminal.  I can't think of a better series of interactions to foreshadow the DX Summit, where digital leaders converge to discuss best practices for delivering exceptional customer interactions in a modern digital landscape. An insane amount of insight was shared over the course of the Summit, so I've condensed what I learned into three primary features of great DX. Consistent.   Brands can take my airline exchange as an example of how to interact with customers both online and in-person. Each interaction conveyed the same tone, and made me feel valuable and heard as a customer. Consistency in customer experience relies on orchestration of customer data and meaningful content across web, social, and other digital touchpoints.  How Content Drives Consistency in Customer Experience https://t.co/xl2ctwtPrO — DX Summit (@thedxsummit) October 27, 2016   Company-wide. One of the biggest problems facing digital transformation advocates is how to deploy across their organization and get buy-in from those responsible for customer interactions on pre-sales, post-sales and beyond. The successful undertaking of digital transformation needs to be org-chart agnostic, and embraced as a priority across the business. One speaker likened the execution to that of an orchestra.  The customer experience department should be your whole company @TheContentPool #dxs16 — Siobhan Fagan (@siobhan__fagan) November 16, 2016   Customer-centric.  In his keynote, author Gerry McGovern invited the standing-room only crowd to stand and repeat his mantra: we are not the center of the universe. Too often, he thinks, brands design products and experiences that suit their wants, without regard for what a customer might be looking for. Citing companies like Slack, which puts developers on the hook for customer service a few hours a week, he emphasized the importance of designing with the end user in mind.  @gerrymcgovern at #DXS16 opening keynote: "We are not the center of the universe... the customer is!" Watch now: https://t.co/WMbXdDx66F pic.twitter.com/5LzwsIanHn — DX Summit (@thedxsummit) November 15, 2016   Conclusion Guiding your business toward delivering solid online experiences can be daunting. One way to start is to adopt the principle of Social Touches Everything to drive consistent customer engagements across social touchpoints including content marketing and customer service. An enterprise social platform like Oracle Social Cloud empowers brands to do just that.  People with a role to play in telling a story have to tell it *together*, or the ecosystem becomes broken. @hilarymarsh #dxs16 #content pic.twitter.com/GZYJzJGUMK — Tahzoo (@Tahzoo) November 16, 2016  

Last week, I flew to Chicago for CMS Wire's DX Summit, but my digital experience immersion training began before the event even kicked off.  As I checked my luggage in the airport terminal, I realized...

Oracle Social Life

Collaboration: An 'Outside' Job

From guest author and Product Strategy Manager Sandy Yu: developing a rapport across virtual teams requires thinking outside the cube.  As more companies collide through mergers, acquisitions and reorganizations, team building is an increasingly important topic. My team at Oracle Social Cloud came together four years ago through three acquisitions, each bringing to the table unique technology as well as rich company cultures. More recently, Social Cloud has aligned closer to another existing team (itself a product of acquisition): Oracle Marketing Cloud.  We’ve had All Hands meetings, Leadership offsites, and small group meetings to help us understand the overall vision and how we will grow together as a team. These meetings help us learn who belongs to what team and provide a vague idea about each other’s roles.  Since our team spans the globe (the nature of the acquisition beast) many meetings with the extended team are virtual, but they still help us correlate a face (or least a voice) with a name.  Ultimately, however, it’s hard to get to know someone when your only shared experience is corporate reorganization. That is why I was so excited to hear that one of the Oracle Marketing Cloud teams was participating in this year’s Bay Area Heart Walk (www.heartwalkbayarea.org) at our headquarters in Redwood Shores, California.  The Heart Walk is the American Heart Association's premiere event for raising funds to save lives from this country's No. 1 and No. 5 killers - heart disease and stroke.  It was a warm and sunny October day, perfect for a walk outside and for getting to know new friends. The two teams of approximately thirty engineers and product managers met in an expansive lobby at corporate HQ so we could walk together as a team. We joked about the “weather tax” we paid for living in California; we were bonding already.  We joined forced with about 7,000 walkers from 24 companies from across the Greater Bay Area had stepped out to have fun, get inspired, & support a meaningful cause. Unified against heart disease, dozens of teams finally had the opportunity to come together—by giving back together.   During the walk, the conversation spanned from the work that we’re each doing for our teams to how far we each had to commute to work.  Over lunch, we separated into teams that had both Social Cloud and Marketing Cloud members.  We competed on which team had the most letters in the combined names (the winning team had 98 letters), the most combined number of siblings (one team has combined 13 siblings) and the combined tenure, including time in the acquired company (54 years!).  We had a blast getting to know each other beyond our titles, roles and the generic avatar in the corporate directory.  We learned about each other's lives outside of work and shared recommendations for restaurants and after-school programs.  By giving back together, we became familiar with one another as real people; no longer just an engineer or a product manager from SRM or Responsys.  Now we can call David, Preethika or Wendy to chat about a new idea we had to unify our platform in half the time. I witnessed the power that doing good together had on my team, and I firmly believe it fostered better collaboration and encouraged us to build something better together.  The next time you are thinking about a team-building event, consider supporting a charitable cause through a group activity.  You’ll not only be giving to the community, you’ll be creating a more collaborative team.

From guest author and Product Strategy Manager Sandy Yu: developing a rapport across virtual teams requires thinking outside the cube.  As more companies collide through mergers, acquisitions...

Product News

It's Time to Connect Meaningfully with Your Social Audience

We are thrilled to announce that as of November 9th, every Oracle Social Cloud customer with access to Engage will be able to leverage a brand new engagement experience. To deliver on the promise of meaningful social engagement, brands need to quickly monitor and respond to high volumes of conversation. With several active social networks in play, plus mentions taking place away from owned sites (like consumer reviews, message boards, etc.) this can be a daunting task. The new Engage empowers brands to manage all of these activities through a visually inspired, easy-to-navigate interface. Designed with customization and flexibility in mind, these enhancements offer greater efficiency for community managers, service agents, and anyone who needs to keep their finger on the pulse of social chatter. A few key benefits: No More Flipping Channels: Forget jumping from one network to the next; Engage displays messages from multiple social channels in a single comprehensive view. Monitor mentions on owned pages side by side with important topics related to customer service issues, campaigns, events, brands, or competitors. Become a productivity powerhouse with message context that helps you take the right actions on the right messages. An intuitive interface and vividly displayed images make for a tool you’ll actually enjoy using. What You Want, When You Want: Fully customizable, flexible and unique, Engage enables each user to create the workspace they need to be their most productive. Content streams can be populated with the most important social channels and topics, and configuration is unique to the user and will persist between sessions. Powerful New Features: The new Engage includes a host of powerful new features, thoughtfully designed to help you engage with your social audience more meaningfully. For example: Diminish the impact of trolls with one-click blocking for Facebook users and spam. Quickly pinpoint important messages related to your event, product or campaign (search by sentiment, user or search term). Maintain brand consistency with a built-in branded link shortener. Since its inception, Oracle Social Cloud has actively collaborated with our customers to hear suggestions for improving the SRM platform. With your feedback in mind, we make continuous efforts to modernize and personalize your experience. The new Engage interface is just one of these latest initiatives. We hope you’re as excited as we are about an enhanced Engage experience. If you are an active Social Cloud user, jump in and try it out! We can’t wait to hear what you think.  And stay tuned for more updates, new Engage is just the beginning!  ​This blog comes from guest author Samantha Liu, Principal Product Manager for Oracle Social Cloud. 

We are thrilled to announce that as of November 9th, every Oracle Social Cloud customer with access to Engage will be able to leverage a brand new engagement experience. To deliver on the promise of...

PivotCon 2016: Following Your Customers to Digital Transformation

From:  Wes Barnes, Senior Product Manager of Oracle Social Cloud I had the privilege of attending the Pivot Conference in New York City this past week. I met and mingled with incredible people who were all interested in one common theme, digital disruption resulting in fundamental transformation.  What struck me most while listening to industry colleagues speak about digital disruption is how they are using it to their advantage.  These days, we aren’t just talking about it happening, we are discussing ways to embrace and use it to become a market leader. Interestingly, it doesn’t seem to matter what stage your organization is at to capitalize on digitally disruptive technologies (seed, start-up, established, etc.), timing and hutzpah are the more vital elements to achieve success.  One of my favorite examples of a company taking the leap and straying away from core business is Netflix.  They took a gamble and set forth on an uncomfortable, but highly successful route from DVDs to streaming, and now to producing multiple TV series.  As Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix, has wisely said, "Companies rarely die from moving too fast, and they frequently die from moving too slowly.”  So what does this all mean for brands today?  In my opinion, taking a “wait and see” approach in today’s rapid-fire digital world, will most likely result in an unfortunate demise.  Listen to consumers, be where they want to be (even if it is new and scary) and offer a helping hand.  Taking a chance as opposed to the “same old, same old” business-as-usual model will pleasantly surprise you more often than not. Take social customer service, for example. During the 2016 Pivot Conference, I had the opportunity to speak about social service and share tips on how companies can become a socially enabled enterprise that supports customers and attracts prospects.  While some futurists may regard this as a “well duh” topic, it would astound them to know just how little effort many companies have put forth into making this fundamental business transformation.  It is, in fact, a big shift, but a necessary one.  How do we know it is crucial?  Take a look at these compelling stats that make the case to offer customer service via social: Research conducted on Twitter also fully supports the case for a shift to social service.  They have found that not only does having a social service presence and responding matter greatly to consumers, but speed plays a role as well.  In addition, the study found that “responding to customer service Tweets increases word of mouth activity, likeliness to recommend, and customer satisfaction”, some of the most coveted metrics out there.  In today’s digitally focused world, it’s pretty obvious that it is imperative to include social service as an integral part of your brand strategy.  If you are interested in taking a deeper look at how to insert social service into your organization, download Oracle Social’s latest white paper below: SaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSave

From:  Wes Barnes, Senior Product Manager of Oracle Social Cloud I had the privilege of attending the Pivot Conference in New York City this past week. I met and mingled with incredible people who were...

How Do You Implement Social Service Culturally and Structurally?

Welcome back!  After reading the first post of this blog series on how to convince stakeholders that social service is essential, you are ready for the next step.  How do you implement social customer service both culturally and structurally throughout your organization? Social service is not just a new trend to be on the lookout for, it is a vital tenet of the modern business.  Check out these guidelines for enabling your organization to make the shift towards social service​: Get it together! Start by laying out the overall social service strategy, it will help your brand stay focused and organized. ​Define processes and procedures Identify tools and usage ​Develop a training plan Create service level agreements All aboard?  Make sure that everyone agrees with the strategy to support social service. For all departments in an organization, providing good customer service should be one of the most important, overarching goals. Functions across marketing, customer service, PR and sales are all potentially impacted by the brand's social presence. Not only will social affect each business unit, it provides an excellent opportunity for collaboration to solve or even prevent issues.   Take some time to strategize how to set up the social service team.   How you set up your social service team depends on how your company is currently structured. If headcount is a problem, and you don't have room to hire new employees, consider plucking dedicated social service handlers from the current customer service team.  From what we have learned, it does not really matter where the social service team sits within the organization. Communication is what is most important: all employees should understand brand tone and response style when interacting with customers and prospects. Collaborating through idea sharing, campaign launches, potential crisis situations and customer feedback will set your social customer service task force on the path to success. Take careful consideration when hiring for social service positions. Your brand's tone and reputation is at stake when you unleash your social service agents on the beautiful world wide web. While social provides amazing opportunities, it can be a tricky beast to harness.  Be cautious who you place in these public facing positions.   Provide all employees access to the same data.   One of the most frustrating experiences a consumer can have is encountering varying responses and different levels of treatment from different departments within the same company.  The representatives that communicate with customers over social must have the same approach and information that any other department would have.  How can you make sure this happens?  Give everyone access to the same knowledge bases.   Provide comprehensive training that emphasizes how the brand wants to project itself.  Inspire your employees to become brand advocates! If your staff doesn’t believe in the product or service your brand is touting, how can they truly provide authentic, helpful social customer service? Make sure you are listening to each team and their respective concerns. Support them in any way you can to foster a healthy and happy culture. Brand advocacy will follow naturally.    Practice the art of patience. A substantial cultural and structural change is not going to happen overnight.  While we believe investing in social service is an imperative, brands might have to wait a bit to see the results. It's much better to implement than ignore and be left behind. It will be worth the wait!  Stay tuned for the next post in this series, which will discuss customer expectations in social service.  SaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSave

Welcome back!  After reading the first post of this blog series on how to convince stakeholders that social service is essential, you are ready for the next step.  How do you implement social...

Oracle Social Life

Halloween Round-Up

Make no mistake, the Oracle crew shows up for Halloween. We may not agree on everything (the jury is still out on the merits of candy corn), but teams around the world celebrate with costumes and spooky festivities. Here's a rundown of what we got up to for this year's creepiest of holidays.  Dublin. The Irish contingent turned up their Halloween celebration with inmates, the undead and some very committed video game enthusiasts.                 Happy #Halloween from the #OracleDigital Dublin office! 🎃👻🕸 A photo posted by This is Oracle Dublin (@thisisoracledublin) on Oct 29, 2016 at 9:52am PDT   Happy #Halloween from our very own Mario & Luigi 🍄🎃👻 #OracleDigital A photo posted by This is Oracle Dublin (@thisisoracledublin) on Oct 31, 2016 at 6:41am PDT   Bay Area. We'd expect nothing less than complete dedication from the Responsys group in San Bruno. Check out that amazingly committed jellyfish!    Atlanta. Not to be outdone, the ATL diversified with adults dressed as kids, kids dressed as villains, and awesome homemade decorations.  A not so happy, by oh so cute Beetlejuice! Happy Halloween! @oraclesocial #oraclesocializes pic.twitter.com/KduHTMVhjT — Amanda Crocker (@ac_rocker_boom) November 1, 2016 Found on Social Media: An 'identity thief' showed up to offer zombie-themed tarot card readings in Denver and the JD Edwards puppy decided between costumes.   offering spooky tarot readings in my "identity thief" get up. #halloween  A photo posted by 💜 💫 👑 🔮 (@ohwhitneykay) on Oct 31, 2016 at 1:47pm PDT Happy Halloween to all my wolf pups and #jde community and @oraclesocial. Ghost or flower child wolf.. not sure which to wear tonite. pic.twitter.com/Zi2sCvuwS6 — Edward (@WhereIsEdward1) October 31, 2016   We hope your Halloween holiday was safe and festive, and that you survived the inevitable sugar crash! Make sure to tag @oraclesocial in your future posts for a chance to be included in holiday roundups.

Make no mistake, the Oracle crew shows up for Halloween. We may not agree on everything (the jury is still out on the merits of candy corn), but teams around the world celebrate with costumes...

Best Practices

Is Social Customer Service Worth the Investment?

5 Social Customer Service Issues (and How to Solve Them!)​ Your phone is ringing.  It's a number you don't recognize, so you let it roll to voicemail. A minute later your phone pings you with the voicemail alert. The mystery caller was your electric company. The long voicemail explains that there is an outage in your area. "Fantastic," you think. "A text message could've told me this in ten seconds. Thanks for taking up my time electric company." Sound familiar? Most people these days have no desire to pick up the phone and “be bothered.” It’s hard enough to actually call and connect with friends and family. Talking to companies on the phone is much less desired.  Why are consumer attitudes and behaviors shifting? Technological advancements are allowing them to engage with companies when, where, and on whatever device they want. And as we all have heard and know from other expert opinions... #SocialTouchesEverything. If your brand is not providing social service, is it worth the risk of losing that market share? This five-part blog post series will explore some of the issues companies commonly face when trying to wrap their arms around social service, and offer solutions to help get over those hurdles. Issue 1:  How can we show the business value of social service to convince executive teams that it is worth the investment?  Caution executives that the company is being talked about on social whether they like it or not. ​​Do not wait to explore and implement social service capabilities. As Julio Silva, Brand Manager of Social Media Analytics for Deloitte warns, “You cannot risk your reputation and wait for a crisis to occur.” Explain to stakeholders that waiting on the sidelines is dangerous. As David Mingle, Executive Director of General Motors states, “Social media is still a bit of the Wild West, but everyone knows they’ve got to do it. The COI–cost of ignoring–is too high.” Back up your claims about social service with research, statistics, and successful case studies. We suggest the following key stats from reputable research firms:  Stay tuned for the next post in this series which will discuss how to implement social service structurally and culturally throughout your organization. SaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSave

5 Social Customer Service Issues (and How to Solve Them!)​ Your phone is ringing.  It's a number you don't recognize, so you let it roll to voicemail. A minute later your phone pings you with the...

Best Practices

6 Simple Benefits of Enterprise Social Media

Key Questions to Ask a Social Vendor is a series written by Social Cloud Product Marketing Manager Whitney Durmick. Whitney has empowered hundreds of SRM customers to use social media effectively to drive tangible business results.   Social Touches Everything. Today's hyper-connected consumers expect to have an online dialogue with brands; they want content that is personalized but not creepy, they'll use social channels to resolve service issues, and they turn to online communities to inform purchasing decisions. More than anything, modern consumers want to be informed and understood.  That's why, for the past 6 weeks, we have explored the benefits of a social media management solution designed to accommodate enterprise needs. To meet the expectations of the empowered consumers, businesses need to be prepared to integrate social functions across multiple touchpoints and to embrace their social potential beyond the marketing department. Their social media strategy must operate with the understanding that social is not just one thing that a marketer does; social is a way of working. In today’s series wrap-up, we’ll revisit the key questions to ask a social vendor to find a social management solution that meets your unique business goals.  Find a Solution that Grows with You. If all goes well, your social efforts will grow to incorporate more robust campaigns, a bigger team, and implications across your business. Avoid getting stuck with an overly specific or inflexible point solution. How will this solution scale as my team and needs grow?  Is the tool simple enough for a novice? Sophisticated enough for an expert? What features does this solution have that I can grow into? (How will this solution make my social strategy more robust?) Listen & Learn. Social channels are a robust source of insightful conversation, a treasure trove of insights about your brand and the people that love (or hate) it; that is, if you can actually use them. Choose social listening with a proven track record of distilling actionable insights from the notoriously noisy social landscape.  Do I need to be an expert in Boolean logic to use your listening tool?  Will I need to devote a dedicated resource to hand-cleaning social data? Which data points, analytics reports and dashboards are included in my subscription?       Crush Your Campaigns. Social media campaign execution often operates on a loop: listen, create, publish, measure, engage. The right social solution will offer seamless campaign tracking tools so your efforts are continually optimized and never in vain. Can you show me how social media contributes to web traffic? Do you offer dashboards to display campaign-specific posts and analytics in one place? Do you offer complete owned and earned social metrics that can pivot if my needs change?  Embrace a One-Stop Shop. A comprehensive solution with robust social functionality delivers more value in the long term. The unified approach of a social ‘suite’  has the potential to simplify implementation and streamline day-to-day collaboration. How many additional tools will I need to ‘complete’ this system? Can I post, engage, listen and measure my social efforts with a single sign-on? How does your platform interact with my existing CRM, DMP and Marketing Automation? Invest in Stability. A social management system should ultimately optimize how social media teams work with each other and with the broader company. By providing secure user and channel management and offering an efficient system to deploy and collaborate on social activities, the right platform can assuage your social (media) anxiety.  How does this solution safeguard my brand’s social presence? How does your system manage platform access for a diverse roster of social users? Do users need to have native admin access to carry out daily tasks like publishing or analysis within the platform?  Tear Down the Walls. Thanks to the proliferation of mobile and social media, people are connected like never before.  As modern businesses recognize the need to implement social beyond traditional use cases, they increasingly turn to enterprise solutions to support the transition. A complete, unified social solution empowers the modern business to deliver on the promise of the social customer experience. 

Key Questions to Ask a Social Vendor is a series written by Social Cloud Product Marketing Manager Whitney Durmick. Whitney has empowered hundreds of SRM customers to use social media effectively to...

Best Practices

Struggle with Social (Media) Anxiety? Read This.

Key Questions to Ask a Social Vendor is a series written by Social Cloud Product Marketing Manager Whitney Durmick. Whitney has empowered hundreds of SRM customers to use social media effectively to drive tangible business results. In our previous post, we discussed how a comprehensive social platform swivels to improve operations across unique business cases. Today we’ll continue to explore the benefits of a social suite, specifically how a complete platform improves social media efficiency, security and collaboration. Efficiency. While native social media seems easier in the short run (we’re all intimately familiar with Facebook and Twitter, after all), the method simply doesn’t scale. So as businesses manage broader social responsibilities, a system of centralized ownership makes sense. A comprehensive social platform provides stronger oversight of social activities. Consider these operational benefits: Diversified social saturation with publishing to multiple networks at once. Simplified management of unique regional or product-focused pages. User-specific permissions give stakeholders the right access to the right channels. Before committing to a platform, ask if it offers user-based permissions, and make sure they cover the social networks you need.  Security. Is there anything more frightening than an untested employee (or intern!) with your Twitter password? In this age of devastating social media missteps, brands should be extra careful when offering access to their social media inner sanctum. The right social platform will give managers executive control of what each user can see and do. While vetting tools to find the right fit for your business, ask how the platform delegates access across the user base. For example, do users need to have native admin access to carry out daily tasks like publishing or analysis within the platform?   The answer should be a hard ‘no’. With a social suite, managers with admin rights to social channels will load their accounts into the platform, then distribute the appropriate level of access to new hires, interns, social leads, etc, sidestepping the need to share passwords. Then if someone leaves the company, managers won't need to frantically change passwords or delete native access from multiple social sites: they’ll just update the user’s status in the platform and get on with their day. A unified solution also offers an audit trail to track user activity. Say a beautifully worded tweet goes viral or –uh oh—sensitive information is unintentionally shared. You could play detective to track down the original author to commend or apprehend them, or find the content in the platform, check the user who authored it, and close the case quickly. Collaboration. Since social media doesn’t live in a silo, delivering a social customer experience that aligns with company values requires teamwork. In-platform communication minimizes the need for disparate email chains, improves transparency and boosts productivity. Examples of cross-functional social collaboration:  A customer sends a DM asking for help with a billing issue. The Community Manager tags the message and routes it to a Customer Care agent for follow-up and resolution. Compliance would like to approve all outgoing social content for a corporate event. Marketing submits the messaging through a designed workflow to Compliance, who reviews and approves or suggests necessary changes.   While compiling social KPIs for a monthly report, a Consumer Insights analyst notices educational content performs better with the target audience than promotional posts. He adds a note to the analytics dashboard so the content team knows to focus on educational posts going forward. Maintaining your online reputation is difficult but crucial, so find a solution that manages it while also enhancing efficiency, tightening security and encouraging collaboration.  

Key Questions to Ask a Social Vendor is a series written by Social Cloud Product Marketing Manager Whitney Durmick. Whitney has empowered hundreds of SRM customers to use social media effectively to...

Best Practices

Top Reasons to Embrace the 'Suite' Life

Key Questions to Ask a Social Vendor is a series written by Social Cloud Product Marketing Manager Whitney Durmick. Whitney has empowered hundreds of SRM customers to use social media effectively to drive tangible business results. In our previous post, we discussed how to optimize social media campaigns with strategies for listening, measurement and refinement. Today we’ll learn how (and why) to find a complete social solution that sets you up for long term success.  Everyone Has (Social Media Management) Needs Social media use cases are as unique as the businesses that employ them. Depending on factors like industry vertical and maturity level, social media can take on various roles toward driving business goals.  Consider these examples from three very different brands: Global telecom giant Vodafone uses social  to drive awareness and lead generation Specialty UK retailer Mothercare builds strong relationships with customers on social channels General Motors improves productivity across the company with social engagement What these brands have in common, however, is they all use a comprehensive suite to manage their social media presence. A complete platform offers the flexibility and scale to meet the needs of a diverse customer base. One Answer for Many Questions Point solutions—smaller-scale tools with a singular focus—can work for a minor brand with a very specific use case. But if you plan to leverage social media as part of a broader strategy, you'll likely benefit from a suite of social tools that addresses multiple needs. A mature system offers functionality and integrations to extend social across your business. For instance: Embrace Social’s Shift to Service by using social media to engage with customers Discover and nurture sales leads on social networks (like Mack Trucks) Optimize marketing with consistent, personalized messaging across mobile, social, digital channels The right technology enabler will streamline operations to tap the potential of social media. But when there is a software solution for every need, how does a brand find the right tool, or combination of tools, to satisfy as many requirements as possible? Find the Right Fit  Can I post, engage, listen and measure my social efforts with a single sign-on? How many additional tools will I need to ‘complete’ this system? How does your platform interact with my existing CRM, DMP and Marketing Automation? Shopping for a platform that meets your current and future needs can be daunting, but the investment will save you countless hours of implementation, integration and usage audits that come with disparate vendor adoption. Final Tips Select a platform that fits your business as it exists today and offers functionality you can grow into. Consider the potential for deploying social across other business units, geographical regions or brands before you lock into a tool. Audit your internal users, teams and social channels to gauge the scale you'll need a tool to support. 

Key Questions to Ask a Social Vendor is a series written by Social Cloud Product Marketing Manager Whitney Durmick. Whitney has empowered hundreds of SRM customers to use social media effectively to...

Social + Customer Service

Oracle Social Cloud Highlights: OpenWorld 2016

Had to miss OpenWorld this year? Even if you were in attendance, there were so many great sessions it was impossible to make it to every one! This year was all about the Cloud. For those who missed it, Oracle shined a spotlight on the latest social cloud customer successes and technology innovations, demonstrating just how "social touches everything". Here are the highlights of the Oracle Social Cloud sessions. “Social Data Driving Business Intelligence” Every day we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data - 90% generated in the last few years due to the explosion of social media and digital interactions. Marketers from General Motors, Modere and Oracle discussed how aggregating social with other enterprise and third-party data sets helps businesses better understand their customers, marketplace and competitors. 85% of marketers lack a synchronized view of customer data because of siloed sources and lack of data collection & aggregation Measuring Social ROI is a challenge yet 89% say it’s a priority and 49% are unable to quantify impact “Is Social the New Customer Call Center?” Hornblower and Oracle Social Cloud walked us through the importance of customer service for social and how they are improving their social customer service There are 7.2 billion people on earth and more than 2 billion of them are active on social media  Nielsen reports that more than 1 in 3 consumers prefer social to phones for service—a percentage that is certain to rise with digital natives 70% of consumers helped via social support return as a customer in the future A recent McKinsey study stated that companies that improve their customer service can see a 30-50% improvement in key measurements including likelihood to recommend and make repeat purchases   "Tackling The Content Conundrum" T.H. March, FamilyShare Network and Oracle Social Cloud discussed how marketing teams are tasked with an increasingly wide canvas across social, web, mobile, and email – but teams remain largely the same. According to ClickZ’s 2016 Digital Trends Report, it was reported as one of the most significant trends for brands heading into 2016, with nearly a quarter of respondents saying that it was the most important trend for them.  In one minute... 2,460,000 pieces of content are shared on Facebook 277,000 Tweets are sent 206,000,000 emails are sent 48,000 Apple apps are downloaded  $82K in Amazon online sales happen By 2019, content marketing is projected to be a $300 billion industry.  T.H March discussed how adopting Oracle Social and modern best practices has helped them go from sending out letters once a year, to now having a repeatable framework for actively engaging with customers and prospects that is synchronized with dynamic and timely marketing campaigns to help grow business. FamilyShare Network's Saul Leal walked us through how FamilyShare has become the #1 Facebook page in the world for overall engagement (likes, comments, shares) from determining what topics to focus on to leveraging user generated content FamilyShare is producing 3000 updates per day, 280 content items per week with 87% mobile traffic and 4.7 billion impressions on social media.   “Influencers - Business' Not So Silent Partner” M&C Saatchi, Hornblower and Oracle Social Cloud discussed how influencers' messages have the potential to ignite passion or fury for your brand. 95% of consumers say they are influenced by what other people say about companies on social media 90% of all purchases are subject to social influence  Influencer marketing provides a new channel for brands to strategically influence potential consumers, through influencers they already trust Burst Media survey revealed influencer campaigns yield $6.85 in earned media value for every $1 of paid media   “How Social Service Guides the Customer Experience” Oracle’s Angela Wells and General Motors’ Dr. Rebecca Harris Burns discussed how today’s consumer has more power and channels than ever before. Those consumers leverage social to get their customer service questions answered, ignoring them can cost your company billions. 67% of consumers tap social networks for customer service $41 Billion is lost by U.S. companies each year due to poor customer service Listening first is the key to success. Listen before you reach out on your customers preferred channels Rebecca walked us through how GM has leveraged Oracle technology to integrate their Marketing, Customer Care, Communications, Legal and IT department. She highlighted how they accomplished establishing common global metrics for customer service and have aligned 27 of their customer care markets worldwide. Social touches everything. As Larry Ellison said in his Keynote: “#OracleCloud network is modern, flat and interconnected. Everything talks to everything. It's fully virtualized.” We are already looking forward to OpenWorld 2017!     SaveSave

Had to miss OpenWorld this year? Even if you were in attendance, there were so many great sessions it was impossible to make it to every one! This year was all about the Cloud. For those who...

Social + Customer Service

Midweek OOW Recap: Social Service Shines

Missing OpenWorld this year? Our Social Recap has you covered. The central theme from the first half of Social Cloud at #OOW16 is Social Customer Service. A few noteworthy facts from the first two Social Sessions: 1/3 of customers would rather clean a toilet than speak with customer service More than 1 in 3 consumers prefer social to phones for service 67% of customers use Social networks for customer service In the past two years, the number of tweets directed at leading brands’ customer service usernames has grown by 2.5X $41 Billion is lost by U.S. companies each year due to poor customer service Companies that developed social care capabilities improved year-over-year revenue per contact by almost 20% Monday Monday’s session titled “Is Social the New Customer Call Center” highlighted social’s rising role throughout the customer experience. Oracle’s Lisa Black and Hornblower’s Flynne Nathanson discussed how innovative companies integrate social media across their organizations. Tuesday Oracle Social’s Angela Wells and General Motors’ Rebecca Harris discussed how today’s customers have more channels than ever before to and interact with businesses and organizations, shifting the power into the hands of the customer. Back by popular demand, the Social Intelligence Center is up and running! Using Oracle Social Clouds Listen technology, we are monitoring conversations about #OOW16 on social networks, message boards, blogs, review sites, and video sites across the globe. If you are attending, be sure to stop by CX Central in Moscone West to see the Social Intelligence Center in action! Look forward to two more info-packed days, and check back Friday for our full recap of Social Cloud at #OOW16. 

Missing OpenWorld this year? Our Social Recap has you covered. The central theme from the first half of Social Cloud at #OOW16 is Social Customer Service. A few noteworthy facts from the first two...

Social Cloud

Looking Forward to Oracle OpenWorld 2016

Written by Angela Wells, this post originally appeared on the Oracle Applications Blog. Wells is Senior Director of Outbound Product Management for Oracle Social Cloud.  Once again, Oracle will shine a spotlight on social customer successes and the latest Oracle Social Cloud innovations. This year’s content will focus on how social touches every area of the business from customer service to marketing to business intelligence. And some of the world’s biggest brands—like General Motors, Dr Pepper Snapple Group, and Mack Trucks—will join us on stage to bring these social innovations to life. Also, back by popular demand, is our Social Intelligence Center, showcasing our interactive data visualization technology across several HD screens. Think of it as the interactive social media hub for OpenWorld. Oracle OpenWorld 2016 kicks off on Sunday, September 18, with great User Group content and an opening keynote by Larry Ellison. The event presents an excellent opportunity for digital and social professionals to get engaged, stay informed, and to learn how to adapt to massive change and innovation happening across every single industry worldwide. Follow Us Via Social Whether attending or not, be sure to follow Oracle Social Cloud on our social channels as we’ll be covering #OOW16 from start to finish: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google +, Instagram, and Oracle Social Spotlight. Here are some of the highlights: Social Cloud and Customer Presentations There’s no better advertising than showcasing your customer’s successes. And that’s what all our sessions will do, while giving attendees real, take-home execution tactics and strategies. See below some highlights:  “Social Data Driving Business Intelligence” with General Motors, Polaris, Dr Pepper Snapple Group and Oracle Social Cloud [CON7342] “Is Social the New Customer Call Center?” with General Motors, Cummins, D&M Holdings and Oracle Social Cloud [CON7340] “Tackling The Content Conundrum” with T.H. March, FamilyShare Network and Oracle Social Cloud [CON7341] “Influencers - Business's Not So Silent Partner” with Mack Trucks, M&C Saatchi, Hornblower and Oracle Social Cloud [CON7344] “How Social Service Guides the Customer Experience” A Ted-style session with Oracle’s Angela Wells and General Motors’ Dr. Rebecca Harris Burns [CON7339] “A Sky-High Overview of the Oracle Social Cloud” with Oracle Social executives Faz Assadi and Christie Sultemeier [CON7343] Social Intelligence Center Part of CX Central, Oracle Social Cloud’s Social Intelligence Center is a command-center style data visualization experience. Our SRM intakes incredible volumes of social data across the globe and displays it in engaging visuals so users can quickly understand and spot trends and insights. We’ll have the SRM searching for everything related to #OOW16 so users can see what’s trending at OpenWorld from top influencers to geo-location data. The area will have plenty of seating and charging stations. Additionally, Oracle Social Cloud executives will be on-hand to give demos of the SRM, allowing attendees to experiment with our social tool and understand the power social can have for your business. The Social Intelligence Center is part of CX Central, which is located in Moscone Center, West Level 2 lobby area. Hours of operation will be Monday (10:15am – 5:30pm), Tuesday (10:15am – 5:15pm, and networking reception 6:00pm – 7:30pm), and Wednesday (10:15am – 4:15 pm). Inspiring and Innovative Keynotes   Always exciting and inspirational, keynotes by top Oracle executives—Larry Ellison, Mark Hurd, Thomas Kurian, and Chris Leone—provide insight into the state of business, technology, innovation, and the future. Celebration and Networking The networking fun starts on Monday night and events go on throughout the week across all of San Francisco, with a spectacular community appreciation event on Wednesday night along the city waterfront at AT&T Park, featuring a live performance by Billy Joel, and complimentary food and beverages. Bring your phone and let’s get social! We hope you can join us to celebrate the Oracle Community by networking with digital and business leaders, cloud customers, and subject matter experts. It’s a can’t-miss event—and in one of the most beautiful, exciting cities in the world—San Francisco. CX Central @ OpenWorld Session Catalog 2016

Written by Angela Wells, this post originally appeared on the Oracle Applications Blog. Wells is Senior Director of Outbound Product Management for Oracle Social Cloud.  Once again, Oracle will shine...

Best Practices

Measuring Your Social Campaigns: 3 Keys to Success

Key Questions to Ask a Social Vendor is a series written by Social Cloud Product Marketing Manager Whitney Durmick. Whitney has empowered hundreds of SRM customers to use social media effectively to drive tangible business results. Last week we talked about how to find a social media platform that delivers actionable listening insights. Today we'll cover what to ask to determine if a solution will help you measure the effectiveness of your social campaigns.  You’ve built a rockstar social team, defined your voice and you’re ready to harness the power of social networks to launch a campaign. How will you know when your efforts are paying off? As you vet potential solutions, ask these questions to find the right fit.  Does this platform offer complete (owned & earned) social analytics to conform to my changing needs?  There are hundreds of ways to slice and dice the numbers to measure success on social channels, so you'll need to establish your key performance indicators before you set a campaign into motion. This will make course correction (and celebration!) simpler as the campaign progresses. Goal: Increase Awareness  Measure: Conversation lift including brand mentions, positive sentiment and purchase language (achieved through social listening). Goal: Sell More Products Measure: Leads generated by social posts. (Think social can't touch email for conversion rates? Here's how Mack Trucks did it.) Goal: Grow Your Audience Measure: Engagement on owned channels including fans/followers, likes, comments, shares, etc. Can this tool show me how social media contributes to web traffic? Your preferred platform should be able to track content by campaign and tie your social posts to data like web traffic and landing page conversions. More importantly, this tool needs to be user-friendly for your content creators. A dynamic link tracking system that automatically adds tracking info makes their lives easier (and minimizes risk of user error) by cutting down time and effort involved in building trackable links. TL,DR: You need a solution that can “connect the digital dots” and correlate outbound social content with increased web activity. Does this solution offer dashboards to display campaign-specific posts and analytics in one place?  With the right social platform, tracking your social efforts becomes effortlessly repeatable. Once you’ve settled on key metrics, use a dashboard that measures and displays all campaign-related content and engagement in one place. Since knowing is half the battle, you are now free to take the next step in grasping campaign momentum with 1:1 nurturing through social engagement. Lather, rinse, repeat to gently guide your prospects through the funnel. Conclusion Often thrown meaninglessly around conference rooms, the phrase “Social ROI” may elicit shudders from modern marketers. To overcome the ROI challenge, first define your goals. Then leverage a social media solution that empowers you to knock them out of the park. 

Key Questions to Ask a Social Vendor is a series written by Social Cloud Product Marketing Manager Whitney Durmick. Whitney has empowered hundreds of SRM customers to use social media effectively to...

Best Practices

Social Listening You Can Actually Use

Key Questions to Ask a Social Vendor is a blog series written by Social Cloud Product Marketing Manager Whitney Durmick. Whitney has empowered hundreds of SRM customers to use social media effectively to drive tangible business results. The market is saturated with social tools - tools for curating content, managing paid media, monitoring platforms, workflows, alert systems, engagement consoles, etc. etc. etc. Are you overwhelmed yet?  So as you embark on the journey to find that perfect solution for your needs, make sure you’re asking the right questions to find a platform that will deliver the exceptional social business results you need. Last week we discussed finding a scalable social management platform to grow with your team. Today we'll focus on finding a solution that delivers actionable insights to tie social efforts to real business goals.  How does this solution give me social listening data that I can actually use? The universe of social media is notoriously noisy. With hundreds of millions of social posts created every single day, discovering true insight can be a daunting task. Many social platforms offer social monitoring, which crawls major networks like Twitter for key phrases and hashtags. But they can miss conversations taking place on other social networks like blogs, message boards, and review sites. Brands like Vodafone and Polaris use targeted, strategic listening to define customer preferences and nurture people through the sales funnel. Do I need to be an expert in Boolean logic to use your listening tool?  Will I need to devote a dedicated resource to hand-cleaning social data? Platforms that offer true listening solutions typically provide keyword and Boolean search capabilities, which are often tedious and require manual configuration and constant refinement. Often, you’ll need a dedicated resource just to babysit your searches! Ask a vendor about training, support and usability before you commit.  Which data points, analytics reports and dashboards are included in my subscription? Some social tools offer a-la-carte style pricing or freemium models. The price tag can seem like a bargain at the outset but quickly snowball when you realize that key metrics and reporting options don't come included in your subscription.  As you refine your brand's social analytics strategy, work with a vendor who understands your goals and offers analytics reporting and dashboards that suit your unique needs.  Conclusion Don’t get stuck with a garbage-in, garbage-out platform. Look for a tool that offers a multi-tiered approach to social listening for agile, actionable social insights.   

Key Questions to Ask a Social Vendor is a blog series written by Social Cloud Product Marketing Manager Whitney Durmick. Whitney has empowered hundreds of SRM customers to use social media...

Best Practices

Looking for a Social Platform that Scales? Start with the Right Questions.

Key Questions to Ask a Social Vendor is a series written by Whitney Durmick. Whitney has empowered hundreds of SRM customers to drive tangible business results with creative social media strategies. If your brand is in the market for a social media management solution, congratulations! You’re taking a major step toward deploying a robust social strategy for the entire business. You’ve probably already noticed the abundance of social tools out there. From long-established companies to fresh startups, the space is saturated with solutions for just about everything. Tools exist for curating content, for managing paid media, monitoring conversations, workflow tools, alert systems, engagement consoles, etc. etc. etc. It’s enough to make your head spin.  So as you embark on this journey to find that perfect solution for your needs, make sure you’re asking the right questions to find a platform that will deliver the exceptional social business results you need. The first question you ask should gauge a platform's ability to grow with you.  Will this platform scale to meet my changing business needs? If all goes well, your social efforts will grow to incorporate more robust campaigns, a bigger team, and implications across your business. Investing in a point solution that only solves one or two of your current needs puts you at risk 
of extra cost and productivity loss when you quickly need to upgrade to a more powerful, comprehensive system. Plan ahead for the growth that an effective social platform can facilitate. Successful companies take advantage of the power of social media across business units, from marketing to customer service, sales and product development. The right social media platform will grow with you, and accommodate users and use cases across your organization. Considerations Does this platform include features I can grow into? Will this platform scale as my team and needs grow? Is this tool simple enough for a novice? Sophisticated enough for an expert? 

Key Questions to Ask a Social Vendor is a series written by Whitney Durmick. Whitney has empowered hundreds of SRM customers to drive tangible business results with creative social media strategies. If...

Best Practices

How Not to Alienate Your Audience: 5 Tips for Building Trust Online

Today's post was written by Oracle Social Cloud's Amanda Byrne. We’ve all been there, searching online for a new something or other trying to determine which brand we should purchase. We live in a world where one quick tweet out to your followers can result in a plethora of suggestions on which brand of headphones you should buy.  It’s one thing to target ads at customers on social, but how do you become one of those trusted brands that consumers recommend to their friends?  Here are 5 ways you can build trust through social channels: 1.) Be transparent. It’s human nature to trust what you know. Social has provided people with a way to be more transparent than ever, sharing their day-to-day activities with their friends and followers, connecting people in a way that wasn’t possible before. Why should it be any different with business on social? Being transparent with your customers allows them to feel a connection with your brand that just isn’t achievable with traditional marketing.   2.) Be responsive. Reply to your customers who are reaching out to you on social, whether they are tweeting at you with a customer service complaint, or mentioning you in a post to their friends, the more responsive you are the better.  Respond to as many messages as you can. 3.) Engage, engage, engage. Ask for your customers’ input; ask them to share their stories, pictures and opinions. It’s important to remember that marketing on social is a two-way conversation. Talking at your customers or spamming them with ads isn’t going to gain their trust. Give them the opportunity to share their feedback and ideas and respond to them when they do. 4.) Hold yourself accountable. Mistakes happen, instead of trying to cover them up or making excuses, find a way to acknowledge the mistake on social. If you can, make it up to your fans and followers somehow. When you find yourself in a situation where your consumers are unhappy with your product or their purchasing experience: 1.) Express sympathy and be apologetic when appropriate. If a mistake was made, apologize for the inconvenience it caused them. 2.) Reiterate the company’s core values and mission while offering a solution. A consumer will appreciate that you are willing to right a wrong in order to stand by your company’s core values. 5.) Be socially responsible. Share with your followers how you are a responsible corporation. Post pictures of a team volunteering at an event or participating in a 5K for charity. By no means should you be braggy, but show your Followers that you contribute to a greater good somehow; they will appreciate that and trust you more for it. Just like a real life friendship, trust isn’t built overnight on social. But if you commit to gaining the trust of your consumers, it can be done.

Today's post was written by Oracle Social Cloud's Amanda Byrne. We’ve all been there, searching online for a new something or other trying to determine which brand we should purchase. We live in a...

Best Practices

Be Warned: 80% of Social Content About Your Brand Could Be Going Undetected

Today's post is based on a recent Forbes article by Oracle's Laura Beckstead, Daniel Hayden and Curtis Schroeder. The old adage “Show & Tell” might have been applicable in our earlier years, like grade school, but not so much anymore. Today, the phrase can more aptly be altered to “Show & Don’t Tell” for our “visual” social media culture. Of course the rise of visual content, particularly across the social web, is nothing new. We’ve been talking about it for years, heating up in 2012 when we saw the rise of Pinterest and of course Facebook’s $1 billion dollar acquisition of Instagram.  Fast forward to 2016 and the visual social web is in full force with no signs of slowing down.  Text is increasingly falling out of favor. Consider the following stats:   Every day, more than 3 billion photos are shared via social media, according to Mary Meeker.  Facebook has an engagement rate that is 2.3 times higher for posts with images than those without. (BuzzSumo) Twitter updates containing images generate 150% more retweets than text updates without images. (BuzzSumo) The brain processes images 60,000 times faster than it does text. (wishpond/B2C Community) Yet most brands and organizations are missing out. According to Ditto Labs, an Oracle Social partner, and visual image recognition company, 85% of the photos Ditto finds containing a brand image do not mention that brand in accompanying text. That’s a ton of missed opportunities, engagements and insights.  Once again, technology comes to the rescue with automated visual listening capabilities.  Learn more about this must-have technology in this Forbes piece, “A picture’s worth a thousand words... And maybe more.”  Combining advanced text-based listening with the latest innovations in visual listening allows brands to turn those conversations—and more increasingly images—into revenue.  The referenced Forbes piece published on August 5, 2016 and was co-authored by Laura Beckstead, Daniel Hayden and Curtis Schroeder. Beckstead is an Oracle customer experience sales consultant; Hayden is an Oracle social solution architect; and Schroeder is an Oracle Cloud customer relationship management sales consultant.

Today's post is based on a recent Forbes article by Oracle's Laura Beckstead, Daniel Hayden and Curtis Schroeder. The old adage “Show & Tell” might have been applicable in our earlier years, like grade...

Best Practices

4 Ways to Use Social Media for Product Launches

Today's blog is written by Krystal Rose Berry, CX Social Solutions Consultant at Oracle. Savvy marketers know that social for business means more than just publishing content and tracking metrics. Maximizing a brand’s investment in social for business includes using social to support a variety of diverse business operations. Today, I would like to focus on how to use social media for product launches. Here are four tips on how to do so: Build Anticipation Social media is not about being a one-sided conversation. Customers don’t want to be sold to. At best they want to be led and even be part of the creation of products and promotion.  40% of millennials want to participate in co-creation of products and brand (Source: MillennialMarketing)  Prior to your product launch, use social to not only promote the upcoming arrival of the new product but also to start a conversation between loyal and prospective customers. This means that you will have to post content that encourages your audience to engage. Content that can prompt interaction is posing a question, asking for opinions, posting a unique image, posting a poll, a game, or even having a live streaming channel for a Q&A session with the brand, guest host or industry SMEs. Every effort should be crafted with the goal of building interest and excitement. To help with drawing attention to the new product and differentiate the conversations from other products or competitors, it is a best practice to use a unique and distinct hashtag and encourage your audience to use it. Listen to Conversations (use a unique hashtag) Post launch you will want to monitor what conversations are happening around your new product and brand. A good social listening tool will help you to identify conversations around the new product as well as all conversations that include your product’s unique hashtag. You can learn where the conversations are happening (online source), what the tone of the conversations are, who are behind the conversations, who is influencing conversations and what the conversation’s potential impact is over the various online sources. The power of listening expands past simply monitoring conversations to actually having insight into the conversations when you have a good social listening tool. Engage (with customers who are talking about your product) Again, social is not a one-sided conversation so when your customers speak up, brands should respond appropriately and in a timely fashion. Social media can be a great customer service tool as well as a community builder. Leveraging a social tool, like Oracle Social Cloud, not only enables marketers to listen to the conversations happening around its brand and products but also allows the brand to chime in and engage as well. A brand responding to questions, comments and shares shows its audience that the brand is listening and taking action to build meaningful relationships with its customers and this is the type of behavior consumers now expect from brands. Disseminate Insights Internally Social data that is pulled, tracked and analyzed can produce valuable insights that can extend past the overall sentiment and mentions of a new product. The right social tool can provide social insights that can enhance lead generation, influence future marketing strategy and enrich research and development. Congruently, these insights can also be used to call attention to any potential issues such as misuse of the product, product malfunctions or misrepresentation of the product. There you have it. Four tips on how to use social for product launches. Remember, social for business extends further than just marketing efforts. Insights from social data can be used in numerous ways to support the various efforts of your brand’s overall business operations. 

Today's blog is written by Krystal Rose Berry, CX Social Solutions Consultant at Oracle. Savvy marketers know that social for business means more than just publishing content and tracking metrics....

Best Practices

Social Media’s Influence on Cloud Adoption & Innovation…and What’s Next for Technology

  A Q&A with Oracle’s Reggie Bradford Oracle SVP Reggie Bradford was featured last week on Bloomberg TV talking about the pivot to cloud and Oracle’s path for success. We caught up with him to talk about social media’s influence on cloud adoption and what he expects for social innovation and cloud moving forward.  Oracle Social:  What is social media’s influence on cloud adoption? Reggie Bradford: Social media certainly played a role in bringing cloud innovation to the forefront of enterprises. You have to remember that social technologies were cloud – they were SaaS-based applications, not on-premise. Marketers were implementing social technologies almost entirely without the CIO or IT department involved. So digital marketers could quickly get up and running on social and immediately reap the benefits that SaaS delivered—speed, agility, innovation. Social and other technologies, like email automation, were introducing SaaS applications to businesses… but social was different. It was transforming the consumer-to-business relationship—at a lightning quick pace—and was giving consumers a voice and platform. Marketers simply didn’t have time to wait. They had to act or fall behind. Fast forward to today, CIOs are working together with their LOBs to implement cloud-based platforms and applications that are driving all areas of business from marketing to sales to traditional “back office” applications like ERP and SCM. Cloud is impacting every single area of business today. It’s the future.  Oracle Social:  You mention cloud enabling “speed to innovation” – can you give an example of that for social? Reggie Bradford: Cloud allows for business to innovate and be agile in a manner not achievable with traditional on-premise technology. Simply put, we can make our applications better and faster than we ever could before. It’s all about a customer-driven, high frequency development cycle. More agile, innovative, insightful and comprehensive. Moving at the speed of digital. And cloud offers the flexibility to configure and extend your technology to meet your specific business needs.  I’ll give you two examples happening now with the Oracle Social Cloud. First, through our partner ecosystem, we are making real-time social intelligence accessible, visual and actionable across the entire organization with our partnership with Tickr. The integration enables the delivery of powerful social data alongside other key business metrics, as interactive visualizations, in a single view. It is allowing organizations to see, holistically, business metrics in the aggregate instead of in silos. LEGO is a customer currently leveraging this capability. Second, we continue to apply machine-learning capabilities to our social listening and analysis technology. AI technologies like machine learning are advancing quickly and our listening engine is quite literally getting smarter in real-time about what to look for and insights derived. And that’s making our customers smarter about their consumers and allowing for real-time, personalized engagements. Oracle Social: In your Bloomberg interview you talk about the acceleration Oracle is seeing with cloud adoption. But not all customers are there yet – why? Reggie Bradford: We are seeing incredible growth and adoption. Our SaaS and PaaS revenue rose 52% in FY16 overall and we are projecting 75% growth for Q1 of this fiscal year. And this is across all areas of business. Oracle is the first to deliver a complete ERP suite for mid-size and large enterprises. And in FY16 Q4 alone we added more than 800 new ERP customers. We are seeing incredible growth across all areas of the enterprise. There’s no doubt that 100% of our customers will be in the cloud in some capacity within the next few years.   Some businesses just have different adoption and transition strategies. Regardless, we are committed to partner and enable the pivot to cloud in phases, to meet our customers’ specific business needs. Oracle is the only company to have a top to bottom solution from PaaS to IaaS to SaaS applications, and a uniquely differentiating component – Data as a Service – which allows businesses to drive functionality with our applications that our competitors can not do. It’s not about convincing businesses about the benefit and power of cloud. They get it. In fact, Gartner is predicting that more than $1 trillion of IT spending will be directly or indirectly affected by the shift to cloud in the next five years. That’s major growth. Cloud-first strategies are the only way to succeed in today’s modern digital world.   Oracle Social Cloud: You had a front-row seat with the social technology revolution as founder and CEO of Vitrue. What is next for social? Reggie Bradford: I think it’s the emergence of these social-mobile messaging apps like Messenger, WeChat, Snapchat, Kik, etc. I spoke at a conference recently and my topic was “The Evolution of Social & the Revolution of Messaging Apps.” I don’t see traditional social networks going away at all – they have staying power. But brands can’t ignore what’s happening with messaging apps. More than 4.2 billion people use them today—it’s surpassing traditional social networks. And with the opening of these bot marketplaces, like on Messenger and Line, etc., innovation is about to take off.  Oracle Social Cloud: What do you see as the next big wave(s) of innovation? Reggie Bradford:  I see five key areas of innovation happening and that’s around: 1) Pivot to Cloud; 2) Globalization; 3) Data Visualization and Liquidity; 4) Internet of Things; and 5) Artificial Intelligence.  And cloud is powering all of these.  AI is going to be very interesting to watch develop – and we are already seeing the potential around conversational interfaces, increasing automation, and robots replacing human roles across many industries.  I think we are in the most fascinating time for innovation—and cloud is enabling these transformations. 

  A Q&A with Oracle’s Reggie Bradford Oracle SVP Reggie Bradford was featured last week on Bloomberg TV talking about the pivot to cloud and Oracle’s path for success. We caught up with him to talk...

Best Practices

Online Reviews: A Double-Edged Sword

Today's post is written by Rachel Miller, CX Solution Consultant for Oracle.  Caveat Emptor With the exception of perishable goods, I buy most of my consumer products online. Clothes, gifts, household items, and electronics - if I can't find it on Amazon, I'll find it through some other online retailer. One of the major advantages of online shopping is the ability to put into practice the well-known principle, “caveat emptor” or “let the buyer beware.” Before committing to a purchase, I can easily seek out product or seller feedback written by fellow consumers in an effort to hedge against the risk of buyer’s remorse. However, with my years of shopping experience and acquired wisdom, I've learned the hard way that not all reviews are to be trusted. Since businesses understand the value of word of mouth recommendations and consumer endorsement, they've caught on to a little trick: fake positive reviews often yield the same results as authentic positive reviews. Customer reviews, which were created with the intent to protect the consumer, have now become another tool through which buyers can be deceived.  [Don’t] Fake It Till You Make It You may have heard that major retailers have begun to crack down on fraudulent reviews. These fake reviewers have identified the need that businesses have for positive endorsement; in response to the demand, they began offering their services of writing fake reviews for a fee. According to a study by Dimensional Research, nearly 90% of consumers have been influenced by positive online reviews when making a purchasing decision. It’s obvious that many buyers are being led astray after reading (and trusting) these fraudulent evaluations. But it's not just Amazon sellers or online retailers that are guilty of these deceptive practices. Even small business owners are catching on to the value of a positive review and are offering discounts or monetary incentives to their customers in exchange for a written endorsement. It's fairly well known that bad customer service interactions are more likely to be shared than good ones, but is it ethical for businesses to bribe their customers for a positive review? Could it be viewed as simple grass roots marketing? Personally speaking, as both a consumer and a customer experience professional, I'm not a fan of this practice. I think it's deceptive - a truly positive customer experience should compel the consumer to write a review...monetary incentives shouldn't.   The Empowered Consumer That being said, the balance of power has shifted in favor of the consumer. Now, more than ever, we’re empowered by information. We have the option to choose from a variety of vendors worldwide. Social media and the ability to post reviews online has given us a platform upon which we can voice our opinions about our experiences, and ultimately influence the reputation of a business and/or product. But with great power comes great responsibility, and as emotional beings, sometimes we can be too quick to dole out a raging review in response to a perceived slight. It’s important to keep things in perspective, especially when it comes to small businesses – after all, a single, anger-fueled post may impact the incomes of real people. Transparency Wins The success of a business will depend on how well it’s able to adapt to the demands of its ever-evolving consumer base. In today’s social media driven world, this means skillfully resolving public customer complaints in a manner that’s not only satisfactory to the critic, but also to those prospective customers who have yet to do business with the company. Considering the rising expectations of the modern buyer, a “do nothing” approach isn’t a viable option. Although engaging with customers across multiple channels might seem overwhelming at first, social listening tools like Oracle’s Social Relationship Management (SRM) are available to help make this task more manageable. Businesses utilizing Oracle’s SRM solution are able to hone in on social media posts regarding consumer intent, product likes/dislikes, and customer service issues that are associated with their brand. When social listening applications are leveraged effectively, businesses can quickly identify and resolve customer issues before they become bigger, messier, and hopefully not viral problems. Once a successful social media monitoring and engagement initiative has been implemented, businesses will find their honest and transparent customer experience strategy will speak louder than a fake review ever will.

Today's post is written by Rachel Miller, CX Solution Consultant for Oracle.  Caveat Emptor With the exception of perishable goods, I buy most of my consumer products online. Clothes, gifts, household...

Product News

We’re Increasing Our Instagram Capabilities

This post was written by Jazmine Duke, Principal Product Manager for Oracle Social Cloud.    Two big pieces of news:  1. We are excited to announce we have officially joined the Instagram Partner Program.  2. Enhanced Instagram analytics are available in the Social Relationship Management Tool (SRM). What Does Being an Instagram Partner Mean For Our Customers?    In short, better analytics for marketers to make better decisions. With over 500 million users, Instagram is one of the top mobile destinations for social media marketers. Being an official Instagram Partner will allow us to help our customers manage their visual identity on Instagram more efficiently. By having analytics built into the SRM, marketers will be able to see their results alongside their other social marketing campaigns. Take a look at just a few of the values:   Measure Post Performance with Additional Metrics Above the Native Experience Comments, Likes Per Post, Per Account/Day Followers Growth over time, Total Post Performance Compared to other Networks   Measure Customer Service/Social Team Performance Engage KPIs, which are exclusive to SRM, a great differentiator over native Save Time Community Managers can save time by creating multiple, searchable columns within Engage. Filter and/or search by: Folder (Inbox, Read, Unread, Archive) Username, Body, or Comment Labels Network (Instagram, Facebook, etc.) Specific Owned Channel Groups of Owned Channels Date Folder Assignment Target Brand Advocates & Content Interact with your fan base Comment, Reply, Delete, and View Likes Sentiment Analysis automatically labels (Positive, Negative, Sales Language, etc.) Manually add and edit labels Auto-label messages based on keywords Monitor specific keywords for further action Escalate and Follow up Send customer issues to RightNow, CRM On Demand, or Siebel for further action Filter directly to specific customer-service oriented labels to take action faster What Does Analytics Integration Mean?  Marketers will now be able to see how well their Instagram channel is performing inside the SRM. They will be able to track the number of followers, likes, comments, and posts on their images. They can prepare monthly reports that will compare their social channels directly; for example, they will be able to see how well their Instagram channel is performing compared to their Facebook or Twitter handles.    We’re really excited about this, and we hope you are too! 

This post was written by Jazmine Duke, Principal Product Manager for Oracle Social Cloud.    Two big pieces of news:  1. We are excited to announce we have officially joined the Instagram Partner...

Best Practices

Copy That Clicks: Boosting Engagement With Social Listening

This blog was written by Whitney Durmick, Product Marketing Manager for Oracle Social Cloud. If you create messaging without first planning how and where it will be received, you might as well throw your marketing efforts out the window.  After all, while your content should drive awareness of the brand, ultimately it’s not about you. The best content teaches people to solve a problem or fills a gap in their lives. To gain insights and deploy meaningful content, marketers should lay the foundation with social listening. Listening to online conversations can help identify who is talking, where they spend their time online, and what they’re saying. Once you’ve identified an audience and created segments, use their language and location to market to them.  Let’s say you’re launching a new line of headphones, and you want your content to raise awareness and boost engagement for the brand.  First, you create a listening query to capture mentions of headphones. You notice one of the top terms in the results is “bump” so you dig a little deeper and realize people are looking for headphones for listening to loud music without disturbing others. You also notice these conversations are emerging on forums around topics like bodybuilding, car repair and athletics. “Mellow” also surfaces as people on parenting sites discuss piping calm music through headphones to chill out after a tough day with the littles.  While both of these groups are great potential buyers for your product, you won’t be able to reach them simultaneously. Social listening allows you to identify the segments of your potential audience, what they care about and where they spend their time online. Armed with this information, you’re ready to write copy that tells busy parents your headphones are durable through whatever chaos kids bring, and show the hobbyists your product’s great sound quality doesn’t diminish at high volumes.  While your listening insights identify audience segments, you’ll also track key influencers. Know who carries weight in your space so you have an idea of your audience’s aspirations. A conversation led by a reality star, for instance, will have a different tone than one from a pro athlete, business leader or tech wunderkind. Know your influencers and craft copy that you can imagine them sharing.  Armed with an insider’s view of how people talk, you’ll use naturally occurring language to create immediate familiarity in your messaging. Nothing kills loyalty faster than content that feels irrelevant or poorly targeted, so employ your audience’s own conversational patterns to deliver content that makes them want to learn more. If your brand is new, re-launching, or hoping to expand into other markets, social conversation might not be flowing yet. In this case, competitive or general industry listening is a great place to start. Identify a brand that you respect and use specific searches to learn how they deploy content and how audiences react. Once you understand what works and what doesn’t, you’re positioned to can stand out and fill a gap.  With actionable insights for audience segmentation, influencer identification and competitive activity, social listening helps you reach the right audience, in the right place with copy that resonates (for a click through rate your boss will love).  

This blog was written by Whitney Durmick, Product Marketing Manager for Oracle Social Cloud. If you create messaging without first planning how and where it will be received, you might as well throw...

Social Media Events

3 Key Takeaways From A Cannes Lions First Timer

This week's blog was written by Angela Wells, Oracle Social Cloud's Senior Director of Outbound Product Management. Someone should have warned me…  Oh, not about the lines for the main sessions, the temptation of the sea, or how many times I would hear the word “programmatic.” They should have warned me that this conference had more rosé wine and “networking” through exercising than any conference. Ever.  If you’re in marketing or advertising, then I suggest you go. It’s useful to connect with so many people in the marketing and advertising technology space. (Be on the lookout for “madtech” term inevitably headed our way – like a celebrity couple mashup name.)  If you go every year, then I suggest you share tips for how to get to those exclusive concerts without subjecting myself to the “attractive women only” mess. Here are my key takeaways:  Everyone was talking about data – what’s now possible and what’s going to be possible in the near future. The days of marketers pretending they barely need to understand math are long over; it’s essential to understand and embrace data to guide decisions.    From a social marketing perspective, it’s fascinating to hear about the new capabilities to tie online advertising to subsequent in-store and online purchases. Oracle Data Cloud’s recent announcements with both Snapchat and Pinterest highlight efforts to help marketers understand the full impact of their online advertising across all purchases… and help the social platforms demonstrate their full impact to marketers.    Certainly, “campaigns” are still a hot topic, but the emphasis has migrated to storytelling – across channels and over time, with the intention of building deeper connections with viewers. Even Will Smith was there to talk about storytelling, drawing parallels between making movies to advertising. (Will, apology accepted for “Wild Wild West.”) The conference recently renamed itself: “The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity” to encompass the diversity of innovative advertising elements. (Side note: nominees paid for the privilege of being nominated.) In addition to learning that it may be possible to save the world by drinking beer (thanks, DB Breweries), it was inspiring to walk through the galleries and check out the finalists. I’ll drink to that!   

This week's blog was written by Angela Wells, Oracle Social Cloud's Senior Director of Outbound Product Management. Someone should have warned me…  Oh, not about the lines for the main sessions, the...

Oracle Social Life

You Have To Read This Before Going To Cannes Lions

Sun, beach, French food… is there anything more spectacular than Cannes? If you’re lucky enough to go, here are some things you absolutely must see:    Oracle Data Cloud What does data have to do with advertising? In a word, everything. Oracle Data Cloud will be on site to teach marketers and advertisers how to use data to create content that resonates with their customers. Come visit them at their tent to meet with data driven advertising experts. June 18-25, 9a-4.30pm, at the foot of the Palais des Festivals et des Congres.  The tent is going to be the site for several thought leadership sessions. Executives from AOL, Flipboard, Dstillery, General Mills and Google will discuss, “Data by the Beach” on Tuesday, June 21st at 9am. Later that afternoon, at 3pm, Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, AOL, AdExchanger and Oracle Data Cloud executives will discuss, “Campaign Success: It’s All About Who You Know.” Wednesday kicks off with “Breakfast Bites & Bellinis with Visa: Discover the Power of VisaVue Advertising Solutions” at 10a. At 1pm, “Cutting Through The Clutter: Defining Quality Data” will be discussed by a panel of executives from MOAT, Facebook, Turn and Oracle Data Cloud.  If you can’t come to Cannes, use #ODCLiveCannes to follow the conversation.  Oracle Marketing Cloud  Brush shoulders with CMOs while discussing the major themes in marketing at Oracle Marketing Cloud’s CMO Roundtables. Go to 58 Blvd de la Croisette on June 21st from 4p-5.30pm. Topics to be discussed: how to build a modern marketing organization; how to crack the code on hyperlocal digital advertising; and how to discover new content distribution channels.   Fun Stuff  Feeling a little blah? Meet up with Oracle Data Cloud on the beach for a CrossFit workout on June 20th and 22nd at 8am-9am. Led by Oracle Data Cloud SVP & certified CrossFit trainer Eric Roza, this will definitely get your heart rate pumping. They’ll also be handing out protein shake water bottles & a new batch of the “Data Is The New Bacon” t-shirts for all participants. Meet outside the ODC Live Tent and use the hashtag #CannesFit. The “Sunset Soiree” will be as magical as it sounds. Co-hosted by Kevin Akeroyd, SVP and GM of Oracle Marketing Cloud and Oracle Data Cloud, this exclusive VIP cocktail reception will be an excellent place to see and be seen. Go to Le Panorama Rooftop Terrace at the JW Marriott Cannes on June 21st, from 6.30-10pm. Finally, capture memories with your new friends at Oracle Marketing Cloud/Adweek’s photo booth! Go to 58 Blvd de la Croisette and snap some photos.  Can’t come?  Follow Oracle Social on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for the latest behind-the-scenes excitement at Cannes. 

Sun, beach, French food… is there anything more spectacular than Cannes? If you’re lucky enough to go, here are some things you absolutely must see:    Oracle Data Cloud What does data have to do with...

Best Practices

Where's The (Social) ROI?

Today's blog was written by Greg Robinson. Since Greg manages presales for Oracle in North America, he's in a unique position to see what's happening on the ground in social media.   Some of you are old enough to remember a memorable commercial that swept the land in the 1980’s where Clara Peller would go to non-Wendy’s restaurants and shout, “Where’s the Beef?” The same could be said about social ROI today. Just as Clara Peller famously questioned fast food hamburgers in 1984, prospective social customers are questioning “Where’s the ROI?” as they go about determining if they should take the plunge into the world of social media. ROI = Increased Revenue, or Reducing Costs  As a reminder, return on investment (ROI) is made up of three main categories: increasing revenue, reducing cost, and the result of doing either increases margin. This is where the dilemma starts for social media; however this challenge isn’t restricted to social media alone. After being in software for over 20 years, I have yet to meet a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) that would buy into the fact that software would help their company increase revenue when making a buying decision. This doesn’t mean that it didn’t actually increase revenue. I’m saying that beforehand, in the negotiation, it would be discounted - no matter how solid the business case. On the other side of the ROI equation, CFOs (typically) would discount increasing efficiency as a means to cut costs because unless they were cutting headcount, they didn’t feel they were actually cutting expenses. Of course those CFOs were negotiating, but they had firm ground to stand on. This leads me to the next dilemma for social media: there’s no previous benchmarks. You Need Good Benchmarks   The ROI challenge is exacerbated with social because many companies are not using social tools today. This is not like ERP (enterprise resource planning) or CRM (customer relationship management) tools. Many of the companies purchasing ERP and CRM are on their second or third foray into purchasing these systems. For example, Oracle replaced many systems that were not as full featured as the Oracle Ebusiness Suite or companies simply outgrew their ERP systems. The same happened for CRM with applications; companies that were using CRM applications could compare ROI by migrating from on premise applications such as Siebel to Oracle Sales Cloud. By comparison, social is still early in its evolution. How can you expect benefits if you’ve never used social media tools before? You may try to compare your business to someone else’s to project ROI, but unless they’re doing exactly what you’re doing with the same audience then ROI is suspect. Unforeseen Benefits Imagine being a sales person who is walking into a prospective customer and saying something like, “by using social listening, you’ll stay in touch with your customer’s desires. You’ll give your customers the proverbial “seat at the table” to provide guidance on the products you develop.” Now, imagine telling them that by listening to their customers and developing to their needs, they’d create one of the best selling products they ever made! Who would listen to this message? Well, that’s exactly what happened for one of Oracle Social's customers. This customer understood that the color pink was top of mind for their customers, and developed a pink product to accommodate them. Who would have predicted that? It’s a great story to talk about, but few businesses will achieve this type of success by making their product pink. Every situation is unique. Every product is unique. Every customer is unique. The benefits of social for one customer may not apply to another prospective customer. Certainly the possibilities are there for something like this to happen, but quantifying this and translating that into ROI is unrealistic.  Where’s the ROI? Where’s the ROI? We hear you Clara! All is not lost. For companies that are using a social media application, comparing current tools to next generation tools, such as Oracle’s Social Relationship Management (SRM) tool, is easier to justify. For example, Oracle’s listening technology is far superior to products using only Boolean or Natural Language Processing technology. The efficiency gains are measurable and proven. Revenue gains using new names collected from social marketing campaigns are also proven, especially when using tools such as Oracle Marketing Cloud in addition to Oracle SRM to drive relevant marketing campaigns to expanded audiences. What if you’re not using any social tools today? First, work with social experts to understand what benefits you can expect to achieve and help you develop strategy. Oracle has plenty of experts that have years of experience in social media. As with any new technology that business adopts, there’s a certain amount of risk associated with it. However, this risk is minimized because all social products are in the cloud. Getting a one year subscription with Oracle’s SRM for example, you can minimize the risk and cost. Another benefit is that with relatively little training, you can start using it and benefitting almost immediately. Finally, as with any project, measure the results against the projected benefits and adjust accordingly.  Summary Social media is an important aspect of business to develop. Since most companies lack previous experience, ROI is challenging to project. Over time, business will start to evaluate efficiency gains and projected revenue based on previous experience with various social tools, but this is years away for about half of the companies we work with. The good news is the “I” in social ROI is small compared to most investments. Since social is in the cloud, you can take advantage of subscriptions that don’t lock you into long-term relationships with software suppliers. We can all agree that social isn’t going away. Social touches everything. It’s just a matter of when for your business.

Today's blog was written by Greg Robinson. Since Greg manages presales for Oracle in North America, he's in a unique position to see what's happening on the ground in social media.   Some of you are...

Best Practices

How To Get The Most Bang For Your Buck On Social Media

Congratulations! You got a budget for social media marketing. Here’s how to get the most out of every penny - and ensure that next fiscal year, you’ll be able to prove your results and get an even bigger budget.    Set Quantitative Goals  Now is not the time to say, “we want the biggest reach” or “we want to pass X number of likes.” Those vanity metrics will not impress your CMO. Instead, set quantifiable goals around driving sales and engagement. At Oracle Social, we promote a mixture of gated and un-gated content (more on this in a moment) because we have three goals:  - generate X new sales leads  - establish Oracle Social as thought leaders by beating Y click-through rate benchmark   - build brand awareness by beating Z engagement rate Those numbers, X, Y, and Z, will vary by industry, size of company, social channel, etc.    Choose Good Content  Choose content that has performed well organically and aligns with your goals. At Oracle Social, we chose our content like this:  - generates new sales leads (with gated content like this white paper about social customer service.) - establishes Oracle Social as thought leaders (with un-gated content like this interview with Oracle SVP Reggie Bradford.)   - builds brand awareness (with gated and un-gated content like this report about Super Bowl 50 and social media and corresponding infographic.)  With a tool like the Social Relationship Management (SRM) platform, you can easily see which piece of content is performing well for you organically. For us, Reggie’s blog was getting tremendous traction organically and it aligned with our goals, so we put some money behind it. It continued to perform even better. Victory! Target Like A Sniper Even if you have the best content in the world, you won’t reach your goals without aiming well. That’d be like firing a super fancy bullet into the sky and hoping that it falls on its mark. It just won’t work. A Marine sniper taught me how to shoot, and there were about 400 million calculations that he made before every shot.  It’s the same for you, my dear social media marketer. Different social platforms will have different targeting capabilities, so it’s wise to choose multiple platforms and align your content strategically. For example, we ran paid campaigns on LinkedIn and Facebook. On LinkedIn, we targeted by job titles, keywords, and companies. (We got really specific on them, but I will spare you the boring details. Just know if you do this yourself, you’ll need to get into the nitty gritty.) Facebook also has robust targeting; we chose to use interests, job titles, and opt-ins to reach our audience.  Track It Now comes the fun part - watching the numbers roll in. If you use a tool like the SRM that is integrated with your sales cloud, marketing cloud, and service cloud, you can literally track a lead from social to sale.  General Motors is a great example. In 2015, their social media team responded to over 15,000 tweets that were viable sales leads. From those, about 35% accepted GM’s invitation to test drive a vehicle. 65% actually got behind the wheel, and in the end, 22 vehicles were sold through social media.    How do you get the most bang for your buck on social media? Share your thoughts below. 

Congratulations! You got a budget for social media marketing. Here’s how to get the most out of every penny - and ensure that next fiscal year, you’ll be able to prove your results and get an even...

Best Practices

There is No ROI of Social Media If You Can’t Count the Money

Today's post was written by Jeff Cohen, Director of Content Strategy at Oracle Marketing Cloud. Ever since the early days of social media, talk of ROI has been on everyone’s lips. During those heady times of the mid to late aughts (00s), many marketers thought things had changed about communicating with customers. Marketing was no longer about selling, but it was about connecting and having conversations. And there was a strident group opposed to any talk of ROI. Social media was just the new way of doing business. If you didn’t do it, you would go out of business. No discussion needed. And somehow ROI lost its meaning. It was no longer used to mean return on investment. It has become shorthand for value. If you could demonstrate the ROI of your social media marketing, you could show your boss the value of what you were doing. Because what you were doing was Tweeting and Facebooking. The only metric most marketers cared about was their number of followers. And the social networks encouraged this behavior by keeping those numbers front and center. Focusing on those vanity follow metrics is still a problem today. That’s another story for another day. But there was a minority that stuck to their traditional marketing backgrounds. They were like a whisper in the wind. ROI means return on investment, they said. Nothing has changed. They were drowned out by the whoops and hollers that everything had changed. Fast forward to today and everything has definitely changed about marketing and social media. It just didn’t change in the way the majority thought it would. Those who tried to claim that ROI was still an abbreviation and not a concept were right. Return on investment is really a math equation. And as much as marketers try to avoid it, math involves numbers. That is one of the biggest ways that marketing has changed in the past ten years. We are all about the data to make us more efficient, the metrics that show our success, and the return from our investment. Oh yeah, what does ROI really mean? Return on investment is not just about numbers and math, but it is about money. When calculating it you can use the money earned or the money saved. Those are both ways to realize a return. That’s the first part and you will notice that it is measured in money. Choose your currency, but it’s still money. Not hugs. Not likes or shares. But money. The investment part is not based on magic pixie dust either. This is how much money you spent. Whatever you are measuring, whether it’s a campaign, an event, or an ongoing social media program, there are costs associated with it. This seems hard for some marketers too. I have been asked if this includes salaries and employee overhead too. Yes, it includes everything that goes into whatever you are trying to accomplish. Which brings us to the most important part: the goal. Are you using social media to drive leads for a B2B company, drive online sales for a B2C company, or even drive foot traffic for a retail store? Your business is in business to make money. Most companies track their success by sales. That’s why return on investment is such an important calculation, especially when it comes to social media. If you can determine your return on investment on your social media activities, then you are bringing those efforts into line with the rest of the company. Here’s the math part. ROI is determined by dividing the profit of your activity (return – cost) by the cost. Express your result as a percentage by multiplying by 100. A positive percentage means you made money. A negative one means you lost money. One of the reasons it is not always easy for social media marketers to truly track ROI is because their goals are not about money. Even when the focus is on marketing qualified leads, or other stages of the funnel, without tracking all the way to closed sales, the ROI calculation just doesn’t work without some monetary input. There are lots of valid social media metrics that do not focus on sales, for example engagement rate or customer satisfaction, but if you want to answer the ROI question, it doesn’t work without the money.     Learn more about how to capture sales leads through social media by clicking here. 

Today's post was written by Jeff Cohen, Director of Content Strategy at Oracle Marketing Cloud. Ever since the early days of social media, talk of ROI has been on everyone’s lips. During those heady...

Best Practices

Our Surprisingly Successful Experiment With Facebook Live

I was only half-serious when I added “National Pizza Party Day” to our editorial calendar. My train of thought was something like, “Hey! Pizza! And we could probably get some good content out of this.” I had no idea we’d create our most popular Facebook post ever.  The Backstory Let’s rewind for a second. You may be wondering, “What on earth is a B2B company that sells SaaS doing on live video?” Oracle Social has been experimenting with live video for the past year, almost exclusively on Periscope. We’ve been live from our office, conferences, and even the interior of General Motors’ new 4G enabled car. Some have been wildly successful, some have not. We’re still figuring it out. (More details on that below.) We charged into the new world of live streaming because we’re the “tip of the spear.” We experiment, so you don’t have to.  What We Did Internal Promotion  First and foremost, you need to have employee buy-in. You can’t have a pizza party without people. Rather than ordering the traditional styles of pizza, I asked my coworkers to vote on their favorite flavors. We have a private Facebook group set up for our team, so I built a quick little poll. (Not surprisingly, Hawaiian pizza was the top choice.) If someone asked for a specific flavor, I ordered that as well. This way, everybody knew they were getting something special. I reminded people the day before so they would get excited. And on that fateful May 20th, I literally walked around the office saying, “Pizza! We’re having pizza at noon!” in case anyone had forgotten. I may be a bit obnoxious, but when the pizza arrived, they were ready.  External Promotion I posted to our major platforms about a half hour before the party started.  Today is National Pizza Party Day! Check out our pizza party on Facebook Live in a half hour: https://t.co/qXtipn2yhT — Oracle Social (@oraclesocial) May 20, 2016 If I had posted earlier than that, our audience would have forgotten about it. If I had posted later than that, our audience may not have seen it. It seemed like the sweet spot.  Going Live As soon as the pizza was unboxed and the people were gathered, I went live on Facebook. I introduced myself, explained to our viewers what was going on, and interviewed my coworkers. I responded to comments (thankfully, everything was PG-13) and gave a little tour of the office. You can watch the whole thing here.  Why We Did It As any good salesperson knows, you’re not just selling your product - you’re selling you, too. These types of parties give us an opportunity to showcase who we are. We’ve got a unique culture. We’re weirdos, goofballs, and nerds - and proud. We also really like pizza. By showing our true colors to potential customers, we’re building a sense of rapport. Rapport leads to trust. And trust leads to dollars. Did our pizza party lead directly to a sale? Not yet. Is there a justifiable use case for a B2B brand to use live video? Absolutely.  Results  Here’s the best part! As of May 25th, this post has:  Reached 84,920 people Been viewed 4,612 times  270 Reactions, comments and shares - 129 like, 40 love, 17 haha, 13 wow, 8 sad and 9 angry 62 Comments  1,406 Post clicks 441 Clicks to play  151 Peak live viewers 1,875 minutes viewed 4,340 unique viewers 2 “unlike page”  And we didn’t pay a dime.  Lessons Learned  1. Be engaging! Don’t be afraid to show off your personality. People start watching a video to see what’s going on, but stay with the video because they relate to the people. I highlighted our goofy friends and held a hearty debate over the merits of pineapple on pizza.  2. Keep it short: This one is tricky. Our live viewers hovered pretty consistently around 150, but very few stayed for the whole 15 minute broadcast. If I had to do it again, I would aim for 10 minutes.  3. Be prepared: Know what you’re going to talk about, and if necessary, stage some conversation starters. In our video, I used the ping pong table as a break from the pizza.  Now, obviously live pizza parties are not a central element of our content strategy, but experimentation is key. Have you used live video in your B2B marketing strategy? Let us know in the comments below! 

I was only half-serious when I added “National Pizza Party Day” to our editorial calendar. My train of thought was something like, “Hey! Pizza! And we could probably get some good content out of...

Best Practices

Incorporating Paid Media Into Your Social Strategy

Today's blog was written by Laura Beckstead, an Associate Sales Consultant for the Oracle Social Cloud. Have you ever noticed when you log into Facebook that an ad often appears in your newsfeed that relates to, let’s say, those new running shoes that you were just looking at on Nike’s website? It may come off as creepy that Facebook knows this much about you, but in reality, you have been targeted with a paid media ad. Facebook launched their first paid ads in 2007. Twitter launched promoted tweets in 2010 and other channels like Instagram, LinkedIn and Pinterest followed their lead. Paid media continues to expand because it allows brands to target a specific group of individuals who fit the criteria of a qualified lead.   What’s The Difference Between Paid And Organic Media? Organic marketing reaches its target audience through unpaid distribution posts on social media. The posts must be engaging enough to earn audiences viewership. Krista Neher, a social media blogger, refers to organic content as permission-based marketing, which means the content must be good enough that people will want to opt-in and choose to follow your posts. Paid media, on the other hand, is designed to immediately grab the attention of its audience with the goal of building a brand and selling a product. While social media started as an organic marketing tool, paid media has exploded on social networks. Not only is it a major source of revenue for social networks, but it is also a very effective marketing tool for companies. Show Me The Numbers Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest have all hopped on the paid media band wagon.  According to Statista, in 2014, the total advertising spend for paid media was 17.85 billion. This increased to 25.14 billion in 2015 and is projected to hit 32.91 billion this year. Facebook dominates the paid media scene with over $17 billion in ad revenue in 2015. A 2015 survey by Content Marketing Institute found that 74% of B2C marketers used paid social ads with a reported 59% effectiveness rate. When To Use Paid Media Organic and paid media possess different benefits. Most marketers will find that using a combination of both will maximize exposure while also maximizing marketing dollars. Paid media will extend the reach and exposure of a company while promoting brand awareness and generating new leads. On the other hand, organic posts appeal more to customer loyalty with the advantage of addressing customer service needs. How To Implement A Paid Strategy With the increased importance of paid media, Oracle has come up with its own paid media story. Through Oracle Social Relationship Management, companies are able to create posts within Oracle Social and then target ads to a specific group on Facebook. It can be based on demographics, interests, education, or preferences, and it can get as granular as what is known as a “custom audience.” Custom audiences ensure companies are targeting ads to individuals that are known and identified previously as qualified leads. By taking advantage of custom audiences, companies are being more effective and efficient. They're not wasting ad spend on customers that aren’t likely to buy their product or services. Oracle takes social marketing to another level. In addition to targeting custom audiences, companies can also take advantage of the integration between Oracle Social and Oracle Eloqua.  With these two platforms working together, companies can have contacts in their marketing automation platform dynamically flow to Oracle Social to sync to Facebook. The value here is that it eliminates companies having to manually upload contacts each time new contacts flow into the database. Takeaway The numbers show that paid social media is here to stay. Companies clearly need to incorporate paid social ads along with their organic posts to maximize the effectiveness of marketing campaigns. On social networks, both organic posts and paid posts are the key to success.  

Today's blog was written by Laura Beckstead, an Associate Sales Consultant for the Oracle Social Cloud. Have you ever noticed when you log into Facebook that an ad often appears in your newsfeed that...

Thought Leaders

The Next Wave Is Coming...

Oracle SVP Reggie Bradford wrote this blog after his presentation at Engage: Prague last week. Check out his slides from that keynote speech. The Social Media Wave  Technology comes at us in waves. We catch a glimpse of a wave building – far out on the horizon – but don’t know exactly its size and impact. Some are large, some are small – but all swell and develop. As it approaches, we can begin to see its shape, size and potential impact. In 2007, my startup Vitrue saw a wave coming: social media networks.  The earlier social networks, like Myspace and Friendster, were tapping into this desire for consumers to connect and share—regardless of location and boundaries. And usage began to grow rapidly. We saw that it would fundamentally change the way consumers and businesses would interact – forever. Vitrue pivoted…and we rode that social wave.  For the first time ever, consumers had a platform to interact, learn, share and voice their opinions. It was as if everyone had their own broadcasting platform. Communication went from one-to-one, to one-to-many. Millions were flocking to social networks to share, like, follow and learn. The social networking phenomenon had taken consumers by storm, and it was changing behavior and shifting power.  Social networks gave rise to the empowered consumer. People now had the means to discover information, share and voice their opinions. Facebook became an ever-expanding social community—breaking down regional and global barriers. Twitter was becoming the first place for breaking news. It was 2009 when Sully landed on the Hudson and Twitter took off. Bottom line: Consumers were now empowered – and that was changing everything. It was the end of “business as usual.”  Social networks and empowered consumers forced businesses to completely rethink the way they were going to do business. The traditional consumer-to-business relationship had been drastically altered. If you go back to the very beginning, we (Vitrue) had a vision that hinged around more people discovering information based on recommendations from peer or a friend. Social networks fueled and amplified that. Nine out of 10 people were buying products based on recommendations - but brands had no way to engage or influence that conversation. Vitrue was formed to help brands do that.  It wasn’t until 2008 that Facebook started to develop partnerships with brands and marketers. I saw Sheryl Sandberg in the fall of 2008 with the simple idea that Facebook was keeping up with the needs of 20 million consumers. We wanted to build software to help brands manage their presence on Facebook. Fast forward to 2009, and Facebook opened up Pages. We were one of the first platforms to work with brands to help manage their Facebook Pages. We added content management, analytics, and grew our platform so brands could manage their presence across Twitter, Youtube, Google+, LinkedIn… basically, anywhere a consumer eyeball was, we wanted to be.  Once Facebook opened up these resources for business, innovation and usage skyrocketed.  The Messaging Apps Wave Now, we see another wave on the horizon. It’s much bigger and it’s coming faster than social networks: messaging apps. For consumers, particularly younger demographics, this isn’t new. Messaging apps have been experiencing explosive growth for years. Popular Asian messaging apps like WeChat, KakaoTalk, and LINE have taken the lead in finding innovative ways to keep users engaged. Snapchat, Kik, Messenger and others boast incredible user growth and are taking a playbook from these Asian app leaders. But what’s just as important as the total users is the speed at which this mobile messaging app revolution hit.  Note the speed of WeChat – 7 months. Yes, this is an example from an Asian market, where mobile is usually the first introduction to the Internet, but it’s still an incredible example of the speed of adoption of these dynamic platforms.  As of January 2016, according to Business Insider, the big 4 messaging apps overtook the big 4 social networks in usage. And, according to April data from Statista, 4.4 billion users are now on messaging apps.  Just consider these numbers, from around the globe: WhatsApp: 1 Billion Messenger: 900 Million WeChat: 697 million LINE: 215 million Takeaway This wave is about to hit you hard. It’ll knock you back into the sand and force water up your nose. But, if you’re ready, this could be an incredible opportunity. Look for a tremendous amount of innovation around bots – chatbots, service bots, commerce bots, etc. – that leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning to automate these engagements at scale. It’s still the early days, but innovation and growth will happen at lightning speed.  So what’s the future? Is it “social networks” vs “messaging apps?” I don’t view it as one or the other. In today’s multichannel, omnichannel world, it’s about meeting consumers across all of their devices, channels and platforms. The right choice will be both social networks & messaging apps. Each serves different needs. Together, they will help you ride the wave of ongoing technology evolution and revolution.  

Oracle SVP Reggie Bradford wrote this blog after his presentation at Engage: Prague last week. Check out his slides from that keynote speech. The Social Media Wave  Technology comes at us in waves. We...

Thought Leaders

#SocialTouchesEverything

This blog was written by Oracle's Greg Robinson. Since Greg manages presales for Oracle in North America, he’s in a unique position to see what’s happening across the business and gain insight to what customers are doing in social today. #SocialTouchesEverything I’d guess that many of you reading this blog have thought at least once about how social media has changed our lives. Tweets are now flowing across the bottom of your television screens showing what the person on the show is saying on Twitter. The ratings that you see on products you buy on online commerce sites greatly influence your buying decisions. People that you've never met influence your choice of vacations and where you stay. Particularly in the past 6 years, businesses have started to expand their strategies to include social media. And yet, social is still in its infancy. We’ve seen this before as various communication channels were introduced. The timeline below shows the various communication channels that we’ve adopted to over time (note: this is not meant to be all inclusive of every communication channel. Dates are based on key milestones since many of these technologies evolved over time.)   Many of these communication technologies have changed lives significantly, but social media has the biggest impact of them all. With one click of a button, thousands of people can see what’s being said about products, services, politics, sports, or anything else. Others can then respond or repost to this communication to their social networks, and so on, and so on... Social is everywhere Cancun, Mexico (copyright: Greg Robinson 2015) Social touches everything, everywhere. No business is immune to social media no matter where they’re located. I’d like to share a personal story with you about how businesses are looking at social media and how it’s transforming the way business is done. My wife and I went to Cancun, Mexico and stayed at one of the highest rated (via social media) all inclusive resorts in Cancun – Live Aqua. While many of you have done similar things, here’s where it gets especially interesting. The waiter of one of the finest on premise restaurants noticed we were coming back night after night. He approached us and told us that the Executive Chef, Eric, likes to meet with guests. He asked if we’d like to meet Eric, and we agreed. Eric came to our table and introduced himself, and asked if we’d like to come back on Thursday to enjoy a special meal that he’d cook for us. After we left, I began to worry because I wondered what we really agreed to do. I was sure that a personal meal cooked by a world famous chef was not included in our all inclusive cost! We returned on Thursday and Eric was there waiting for us. He made a special meal as promised and it was delicious! He even brought out other chefs in charge of dessert because they made a special desert for us. Eric showed us an exceptional customer experience! I insisted on paying him in some way and Eric asked us for only one thing: He asked that if we truly enjoyed the resort that we go on social media and share our experience. That was all he asked. Instead of money, Eric felt that reviews on social media were more important for the resort. The Challenges The challenge for business is to harness social communication which ultimately helps define strategy to retain customers and drive revenue. What makes this especially challenging is how many of the social channels offer some form of privacy for users, whether it’s by privacy settings or not sharing user identity. Another challenge is the overall lack of awareness by most companies on what social can do for their business. Those in executive positions are often relying on millennials to help with social strategy. This gap in understanding and experience is an obstacle many businesses are looking to overcome.   Another challenge that we see is that many businesses want to run their social customer service operation like their call center. There’s a mindset with call centers. (I know because I owned a couple of them.) Call centers are one of the most measured business operations of all. In every call center there’s hundreds of metrics which measure call center agents down to the minute. There’s nothing wrong with measurement; if you don’t measure it you don’t manage it. So companies are dumping in hundreds and thousands of messages into their call center on a daily basis in order to get metrics that really don’t mean anything. It’s counterproductive to dump all social conversations into a call center, only to sift through each message to determine if you should respond. The activity and response numbers go up, the reaction time is high, but the efficiency is hit. Worst of all, it’s hidden! The Solutions Businesses need to get only relevant social information. By filtering social data through advanced listening technology, and then sending it into its customer service applications, you get leads you can use. Advanced listening technology such as Oracle’s Latent Semantic Analysis provides triple listening capabilities to provide such filtering. Social information needs to be actionable and relevant from both owned and earned channels to eliminate the need for unsuccessful manual filtering. Social listening can enable a B2B to analyze what’s being said about their products (especially if sold through distributors), their industry, and their competitors. Social listening also enables B2B to identify trends which could help develop targeted marketing campaigns. Sales reps can also use social data from social listening to enhance their sales presentations to customers. Social publishing is another key area for B2B. Businesses can use publishing capabilities to develop targeted marketing campaigns to their customers on Facebook and other social channels. In many cases B2B businesses already have a marketing tool where they create audiences and develop targeted email marketing campaigns; this is the social side of that use case. Social brings the targeted audience marketing campaigns to the social audience. Social engagement is another critical area bringing social customer service to the forefront. This is especially helpful in reputation management. Think of this as an insurance policy. For example, let's say a customer makes oil drilling equipment. If we ever have another unfortunate oil spill, they want to be engaged in those conversations early and often. Social customer service will make this possible. Social media also enhances events. Displaying tweets, photos, and videos at a trade show or conference makes it instantly interactive. Attendees can post and share photos about the event. This can influence the overall event by making people feel a part of it in ways they never could before. Key to Success There are certainly technologies available to capture unknown users as they use the internet in their daily lives, and they can provide valuable insight. The golden egg is getting customers and prospective customers to share their social identity. Businesses are thinking of creative ways to obtain this critical information from their customers through marketing and other promotions. Businesses also need to enhance their systems and processes to capture this critical information. In the 1990’s, businesses made enhancements to ERP and CRM systems to capture email addresses. The same is required in 2016; systems that capture customer data in tools such as sales force automation, customer service, and marketing must enhance these technologies to capture social media handles to enhance the contact record. While getting social identities is an important step, there’s another critical step that must occur – social data, not just contact information, must be included in the business processes and used in decision making. Social Relationship Management systems are not CRM systems; they don’t capture a user and determine how many interactions you’ve had with them in history. Instead, they need to be another channel that is used to feed CRM. Therefore, integration is required to identify the user and append the social interaction CRM record. This may come in the form of a lead or a customer service issue. This is where the real power of social begins to occur. Once captured, businesses can tie social media behavior to their products and services offered and take their prospective customer and existing customer interactions to the next level. Having social data in silos is only getting half the value. Integration between social and other applications that enhance the customer experience provides true value. Software companies such as Oracle have a suite of applications that are integrated to enhance the customer experience and provide true business value. Businesses that do this sooner will thrive and take market share away from competitors. Does anyone think that social is going away? It’s only just begun! It’s very similar to the dot com boom we saw in the late 1990’s, except it’s bigger! Companies that develop their social strategy stand to gain enormous benefits. They’ll leverage social networks to promote their brand. They’ll work with users that have the highest Klout scores to help advocate their brands. They’ll develop reputation management strategies via social channels to ensure that they’re addressing customer concerns before they go viral. They’ll use social media to develop innovation management strategies. B2B companies will monitor what’s happening with their end customers, even if a distribution channel acts as a middleman. They’ll use social media to recruit the best talent. They’ll use social media to foster lead management. They’ll also include social media in their customer service strategy. After all, ignoring a social channel would be like ignoring a ringing telephone. I was recently at a company where their only channel to provide customer service was via social channels. Imagine that just a few years ago? Social touches everything. #SocialTouchesEverything! And everything it touches, it enhances. We are only constrained by our ability to think of the possibilities. Businesses should budget for and evaluate social software that provides these capabilities, such as Oracle’s Social Relationship Management platform, to gain these advantages.

This blog was written by Oracle's Greg Robinson. Since Greg manages presales for Oracle in North America, he’s in a unique position to see what’s happening across the business and gain insight to what...

Social Media Events

How To Create An Engaging Social Strategy For Conferences

We knew the Modern Customer Experience Conferences in Las Vegas were going to be busy. With roles to play across marketing, commerce, and customer service, our social media game needed to be comprehensive and effective. Oracle Commerce Cloud Content Director Nathan Joynt and I knew exactly what to do: we put Oracle Social Relationship Management (SRM) technology to work for us. The Week Before: Lay The Foundation Listen We started by creating topics to understand what people were saying about Commerce Cloud. After all, marketing begins and ends with listening. I believe in a quantity-and-quality approach, so we deployed a higher number of targeted topics (everything from event hashtags to overall brand keywords), rather than lumping everything together and parsing out the data later (because, in the words of an internet icon—ain’t nobody got time for that). Content With our listening in place, our focus switched to outbound content. Using SRM’s content calendar to distribute posts in balance with other marketing content, Nathan crafted a few messages to go out across Commerce Cloud’s social handles. He was able to develop content before the conference craziness set in, and scheduled it to release at key points during the event. Then he could rest easy knowing his social presence was felt even if he was busy. Tracking Tracking was also a big requirement; Nathan planned to create a post-mortem report to pass up the chain and let our executives know how social moved the needle during the live event. We had two mechanisms within Social Cloud to make sure Nathan had great metrics to share with the higher-ups. First, we set up campaign tracking. Oracle Social Cloud offers a wonderfully simple way to collect quick analytics for campaigns, events, content types, or literally any ‘bucket’ we could imagine. For Modern Commerce, we built tags for specific keynote speakers like Mark Hurd and Troy Carter, which Nathan added to posts about the speakers and during the keynotes. We made sure social didn’t live in a silo by connecting our social data with the overall web strategy through dynamic link tracking. DLT empowers content creators to pre-populate tracking values and parameters, so when posts include links, information is passed automatically to Google Analytics, Omniture, or another third party. (Using this feature feels a bit like having a superpower.) Once we had all the bells and whistles configured in SRM for Modern Commerce, Nathan downloaded the app to his iPhone and got comfortable creating social posts and engaging with inbound conversation on social handles. During: “Automation” Takes Over Modern CX came and went with a flurry of keynotes highlighting Oracle’s commitment to providing the best experiences to Oracle’s customers AND our customer’s customers. Attendees heard influencers like Atom Factory’s Troy Carter extoll the virtues of humanizing brands, building audiences, and engaging authentically. In his inspiring keynote—“Community, Connection, Consumption: Create Great Experience to Build Brand, Sales and Superstardom”—Carter explained: “People remember how you make them feel, whether you’re a celebrity or a business. You need to nurture that relationship.” Among those inspired by this human-focused message at a tech-heavy event, Nathan used the SRM app to spread the word across social channels. Afterwards: What We Learned Combing the results from our pre-conference SRM session, we developed the post-mortem story Nathan could pass up the chain. Web tracking data had been sent automatically to digital, and inbound posts had been addressed or passed directly to service agents. The SRM had performed spectacularly, and now it was our turn to add the human element. Here are some main themes: Unsurprisingly, the most widely discussed topics were the keynote speakers who inspired audiences to re-think how they interact with customers. Influencers were key to engagement. Tweets that mentioned Mark Hurd, Troy Carter or Reggie Bradford got the most traction on Twitter. People engaged more when brands were humanized. Robotic tweets slid effortlessly down the feed, while social content featuring quotes, emojis or excitement experienced higher levels of engagement. Based on those findings, next time we’ll focus on that human element. After all, people come to events like Modern CX to learn and to be inspired; we’ll aim for authenticity in our messaging, encouraging creators to only post content they’d be compelled to share themselves, like the gem below:  "Brands with high customer satisfaction trend higher in stock market performance" @MarkVHurd #OracleCX #CommerceX16 — Oracle Commerce (@OracleCommerce) April 27, 2016 Overall, we learned that human authenticity and sophisticated technology are crucial components to delivering great experiences, and they work best together. Technology, like the holistic automation stacks Hurd endorses, helps businesses implement their CX strategy, but brands will need to evolve to embody a CX vision that engenders loyalty from customers. As a living embodiment of the concept, Nathan developed the social strategy, but leveraged technology to maximize ease of execution, and increased the amount of time he could spend actually enjoying the event.

We knew the Modern Customer Experience Conferences in Las Vegas were going to be busy. With roles to play across marketing, commerce, and customer service, our social media game needed to...

Best Practices

Case Study: #WatchMeNeighNeigh

If you’re not a horse (or mint julep) enthusiast, tomorrow might not be special for you. NBC Sports has plans to change that. For the 2016 Kentucky Derby, NBC Sports has developed a comprehensive, multi-platform social marketing strategy to reach beyond their traditional audience. “It might be the fastest two minutes in sports, but our coverage of the 142nd Kentucky Derby is so much more than just a horse race,” said Lyndsay Signor, senior director of social media marketing for NBC Sports. “Fans can look forward to our most comprehensive Kentucky Derby social media coverage ever—allowing fans to engage with an immersive Derby experience across the entire event—from the social and fashion scene to actual horse racing.” Here’s how they’re going to do it:  Johnny Weir’s Tweet-Powered Brooch Yes, you read that correctly. Johnny Weir, two-time Olympic figure skater and NBC Sports analyst, will wear a brooch that is powered by tweets. In a press release from Monday, NBC Sports said, “as more conversation is generated on Twitter around Johnny’s hat using the hashtag #WatchMeNeighNeigh, the faster the horse will gallop and illuminate.” In case you have been living under a rock, the hashtag is a pun on the song and dance, “Whip/Nae Nae.” NBC Sports is capitalizing on the wearable technology trend.  The Peacock Paddock Rehearsing in the Peacock Paddock for #KyDerby! pic.twitter.com/ZmzcEePpla — NBC Sports (@NBCSports) May 5, 2016 It all starts at the Peacock Paddock, where celebrities will make a horse pick and showcase their fashion on a custom 360 degree stop-motion camera. A 55-inch touch screen monitor will display social media trends and user generated content from Derby parties. Tara Lipinski will be highlighting the Kentucky fashions and Rutledge Wood will interview celebrities for their platforms. Live Video On Periscope And Facebook In addition to the highly produced live TV content, NBC Sports will be live on Periscope and Facebook showcasing the Derby atmosphere. NBC Sports has deployed several small cameras around the Derby to capture the festivities. “For the first time, NBC Sports will utilize Facebook Live on the red carpet, where Wood will interview celebrities for the live stream.” Look for NBC Sports to showcase unique, behind-the-scenes content that captures the unique style of the Kentucky Derby. By expanding their coverage to other platforms, NBC Sports is hoping to reach non-traditional viewers, like casual fashionistas. Snapchat Snapchat says that over 10 billion videos are consumed per day on their platform. Signor told Digiday, “fans may not be able to see our broadcast on TV, so we want to use Snapchat and other social media platforms to drive buzz around our sporting events, reach new people and give our existing fans more content.” NBC Sports’ team of 15 social media pros are populating their Snapchat feed. On race day, they will also have a Live Story. Signor adds, “We continue to experiment with new platforms and enhance our content so we can always raise the bar for the digital and viewing experience for our fans.”

If you’re not a horse (or mint julep) enthusiast, tomorrow might not be special for you. NBC Sports has plans to change that. For the 2016 Kentucky Derby, NBC Sports has developed a comprehensive,...

Oracle Social Life

3 Things We Learned At The Modern CX Conferences

Oracle's Modern Customer Experience Conferences were held in Las Vegas last week. It's essentially four conferences in one: Modern Service Experience, Modern Commerce Experience, Modern Sales Experience, and Modern Marketing Experience. This annual conference brings together thousands of marketers and customer experience (CX) executives from around the globe. For those who weren’t able to attend, here’s a recap of the major themes from the conference, with a special emphasis on social marketing.  Personalization (At Scale) Do you know who your customers are? Not in the demographic sense - in the real sense. Do you know what they need? What they want? What they fear? Kevin Akeroyd, GM and SVP of Oracle Marketing Cloud, opened the Modern Marketing Experience with a video recapping the various forms of technology that have promised to solve this problem over the past 30 years.  And yet, the problem still exists. Ryan Deutsch, DVP of Digital Marketing at Sears, said “personalization at scale is the largest problem facing marketers.” Brands used to be built for massive scale. They wanted to sell as much to as many people as possible - and they did that with one unified marketing message. Now, it is increasingly clear that the only way to sell is with many personalized messages reaching your customers at the right time. Eric Reynolds, Senior Vice President - Chief Marketing Officer of Clorox said, ‘We’ve been doing this for 100 years. Now we have to build a more intimate relationship with 45 million homes.”    Customer Service Really (Really) Matters CEO of Oracle, Mark Hurd, said, “Millennials are now professional complainers.” By that, he means that millennials have high expectations when it comes to customer service. “I didn’t grow up knowing how to complain. I called someone and yelled. I might get a coupon or something. It was one-to-one complaining. Now, you can go one-to many, by using tools like Trip Advisor or Yelp.” Complaining publicly is powerful. If companies provide effective customer service, they can mitigate the damage caused by public complaints.  On the flip side, a positive customer experience will drive sales, too. Author Paul Greenberg told brands, “What you provide me has to be good enough to make me want to continue to act… The best companies are looking at the customer experience from the eyes of the customer.” Think about it - you’re more likely to buy a product that has excellent customer reviews. Providing good customer service is essential. Cummins Inc proved the importance of social customer service by using Six Sigma to prove the business case. If you’re facing pushback from senior employees, Cummins’ Flavio Mello suggests asking, “what’s the ROI of our phone system? Twitter is the new phone. Social media is the new way of communication.” Mark Hurd summed it up best: “The easiest way to grow revenue is to increase customer satisfaction. Deliver better service.”  Set Up Your Social Teams Well  How do you do that? General Motors’ Rebecca Harris emphasized the importance of getting the right people working together. “We got marketing, PR, and customer care people in the same room and figured out what was right for the customer. We defined “swim lanes.” Ensuring that you don’t step on your coworkers’ toes is essential to effective social customer service. Flynne Nathanson of Hornblower added, “getting your teams aligned - and determining who should respond to what, and when - is really important. Especially if it’s something sensitive. Junior people need to know when to escalate a complaint to a senior person.”    .@RayKemper: The key to surviving a social crisis is preparing ahead of time. Put in place a #social action team. #MME16 #pr #smm — Oracle Social (@oraclesocial) April 28, 2016 How do you find the right people for your teams? FamilyShare’s Saul Leal put it simply: “Hire people who are better than you.” FamilyShare doesn’t hire communication majors from college; they hire statisticians, because social data drives their content strategy. “Content is a consequence of the numbers. We rely on analytics.”   Bonus! Practical Video Tips  Here are some tips on how to create good social videos from Vine superstar Zach King:  - Make sure your videos fit your “voice.” Zach’s inspire a sense of wonder, are not offensive, and are cool enough to share.   - Lessen your dependence on dialogue. An international audience can understand it better.  - Videos should be relatable.  - Give your audience something without expecting anything in return. Ask yourself: What value are you contributing to the internet?  - Gather your audience by being on the right platforms. “Learn the heartbeat of the audience.”  - Grow your audience by teaching patterns of viewing. Know what they like, what they’re afraid of, and what they want.     Check out our Instagram for behind the scenes pics and Twitter for memorable quotes from #MME16. We hope to see you next year!     

Oracle's Modern Customer Experience Conferences were held in Las Vegas last week. It's essentially four conferences in one: Modern Service Experience, Modern Commerce Experience, Modern Sales...

Social Media Events

Highlights from Social Media Marketing World, Day Two

For social media marketers who aren’t able to attend Social Media Marketing World, here’s a highlight of the major sessions from Tuesday. In case you missed it, here's what happened on the first day. Keep in mind, it’s physically impossible to go to every interesting session - but we tried! Be sure to follow us on Twitter, Instagram, the Social Spotlight blog, and Facebook for highlights and behind-the-scenes memories.  Measure, Manage and Attribute: Practical Social Media Analytics If you’re anything like me, social media analytics does not come naturally to you. Thankfully, Ian Lurie, CEO and Founder of Portent, broke it down into four steps:  1. Spend all your time learning visitor value. What does your visitor gain from spending time on your site? For a B2C company, it looks like this: average sale x conversion rate x margin = visitor value. With real numbers, here’s how it fits: $10 x 1% x 10% = .01/visitor  2. Tag everything. It’s impossible to go back in time for measurement, so it’s essential that you tag your posts when you create them.  3. Know your attribution.   4. Understand micro conversion. Here’s a good resource.  The bottom line, Ian repeated, is that you don’t have to know it - you have to learn it. The more you do it, the more you will improve your model over time.  Twitter Marketing: How Big Brands Get Even Bigger Results This powerhouse session had representatives from the University of Southern California, Marriott, House of Blues Entertainment & Live Nation, and Oracle. These major brands discussed how they have used Twitter to achieve business goals.  Oracle Marketing Cloud was built from the combination of five big companies, so Lauren Harper discussed the challenges of migrating five brands into one voice. Fundamentally, they needed to tie their Twitter activity to sales. They engaged with both B2B and B2C companies across the globe, so building a unified voice was essential.  Mikey Kilun, who runs social media for Live Nation, says Twitter is about influence - not necessarily the message. He gave the example of the band members One Direction - they may not say something terribly relevant, but it will get tremendous engagement.  On that note, they discovered that tweets that come from the artists perform much better than tweets that come from the venue. They use tailored audiences to do a soft sell; they’ll drive fans to the calendars for major venues and thus, put the power into the fan’s hands.  They also focus heavily on creating emotional content. They want to capture the feeling of what it’s like to be at a show - and that’s what drives sales for them.  Juntae DeLane, Digital Brand Marketer for USC, discussed the importance of creating content that filled the gaps for their students. They told their students to ask questions via Twitter, and then they looked for reoccurring themes and keywords to determine what the kids want. For example, many people wanted to know what dorm life is like, so they created a spoof of MTV’s Cribs. It was very successful. Their fundamental strategy is to utilize social data to create content that addresses the needs of their customers.  Marriott’s Aggie Nixon-Kirschner discussed the importance of creating a seamless experience for the customer. Customers want to tweet and get a resolution; in reality, the path is much more convoluted.  She also emphasized the importance of social listening - especially for misspellings of your brand. When you have a good social listening tool, you can capture what people are trying to communicate to your brand - even if they don’t have the right handle.  Heroic Public Speaking Similar to yesterday, this was another workshop that I popped into on happenstance and was blown away. I strongly recommend watching the recording of the session. (It hasn't posted yet, but will be on the Social Media Marketing World website soon.)  Michael Port is an actor and NY Times best-selling author. He taught us how to give great public presentations. Broadly speaking, focus on what the audience needs. When you think about their experience instead of yours, it’s easier to communicate clearly.  Here are some practical tips:  Do’s:  - Create contrast while speaking. Need dramatic transitions.  - A good story has 3 acts: Exposition, where we learn everything we need to know to understand what’s happening next. Conflict, and then action. The more action, the more conflict is created. Finally, act 3 is the resolution; everything is summed up. It needs to be worth waiting for. As a speaker, you have to drive towards it.  - Rehearse: do it, do it again, and then do more of it. In order to achieve that “natural” look, it takes a lot of preparation.  - A lot of people will say, “slow down.” You don’t necessarily have to do that. You do, however, need to pause. Pauses are what allows you to process someone’s story.  - “Stand and land.” Land the punchline. When you have a big exciting moment in a story, stop moving. It helps to reinforce the message.  Don’ts:  - NEVER Start with housekeeping. Your audience immediately tunes out.  - Don’t say “Let’s get started.” Your speech started either when they saw you out in the hall, or when they saw you standing there on stage.  - Don’t say, “I’m sorry.” Don’t apologize. Immediately the audience says, “this sucks.” - Don’t curse. Just don’t.   - Don’t use “basically, like, sorta…” because those are weak words. - Don’t turn at 90 degrees to the audience. Keep your hips and torso open to the audience.  - Don’t point: don’t do a lot of pointing, too aggressive. Use an open palm. It changes the relationship. - Don’t look down: when you spend a lot of time looking down they see weakness, self doubt.   - Don’t say, “I’m happy to be here.” You don’t need to tell the audience that you’re happy to be here. Show them that you’re happy. It’s filler.  - Don’t say, “that’s a great question!” What does it suggest about the person who asked a question previously? It suggests that they had a bad question. If they participate, they need to be rewarded. Audience participation should be proportionate to the amount of trust that we’ve earned. Don’t ask them to reveal something they may not want to reveal.  - Don’t be back on your heels. Stay on the balls of your toes, moving forward. It creates a different energy.  - Don’t flip your hair. It can get annoying. If it’s covering your eyes or face, you will have trouble connecting. Pull it away so it’s not distracting.   - Don’t touch the mic! So annoying. Be aware of jangly bracelets that make noise too. - Don’t keep going after you’re done. After you’re done, get off the stage.  - Don’t say, “I’m going to tell you a story.” Just tell it. The stories people love are the ones they don’t realize they’re in. not always necessary to have history story. 5 Elements of A Great Speech 1. Create a big idea: This is a performance. It needs to be true for you and the people you serve.  2. Make a promise: tell your audience you will fix something for them.  3. Demonstrate that you understand how the world looks to them.  4. Know the consequences of not adopting the big idea.  5. Demonstrate the rewards. There is no one way to do any of this. If you have a way that works, do it. But make sure you’re being real and authentic.  How to Become a Speaker at SMMW  Dying to get in on the action? Here’s how to become a speaker at Social Media Marketing World. They are looking for people who will help others navigate the social media jungle and lead people to excellence. They want someone who’s willing to stay an extra hour and a half to answer questions. They don’t pay speakers, so you have to be willing to do this to educate your fellow social marketers.  4 Things They Look For:  1. Excellent communicator: You must be a good instructor. You must be inspiring, informed and equipped. Demonstrate to people that “you can do it.” You must practice what you preach, too. You need to demonstrate that you’ve been exercising it in this space.  2. Be a specialist in something they care about: You must focus on tactical execution. Here’s the areas they’re looking for: Facebook Marketing (on Messenger or live video), Twitter Marketing (in ads or live video), Pinterest, Analytics, Snapchat, and Video. 3. Be an expert: Did you write a book? Podcast? Blog frequently and extensively?  4. Does our community know you? Social Media Examiner is a tight knit community. Have you been networking with them? Ideally, they want 3 out of 4.  How Businesses Are Building World-Class Customer Service Customer service on social media is extremely important - but also extremely difficult to do at scale. In this session, representatives from Otterbox, HP, JetBlue and GM discussed how they’ve done it.  Laurie Meacham of JetBlue said they hire people who want to help others. They look for people with deep networks, who know who to reach out to in times of crisis. They have built a team of 25 people on front line in order to provide 24/7 coverage. Their response time is approximately 5 minutes. "If you’re already good at customer service, #social is just another channel." @dgingiss #CXSocial #custserv #SMMW16 — Maggie (@JournoMaggie) April 19, 2016 GM’s Whitney Drake, emphasized the need for good team members as well. “We want problem solvers and people who are interested in our product. They can’t stop at the first response. They need to be able to see it through to the end.” Of course, metrics are a big part of providing good customer service. Laurie’s team doesn’t set KPIs around response time. They prefer to, “engage smart” and take the time to answer the question fully - without the pressure of hitting a number. General Motors measures how long it takes to close cases and how satisfied the customers are at the end of the experience.  What’s the future of social customer care? HP’s Kriti Kapoor said that good social customer service creates differentiation at scale. Companies that do social customer service well are going to be more successful than others. Social media can be a great venue for feedback - they will look at online reviews for future product development. Whitney Drake echoed that sentiment, adding that text mining tools will become increasingly important in the future. Otterbox’s Jessica Mack discussed the growth of live video; they’re already using Periscope and Snapchat to do “unboxing” of new products.  If you want to learn more about social service, check out this eBook.  In Conclusion...  Get comfortable with live video. Get smarter about your analytics, because you'll need to prove it down the road. Don't be afraid to experiment, either. It's social - have fun! 

For social media marketers who aren’t able to attend Social Media Marketing World, here’s a highlight of the major sessions from Tuesday. In case you missed it, here's what happened on the first day....

Social Media Events

Recap of Social Media Marketing World - Day One

For social media marketers who aren’t able to attend Social Media Marketing World, here’s a highlight of the major sessions from Monday. Keep in mind, it’s physically impossible to go to every interesting session - but we tried! Be sure to follow us on Twitter, Instagram, the Social Spotlight blog, and Facebook for highlights and behind-the-scenes memories.  How to Double your ROI with FB Video Ads The morning started off with some heavy hitting content. Rick Mulready led with a shocker: don’t boost your posts. Yes, you read that right - don’t boost your posts. If a piece of content is successful, turn it into an actual advertisement.  Facebook is going all in on video, Rick says. Use that knowledge to create great videos, and then test them against each other. A lot of marketers have customer testimonials on hand - turn those into Facebook ads.  It’s important to remember the mindset of a Facebook user. They’re casual. They’re on the platform to share with their friends and family - not shop. You must “lead with value.” Be fun! 47% of value was delivered in the first three seconds of video, Rick said, citing a Forrester report. Here are his concrete tips for Facebook video:  - Use those first three seconds to catch your viewer’s attention, visually.  - Use the next 15-45 seconds to plant a seed for a solution that you have.  - Seconds 45-90 should be a call to action.  - Upload video directly to Facebook, in order to track the statistics.  - Caption your video. It increases view time by 12.4%.  - Choose your targeting wisely. This is how he ordered the targeting, from warmest to coldest (most effective to least effective): retargeting website / landing page visitors, email list, Facebook fans, lookalike website, lookalike email, lookalike Facebook fans, interest, behaviors, and simple demographics.  Unleash Twitter’s Marketing Power: 5 Insider Tips  In data we trust! Although some people have been sounding the death knell for Twitter, it is far from over, said author Neal Schaffer.  Twitter is still the third largest, Neal said, because Twitter bridges b2b and b2c. “Twitter is open. You don’t need to pay to play. It allows companies to be found.” Neal offered these tips for marketers:  #TweetLikeADJ: Radio stations deliver content that listeners want to hear 24/7. They mix ads in sparingly, in a non obtrusive way. Rather than the 80/20 rule, he proposes a 9-1-1-rule: post 9x content of others (advocates, influencers, customers, partners, fans); 1x your content that adds value; and 1x promotional content. Most importantly, if you’re off air, you won’t get found. Twitter is a frequency game. #OwnYourHashtag: The hashtag is a mainstream tool for being found. Find a good role model (a leader in the industry) and then look at the hashtags they’re using. When you calculate their share of voice, that will give you a good idea of what is working. You can manage your content according to hashtags. Tweet x hashtag x times per month. By using different hashtags for your ebooks, guest blogs, Linkedin slideshare, events, and podcasts, you can reach new audiences.   #DatabaseYourTwitter: Use Twitter lists to discover potential customers, reach out to influencers, and discover industry information. Make some lists public, which promotes people to engage with you. Make your customer list private. #BecomeTheInfluencer: Become someone to follow. Klout scores are not perfect, but it’s a place to start determining who is important to work with. Create Twitter lists from influencers and share their content. It’s a snowball effect - the more followers you get, the more people will want to share your content, the more influencers want to work with you… you get the drift.  #LeverageTheDM: Direct messages can be very effective, but you have to follow the rules. Those are:  1. You must have a relationship with this person - don’t be creepy. 2. You must have a personalized message - don’t spray and pray.  3. You must be relevant. Provide solutions to the right people.  How To Be Authentic on Video:  Honestly, I attended this session on a whim - generally speaking, I feel pretty comfortable in front of the camera. However, I had a couple of minutes between lunch and my next session, so I stopped in. I was blown away. Actor David H Lawrence XVII led a hands on workshop and here are my notes:  Tips for on-camera:   - Put your left shoulder forward. We read left to right in English, so on camera, it reads as if you’re leaning in affectionately.  - Smile - don’t let lights throw you.Your words sound different when you smile, so do it.  - Mic yourself well so you can speak like a human. Don’t shout at people. That’s weird. - Have a “home base” posture. Hold your hands in front of your body, lightly gripping your fingers together. Don’t point, that’s too aggressive.  - Be interested. You’ll be more interesting.  - When working with real cameras (and not cell phones) do not look at the front of the lens - look through it, to the back plane of the camera. It will come across as though you’re looking directly into the eyes of the viewer.  - Be comfortable with your flaws. Edit yourself as lightly as possible. People want to see who you really are - not who you think they want to see. 

For social media marketers who aren’t able to attend Social Media Marketing World, here’s a highlight of the major sessions from Monday. Keep in mind, it’s physically impossible to go to every...

Oracle Social Life

This Week In Social: April 11 - April 15

We get it - you’re a busy social media marketer. When you’re not responding to emails, creating content, or having a life outside of work, it’s impossible to stay on top of it all.  That’s where we come in. We’re starting a new series called This Week In Social which will highlight the most important news in social media. Click “Subscribe to Email Updates” so you never miss an article.  We’re plugged in 24-7, so you don’t have to be.  F8 2016  Facebook’s annual global developer conference, F8, was packed with new information. Facebook announced the integration of bots with Messenger. CEO Mark Zuckerberg laid out the 10 year plan for Facebook development, which is heading in the direction of artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and connectivity. CTO Mike Schroepfer went into detail on these topics on the second day. Facebook’s “Newsroom” has links to the keynotes and snaps from the conference.  Twitter Secrets From An Apple Genius  Tai Tran, the 22 year old who’s leading Apple’s customer service handle, @AppleSupport, is also teaching a social media class at UC Berkeley. Here are some of his course materials. Business Insider highlighted some of the interesting details too.  Instagram Adds Videos To Explore Channels  Instagram has added a “Videos You Might Like” to their Explore section. As their blog describes, “the more you like, the better Explore gets, adjusting to your preferences and showing you more of the stuff you enjoy.”  Heartwarming: Social Media Provides Comfort in Aftermath of Earthquake   We’ve all seen the reports - too much social media can lead to depression and anxiety. However, there are two sides to every story. In the wake of an earthquake in Japan, social media connected victims with their families and raised spirits. “Everybody sent them round through other social networking apps and we got messages back that really cheered us up under there,” said 19 year old Hiroki Nishimura, who was buried under his home.    We are at the Social Media Marketing World conference this week, so make sure you're following us for the latest information! 

We get it - you’re a busy social media marketer. When you’re not responding to emails, creating content, or having a life outside of work, it’s impossible to stay on top of it all.  That’s where we...

Best Practices

You Asked, They Answered: How Southwest Airlines Does Social Customer Service

At South by Southwest, we held a session called, "Is Twitter The New Customer Call Center?" where we discussed how major brands provide customer service on social media. So many people stayed afterwards to ask questions that we decided to have a follow up conversation with Southwest Airlines to discuss their specific social service plan in detail.  Maggie Schneider Huston, Senior Content Manager, Oracle Social Cloud: How is your social team organized? How do you handle the volume of comments?  Sean Gourlay, Social Care Specialst, Southwest Airlines: Our Social Customer Care Team consists of 30 Representatives, 3 Team Leaders, and 1 Assistant Manager. The team addresses customer comments, questions, complaints, and compliments received within Southwest Airlines social media channels. The Social Customer Care Team is well versed in company policies and procedures and has the tools to assist our customers with everything ranging from reservations and baggage to a customer’s frequent flier account. Additionally, the team can handle virtually any inquiry without needing to escalate or direct the customer to another channel or department for service, increasing the speed at which the customer is served. The team operates 24/7 with staff positioned within the Southwest Airlines Listening Center, Network Operations Control, and Customer Relations/Rapid Rewards Department. MSH: What skills are necessary to be a great social customer service provider? What do you look for when you hire someone new?  SG: In the world of social media, writing is an essential skill. It’s important for us to clearly articulate our message to our customers as we like to be open and transparent with them. Also, you need to have a heart for hospitality. When we engage with our customers, we want them to feel welcomed and appreciated, and having the mindset of acting as an advocate for our customers, we’re able to offer that high level of hospitality. When we look for individuals to join our team, one of the first things we look at is attitude. We can always work on fine tuning certain skills, but we can’t change attitudes. We want individuals who work with a servant’s heart, display a positive attitude, and have a passion for both customer service and social media.  MSH: How do train your team so they speak with one unified "Southwest Airlines” voice? SG: When we train new team members, we emphasize our company’s hospitality initiative. We know that if we follow the Golden Rule, treat others as you would like to be treated, we’ll naturally speak from the heart to our customers. Our online Southwest Voice continues to evolve and we like speak to our online customers as if we are having a conversation with them. We try not to be generic or “stuffy." MSH: What returns have you seen from your social efforts? What is the ROI of social customer service? SG: We focus on what our customers are saying back to us. One great element of social media is that you receive instant feedback on how you “performed." Our customers are quick to point out if their experience with us was good or bad which allows us to make changes as needed. We are really focusing on our response times. By doing so, we have the opportunity to stop an inquiry from escalating to one of our traditional channels such as telephone or email. Also, as our customer base expands, we have found that some customers prefer to contact us via social versus our traditional telephone and email channels. We are providing this channel not to replace the other channels, but to adapt to our customer’s preferences. MSH: What advice do you have for brands that are just starting to use social for customer service?  SG: Listen to what your customers are saying and engage with them. Customers love when brands respond to them because it lets them know that you care and they are valued. Also, don’t try to do everything all at once. Take time to train employees and develop your online voice and internal processes. The other big thing is to provide timely responses. Customers are reaching out to you on social because they know they should hear back from your quickly. MSH: Can you give me an example of a time when social customer service helped your brand immensely?  SG: Here is a recent example of how we used social to help our customers during a major winter storm. Our Social Customer Care Team partnered with our Social Business Team to proactively keep our customers updated on the winter storm and the impact to our operations. We also had all hands on deck to serve the customers who were impacted. MSH: How do you handle a social media mistake? How do you prevent one?  SG: We’re fortunate that we haven’t had to deal with any social media mistakes. Our team is very conscientious of every response they send, and we have great social media management tool that helps prevent mistakes.      Have a question for Southwest Airlines? Reach out to them on Twitter or Facebook. 

At South by Southwest, we held a session called, "Is Twitter The New Customer Call Center?" where we discussed how major brands provide customer service on social media. So many people stayed...

Social + Customer Service

Stand Out By Adding Social To The Customer Experience

In a blue ocean of competitors, new products, and informed consumers, brands struggle to stand out. So how does a brand stay on top of customers’ minds, build loyalty and attract new prospects while also staying competitive and innovative? The answer is by giving the customer an exceptional experience.  I know what you are thinking. This is not a ground-breaking revelation. And you are correct; there is a wealth of information that supports the importance of the customer experience. There’s even a fancy industry term, CRM, which means customer relationship management, to separate the outsiders from the cognoscenti.  However, I am talking about enhancing the end-to-end customer lifecycle with social media. Regardless if your company is B2C or B2B, you can enhance the overall experience for your customer. And if it wasn’t obvious earlier—this is not a “nice to have” offering, this is a “must have” to stay competitive. If you are still wondering why the customer experience is important, consider these stats: In just a few years 89% of businesses will compete mainly on customer experience. Gartner By 2020, the customer will manage 85% of its relationship with an enterprise without interacting with a human. Gartner By 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator. Walker 74% of consumers have spent more due to good customer service. American Express Global Customer Service Barometer Three out of four consumers have spent more with a business due to a history of good customer service. American Express Global Customer Service Barometer 78% of consumers have bailed on a transaction or not made an intended purchase because of a poor service experience. American Express Now that we are on the same page on how critical the customer experience is to your business, let’s look at the connection between Customer Experience + Social Media: Customers who encounter positive social customer care experiences are nearly 3 times more likely to recommend a brand. HBR 42% of people will tell their friends about a good customer experience on social; 53% will talk about a bad one. American Express Global Customer Service Barometer Failure to respond via social channels can lead to a 15% increase in the churn rate. Gartner When companies engage and respond to customer service requests over social media, those customers spend 20% to 40% more money with the company than other customers do. Bain. Social plays a big role in the overall customer experience. Customers expect companies to know their individual needs, respond quickly and personalize the customer experience. Social media is the key to unlocking the great experience customers expect.  I mentioned that social can be applied to both a B2C and B2B, and fits well in any industry. For this example, let’s use a B2C bank:  Social’s Role in the CX Journey Market Research: Understanding customer sentiment, satisfaction and loyalty around your brand is a cornerstone to CX strategy. Banks may be curious to learn about the average banking consumer’s financial literacy needs, buying interests and banking behaviors – ideally, sorted by demographic and geographic status. A robust social listening tool will provide the insights needed to inform CX strategy. Build Awareness: Use insights from market research to enhance content that builds awareness of a brand’s offerings, branch locations, promotions, financial education materials, charitable work, etc. Be strategic by distributing on the networks and online sources customers use. Leverage the consumer’s preferred language, keywords and topics of interest to gain their attention. Engage: Content that is on point with consumer’s interests encourages customers to engage with posts, and enables the bank to start building a relationship. Studies find that 62% of consumers are more likely to become a loyal customer if a brand engages with them on social, and 83% say they liked—or even loved—when a company responded to them on social.  Publishing relevant content and industry information positions the bank as a resource or trusted thought leader. Additionally, the bank can engage with conversations not necessarily directed at them but around applicable topics, providing insights and resources (not soliciting) to prospects and customers, setting the foundation for a relationship and establishing the bank as a trusted resource. Lead Generation: Using social listening, the bank can identify opportunities to target prospects for specific services and offerings. They can also create campaigns that enable prospects to take action or notify the bank of interest in a specific service (such as a car loan, mortgage, etc.). For example, a link to a landing page with a sign-up sheet for information about a low interest loan can be published and promoted on social networks to actively collect qualified leads. Social Care/Customer Service: Engagement on social channels helps the bank answer questions for reluctant or confused prospects, and can operate as an avenue to address issues. After all, 90% of consumer buying decisions are influenced by social media, 42% expect a response from a brand on social in under 60 minutes and 30% prefer social media over a call to customer service. Once the prospect has become a customer or the customer has signed up for a new service, the customer can connect with the bank in their preferred method, either by reaching out to the account rep or service agent via email, phone or social. The objective is to provide every opportunity for the customer to address and resolve the issue in a timely manner. According to UserIQ, when an issue arises with a purchase, 70% of customers will continue to do business with a brand if the issue is resolved. That number shot to 91% when the issue is addressed right away. Please note, to meet all federal financial institution regulations, the bank needs to use a social tool that can protect their customer’s information, such as a solution with listening and engagement automations and monitors. Sales/Sales Reps: Leads that are passed on to sales reps (or in this scenario an account rep), can be nurtured on social networks, as the reps learn about their prospects and build relationships with customers by supplying and discussing content, as well as answering questions. Advocacy: A customer who has had an exceptional experience with the bank is more likely to talk about it. More than 80 percent of customers will use word of mouth to positively influence purchasing decisions, so you want happy customers talking about your brand. Advocates not only amplify the bank’s social reach, but also attract new prospects since their endorsement has 8 to 10 times more impact than an ad or content that comes from the bank itself. Real Life Example When it comes to enhancing the customer experience with social, Oracle enables brands to really shine. For example, Spark New Zealand, a telecommunication and ICT products company in New Zealand, was going through a rebranding back in 2014. Spark wanted to help its personal and business customers unleash their creative and productive potential through its innovative products and service. So Spark selected Oracle’s Cloud solutions to carry out this monumental objective. Shortly after launching Oracle Social Engagement and Monitoring Cloud Service’s Spark customers received a 20% faster response to their feedback, which was due the advanced semantic listening capabilities that optimized the routing of relevant insights (such as customer complaints and issues) to the right team. Along with an enhanced social listening, engagement, and customer service, the brand also gained a competitive advantage by automating social listening. Spark New Zealand gained actionable insight into products and services ratings, enabling them to evaluate priorities and focus on more important initiatives, such as implementing an enterprise-wide “voice of the customer” program to identify the top five customer issues. Thanks to Oracle’s Social Cloud and its hard working staff, Spark received recognition from SocialBakers as the 2015 “Top Socially Devoted Brand” in their New Zealand Social Marketing Report.  What will your brand be able to accomplish by adding social to the customer experience?  

In a blue ocean of competitors, new products, and informed consumers, brands struggle to stand out. So how does a brand stay on top of customers’ minds, build loyalty and attract new prospects while...

Oracle Social Life

This Week In Social: April 4 - April 8, 2016

We get it - you’re a busy social media marketer. When you’re not responding to emails, creating content, or having a life outside of work, it’s impossible to stay on top of it all.  That’s where we come in. We’re starting a new series called This Week In Social which will highlight the most important news in social media. Click “Subscribe to Email Updates” so you never miss an article.  We’re plugged in 24-7, so you don’t have to be.  How Many People Are On Social Media Every Month? Why, that’s a very good question - and one that’s incredibly valuable when proving your point over a few drinks. Social Times published the monthly active user list created by Justin Kerby of Cave Social.  NFL Will Stream Thursday Night Games On Twitter  The New York Times reports that Twitter will pay about $15 million to stream 10 Thursday night games this season. It is unclear how the games will appear on individual streams.  Facebook Uses Artificial Intelligence To Describe Images For Visually Impaired Coming on the heels of last week’s announcement from Twitter, this is another boost for the visually impaired. According to Facebook’s blog, the new feature will be available on both mobile and desktop devices. Shaomei Wu wrote, “automatic alternative text, or automatic alt text, is a new development that generates a description of a photo using advancements in object recognition technology. People using screen readers on iOS devices will hear a list of items a photo may contain as they swipe past photos on Facebook.” Read more about the technology here.  Facebook Live Rolls Out To Everyone   Live video streaming on Facebook was released to public figures last summer, but it was just announced that anyone can use this feature. Instead of posting content that was created in the past, users can share video as it is happening with their friends and followers. There are more details here. Check out Oracle Social on Facebook too - we go live from events! Even More Business-Friendly Updates To Facebook Messenger  According to Facebook’s David Marcus, Messenger now has 900 million monthly active users that send over 1 billion messages every month. Last week, they announced KLM’s integration with Messenger. On Thursday, Facebook announced they are adding Messenger Codes, Usernames, and Links. Read the details from Social Times here.

We get it - you’re a busy social media marketer. When you’re not responding to emails, creating content, or having a life outside of work, it’s impossible to stay on top of it all.  That’s where we...

Thought Leaders

10 Years Later: Catching Up With Former Vitrue CEO Reggie Bradford  

Ten years ago, Vitrue, the company that would become the cornerstone of Oracle’s Social Cloud, was created. Vitrue was ahead of its time. Led by Reggie Bradford, current Oracle SVP, it took an opening in the marketplace - social brand management - and built the industry’s leading SaaS-based social relationship management program. Today, we sat down with Reggie to discuss what the next 10 years could look like for social business innovation.   Maggie Schneider Huston, Senior Content Manager, Oracle Social Cloud: These past 10 years have been exceptional. What have you seen happen in the social marketing and social business space? How has social matured?  Reggie Bradford, Senior Vice President, Oracle: If you go back to the very beginning, we had a vision that hinged around more people discovering information based on recommendations from peer or a friend. Social networks fueled and amplified that. Nine out of 10 people were buying products based on recommendations - but brands had no way to engage or influence that conversation. Vitrue was formed to help brands do that. Another major part of my thought process revolved around the democratization of content. Any kid could set up a camera, shoot a video and share across the world. I knew that would have a profound impact on all industries. Some of the early social networks, like Myspace and Friendster, were tapping into this desire for consumers to connect and share. It wasn’t until 2008 that Facebook started to develop partnerships with brands and marketers. I saw Sheryl Sandberg in the fall of 2008, with the simple idea that Facebook was keeping up with the needs of 20 million consumers. We wanted to build software to help brands manage their presence on Facebook. Fast forward to 2009, and Facebook opened up Pages. We were one of the first platforms to work with brands to help manage their Facebook Pages. We added content management, analytics, and grew our platform so brands could manage their presence across Twitter, Youtube, Google+, LinkedIn… basically, anywhere a consumer eyeball was, we wanted to be.  In 2012, Vitrue was acquired by Oracle. We knew that the world was becoming “flatter,” and we needed a global organization to scale us into the world. Oracle gave us that. Oracle saw the importance social would play for organizations. After we were acquired, Oracle bought Collective Intellect and Involver. We were combined into one single platform (Oracle’s SRM) that provides social publishing, analytics, listening and sentiment analysis to understand the conversations people are having around your brand. When you go global, you need to be able to speak the language of the natives - and the SRM can analyze 30 languages and growing, including slang with LSA.  A big change I’ve seen is the expansion of the marketing technology space and the growth of the cloud. In 2011, there were 100 vendors in Scott Brinker’s now famous marketing technology landscape infographic. In 2016, there are almost 4000. That presents a unique challenge for CMOs. We’ve taken the Social Cloud and created integration points with the Oracle Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud and Data Cloud. This is the wave of the future. All of these clouds will become more harmonious. We’ve also integrated with 3rd party apps to build out a robust applications marketplace to meet and exceed the ever-evolving needs of our customers.  MSH: Where do you think we’re going in the next 10 years?  RB: Social data is going to be more liquid and integrated into business applications. Cross-channel data will help marketers create a single view of the customer. Third party and customer data - from their own internal systems - will enrich it even more. Going forward into the future, there’s some very exciting technology that will enhance this data. Messaging platforms are growing very quickly - and they’re very geographically diversified. Additionally the innovation around AI will usher in a new era of sophisticated automation, like with chatbots, using technology and algorithms to enable brands to have a true global one-to-one relationship with their customer. Another area of growth is the Internet of Things. Biometric, device and geolocation data will create richer and more robust experiences for consumers going forward.  Social is creating massive amounts of data, but a relatively small amount of it is actually being used right now. One of the biggest challenges facing marketers is unlocking all the available data and making it accessible and actionable in an elegant UI system. You can call it the “democratization of data.” Data from social media gives that a tremendous lift. Marketers will be able to create more personalized experiences for their customers.  Employee advocacy will grow, too. As consumers, they’re increasingly creating content. They’re already on social networks posting images and video. Talking about your brand on your behalf is a natural extension of this. If you give them the right tools and capability, they’ll build your brand on your behalf. It goes back to what I was saying about people buying from friends. If they trust a friend’s recommendation on a restaurant, they’ll also trust a friend’s recommendation on a company.  MSH: What are some hurdles that could get in the way?  RB: Trust and credibility are hallmarks of social marketing. This medium requires authenticity. If a consumer doesn’t believe that you can keep their data safe, they won’t do business with you; but if they do trust you, you can build that relationship. For example, I use Waze. I give up my geolocation, so I get 15 minutes back in my commute. Younger adults are very comfortable exchanging data for a customized experience. I also believe there’s still a lack of understanding at the senior levels around social business capabilities. The next generation has grown up in this social world and really understands the behaviors and norms. Future leaders will be well positioned because they worked in this category. MSH: What advice do you have for entrepreneurs?  RB: This is what I always say: first, find a big, disruptive market opportunity. Second, solve a real problem. Finally, choose good people to work with. Surround yourself with people that have a common vision and similar values.

Ten years ago, Vitrue, the company that would become the cornerstone of Oracle’s Social Cloud, was created. Vitrue was ahead of its time. Led by Reggie Bradford, current Oracle SVP, it took an opening...

Best Practices

Part 3: Common Social Listening Mistakes (You're Probably Making)

Common Listening Mistakes You’re Probably Making is a blog series written by guest contributor Whitney Durmick. Whitney has empowered hundreds of SRM customers to use social listening creatively and effectively to drive tangible business results. Last week we discussed the dangers of an undefined social listening strategy. Tuesday we discussed what tools work best for social listening and your "frenemy," sentiment analysis. Today, we’ll continue to discuss common listening mistakes, focusing on functionality and implementation.  Common Mistake #5: You’re not listening for context Spending endless time and resources manually adjusting sentiment on posts they identify as miscategorized is both time consuming and myopic. Few platforms offer true “machine learning,” so the changes you make won’t stick, and you’ll need to keep manually cleaning to maintain consistency in your reporting. Until a computer can reliably recognize human sarcasm, slang, and ever-changing language tics, seek out a more personalized measure of conversational tone. With their robust approach to conversational context, social indicators can be customized to surface social posts with any connotation. Like a search within a search, social indicators help you move past the binary system of sentiment to uncover actual intent with literally endless possibilities. For instance, posts about your advertising can be unearthed from within your searches, or mentions of your brand versus a competitor. Real examples of indicators include: brand switching, purchase intent, brand reputation, customer service and loyalty. As an example, think of the pest control industry. An exterminator named Mike launches a social listening campaign, and lets the search run for a few days. When he checks back, he is shocked to see his sentiment is overwhelmingly negative. He thinks he must be doing something wrong, until he looks at the messages that have been captured. “Mike’s Exterminators wiped out all those nasty critters!” “I can’t believe Mike’s annihilated every creepy crawly in my basement.” “Mike’s Exterminators are my favorite serial murderers!” Based on traditional sentiment analysis, words like “nasty” “annihilated” “creepy” “murderers” are all going to be filed under negative. So Mike builds a custom social indicator around keywords that have a positive connotation in his industry, and begins to analyze his brand conversation with contextual, qualitative analysis. Common Mistake #6: Your listening lives in a silo Your social media strategy should aim to incorporate the power of social conversation into multiple lines of business. If you’re only using listening for brand insights or to avoid PR disasters, you’re not tapping the potential of what Yorkshire Building Society’s social media manger Richard Bassinder calls “your largest focus group.” Consider expanding your listening searches to capture conversation on your competitors to create an informed SWOT analysis. Track some aspirational brands to see what they’re doing well. Set up categorical queries to track trends in your industry. Monitor product mentions to pass along to R&D for course corrections. You’re doing yourself (and your customers) a disservice if you limit social media to the marketing department. Common Mistake #7: You’re Not Using Listening for Customer Service The next big thing in social media management is social customer service. Today’s empowered consumers expect to engage with brands on their preferred networks, and will voice their disappointment and even switch brands if they do not receive a positive customer service experience on social channels. [Infographic] Many businesses are already reaping the rewards of increased loyalty and faster issue resolution with customer service at the speed of social. Michael Nagel, Web and Social Media Manager at Cummins Inc. affirms, “If you’re serious about providing great customer service I don’t think you can ignore how social media fits into your overall customer care strategy. In 2016, social media is to customer support what email and online forms were in the late 1990s and early 2000s.” Ignoring a request for customer service assistance on a social channel is like ignoring a ringing phone in your call center. Empower your social and customer service teams with tools and processes to surface high priority posts across the social web for the transparent, timely resolution customers expect. Conclusion The path to efficient, actionable social listening is not without obstacles. But with a thoughtful approach and powerful tools, brands can leverage the incredible power of social media to connect with their customers, build loyalty and drive real results.   Social media aims to make our world more connected, not less. And social management platforms are supposed to make our lives easier, not more difficult. Utilize a social platform that supports your unique business goals by asking the right questions before you commit. Check out the eBook Six Questions to Ask a Social Vendor for more ideas.

Common Listening Mistakes You’re Probably Making is a blog series written by guest contributor Whitney Durmick. Whitney has empowered hundreds of SRM customers to use social listening creatively and...

Best Practices

Part 2: Common Social Listening Mistakes (You're Probably Making)

Common Listening Mistakes You’re Probably Making is a blog series written by guest contributor Whitney Durmick. Whitney has empowered hundreds of SRM customers to use social listening creatively and effectively to drive tangible business results. Last week we discussed the dangers of an undefined social listening strategy. Today, we’ll continue to discuss common listening mistakes, focusing on functionality and implementation.   Common Mistake #3: You’re using too many platforms Facebook. Twitter. Tweetdeck. LinkedIn. Instagram. Google Alerts. With today’s saturated social space, and a plethora of platforms designed to listen to social content, even the most type-A among us can become overwhelmed. Brands could consider dedicating an entire resource to crawling social sites for relevant mentions, but even a singularly focused resource can burn out, or take a vacation, or just miss a relevant post. A listening platform that aggregates your relevant mentions into a single, intuitive dashboard takes minimizes much of that manual process. From there, a system of automatic alerts for high priority conversations (like customer service posts or content that could impact your brand’s reputation) can be leveraged to stay on top of rising issues, and automated email digest systems can deliver the insights you need directly to your inbox. Trim the fat to take advantage of our modern technology with fewer, stronger systems that work for you. Argentinian food producer Arcor noticed increased efficiency with the deployment of Oracle Social Cloud, consolidating incoming communications from a wide array of global channels to inform their content, analytics and customer service operations from a single platform.    Common Mistake #4: You’re putting too much focus on sentiment This might be an unpopular opinion, but I’m going to take a stand and say that sentiment is your frenemy. (For the uninitiated, the hallowed semantic institution Urban Dictionary defines a frenemy as ‘an enemy disguised as a friend’).   Sentiment identifies tone of conversation as positive, neutral or negative, and has been a longstanding measure of success or failure for brands listening socially. While sentiment seems friendly at first, it will ultimately drive you crazy unless you define your relationship very carefully. Standard sentiment relies on algorithms to identify tonality in an ever-evolving human language. Notice the word “sick” in these sample posts: That catch in the endzone was sick! #NFL Have you ever seen such sickening behavior?! Let’s hope her sickness isn’t contagious lol That simple four-letter word could just as commonly be used to describe an ailing relative, or a reprehensible person, or an impressive display of athletic prowess. Each use is technically correct, and each is very different in tone. An old-school sentiment engine might label each of the sample posts as “negative” due to the common understanding of the word, even though we know intuitively the post about the touchdown grab is positive, commentary on the behavior is quite negative, and the mention of a sickness could go either way. Of course, understanding how people react to your brand on social channels remains crucially important. A surge in negative mentions suggests an opportunity for course correction or PR communication, while a positive trend reinforces your marketing strategy. Instead of obsessing over the tonality of individual posts, try measuring sentiment as a trend over time. Leverage the consistency of sentiment algorithms by accepting that some posts may be misidentified, and factor those in as part of the overall trend to save both time and resources. Once you establish a baseline of positive and neutral conversations, you’ll be able to notice significant changes and react accordingly.       Social media aims to make our world more connected, not less. And social management platforms are supposed to make our lives easier, not more difficult. Utilize a social platform that supports your unique business goals by asking the right questions before you commit. Check out the eBook Six Questions to Ask a Social Vendor for more ideas.

Common Listening Mistakes You’re Probably Making is a blog series written by guest contributor Whitney Durmick. Whitney has empowered hundreds of SRM customers to use social listening creatively and...

Oracle Social Life

This Week In Social: March 28 - April 1, 2016

We get it - you’re a busy social media marketer. When you’re not responding to emails, creating content, or having a life outside of work, it’s impossible to stay on top of it all.  That’s where we come in. We’re starting a new series called “This Week In Social” which will highlight the most important news in social media. Click “Subscribe to Email Updates” so you never miss an article.  We’re plugged in 24-7, so you don’t have to be.    Instagram Algorithm Panic   We’ve known for some time that Instagram is changing their newsfeed from a chronological order to a preference algorithm. Although nothing has changed yet, many brands asked their followers to turn on notifications on their posts. For example, if you turned notifications on for Oracle Social, you’d get a push notification on your phone every time we posted to Instagram.    It takes 2 seconds and guarantees you'll always see us. Click on the three dots, select "turn on post notifications" and relax. 😎 #lifeatoracle #socialmedia #socialmediamarketing A video posted by Oracle Social (@oraclesocial) on Mar 28, 2016 at 9:40am PDT Read more from Fortune here.  Instagram Adds 60 Second Videos   According to Instagram, “in the last six months, the time people spent watching video increased by more than 40%.” In response, they’re increasing the length of videos on Instagram from 15 seconds to 60 seconds.    Happy #aprilfools day!! We pranked one of our favorite designers @byjad. 😎😂😄 have fun today! #aprilfoolsday #aprilfool #april1st #lifeatoracle #funatwork #worklife A video posted by Oracle Social (@oraclesocial) on Apr 1, 2016 at 7:46am PDT Read more from Instagram’s blog here.  Snapchat Expands Chat  Snapchat’s “Chat 2.0” released on Wednesday. It’s a major overhaul to the social networking app. They’ve added over 200 stickers, GIF-like videos, audio notes, video and audio calls, and much more.  Read TechCrunch’s summary and review here.   Twitter Makes Images More Accessible For Visually Impaired  “Photos have been at the center of some of the biggest moments on Twitter. As a core part of the Twitter experience, it’s important that the images shared on our platform are accessible to everyone, including those who are visually impaired.” - Todd Kloots, Twitter Staff Engineer. This update is also available through the API, so publishers can take advantage of this as well. Read more from the announcement here. Facebook Messenger Integrates With KLM  When you book a flight with KLM, you can receive your booking confirmation, check-in notification, boarding pass and flight status updates on Facebook’s Messenger. This is the beginning of a larger push by Facebook to turn Messenger into a one-stop-shop for social commerce and customer service. Read KLM’s post here and Social Media Today’s analysis here. Facebook Data From Unmetric - Most People Still Just “Like” Posts   Do you “love” that photo of your friend’s cat, or just “like” it? Data from Oracle Social partner Unmetric shows that most people just “like” posts, even after Facebook Reactions launched about a month ago. Read the full article here.  Facebook: Video Ads Coming to Instant Articles   By placing one additional video ad unit at the bottom of every Instant Article, publishers estimate that ad impressions will increase by 20%.  Read more from the Wall Street Journal here and an in-depth analysis from Digiday here.

We get it - you’re a busy social media marketer. When you’re not responding to emails, creating content, or having a life outside of work, it’s impossible to stay on top of it all.  That’s where we...

Best Practices

Common Social Listening Mistakes (You’re Probably Making)

Common Listening Mistakes (You’re Probably Making) is a blog series written by guest contributor Whitney Durmick. Whitney has empowered hundreds of SRM customers to use social listening creatively to drive tangible business results.  Social listening is quite possibly the best way to understand and engage with your audience. But with billions of messages created every day on millions of unique platforms, the task of listening for relevant content is more than daunting. With effective tools and a clear-cut strategy, however, social listening can become your greatest ally. From brand analysis to trend tracking, competitive analysis to campaigns, social listening delivers the insights of a focus group at a massive scale.  While no “right” way to listen to social channels exists, there are many common obstacles on the road to actionable social insights. Avoid these, and you’ll be able to cut through social noise and leverage data to optimize your decision-making.   Common Mistake #1: You’re Not Listening Strategically The first step in launching a social listening strategy is determining how you’ll use the data. I’ve heard brands start a listening effort with the weak affirmation that they don’t know what they don’t know. That’s fine, but I’ll task them with brainstorming what they would like to know. If you otherwise feel overwhelmed by the prospect of social listening, start with what part of your audience, industry or reputation you want to understand better. The process requires some forethought: are you listening for brand awareness? Competitive intelligence and SWOT analysis?  Tracking your latest campaign? The goals you set at this phase will inform how you configure and deploy your searches. In that way, listening is a bit like fishing. To catch a certain type of fish, you should know a few good spots, and you’ll need the right bait. Your searches should be consistent with your goals. For instance, don’t create a broad search for every single iteration of your brand name if you’re hoping to discover how people are talking about your recent hashtag campaign. (That’s like using a head of broccoli to lure a Great White.) The results of that brand-focused search will return everything—general mentions, comparisons to competitors, even your own marketing content—making it difficult to use the data for real insights. Instead, try launching multiple searches, each with sharper focus. Want to learn about how people are reacting to your hashtag? Build a single search around just the hashtag, giving you direct access to the overall themes of conversation specific to the campaign and saving you precious time on analysis.   Common Mistake #2: You’re Listening Too Much Now that you’re thinking purposefully about the content of your queries, let’s talk magnitude. Some brands come to social listening with the notion that they must capture literally every single mention of their brand. That’s great, but my question for them is always “but why though?” They often don’t have clear plans for what they’ll do with that data once they’ve captured it, and even more, they don’t have a platform that can easily analyze those messages to uncover insights. With this unfocused passion for sheer volume, they’re signing themselves up for hours of manual data mining and analysis. To continue with my fishing analogy (last one, I promise), capturing every single last message is a bit like casting the broadest possible net into the sea and hoping for the best. What comes back could be worthwhile, but you’ll also have some garbage in your net. You’re better off casting a targeted net to catch a couple juicy lobsters that you can really sink your teeth into.   A Real Life Example Of Great Social Listening: Polaris A focused approach not only saves time and resources, but it also helps brands utilize listening data to inform business decisions. Take adventure vehicle maker Polaris, for example. During a campaign launch for a motorcycle event, Polaris used social listening to gauge feedback from their audience. When the responses flooded in, Polaris realized that their branding had missed a mark with their fans, so they course corrected and ended up gaining more visibility for the event overall.  “It was just feedback on a t-shirt but it showed us the power of engaging and learning from our customers,” affirmed Holly Spaeth, Polaris’ Interactive Media and Content Manager. “Social insights are being shared across the company and making a positive business impact regularly.”

Common Listening Mistakes (You’re Probably Making) is a blog series written by guest contributor Whitney Durmick. Whitney has empowered hundreds of SRM customers to use social listening creatively to...

Best Practices

How Social Listening Will Help You Reach Millennials

This blog was written by Oracle's Krystal Rose. As a social consultant, Krystal leverages her marketing experience to provide social media consultation for brands ranging from start-ups to global enterprises.  If your company is struggling with a strategy to reach millennials, you are not alone. According to Forbes, many traditional advertising methods prove ineffective at capturing their attention. And with reports predicting that by 2018, millennials are expected to have $3.4 trillion in buying power and outspend Baby Boomers, you can understand why millennials are so important to businesses. As brands attempt to tap into this powerful consumer segment, this projection has the potential to elicit both excitement and frustration.  With varying degrees of success with traditional methods and conflicting strategies on which channels are best to use –email? mobile? Snapchat? – developing a plan to reach millennials can be overwhelming for brands. No matter the route you decide to take, your efforts will be moot if you are not starting the process correctly. First, some background on the millennial generation. Millennials (also known as Generation Y) are born between 1980 to mid-2000s, so they range in age from 15 – 35. Because of that big age range, their needs and interest differ drastically (so a blanket marketing approach will not work). With 86 million millennials, this segment is currently the largest generation in the U.S., making up more than 25% of the population. Millennials are very active in sharing online. In fact, 70% of millennials share feedback, ideas, opinions and customer experiences on social, proving to be a goldmine of data for marketers. They have a different set of values than the generations before them. According to CEB Iconoculture Consumer Insights, millennials value Happiness, Passion, Diversity, Sharing and Discovery over previous generations’ values. (Baby boomers, for instance, value Integrity, Family, Practicality, Duty, and Justice. 78% of millennials would rather spend money on experiences than on things. This characteristic contributes to explaining why more brands are sponsoring music events and festivals to reach them. Millennials want to buy or work with business and people who they identify with their values. 50% are more willing to purchase from a company if their purchase supports a cause. Okay, so brands are looking at a population of 86 million millennials (in the U.S. alone) who have very different set of expectations than previous generations. This population is also prone to sharing their ideas, opinions and experiences online; and they expect to be heard, understood and engaged. Before thinking about which channel you should be using to reach them you need to first identify who your target audience is within this segment (15-35 years is a big gap). What are their interests?  Where are they having conversations online? What are their expectations of their relationship with you? I emphasize the word relationship because that is really what it takes for brands to be successful among this segment. And what is the foundation of any good relationship? Being a good listener, or in this case a good SOCIAL listener! Why social listening? Social listening is not only the process of monitoring conversations related to a brand, product, industry or competitors. It’s also analyzing those messages to see who is behind the conversations and what their intent and interests are. Accenture’s research on millennial shoppers revealed that brands or marketers need to routinely communicate and collaborate with consumers about product information, special offers, and updates. Through social listening, brands identify relevant conversations to engage with, plus they can build relationships, trust, and brand awareness. They are also better positioned to improve services and offerings, enhance customer service, gain a competitive advantage and influence conversations within their industry.  Millennials might not outright identify themselves as a millennial online, but because they share their lives so openly, you can identify them based on the content of their posts (for example sharing activities that are applicable to a particular life stage like graduation or marriage). Of course you need a good social listening tool to find those relevant posts so you can take action. Getting real answers from the right social listening tool Lots of social listening tools exist, but most have immature technology that misses important posts or fails to narrow searches to relevant mentions. Without a good base of listening data, the task of analyzing those conversations becomes very tedious and overwhelming. With the right tools, however, your brand gains valuable, actionable insights. Global retailer Mothercare is implementing a digital vision to put the customer at the heart of everything they do, and Social Media is tied to all areas of this vision. Mothercare's Ryan Davies explains that leveraging social data and listening to engage with customers puts companies in a powerful position. “We have a social department (using Oracle Social Cloud) that gives us great listening… which is really powerful in getting through the business of where our customers are, what they are buying, what they are saying and what they want and that changes the way we talk to our customers, how we design products and services for them…” Mothercare is a primary example of starting with social listening to reach a target audience. The right social listening tool will enable you to identify where the conversations are happening, who is having them, what is important to your target audience, and how to reach them. Having this level of intelligence of your audience will give you the best actionable insights you need to be successful in your social marketing efforts. For more on Mothercare’s proactive social engagement, check out their #2amClub campaign.

This blog was written by Oracle's Krystal Rose. As a social consultant, Krystal leverages her marketing experience to provide social media consultation for brands ranging from start-ups to...

Social Media Events

Monday at SXSW: Secret Sauces and Customer Call Centers

For social media marketers who weren’t able to attend South by Southwest (SXSW), here’s a highlight of the major sessions on Monday. Keep in mind, it’s physically impossible to go to every interesting session - but we tried! Be sure to follow us on Twitter, Instagram, the Social Spotlight blog, and Facebook for highlights and behind-the-scenes memories. Read previous summaries from SXSW here. The Social Celebrity Secret Sauce King Keuran, Dante Basco, and Christian Delgrosso discussed what it takes to be a celebrity on social media. King Keuran, a five-time felon, decided he was going to make social content that would speak to an urban audience. “My process comes from everyday life. Everything I create is everyday life. I’ll never run out of content. <laughs> You might turn into a video if you talk to me.”  The importance of authenticity was echoed by Christian. “Too many people are focused on building an audience. It’s not organic.” The rewards of having a large social presence are obvious: since becoming a social media star, he has shot three movies and booked a TV show. He won’t take his foot off the gas pedal, though. “You always have to take care of your home base. When we’re on set, we’re creating content. There’s no time to neglect social media.”  Dante agreed. “Hollywood goes up and down, but if you have your core audience, they’ll happily support your endeavors because they know you’ll come back for them. The end game is fortifying your own small business as an artist.” Is Twitter The New Customer Call Center?   33% of consumers say they would rather clean a toilet than speak to customer service. 73% say they would prefer to solve the issues on their own. In this session, executives from General Motors, Cummins Inc, Southwest Airlines and Oracle Social Cloud discussed how major brands are providing customer service through social media.  Rebecca Harris, Global Head of General Motors’ Social Center of Excellence, uses the analogy of a duck in water to describe social customer care: on the surface, the duck placidly floats along, but underneath the water, the feet are pedaling rapidly.  Rebecca adds, “you can’t teach nice, but we can teach them how to be social.” GM hires nice, smart people who care, teach them the process, and then let them work. “They do a great job for us because of the culture we created.”  Ashley Mainz, Social Business Manager at Southwest Airlines, echoes the importance of culture in the social media world. “We train so that we come across with that personality and fun tone that Southwest is known for.” Southwest hires from within, because at the end of the day, it’s essential to have a customer service mentality.  “You can’t teach good judgment,” says Angela Wells, Senior Director of Outbound Product Management at Oracle Social Cloud. Angela gives potential employees a social pop quiz during the interview to determine if an applicant would respond appropriately. “It separates the wheat from the chaff.”  Hiring the right people to provide social customer service will provide a direct return on your investment. Michael Nagel, Web & Social Media Manager for Cummins Inc, described making the case for social customer service to executives. “We went through a Six Sigma process to verify the need for social customer service. Next, we will be identifying swim lanes so we’re not stepping on each other’s toes.” Michael is the first line of defense on social media for Cummins. Michael says, “we want to tell our customers, ‘we hear you.’” Customers need to know that you’re there for them - even if you can’t solve the problem directly through social media. When the problem ultimately is fixed, “we’ve turned those customers into advocates. And then I’ll take those wins to our leadership.” 

For social media marketers who weren’t able to attend South by Southwest (SXSW), here’s a highlight of the major sessions on Monday. Keep in mind, it’s physically impossible to go to every interesting...

Social Media Events

Sunday at SXSW: Profiting from Live Streaming, Honing Leadership Skills, and Building Brand Ambassadors

For social media marketers who weren’t able to attend South by Southwest (SXSW), here’s a highlight of the major sessions on Sunday. Keep in mind, it’s physically impossible to go to every interesting session - but we tried! Be sure to follow us on Twitter, Instagram, the Social Spotlight blog, and Facebook for highlights and behind-the-scenes memories. You can read summaries from Friday and Saturday here. Can Brands Profit From Live Streaming?  One of the hottest topics in social media marketing is live streaming. Mario Armstrong, a TV talk show host and live streaming enthusiast, says brands can make money from live streaming content - if they do it correctly. Why? The barriers to entry are zero and there’s a tremendous market opportunity. Live streaming is growing faster than pre-recorded video.  Potential benefits from live streaming include: increasing digital and real-life traffic increasing revenue and reach  engaging with your audience creating a sense of urgency accelerating the buying cycle By nature, live streaming is intimate. Live streaming allows your community to see your non verbal communication, learn your gestures, and feel closer to you. This creates a relationship, and allows for the buying cycle to shorten.   Which platform should you choose? Mario went through several of the major live streaming platforms, highlighting Periscope and Facebook Live. A key differentiator between the two is Facebook’s option to download the live stream in HD. This will allow you to repurpose your content for other venues. We did this very thing on Friday; I spoke with Gary Vaynerchuk and then posted the interview on Youtube afterwards.  Live streaming is especially useful for developing leadership authority. That doesn’t mean, however, that you need to show your face on camera all of the time. You can shoot what you’re seeing, and explain what’s going on, as I did on Saturday during a walking tour of the exhibition hall. As Mario says, “share your unique gift and the universe wins.”  Developing News Leadership for the New Normal  What makes a good leader? What makes a bad leader? Representatives from NBC News, Spirited Media, The Atlantic, and the LA Times discussed the elements of leadership in a newsroom. First and foremost, they clarified the difference between leadership and management. Just because you have subordinates does not mean you’re a leader.  Good leaders lead by example, demonstrate empathy, show respect to their employees, and are humble enough to realize they don’t know everything.  Bad leaders are indecisive, inflexible, and not self aware. Everyone on the panel mentioned how many people “watch” them; their attitude, whether work related or not, sets the tone for the office. Jim Brady relayed a story about coming into the newsroom on a Monday in a grumpy mood. His employees, sensing his negative vibe, were worried there would be layoffs. There were no layoffs; his football team just lost the day before. Being aware of your unspoken, innate aura is essential to a good leader.  Building Brand Ambassadors Convincing your customers to become a brand ambassador is a difficult task for any company. Emily Dulcan, the Digital Director of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, moderated a panel discussion with Erin Ruberry, Social Media Specialist with the Peace Corps, Nicole Stillwell, Communications Manager with the US State Department, and Jason Townsend, Deputy Social Media Manager for NASA.  The discussion started out with the slide above. Based on research from FleishmanHillard, it ranks consumer trust based on the medium. TV is ranked at the bottom, meaning it is the least trusted of all platforms; face-to-face conversations are on the other end of the spectrum, followed closely by social networks, online communities and blogs.  Nicole Stillwell described the State Department’s strategy for creating earned and owned ambassadors: earned ambassadors are people who have received great service from the State Department, such as being removed from a dangerous situation, and then become advocates. Owned ambassadors are people who have received scholarships from the State Department. Although not required to advocate, most recipients often do.  Paid media can get tricky, said Erin Ruberry. Paid influencers, like social media celebrities, need to be a good “fit” for your brand. It needs to stay authentic. All of the panelists represented government agencies, so formalized employee advocacy programs were not allowed. Despite this hurdle, Nicole mentioned that employees are encouraged to post on social media and develop their own strategy, based on what appeals to the local culture.  NASA’s Jason Townsend described how major events can spawn ambassadors. If you provide memorable experiences that are approachable, you can covert casual space enthusiasts to collaborators and advocators.  NASA has the added value of talking about space, which is pretty cool in and of itself. However, when the government shut down for budgetary reasons and the agency had to stop tweeting, the community created #ThingsNASAMightTweet to keep the conversation going.  This quote really cuts to the heart of the matter. “You may not have a spaceship, but your company has a fan base. They won’t think of themselves as fans until they’re in a room with like-minded people. They won’t think of themselves as members of a community until YOU bring them together.” David Rosen, Group VP Makovsky + Company. 

For social media marketers who weren’t able to attend South by Southwest (SXSW), here’s a highlight of the major sessions on Sunday. Keep in mind, it’s physically impossible to go to every interesting...

Social Media Events

SXSW Saturday: User Generated Content, Data Marketing and Comic Sans

For social media marketers who weren’t able to attend South by Southwest (SXSW), here’s a highlight of the major sessions on Saturday. Keep in mind, it’s physically impossible to go to every interesting session - but we tried! Check out Friday's summary, and follow us on Twitter, Instagram, the Social Spotlight blog, and Facebook for highlights and behind-the-scenes memories.  Finding The World’s Most Valuable Instagram Account  This session tackled one of the main questions for social marketers: how do you convert social posts to sales? Aaron Bollinger, Managing Director of Partnerships at Bazaarvoice, said customers trust reviews that not only address their needs, but also their feelings. Exclusively focusing on the selling points and disregarding the style aspect of their product is not successful. Aaron said 25-45% of consumers have instant organic engagement with this content, and they’ve seen a 79% lift in conversion using this tactic.  Whole Foods, for example, publishes 80% of their content on Instagram from their fans. Lisa Grimm, Associate Director of Social Media at Whole Foods, says they “make the community the star.” Social buying faces many hurdles, though. The panelists gave three reasons: 1. Social commerce depends on mobile commerce - which is still pretty clunky. The user experience when buying on mobile is not efficient - there are often too many clicks or too many distractions.  2. Marketers are focused on outdated metrics. They’re using success metrics that were based on TV and print - not social media. 3. There hasn’t been a big social commerce success story that went viral. Nobody has come out and said, “I did X Y and Z and generated an extra $10m in revenue because of social commerce.” Once that happens, others will follow. Programmatic Advertising in the Age of CX Oracle Marketing Cloud put on this session featuring speakers from MediaMath, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, ZenithOptimedia and Simulmedia. It was packed. There was literally a line out of the door. Christopher Drago, Director of Global Media at Hewlett Packard Enterprise, said their customer experience is the top priority - and to do that, you need to understand more about the context in which you’re delivering the message. Casting a targeted, but wide net to gather data is critical. This sounds promising, but is difficult at scale.  Rob Jayson, Chief Data Officer of ZenithOptimedia, spoke about how brands have become smarter with their data sets. Modeling or simulations are not enough evidence of effectiveness; brands want to see how their media is directly lifting sales.  Chris Victory, Senior Vice President of Strategic Partnerships & Business Development at MediaMath, echoed how difficult it is to execute on the promise of data. “If you’re going to pay for something, it better work. Scale is another thing. What sounds super cool might actually be just super cool talk.”  Fun Fluff: Comic Sans Exists For A Reason Confession: I only attended this session because I met the speaker in the elevator. He seemed funny, so I told him I would go. As it turns out, Graham Lee, the Chief Creative Officer of T1, is such a talented speaker that he discussed a font for an hour - and nobody left. He discussed the origin story of comic sans, why people choose it, and what it means for the rest of us. He extrapolated this simple font to the larger world of graphic design. Maybe there is no “bad” graphic design - maybe there’s only “meets my needs” or “doesn’t meet my needs.” Style is subjective, so go with your gut. “We need more people like Comic Sans,” he said. “Be controversial. Be hated if necessary. Have opinions.”  Then, Party Time!  Oracle Marketing Cloud hosted The Spazmatics, an 80’s cover band. It was a packed house. Really fun!       

For social media marketers who weren’t able to attend South by Southwest (SXSW), here’s a highlight of the major sessions on Saturday. Keep in mind, it’s physically impossible to go to every...

Social Media Events

SXSW Day 1: President Obama’s Recruitment Mission (and @GaryVee)

President Obama opened the first official day of South by Southwest (SXSW) with a plea for civic engagement. “This group is primed to make a difference,” he said. “This gathering brings together people who are at the cutting edge.” He came to Austin, Texas, “to recruit all of you.” According to USA Today, nearly 2,000 people were in attendance - all of whom won their ticket in a lottery. Mr. Obama spoke for about an hour with Evan Smith, Editor-in-Chief of the Texas Tribune, before taking a few pre-selected questions from the crowd. The interview was broadcast throughout the Austin Convention Center and streamed online.  Mr. Obama wants to apply technology to three areas: government efficiency, medical research, and civic participation. FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) forms have already been streamlined, but he says there’s more work to do, especially across agencies. “Our government isn’t working. Our politics isn’t working. The only way we’re going to solve that is to bring in citizens.”  This issue came to a head after passing the Affordable Care act. The government-created website did not work. Mr. Obama created a “SWAT” team from Silicon Valley and Austin to come to Washington and fix it. At that moment, “we realized that we could potentially build a world class technology office inside of the government - the US Digital Service.”  Mr. Obama added, “folks that are working in this Digital Service are having a great time. They’re using their skills for a greater purpose - to help millions of people.”  The cultural differences between Silicon Valley and Washington are large, but there are “different ways for people here to get engaged. We want to create a pipeline for a continuous flow of talent.”  Mr. Obama wants to use technology, data, and social media to solve problems. If the private sector, nonprofits and government work together, “then there’s no problem that we face in this country that is not solvable. It’s not enough to focus on the cool next thing. We need to use the cool next thing to fix problems.”  Gary Vaynerchuk Responds In typical SXSW fashion, Maggie Schneider Huston, Senior Content Manager for Oracle Social Cloud, saw Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO of VaynerMedia, standing near the bookstore and approached him for a quick interview. (Watch the whole thing here.)  Gary missed the President’s speech because he was giving his own keynote. After hearing a summary of Mr. Obama’s message, Gary said, “I support every American President. It’s the toughest job in the game. But I think that the government needs to do a better job to be entrepreneurial if they want real winners… It’s on Washington to adjust to technology people, not us to adjust to politicians.”  Lots of Chatter  Oracle’s Social Relationship Management (SRM) tool picked up nearly 200,000 snippets of conversation around #SXSW. People were most frequently using words like, “attend,” “Austin,” and “Obama.”  Publishing A Book On Instagram In an overstimulated, oversaturated world, one author used an innovative approach to publicize his book, “Look At Me When I’m Talking To You.” Every day, Jason Sperling published one page from his book as an animation on Instagram. Even though he hasn’t made a cent from this book, it generated job offers, speaking opportunities, and industry awards. Here are the lessons he learned from this experiment:  1. You can take something familiar and make it fresh. For example, a book + Instagram + animations = new and different.  2. Take your time until you have to hurry up. Execute in best possible way, but don’t let someone beat you to the market. Done is better than perfect. 3. Constant revision: publish your content early and tinker with it.  4. Be open to opportunities you didn’t see coming: Gauge what’s happening and react.  5. A great idea still needs great marketing: We are in the golden age of content. It’s tough to break through the noise. Even great ideas get ignored. 6. If you build it, they will come - once. That first experience matters - you have to give them a reason to come back.  7. There are no barriers between you and your audience. How you choose to engage with them dictates the relationship. 8. Preheat the oven and set the timer: do as much as you can ahead of time, and then, “set the timer.” Have a turn off date. 9. You can’t do it alone, and that’s okay. Find the right partners. 10. There isn’t money in marketing books, but there is in marketing jobs. Take creative ideas and share them with the world.  That’s all from Friday at SXSW. Don't miss Sunday's Periscope with executives from GM, Cummins and Oracle at 7.30pmET/6.30pmCT. Be sure to follow us on Twitter, Instagram, the Social Spotlight blog, and Facebook for highlights and behind-the-scenes memories. 

President Obama opened the first official day of South by Southwest (SXSW) with a plea for civic engagement. “This group is primed to make a difference,” he said. “This gathering brings together...

Social Media Events

You Have to See These Sessions at SXSW

It’s so close you can smell the barbecue… South by Southwest (SXSW), the best conference/party/networking event in Texas. If you’re a social media marketer, here’s what you absolutely must see, do, and eat while in Austin. Friday 12.30p-1:30p #AskGaryVee IRl; Gary Vaynerchuck Answers It All: If you don’t know why Gary is so popular, do yourself a favor and watch his #AskGaryVee show. He’s candid, smart, and brutally honest. “Bring your toughest questions - superstar CEO and insanely successful business expert Gary Vee has all the answers.” 2.30p: President Obama Keynote: This is the first time a sitting president is speaking at SXSW. If you bought an Interactive, Gold, or Platinum badge, register for the ticket lottery here. If you can’t make it, you can watch it live on sxsw.com/live or simulcast throughout the conference venues. 6p-7p: NBC Olympics Rio 2016 Event: Want to party with Willie Geist, Tara Lipinski, David Feherty, Jim Bell and John D Miller? Now’s your chance! They’ll be discussing the Olympics in the digital age on the NBC Sports Lawn (outside the Four Seasons.) Saturday 12.30p-1.30p: So You Want To Partner With A Social Media Star: This panel of executives from Toyota, Venture Fuel, Spalding, and Dollar Shave Club tackle one of the most complicated topics in social media: influencer marketing. 3:30p-4:30p: Programmatic Advertising in the Age of CX: Digital advertising executives from ZenithOptimedia, MediaMath and Hewlett Packard will discuss how to deliver more relevant experiences in the face of disparate data points and aggressive ROI goals. Oracle Marketing Cloud is presenting this session. 6.30p-10.30p: Don’t miss the Official SXSW Party at Cedar Street Courtyard on Saturday, March 12th. The Spazmatics, the “Ultimate New Wave 80’s Show,” will play from 6.30pm-10.30pm. Beer and wine will be served alongside local food favorites and 1,400+ new friends (a.k.a. customers and prospects.) It’s a great way to #KnowYourPeeps! This is Oracle Marketing Cloud’s party, too. Sunday 12.30p-1:30p: F*ck No. Sh*t Yeah! Damn Right? “Let's talk about mistakes and self doubt, conflict and stress. Let's talk about failure—let's laugh at it and capitalize on it. Following the hugely popular Fuck No and Shit Yeah talks, Damn Right reveals the intimate details of all the missteps and miscalculations along the road to success. Honest and unfiltered, Michael dissects the good, the bad and the WTF in every (questionable) decision we make.” 3.30p-4:30p: How To Cultivate Online Brand Ambassadors: “Learn how some of America's most recognized brands nurture their staff and audiences, and convert them into advocates for the brand, services, products, experiences and information.” 6:30p: Set a calendar alert - @OracleSocial will have a live Periscope with executives from General Motors, Southwest Airlines, and Cummins in advance of Monday’s session! This will be a candid conversation about social customer service and everything SXSW. 9p-2a: MashBash! “Drink, dance and take a glimpse into the future of the Internet with Mashable and a few hundred of our closest friends during SXSW’s hottest party at The Main on 610 East 6th Street.” Monday 11a-12pm: Same Time Zone, Unique Challenges: Rio ’16 Preview: “As brands, sports companies, and organizations look ahead to the Summer Games, get a preview of how the US Olympic Committee, NBC Sports, Visa, and digital strategists are preparing to capitalize on global digital attention and learn how to make the most of your organization’s own moment.” 3.30pm-4.30pm: Is Twitter The New Customer Call Center? Today, more than 1 in 3 prefer social to other service channels. Customer service emergencies can happen in the blink of an eye- and businesses normally learn of them only after major brand damage has occurred. Innovative companies have incorporated social into their “triage” centers by creating customer service centers that enable businesses to capture, learn, and act on social data in real-time. Join executives from General Motors, Southwest Airlines, Cummins Inc., and Oracle as they discuss social’s rising role in customer service and the customer experience. Tuesday 12:30p-1:30p: Instagram and Snapchat Content: The New Hustle “Listen to brands and artists that are winning on Instagram and Snapchat to understand how you should be approaching these platforms to get noticed, build and retain new fans.” Have something to add? Let us know in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you! If you can’t make it, follow us on Twitter, Instagram, the Social Spotlight blog, and Facebook for highlights and behind-the-scenes memories.

It’s so close you can smell the barbecue… South by Southwest (SXSW), the best conference/party/networking event in Texas. If you’re a social media marketer, here’s what you absolutely must see, do,...

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