Tuesday Nov 24, 2015

The Secret Behind Sapporo Breweries' Social Success

Look at these numbers. 

Don’t you want them?

Here’s the secret behind Sapporo Breweries’ success on social media: 

Thursday Nov 19, 2015

General Motors' Shift To Social Sparks New Sales

To every person who has to ever needed to prove the ROI of social media… here you go. 

General Motors uses Oracle’s Social Relationship Management (SRM) tool to power their social media teams. 5000 customers engage with GM’s service representatives on social media each month. GM was also able to generate 15,000 new sales leads by using the SRM. Read more about GM’s social strategy here.

Tuesday Nov 17, 2015

What Is Content Marketing, And How Does Social Media Fit In?

“Content marketing” was the hot word during OpenWorld last month. We wanted to dive into this topic during the month of November, so we reached out to our own content marketing expert in the Oracle family: Steve Olenski, Senior Content Strategist with Oracle Marketing Cloud, Forbes contributor and well-respected industry influencer. In the first part of this series, Steve breaks it down for Maggie Schneider Huston, Senior Content Manager with Oracle Social Cloud.

Maggie Schneider Huston: Let’s start with the basics. What is “content marketing?”

Steve Olenski: Like so many other phrases and words in the world, there are no shortage of definitions for ‘what is content marketing?’ I love how my friend Michael Brenner defines it. Imagine two overlapping circles which create three distinct areas. On one side is What Brands Publish. On the other side is What Consumers Want. And in the middle is Content Marketing.

I happen to believe content marketing was around long before it was called content marketing. What I mean by that is marketers have a tendency to do two basic things: 

1. Overcomplicate things. 

2. Slap a fancy name or label on something. 

Think about it. Marketers are notorious for acronyms or labels that then become in vogue and then it’s a dog pile onto the bandwagon du jour, if you will. The fact is marketers AND advertisers have always generated content. Of course they have. What do you think TV and radio ads were and are? They are content, of course. The difference now is A) there’s a fancy name for it and B) the consumer/person on the other end of the line is in charge. The latter is unquestionably the single biggest difference between then and now. Give the people what they want, right? Well, isn’t that what this is all about, when you get right to the heart of the matter? And now with the technology available today, there is no reason not to give them what they want AND when and where they want it, too. 

MSH: How is content marketing different than traditional marketing techniques?

SO: I touched on the main difference in my previous answer, but to expand on that a little. I saw this explanation once regarding the difference between traditional marketing and content marketing and have never forgotten it. Traditional marketing talks at people, Content Marketing talks with them. So when it comes to the technique differences it is just that: Involving people in the process; including them in the conversation; asking them for their input, and then put it in practical application, where appropriate. 

Not long ago I penned a piece for Forbes entitled A Sports Brand Goes Back To The Beginning. The piece was about my hometown Philadelphia 76’ers basketball team and the recent changes they made to everything from their court to their uniforms and many, many other places. In speaking with CMO Tim McDermott for the article, he told me flat out: "I have always felt that if brands are just willing to listen to their customers, their customers will tell them the answers.”

MSH: Do I really need this? 

SO: In a word: Yes. Forrester recently conducted a survey of marketers on their use of content marketing and the benefits therein and their results showed 75% of marketers said they saw an increase in their bottom lines as a result of content marketing. The benefits included increased loyalty and a decrease in marketing and media costs. Moreover, nearly 60% of respondents said they saw positive top line results via increased revenue and sales. There are numerous studies out there touting the benefits of content marketing. 

That was merely one. But at the end of the day marketers need be “doing content marketing” — and doing it correctly of course —  for the simple reason that their competition is more than likely already doing it.  Here’s a link to a great article that just ran on Marketing Land entitled How A Content Marketing Strategy Drives Your Bottom Line. One of the last lines of the piece says it all. "In order for you to maximize the bottom-line benefits of an on- and off-site content strategy, your content needs to provide a value-added link between your customers’ needs and your business goals."

MSH: Can you give me a few examples of companies who are implementing content marketing well? 

SO: I would be remiss if I did not first mention the incredible work being done by the Oracle Marketing Cloud content marketing team. I am extremely fortunate to work with the likes of Chris Moody, Jeff Cohen, Lauren Harper and Cami Winding — who at the end of the day “get it” when it comes to content marketing. As for other brands who “get it” when it comes to content marketing, this past August I wrote a piece for Forbes highlighting three: HP, Honest Tea and the World Wildlife Fund. Each of these brands are doing fantastic things in content marketing. More recently, NewsCred released a list of the The Top 32 Most Influential Content Marketing Brands. The list included Red Bull and Coke, two brands who appear on many such lists for they have been “killing it in content” for some time now. Every brand that does it right when it comes to content all share similar traits. Be it humor to storytelling to problem-solving - all of these brands do one or all and do them exceptionally well. Oh yeah, one last, teeny, tiny minor thing: They ALL do not try and sell something via every single, solitary piece of content they produce. I refer to it as the N.A.S. Doctrine - Not Always Selling. You can read all about it right here

MSH: OK, this sounds great, but really complicated. How do I get started? 

SO: The first thing you need to do is identify are your goals. What do you hope to gain from content marketing? Is it adding names to your email list? Is it raising the level of awareness of your brand? Is it retention? Conversion? Nurturing? And yes, it can absolutely be the proverbial “all of the above.” Next is the classic Marketing 101: Who is your target customer? Who is your audience? Then there are the KPIs or metrics; what you will want to track specifically when it comes to your content marketing strategy. The folks at Curata produced a great piece of content, an infographic which highlights the 29 Content Marketing Essential Metrics. It is important to keep in mind that not all metrics are for every piece of content and there are different metrics for what you’re trying to measure in the first place. For example, there are “consumption” metrics, which track if people are actually seeing and reading your content, such as page views and unique visitors. Or “sharing” metrics, where you track how much your content is shared via social media for example.

To keep up with Steve, follow him on Twitter.

Thursday Nov 12, 2015

What Marketers Can Learn From A Social Police Force (With No Budget)

When you think of things that are “warm and fuzzy,” your local police force doesn’t always come to mind. Nestled in the northern suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia, the Dunwoody Police Department is trying to change that perception through social media. Similar to big companies, they are re-branding themselves. Just like big brands, they’ve got a mission (to communicate to the public), content creators (themselves), and are judging the analytics of their posts (natively). However, there’s one huge, glaring difference: they don’t have a budget. Here’s what marketers can learn from an a police force who’s making social media work for them for free:

Know who you’re talking to

Dunwoody, GA has a residential population of 50,000 and a daytime population of 100,000. That means that 50,000 people are commuting into the area to work during the day - which creates brutal traffic. As you can imagine, there are a fair number of traffic accidents as well. Public Information Officer Trey Nelson says social media allows the police to reach their community quickly and directly with vital information. “There used to be a buffer between the community and the police. The residents of Dunwoody didn’t want that.” Dunwoody PD is using Twitter, Facebook and Periscope to alert the community of accidents and how to avoid them.

Takeaway: Know how to help your audience. Be useful.

Diversify your content creators

Of their 54 sworn officers, Dunwoody PD always has at least one officer and one shift sergeant who are tasked with manning the social handles, in addition to their other duties. The officers share the passwords to their account and post when they have a moment.

Does the idea of sharing the password to your corporate account scare you? It shouldn’t. If you don’t have a budget, you must make do. Trust that you’ve hired good people with good judgment.

Officers sign their posts with their initials, which helps the reader know that multiple people are responding.

Takeaway: If you’ve hired good people, trust them. They know what to do.

Be Yourself (or Funnier)

Part of what makes Dunwoody PD so successful on social is their sense of humor.

As Officer Nelson explained, “our social media shows our personalities and is reflective of us. It’s not some facade. It’s like being a fly on the wall here.” Dunwoody PD uses Instagram to show the humans behind their team.

Takeaway: social media is fueled by authenticity. Be real, and your community will respond.

Wednesday Nov 11, 2015

How Social Listening Launched FamilyShare to #1

“We’ve done a lot to understand who our audience is and what kind of stories they respond to. There’s a style of headline that teases and informs. There’s a way to [create content] that causes people to smile, click, and share in an authentic way.” 

That’s how Chris Lee, President of Deseret Digital Media (which owns FamilyShare Network) describes the heart of their content creation. Underpinning their 80 social channels with an audience of over 100 million people is Oracle Social Cloud’s Social Relationship Management (SRM) solution. Social listening is “paramount,” says Mr. Lee. “Content needs to bridge the audience’s needs and the brand message. If you can’t find the bridge, don’t do it.” 

To read more about FamilyShare, click here.

Thursday Nov 05, 2015

Is Your Social Media Campaign Capturing Your Customer’s Desires?

Today's blog was written by Chad Bender, a Principal Product Manager for Oracle Social Cloud. 

Word-of-mouth is one of the most influential and effective ways people spread information. It is the primary factor behind 20 percent to 50 percent of all purchasing decisions, according to Jonah Berger’s Contagious: Why Things Catch On. As most people today are aware, social media is a place where people love to share and spread information. One could argue it’s how word-of-mouth is done today.

Therefore, it makes sense that marketers are using social media posts, likes, tags, and pins to anticipate human behavior. When you “Like” or click on a social post for a vacation to Jamaica, Priceline now knows you’re looking to book airfare; Macy’s now knows you might want to buy a new swimsuit; and Delta now knows you might want to upgrade to a card with zero transaction fees abroad and earn sky-miles with every purchase. Thoughts and desires based on clicks are being captured. Is your social media campaign capturing your customer’s desires?

With Dynamic Link Tracking (DLT) marketers can do just that. They can create URLs from within Oracle’s Social Relationship Management (SRM) platform, and place them in a variety of marketing channels that third-party analytics systems can use. By utilizing DLT, marketers can determine which social channels perform better and by leveraging the integration points between Oracle’s SRM and Oracle Marketing Cloud (Eloqua & Responsys) platforms, marketers can achieve better social media ROI. 


Let’s say an airline marketer publishes a message with a link to a summer sale (50% off airfare in July) to several different channels: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Banner Ads, Paid Search, and an Email Newsletter. Before she publishes the post to all her channels, the marketer uses DLT to build a URL with tracking parameters appended to the link.

Later that week, she reviews the results in Google Analytics and discovers 44% of the people who viewed the sale on the airline’s website came from Facebook, 25% came from Twitter, 23% came from Google+, 1% came from the Banner Ad, 4% came from Paid Search, and 3% came from the Email newsletter. This is what we call Attribution. The marketer can see that 44% of the traffic that clicked to view the sale was attributed to the Facebook post.

For marketers trying to maximize ad dollar spend and maximize the conversion rate across all marketing channels, Attribution provides powerful information.


Using DLT to track the performance of one’s marketing channels is a great feature. However, the Integration between Oracle Marketing Cloud and SRM gives marketers the ability to capture new email contacts and to track those contacts beyond the initial social post to gain insights into the user’s entire journey across owned web properties. Any links to owned web properties such as newsletters, whitepapers, social posts, websites, micro-sites, blogs, or landing pages that the user clicks on in the future will be tracked in Oracle Marketing Cloud.

Using the captured email addresses and by tracking the data over time the marketer can create lead scores to fine tune her marketing audience and fine-tune her messaging in order to target the users most likely to be converted as customers.

Capture Strategy

With DLT it’s great to know what to Attribute the marketer’s social traffic to and it’s great to have an Integration with a marketing automation platform such as Oracle Marketing Cloud—a key differentiator for SRM—however none of that matters unless the marketer has an implementation Strategy.

In a recent article on Contently.com, the author Shane Snow explains Why Paying for Social is Better Than ‘Doing’ Social. Snow crunches the numbers showing marketers why they would be better off with a strategy that focuses on creating higher quality content and put social and email marketing behind it. He says, “A ton of people still arrive at a company’s website via social media…smart companies will put paid spend behind those individuals’ most engaging [social] posts and implement an email capture strategy…If you have to choose between adding a subscriber to your email list or gaining a new Facebook fan, go for email every time.” 

Attribution + Integration + Capture Strategy = Higher Quality Social Media ROI

With that being said, Oracle’s SRM plus Oracle Marketing Cloud lends itself perfectly to such a strategy. Dynamic Link Tracking tells marketers which social media posts drive higher performance. The integration between SRM and Oracle Marketing Cloud—a key differentiator—gives marketers the ability to build marketing campaigns in Oracle Marketing Cloud yet publish posts and capture contacts via SRM. By having the combination of Attribution plus Integration plus an email Capture Strategy marketers can seize customer’s desires and maximize social media ROI with Oracle Social Relationship Management.

To hear more from Chad, you can follow him on LinkedIn, catch him surfing the waves of San Diego, or eating street tacos.

Friday Oct 30, 2015

Last Day at OpenWorld!

Can’t make it to Oracle’s OpenWorld this year? Don’t worry - we’ve got you covered. We’ll post a recap of the major highlights for social media marketers and CX professionals every day. Here’s what you missed:

Campaign to Commerce 

Constellation Research Principal Analyst, Founder and Chairman R “Ray” Wang opened the “Flipping the Script - Customers Pose their Customer Experience Questions To Oracle Leadership” with this concept. 

If you do a great marketing campaign but nobody buys [it], it doesn’t make a lot of sense. If you do a great marketing campaign and the product sucks and service doesn’t answer the question, you’re still in trouble… Every one of us is in campaign to commerce, even though we might be in different departments.” 

Fundamentally, Mr. Wang says, customers don’t care whether you’re in marketing, sales, or service - they just want their product to work. 

Social Commerce Keeps Growing … and Growing

Did you know that the top 400 retailers earned $3.4B from social shopping in 2014, according to the Internet Retailer’s Social Media 500? That’s up 26% from 2013, vs. a 16% growth rate for overall e-commerce market. Ditto Labs’ Chief Marketing Officer Mary Tarczynski discussed this at the session titled “Will Social Serve As The Tipping Point For Commerce?” 

Ditto has proprietary technology that will allow brands to “listen” to images on social media. Recently, we announced the integration of Ditto Labs into the Oracle Social Relationship Management (SRM) tool. Ms. Tarczynski says that this technology will make photos the tipping point for social commerce. 

Brands that use photos on sites like Instagram are already driving interest and sales. Marketers can utilize user-generated content to learn more about their customers and how they’re using their product. 

Thursday was the last day of OpenWorld. We hope you can join us next year - and in the meantime, follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the latest in social media marketing and social business!   

Thursday Oct 29, 2015

Highlights from Wednesday at OpenWorld

Can’t make it to Oracle’s OpenWorld this year? Don’t worry - we’ve got you covered. We’ll post a recap of the major highlights for social media marketers and CX professionals every day. Here’s what you missed:

1-9-90 Rule: 

This concept was discussed at the “Advocates and Agitators: The Art of Social Influence” session by Oracle Social Cloud’s Senior Director of Outbound Product Management Angela Wells. According to Constellation Research’s Natalie Petouhoff, it’s a very simple rule: 1% of people on social media will complain, 9% will respond to the complainer, and 90% read the complaint. Given this information, how should a brand manage the 1% who are the most vocal? And how about that 90%, where most of consumers fall?

GM’s Whitney Drake said that it starts with empathy. You can’t please everyone, but GM has instituted a flowchart that outlines how you should handle a difficult customer. 

Two Ears, One Mouth, and a Brain in the Middle

Listening to your customer has always been important in business, but with the advent of social media, there’s a lot more to listen to. This subject was tackled in “Silence is Golden - The Importance of Social Listening.” 

Saul Leal, General Manager of FamilyShare, stated it like this: “There’s a reason why we have two ears, one mouth, and a brain in the middle.” As marketers, we’re supposed to listen twice as much as we talk - and use our brains to filter through the noise. By using the Oracle Social Relationship Management (SRM) tool, Family Share listens to what type of content resonates with their customers and uses that information to produce even better content. Saul says that within 15 seconds of being posted, they can tell if a piece of content will go viral. 

Corporate Culture Really Does Matter

This concept came up in two sessions today. In “Secrets of Social Command Centers,” GM’s Rebecca Harris discussed how important it was to have the executives steer the ship towards a customer-focused culture. 

Rebecca also mentioned that when executives see the customer command center in action, then they really understand what social media is all about. For executives who may not be fluent in social media, seeing the data visualized in actionable images creates an, “Ah! I get it” moment. 

In, “Audience of One: A 21st Century Data Story,” Heather Carson of FleishmanHillard reiterated how essential it was to have your entire team on the same page. Even after buying a new data management tool and having the “smart guys” teach everyone how to use it, you still have to change the culture to embrace the openness that data requires to be successful. Data that is siloed away from the rest of the organization is not effective. It’s easy to throw money at the technology, but much harder to adapt your culture to embrace openly sharing their data internally. 

For the latest updates and live streams from the conference, follow us on Twitter and Facebook!  

Wednesday Oct 28, 2015

Major Themes from Tuesday at OpenWorld

Can’t make it to Oracle’s OpenWorld this year? Don’t worry - we’ve got you covered. We’ll post a recap of the major highlights for social media marketers and CX professionals every day. Here’s what you missed:

The New World Order Is Here

In the morning keynote, Abid Ali Neemuchwala, COO of Wipro, said it simply: consumer consumption patterns have changed. Businesses need to deliver impulsive aspiration through instant gratification. The experience is the product. 

Think about that. It ties directly back into yesterday’s discussion about the customer experience. Mr. Neemuchwala cited his children as an example; if they want to hear a song, they go on Spotify or Youtube. If Mr. Neemuchwala wants to hear a song, he downloads it. His children are representative of the shift from ownership to experience; the kids have an impulsive desire, and rather than spend the money to own a song forever, they simply play it on demand, as their moods shift. 

Oracle President Thomas Kurian echoed this sentiment: “You only win when the customers love what you offer,” he said. In order for a customer to love your product, they have to love using it. 

Listen To Your Customers

In a session titled,  “Customer Experience Excellence: You Better Sweat The Small Stuff,” Oracle Marketing Cloud GVP John Stetic drove this point home with a startling statistic: by 2016, 90% of companies are expected to compete almost entirely on the basis of customer experience, according to Gartner. 

You know that wonderful feeling of getting into a new, clean car? General Motor’s Rebecca Harris, Global Head of Social Center of Expertise, knows just how important that is to their customers. “We set about really mapping everything against the customer journey… Asking ourselves… what value this brings to the customer? As opposed to ‘just doing it,’ as we did in the past.” By listening to their customers with Oracle’s Social Relationship Management (SRM) tool, they were able to identify when customers were having a problem with steering wheels overheating in the sun and respond and resolve faster than ever. 

Social listening is essential, said T.H. March’s Neil McFarlane. Their content strategy changed dramatically after realizing their current messaging was not resonating with customers. By using the SRM, they could see detailed analytics on their posts and were able to determine that their content needed to be less “sales-y” and “insurance-y.” Now, they develop content that feeds three different fundamental business personas: B2B, B2C, and corporate branding. This content has been much more successful. 

Cloud Security Is Essential

Oracle CTO Larry Ellison reinforced the need for increased security in the cloud during his afternoon keynote. “We haven’t lost the war, but we’ve lost a lot of battles. We need better security.” 

To that end, he announced “Always-On Security in Silicon.” This new security feature is the first hardware based memory intrusion protection of its kind. It will be able to stop bugs like Venom and Heartbleed in real time. Data will always be encrypted. As opposed to most SaaS providers, whose engineers will likely have access to your data, Oracle will never be able to read your encrypted data in the cloud. 

For the latest updates and live streams from the conference, follow us on Twitter and Facebook

Tuesday Oct 27, 2015

First (Full) Day Of OpenWorld

Can’t make it to Oracle’s OpenWorld this year? Don’t worry - we’ve got you covered. We’ll post a recap of the major highlights for social media marketers and CX professionals every day. Here’s what you missed:

Customer Experience Rules: From the streets of San Francisco to the conference rooms at Moscone West, everybody is talking about the customer's experience. In an increasingly diversified world, consumers have many choices—and increasingly more control. Brands who differentiate themselves by creating an excellent customer experience earn loyalty (and perhaps advocacy) from consumers. Oracle Marketing Cloud’s SVP Kevin Akeroyd said marketers should ask themselves, “Am I delivering the right experience, based on what the customer is expecting?” In short - is the customer happy?

Oracle Marketing Cloud’s SVP Kevin Akeroyd

Oracle’s SRM Is Going Mod: In today’s “Sky High Overview of the Oracle Social Cloud,” Oracle Social Cloud’s VP Mike Strutton showed us some of the latest designs for the new modular interface. The purpose behind the redesign, Mike explained, was to create a more seamless experience for the customer. (See above.) Using columns to display content creates a more efficient workflow by using less clicks to get the same action done. 

#IDriveFor: Have you seen this pink Camaro? It’s fantastic. Even better - it’s here for a cause. For every selfie using the hashtag #IDriveFor, Chevrolet is donating $5 to the American Cancer Society.

That's Oracle's SVP and CCO Jeb Dasteel, raising money for a good cause!

For the latest updates and live streams from the conference, follow us on Twitter and Facebook

Friday Oct 23, 2015

What Businesses Can Learn from Politicians about Social Media and Big Data

As part of October’s Social + Data month, Oracle’s Maggie Schneider Huston spoke with Christina Liao, the global head of FleishmanHillard’s research and analytics practice. 

Maggie Schneider Huston: We hear a lot about “mobile first” in marketing - that is, brands who design first for the mobile platform, and then graduate to the desktop version. Obviously, social media is a big part of that strategy. How can brands capitalize on these mobile analytics? 

Christina Liao: When people talk about “mobile first,” their first response is usually, “What do I need to put out on mobile first? What new app can I publish on mobile first?” That’s all great but I think what needs to come with it is the need and opportunity for real-time analytics of those data that show up on mobile first. There’s a lot of data that is already captured on mobile devices - part of our challenge is how to break it into useful nuggets of information in a timely manner with a mobile first analytics mentality.

MS: How fast are we talking about?  

CL: Traditionally, a brand would publish some content, wait, collect data, and then analyze it. That could take about a month. With a mobile first approach, it can double the speed of your analytics, if not triple it.

MS: Wow! That’s a lot faster. Can you give me an example of what that looks like in real life? 

CL: A great case study is politics. Think about it: politicians have a limited budget, a limited amount of time, and they need to motivate people to action. Those restrictions help their campaign stay focused. And when they need to push something out on mobile first, it’s a very disciplined approach, with a laser focus and businesses can learn from that.

MS: How do politicians use social media and big data better than businesses? 

CL: Social media is a great real-time platform for A/B testing. For example, let’s say I post one message on twitter, and then tweak it slightly and repost a little later. Then, I analyze which post performed better. The insights gathered from this type of testing will yield a better understanding of what type of content resonates with my audience. 

By gaining a deeper understanding of who my audience is and what type of content they like, I am better prepared for a crisis situation. You can’t wait a day or two in a crisis situation - you need to respond immediately. If you have something that you’ve already tested out when you’re not in crisis mode, you’ll be better prepared to manage the situation. Mobile enables the speed necessary. And with cumulative data over time, mobile enables speed and precision at the same time, which is powerful.

Businesses and politicians have a similar goal: they both need to stay on message and get people to act. Social media and mobile, if you do it right, can be very effective. But you have to run the analytics on it. You can’t just leave it out there. Analytics need to be fast and nimble. You can’t wait until it’s perfect. 

MS: What can businesses learn from politicians? 

CL: Simon Senak wrote one of my favorite books, “Start With Why.” Politicians really get this. They know they have to explain why should a citizen vote for them. Starting with why helps bring purpose, focus and sanity to big data. Once a business determines why someone should buy their product, or why their brand is special, then everything else falls into place.   

Want to hear more? Ms. Liao will be discussing “Audience of One: A 21st Century Data Story” at Oracle’s OpenWorld on Wednesday, October 28th at 4.15pPT. Can’t make it? Follow us on Twitter for live updates from the session. 

Wednesday Oct 21, 2015

Social Media and Big Data, Part 1: What is it?

During the month of October we are exploring the relationship between “big data” and social media. Follow our journey and visit us at Oracle’s OpenWorld on October 25th-29th in San Francisco.

The term “big data” has been around for awhile, but it’s still a difficult concept to wrap your brain around. Today, we’re starting with the basics: what exactly does “big data” mean?

What it is:

“Big Data” is a catch-all term for the digital breadcrumbs you leave behind as you go about your daily life. It is comprised of structured and unstructured data. Businesses use this information to understand their customers better. However, it is by definition a difficult and unwieldy conglomerate of information.

Structured data: This data was gathered from a data model and lives in relational databases and spreadsheets. For example, let’s say I want to buy a pair of shoes. When I fill out the form online, I enter my name, gender, and zip code. That information goes into a database that is easily sorted by these data points.

Unstructured data: Less easily sorted information falls into this category. For example, online customer service chats, reviews, phone transcripts, and surveys all contain unstructured data. Oracle Data Cloud can capture this information and sort it into useful insights for brands.

What it isn’t:

Fully integrated: Think about it- every keystroke you make, every article you read, every store you visit IRL, basically everything you do - is a data point. It’s tough to make all of those points come together in a harmonious way. When you factor in privacy and legal regulations, it becomes even more complicated.

How big are we talking?

Big data is huge. You know those spreadsheets that we love so much? Imagine spreadsheets of spreadsheets of spreadsheets. According to webopedia.com, big data can be measured in petabytes (1,024 terabytes) or exabytes (1,024 petabytes), which amounts to billions or trillions of records. Enterprise data is expected to grow 800% in the next five years, 80% of which will be unstructured data.

As you can see, this topic is difficult to wrap your arms around. We’ll spend the next month discussing what big data means to social media marketers. Got a question? Ask us in the comments below!

Tuesday Oct 13, 2015

Let's Talk About Image Recognition

Recently, we announced the integration of image recognition company Ditto Labs with Oracle Social Cloud’s Social Relationship Manager (SRM.) Oracle’s Maggie Schneider Huston spoke with Ditto Labs’ CEO David Rose about the future of visual listening.

Maggie Schneider Huston, Oracle: First, let’s go over the basics. What is image recognition?

David Rose, CEO Ditto Labs: Imagine you’re sitting in a public place and observing the behavior of those around you. Image recognition is the digital version of this. It’s an ethnography tool. Brands are using this data for customer insights.

MSH: Can you give me a specific example?

DR: Sure. One of our clients is the University of Illinois at Chicago. They used our tool to understand trends in teen smokers. They used to conduct surveys, but now they can look at the photos that teens are posting online. They’ve discovered that teens are taking cigarillos, cutting them open, and mixing the tobacco with weed.

MSH: Is that a violation of the individual’s privacy?

DR: We draw a very bright line between public data and private data. We are only reading public photos - usually those that are posted to Twitter and Instagram. We abide by the rights and regulations written in the social privacy statements.

MSH: How does this help brands?

DR: Brands are putting photos to work in three primary ways:

1. Social listening: This is a great way to learn about how your customers are using your product. For example, if you’re Red Bull, you can discover when people are drinking Red Bull, what they’re mixing it with, if they’re drinking it primarily outdoors or at a bar, etc. It’s a fast way to glean insights from information that already exists.

2 Visual Analytics: Companies put big money into advertising and social media. With digital listening, you marketers can see how often brands appear and how often customers engage with them. You can slice and dice that data by geography, gender, and other features. It lets you know how well you’re customers are adopting your product and keep an eye on the competition.

3. Customer Engagement: We give brands access to the social media handles of people who are using their product (or their competitor’s product.) So, for example, if you’re North Face and someone takes a picture of themselves wearing your clothes, you may want to use that user generated content in your advertising. Or, you may want to say something like, “Hello! It looks like you’re an outdoorsy person, would you like a coupon to REI?” We find that customers love it when a brand reaches out to them. We can also determine the influence of the person who is posting the photo by analyzing their tweets, followers, Klout score, etc. With this information, customer service representatives can triage posts more effectively.

MSH: What about brands that don’t have a natural use case, like Oracle Social Cloud? There isn’t really a good way to photograph our product.

DR: If it’s an object that doesn’t show up in photos, brands may want to explore affinities. For example, Dell could gain customer insights by tracking the people who follow Dell on Twitter and Instagram and exploring commonalities. That will allow them to understand the lifestyle of their customers.

MSH: What’s the takeaway from this?

DR: The conversation around brands is transitioning from text to photos. People aren’t describing their world in 140 characters; they’re taking a picture and sharing with their friends. .

For more insights into visual listening, come see Ditto Lab’s Mary Tarczynski at Oracle’s OpenWorld.

Wednesday Sep 30, 2015

How to Fail at Social Customer Service

Last week, we discussed how to succeed in social customer service. Now let’s talk about how you can screw it up.

1. Take Your Time: Social media moves quickly. The numbers vary, but research shows that customers expect a response within an hour, usually. If you want to screw up, take your time!

What’s a reasonable response time? As soon as possible. From the customer’s point of view, the clock starts ticking as soon as they hit “send,” even if it’s a weekend at 10pm. This is why it’s fundamentally important to structure your social customer service team correctly. If you have only one person dedicated to social media, as many companies do, then you’re going to have some slow responses. If you have a whole team dedicated to social media, you can respond more quickly and thus, increase customer satisfaction.

You can be mindful and expedient at the same time.

2. Ignore Complaints: That’s the whole purpose of this, right- customer service? You’re supposed to be helping your customers. Every problem deserves a response, even if the response is negative. By saying, “Unfortunately, we don’t have that function right now” or “I’m sorry, but we’re out of your size,” you are telling your customers that you’re listening to them and you care about their needs. That goes a long way towards building brand loyalty and repeated sales. Read how Southwest Airlines uses Oracle’s Social Relationship Management (SRM tool) to respond to complaints here. Integrated systems that seamlessly connect social teams and customer service teams are best to meet these rising consumer expectations.

3. Speak In A Formal Tone: Your customers are smart. They know when a customer service representative is reading from a script. It’s a turn-off. They want to know that they’re connecting with a human, not a robot. That’s what makes social media such an incredible tool to begin with - humans across the globe can reach other humans with the push of a few keys. Don’t mess it up by speaking in "corporate speak." No one likes that.

There’s a delicate balance between formal and colloquial. Strive to be casual, yet professional. “OMG, check out our latest feature!” is too informal. “For the latest advancements in our product, click here!” is too automated. “We’re thrilled to announce our latest feature: flying hover boards!” is best. It’s human, but professional.

For more on how to deliver excellent customer service on social media, check out our interview with Jay Baer.

Monday Sep 28, 2015

Ditto Integrates with Oracle Social Cloud

If a customer posts a picture of themselves with your product, but doesn’t tag you in the caption, does the post really exist?

For example, let’s say I bought my mom a pink Polaris snowmobile. (She lives in Minnesota.) My mom loves her gift so much that she posts a picture of herself with it and comments, “I love my new pink snowmobile! I have the greatest daughter ever!”

This is exactly the kind of content that marketers dream about. But if you don’t have “visual listening,” you won’t be able to capture it.

This is why we’ve integrated Ditto Labs, a leading image recognition company, into our Social Media Mixer. Ditto is capable of filtering through the muck of social media posts to find images (like your logo, or a competitor’s logo) even if there is no textual “tag” on the content. When displayed on the Social Media Mixer, a data visualization module, you can clearly see all of the social content in a single real-time view.

Using Ditto Labs and Oracle Social Cloud, my mom’s post about her new pink snowmobile would reach Polaris.

Here’s what Ditto's technology captures: 

Here's how it will look to our customers, like Polaris:

This is just our first step in image listening capabilities, so stay tuned for more visual listening and functionality in the near future. 


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