Monday Sep 29, 2014

What We Saw and Did at Oracle OpenWorld: Sunday

Once again, the streets of San Francisco have been bannered Oracle red, Howard street has been turned into an outdoor convention space, and every high-thinking, forward looking technologist has made their way to Oracle OpenWorld 2014.


The Oracle Social Cloud team spent the day fine tuning the Social Intelligence Center, located at CX Central on the 2nd floor of Moscone West. Here, attendees can see the Oracle Social Relationship Management (SRM) platform in action, especially where the ability to listen to social activity around a topic or big event (such as OpenWorld) is concerned. If you’re here, be sure and stop by. But even if you’re not, we’ll be reporting many of our findings, so be sure to follow @oraclesocial.


We first heard an address by Renee James of Intel, in which she made the highly retweeted statements that half of enterprises will operate in public/private hybrid cloud modes, that the private cloud is actually growing faster than public clouds, and that the cost point of private clouds is growing competitive with public clouds. Oracle and Intel are good partners, highlighted primarily by the new chip that was co-developed for Exalytics in-memory.


The main event, as always, was Larry Ellison taking the stage. This year, his message was all about the cloud and the culmination of a mission that began 30 years ago. A major upgrade to the Oracle Cloud platform in 2014 has brought us to a place where you can move any Oracle database from your data center to the cloud, with the push of a button, and without changing a line of code. Plus Oracle is the only cloud that gives customers the choice of moving it back to on-premise. This facilitates the public/private hybrid today’s developers are seeking.


How does social play into all this? Well, that’s the point. Social now plays into all this. The foundation of the Oracle Cloud is the Oracle database. On top of that sits 4 critical services that modernize the apps you build on it; multi-tenancy, memory, mobile, and social capability. In this way, all of the Oracle suites on the platform, CX, ERP, and HCM, are social-enabled. Remember how often we’ve talked about the social-enabled enterprise in this space?


As Ellison said, building all this wasn’t easy. If were easy, almost every other Software-as-a-Service provider wouldn’t be running on…Oracle. There are 49 SaaS and Data-as-a-Service products around social campaigns, 36 of them new.


A lot was accomplished in 2014. A lot. But there is still much work to do. Ellison pointed out that regarding the infrastructure, there’s got to be an emphasis on securing data. He says we have some clever ways of doing that. And there has to be an ongoing focus on reliability always being on the rise, and costs always being kept in check.


Keep your eye here for daily blog updates from Oracle OpenWorld 2014, and don’t forget to watch the activity on @oraclesocial.


@mikestiles @oraclesocial



Friday Sep 26, 2014

Why Oracle OpenWorld is for CMO’s and Marketers

social media marketing at OpenWorldThis year, as we head into Oracle’s biggest event of the year, Oracle OpenWorld 2014, social is a more prominent theme and topic of discussion then ever before. It’s been awhile now since the dawn of the consumer empowering social media revolution. The focus now is on developing and applying the power of technology to meet the new customer expectations in order to win and keep their business.


When social first entered the corporate picture, it was regarded largely as a novelty. Arms were folded across the C-Suite as businesses went into wait-and-see mode. Rebels and pioneers launched a brand presence on social. Interns and believers went about posting and building communities. It grew apparent that consumers actually wanted to be connected to brands as well as their friends and family.


But what did this mean? Was this a new way to get the brand’s ads in front of customers and prospects? The great “misunderstanding of social” movement began. Over time, we learned how consumers used social, why they used social, and what they wanted from the brands they voluntarily connected with on social. It wasn’t to be the recipient of a marketing megaphone. It was to build one-on-one relationships with brands that would lead to higher satisfaction. They wanted to feel special and valuable to their brands.


The tools (on top of the social networks themselves) and processes to actually facilitate such attentive, satisfying, one-on-one relationships have become the concern of a now fully invested C-suite; CMO’s with broader responsibilities, new creatures like Chief Digital Officers, Chief Experience Officers, and Chief Content Officers. Social has steered the dialogue to customer experiences and customer-centricity, which is what you’ll hear a great deal about at this year’s OpenWorld.


Frankly, from a tech perspective, not just anybody can pull this off. When you think of the integrated systems and platforms needed to:


  • Know the customer
  • Know their purchase & service history
  • Listen to what they’re experiencing in real time
  • Anticipate their needs
  • Reply to and resolve their problems in short order
  • Offer up relevant/usable content in exactly the right place at exactly the right time
  • Communicate on the right channel and the right device
  • Leverage satisfaction for customer advocacy & added marketing amplification


…you realize small players offering point solutions is a non-starter. That’s why CMO’s and marketers are finding Oracle OpenWorld more relevant to them than ever as they join their CIO and IT partners in attending. If customer experience and customer-centricity are indeed the name of the game today, such things as social marketing platforms, CRM, data, and the cloud must now be in the marketer’s curriculum.


@mikestiles @oraclesocial


Tuesday Sep 23, 2014

Why Isn’t Your Social Strategy Based on Mobile Users?

social media on mobileNo one is asking social marketers to make safe assumptions.  The shift to social media being consumed on mobile devices is here TODAY, and very real. But with many brands still in “catch-up” or “wait-and-see” mode regarding social, many existing strategies are based on the unsafe assumption social is still a desktop/laptop thing.


Comscore says we in the US spend 52% of our “digital time” on mobile apps. Mobile comprises 60% of digital media usage…a percentage that’s rising at a pretty rapid clip. Social, along with games and music, dominate mobile app usage, with Facebook the clear #1 for audience size and time spent.


When you drill down to how the individual social networks are predominantly engaged, 98% of the time US users spend with Instagram is on mobile. For Pinterest it’s 92%, Twitter 86%, and Facebook 68%. So taking these kinds of statistics into consideration, an aware social marketer would have no choice but to start thinking about social solely in terms of how it plays out for users on mobile.


Brands and advertisers start doing damage to their company when they comfortably jog far behind real changes in consumer behavior.


And here’s what that behavior looks like. There are more people in this world that own smartphones than own toothbrushes. 4 out of 5 consumers use them to shop. 52% of Americans use mobile for in-store research. 70% of mobile searches lead to online action within an hour. People that find you on mobile convert at almost 3x the rate as those that find you on desktop/laptop. Mobile offers the best use of hyper-local targeting and context marketing. Those using mobile are out and about, living their lives and ready to socially engage.


Mary Meeker’s State of the Internet report brought us some curious figures that illustrate a disconnect between where the public is spending their media time, and how much ad spend goes there. For instance, print usage is at 5% and dropping, yet the spend by advertisers comfortably jogging behind consumer behavior is 19%.


Looking at overall mobile ad market trends, however, things look like they’re heading in a reasonably right direction. BI Intelligence says it will grow the fastest amongst digital options, going over $32.6 billion in 2018 with social leading the way. eMarketer thinks mobile ad spend will surpass desktop PC advertising by 2016, then TV advertising by 2018, with Facebook controlling at least 71% of the mobile ad market.


The conclusion this brings us to is that here in September of 2014, a strategy centered on paid social mobile looks like the smartest play. The relationships you’re building with your customers on social, using the data they’re handing you via social + other enterprise data, with content served up at a time and place of high relevance, targeted and amplified with mobile ad options, is the increasingly obvious path to pursue.


@mikestiles @oraclesocial
Photo: freedigitalphotos.net

Friday Sep 19, 2014

The Social Spotlight Will Shine on #OOW14

Oracle OpenWorld

Want to see an example of “busy” and “everywhere”? Then keep an eye on the Oracle Social Cloud team as they head into this year’s Oracle OpenWorld. Famous for their motto of “surely we can tackle even more,” Oracle’s top socializers will be all over Moscone, from the Social Intelligence Center in CX Central to 16+ social track sessions to live demos to comprehensive social coverage. Oracle Social Cloud will be trumpeting the social business imperative with live, interactive displays and inspiring speakers from Oracle, General Motors, Chevrolet, FleishmanHillard, Nestle, Polaris, CMP.LY and more.


If you’re bringing yourself live and in person to to OpenWorld, catch as many of these highlights as you can. But you can also “attend” from a distance if you’re a loyal follower of @oraclesocial, because we’ll be bringing you the key highlights and takeaways:


  • Social Intelligence Center: Swing by the Oracle SRM “Social Intelligence Center” in CX Central in Moscone West. We don’t know if it will literally make you smarter, but it is a real world demonstration of how the Oracle Social Cloud’s Social Relationship Management (SRM) platform serves up big data visualizations. Specifically, we’ll be watching the web and social chatter around #OOW14 using advanced analytics and deeper listening. You can see the new graphical representations of social data and global activity, get some great ideas for establishing a Social Intelligence Center at your brand, or see firsthand how the Oracle SRM platform is a mean modernizing, social management streamlining machine. And don’t forget to tweet about what you see.



  • “A Sky-High Overview: Oracle Social Cloud” with Meg Bear, Group Vice President of Oracle Social. Tuesday, Sept. 30 @ 10 and 11:45am.


  • “Show Me the Money: Building the Business Case for Social” with Holly Spaeth of Polaris; Michelle Lapierre of Marriott; Meghan Blauvelt, Nestle; and Angela Wells of Oracle Social. Wednesday, Oct. 1 @ 11:45am.


  • “Social Relationship Management: Lessons Learned from the Olympics, Super Bowl, Grammys and More” with Jamie Barbour of Chevrolet; Melissa Schreiber of FleishmanHillard; and Erika Brookes of Oracle Social. Wednesday, Oct. 1 @ 1pm.



  • “Whose Customer is this Anyway? Rise of the CCO, the CDO and the “New” CMO” with Jeb Dasteel, Oracle’s Chief Customer Officer (CCO); other C-Suite executives; and Erika Brookes of Oracle Social. Wednesday, Oct. 1 @ 3:45pm.


  • “Leveraging Social Identity to Build Better Customer Relations” with Andrew Jones of the Altimeter Group. Thursday, Oct. 2 @ 11:30am.


  • “When Social Data = Opportunity: Leveraging Social Data to Target Custom Audiences” with Michelle Lapierre of Marriott; Rahim Fazal of Oracle Social, and Molly Parr of BlueKai. Thursday, Oct. 2 @ 12:45pm.


  • “B2B Social Success: Leveraging Social Relationship Management for Leads” with Bill Hobbib of Oracle, Holly Spaeth of Polaris, and Katie Gulus of BBVA. Thursday, Oct 2 @ 2:00pm.


Want the most thorough coverage of Oracle Social’s OpenWorld activities imaginable? Then by all means go ahead and make sure you’ve friended and followed us on all our channels, including Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn. And subscribe to our daily Social Spotlight podcast!


If you’re there, we want YOU to contribute to our channels and share the sights and takeaways you’re getting at OpenWorld. And if you aren’t there, we want to get your reactions to what you’re hearing and reading.


@mikestiles @oraclesocial



Tuesday Sep 16, 2014

People Shopping: Social HR and Recruiting

social media for recruiting“We have an opening.  I’d better start looking for somebody.” If those words ever ran through your head, you confirmed you’re already behind the 8-ball when it comes to social HR and social recruiting.


Today, you should ALWAYS be scouting and courting talent. It’s a perpetual process, and because it is, social is at the forefront of it. Social is the means for pretty much everything involved; referral, discovery, connecting, research, vetting, selling the virtues of the employer, reading recommendations, answering questions, gauging cultural fit, etc.


Just as transformative social technologies are being used for marketing, so too can those same powers be turned on recruitment. We’re talking about targeting, amplification, listening, moderation & engagement, and social data analysis. These are the things that will keep a flow of quality choices in the hiring funnel.


Of course, a solid argument can be made that if you’re in recruiting, you’re in marketing. Spherion Staffing’s study says 47% of Millennials think an employer’s online rep matters as much as the job itself. The truly qualified have more than enough choices, and they don’t want to be embarrassed to say whom they work for. The worst circumstance, of course, is that your competition has been connected to and engaging with all the real winners for months.


The sooner you determine the skillset you’re most in need of, target the online locales most frequented by such workers, and start monitoring the signals their activity is sending, the sooner you can connect and engage in relevant ways…whether the person is currently actively looking for a job change or not. And while you’re at it, do that with visual content that’s mobile optimized. Only 20% of F500 companies even have a mobile-optimized career site. Bad plan.


To get social HR and social recruiting right, you not only need the tech infrastructure and strategy, you need HR staffers that “get it” and are social themselves. The number of HR jobs requiring social skills is up 43% year to year. But a CIPD Resourcing and Talent Planning survey shows over a third of HR respondents said that while they do use social, they aren’t really sure how to maximize it.


Now that puts you in a pickle. Who in HR is going to teach employees how to help recruiting efforts via social contact referrals? Who’s going to lead the drive to implement social for internal communication and collaboration? Who’s listening across social and the web to what’s being said about the company by employees and non-employees alike? Who’s being consistently active on the professional communities, forums and groups where quality prospects can be found?


And those are just the basics. Social can have profound implications in HR in areas beyond recruitment and hiring such as employee reviews, goal setting & tracking, and training/certification. But just as the often-difficult revolution we’ve seen take place in marketing called for team members in that department to rise to the occasion and assume new disciplines and broader responsibilities, so too must HR firmly plant their feet and execute its role in fostering the social-enabled enterprise.


@mikestiles @oraclesocial
Photo: Alexander Wallnfer, freeimages.com

Friday Sep 12, 2014

Essentials of an Employee Social Media Policy

social media employee policyThere’s still a lot of fear out there around employees’ use of social media related to their company of employment. Employees are scared to mention the company for fear of doing something wrong. That’s not good. Brands want and need employees to be the first wave of social message amplifiers and engagers.


Companies are afraid an employee post referencing the company will lead to a humiliating PR nightmare. That’s not good either. With the content fire hose wide open and as hard as it is to get your brand noticed on social, restrained marketing rooted in fear is a sure path to #fail.


So below are some terms you may want to include in your company’s social “rules of the road.” Having such guideposts in place helps the company and its employees understand each other’s wants and concerns so that mutually beneficial activity can comfortably proceed.


  • We encourage all employees to follow company social channels and actively engage on those channels. Additionally, we ask that you set the preferences on your social channels and devices to receive notifications when a post goes out from the company’s social channels.


  • We encourage all employees to share official company social posts and content on their own social channels. When adding comments to such content, employees are expected to use sound judgment in not criticizing or being counter productive to the messaging the company is trying to communicate. If you have questions or criticisms of the messaging, please address with your immediate supervisor FIRST.


  • The more you use your personal social channels to mention the company and share its content, the more guarded you are requested to be in how you present yourself overall on your social channels. Please respect and be aware of the fact that during the time of your employment, you are a representative of the company. This is actually a sound practice that should help you professionally, regardless of your employment with our company.


  • Please always use proper, widely acceptable, non-offensive language and terminology in any posts you make on your personal social channels that also mention the company.


  • Please refrain from posting any news or imagery from or about the company on your personal social channels if you have any doubts whatsoever such material is not cleared for public release. This includes product rollouts, product improvements, policy changes, etc. Immediacy of posting is not required such that there isn’t time to check with a supervisor first and make sure employees are clear to talk about the subject in question.


  • Please refrain from engaging in any discussion with or about a company competitor on your personal social channels. Simply direct such conversations exclusively to our company’s products, solutions and benefits.


  • We ask that you take with the highest level of seriousness and consideration any request by the company to immediately remove a post on your personal social channels that inappropriately mentions the company, runs counter to privacy policies or embargoes, or is factually incorrect.


  • We want you to be a sincere, transparent, enthused ambassador for our brand. If there are reasons you are reluctant to be publicly associated with the company or product, and if you feel comfortable doing so, please discuss the origins of this reluctance with a supervisor. We see this as a learning opportunity for us in how the workplace or product can be significantly improved.


  • We encourage you to report conversations of note about the company that you encounter on your personal social channels to the brand’s social manager. While we do have a social monitoring and engagement platform in place, it’s always helpful to have such conversations called to our attention to insure proper engagement.


  • As active social channel users in your personal lives, you are particularly experienced in what type of content, especially from brands, captures your attention and wins your engagement. We encourage you to submit content to the brand’s social manager for possible posting on the company’s channels, be it a tweet, image, video, poll, curated content, or original blog post.


  • The company allows access to social network sites, including personal social network sites, onsite during the workday so employees can remain connected and in communication. We ask that you honor this policy by consistently and regularly using that access to help amplify the company’s messaging and stimulate engagement with the brand’s posts.


  • If you have any questions regarding proper usage of your personal social channels when referencing the company, please consult your supervisor or the brand’s social manager before publicly posting.


@mikestiles @oraclesocial
Photo: Krzysztof Szkurlatowski, freeimages.com

Tuesday Sep 09, 2014

8 Steps to Become a Social Enterprise – Even With Silos

steps to social media managementA social enabled enterprise is one that activates social media across every department to the effect of optimizing internal communication and improving customer experiences. Despite those clearly positive benefits, it calls for root changes in how organizations are structured. That’s why even today, the struggle to infuse social rages on.


An easier blog to write would be to call for corporate silos to come down. We’ve done that…a few times. But the reality is many of those silos have the permanence of Stonehenge. Silos work for somebody, and those somebodies are defending them to the death.


Does that mean social at such enterprises is a lost cause? Nope. Let’s say the silo walls stay up. Here are 8 steps to becoming a social enabled enterprise anyway.


1. Accept What’s Going On

Adopt a birds-eye view of what’s happening in marketing and what customers now expect from businesses. They don’t see your departments, nor do they care. In every interaction, it’s just you, and them. If one hub falls short, the WHOLE brand gets blamed.


2. Name Your Change Agent

A mighty leader needs to take the reins of this effort. Preferably someone charismatic, highly respected, and passionate about the benefits social integration will bring to the customer.


3. Task Force Time

This leader must organize a social task force, pulling in representatives from every silo that will be affected. Each member must be an ambassador to their silo, represent their department, and reach authentic buy-in.


4. Endgame

Where are you headed? What does it look like when completed? How will it affect MY department? What does MY department have to gain from this? Each task force member should have a clear vision of the promised land.


5. What Can Your Tech Do?

Assess the tech tools and platforms each silo is using to achieve their goals. Knowing that people like to stay with what they’re used to, what social management platform has the ability to ramp up and integrate with most existing enterprise systems?


6. Re-Onboarding

Even if they’ve worked there for 15 years (in fact especially if they’ve been there that long) re-onboard all staff around the organization’s new priority to customer interaction and relationship building via social.


7. Nurture & Protect

You know all the great work that’s been done to nurture and protect the silos? That same fervor must now also go toward maintaining social as the lifeblood of how information courses throughout the enterprise; how it’s distributed and tapped into. Social data + enterprise data = the heart.


8. Post a Lookout

At this stage, your change agent’s focus should shift toward monitoring and assessing oncoming trends and developments in social, content, and marketing so, as to keep the org from having to play catch-up.


If you can’t tear down corporate silos, you can at least lay social across the tops of those silos so improved connections result. Given how orgs are still struggling, even this cursory approach will likely place you in the upper percentile of enterprises best positioned to deliver on the promise of social business.


@mikestiles @oraclesocial
Photo: freeimages.com

Friday Sep 05, 2014

Real Time Marketing: Is It Worth the Rush?

The marketing world was awakened to real time marketing during Super Bowl XLVII when Oreo seized on the lights going out and tweeted “you can still dunk in the dark.” Was it brilliant creative? Did it sell a lot of cookies? I don’t know. What got the industry’s attention wasn’t what was done, but that it was done at all.


Predictably, the following year for Super Bowl XLVIII, marketers were armed and ready to flap their lemming wings and do “me too” real time marketing. It fell as flat as the Bronco’s defense. Oddly, brands mostly engaged with and reacted to other brands, flooding streams and feeds with attention-soliciting marketing, the kind of thing that can get a brand unfollowed.


So…is real time social marketing good or bad? Effective or non-effective?


It depends on your definition of real time marketing, and there are many. A Realtime Report study found 68% of marketers think it’s responding to trends and current events, like our Super Bowl examples. But more, at 76% and 74% respectively, think it’s personalizing content depending on customer interactions with the brand, and responding based on a consumer’s web interactions.


So real time marketing as a stunt is iffy. It’s very difficult to do well, in meaningful ways, and if you do it poorly it’s fraught with backfire potential. That doesn’t mean end all talk of brand newsrooms; just consider that the news you report should perhaps be about the brand or industry as opposed to hijacking unrelated trends or events.


But real time marketing as a result of intimately knowing your audience and delivering relevant content to them at the most opportune moments, based on indicators they’re sending at the time…that’s smart real time marketing. It’s enabled, of course, by real-time listening that lets you tap into how customers are currently feeling and what they’re currently thinking about.


The rewards? The Realtime Report showed 81% of marketers surveyed see increases in engagement as a key benefit of real time marketing. Better customer experiences (73%), increased conversion rates (59%), and improved brand perception (52%) were also cited. A separate study from Golin Harris showed real time marketers can expect a 21% bump in positive brand perception and an 18% increase in likelihood to buy.


So while real time marketing certainly has its critics, if your brand’s approach to it is to tap into the genuine needs individual customers have of you and provide solutions in time to make a difference (as opposed to inserting your brand irrelevantly into whatever’s hot), then you’ll be providing real value and will be welcome any day, any time.



@mikestiles @oraclesocial
Photo: freeimages.com

Tuesday Sep 02, 2014

Why GM Changed Lanes in Social Customer Service Staffing

social media managementWhat are the ingredients of social customer service that actually services, and satisfies, customers? Like many brands, General Motors found itself faced with that question after taking a second look at how current practices would (or wouldn’t) hold up post-social revolution.


And it’s an increasingly important thing to get right. A BI Intelligence report says social customer management doubles the percentage of sales leads that result in actual sales, relative to traditional CRM approaches. McKinsey says 71% of consumers who received good social service are likely to recommend the brand to others.


In a newly released Oracle Social video, Reggie Bradford chatted with GM’s Rebecca Harris about the challenges that were seen, what needed fixing, and what kind of people and processes were brought in to fix it. Among Rebecca’s points:


  • A typical call center, like the one they had in Saginaw, does not lend itself to direct management. There are multiple players between you and the customer, and little control of interactions.
  • With social having changed public expectations, direct oversight of the personnel hired to engage with customers became a must.
  • Such personnel have 4-year educations, are proficient in reading and writing, and have some sort of customer service background or experience.
  • Rebecca says, “We can teach them social. We can't teach them to be nice. They have to have that core first.”
  • You want to be as close to your customer as you can be, with the fewest possible layers required to get issues resolved.
  • A key goal is getting everyone to know we care and we're trying to help customers.
  • You won’t solve every problem. But we get our field team involved, our dealer team involved, whoever and whatever it takes in trying to solve that problem.
  • Hire the right people, train them, then let them do their jobs.
  • When you have a misstep, talk about it, adjust & correct, and keep moving forward.


How close are you getting to your customers? How much control over the individual interactions does your brand have? In the age of relationship marketing, the person you have representing you on the front lines of customer service is a make-or-break player.


We invite you to watch the full video, as Reggie covers several social topics with Rebecca and GM’s North American Customer Experience Executive Director David Mingle.



@mikestiles @oraclesocial
Photo: freeimages.com

Friday Aug 29, 2014

10 Reasons Why Your Social Brand Content Might Be Boooring

Back in the day (whatever day that was), the race was to establish a presence on social and collect lots of fans & followers.  Then everything became about social media engagement. To get it, your posts had to be visible. That’s when the social networks started caring…a lot…about monetizing.


Now, social has backed itself into being…TV advertising, but with added burdens. Social marketers now do what TV advertisers have always done; pay to get their content possibly seen. Whether the TV ad “worked” or got buzz depended on how entertaining, catchy, or compelling it was. So it is today with social brand content.


It’s not enough to be on. It’s not enough to be seen. Your content has to be awesome enough to inspire social’s added burden: the like, comment, and share. Nobody ever asked a viewer to go kiss their TV if they liked the ad they saw. But that’s what social asks.


Additional burden #2 is that social is a 24/7, two-way pipeline brands must fill with…something. The call for quality does not go down, while the call for quantity skyrockets. Caught in those crosshairs, several things may be conspiring to keep your social brand content boring and thus, not worthy of engagement.


1. You Can’t Keep Up With the Volume Needed

Content marketing wouldn’t be happening if content consumption weren’t going up. If you don’t fill that News Feed, others will be more than happy to and keep you shut out.


2. You Refuse to Shift Your Staffing Search

It’s the reason you can’t keep up with the volume needed. You’ve got marketers that can do the occasional deck and white paper. You’re not seeking prolific creators, entertainers and journalists.


3. You Continue to Try to Commoditize Today’s Most In-Demand Skills

If you do find those prolific content-generators, you want to lowball them. If “anyone can do it,” then you should probably start doing it yourself and really save some money.


4. You Aren’t Listening, or Watching, or Caring, or Asking

Any content creator knows the first thing you should do is know who your audience is. Tech listening and engagement tools remove the excuse to stay in the dark. Love what they love, care about what they care about, tune in to them, be one of them.


5. You Are Ignorant to the Content Competition Out There

I’m not talking about the content your competition is posting, I’m talking about the universe of viewing/listening options we all have at any given moment. You are entitled to nothing. You have to earn every scrap of attention your content gets.


6. You’re Still Banking on One-Offs Instead of “Shows”

What content can your social fans/followers rely on you to give them on a regular basis, without fail? Get them into a habit of consumption. They have no obligation to come around only when you’re ready to give them something.


7. You’re Playing to Internal Corporate Forces, Not the Real World

Does your C-suite know content? Do they know how to pull in, hold, delight, and impassion the public? Have they ever done it? If your content is aimed at pleasing them, you can be almost 100% guaranteed your social fans’ eyes are glazing over.


8. Your Company isn’t Shifting Resources to Content

If you’re fighting yesterday’s marketing war, that’s nostalgic. Maybe you could open a museum or something. Or hey, maybe people will stop wanting to watch things on their phones and brand content will just go away.


9. Your Brand Just Isn’t Cool. Like…at All

It’s not that people won’t share. AOL & Nielsen found 27 million pieces of content are shared daily. Ipsos says 70% of Internet users share content regularly. But when people share brand content, they’re publicly identifying with the brand and defining a part of themselves. You can’t afford not to have an overall cool image.


10. You Aren’t Doing Enough Newsworthy Things

Why would anyone share your content “just because”? If you’ve made legitimate news, people feel useful to their followers by sharing that news. If you’re not creating, innovating, launching, doing something…then it’s hard to make a ripple.


Forrester learned that on 6 of the 7 social networks, social brand content gets an engagement rate of under 0.1%. A Business Review Weekly piece talked to users about why they ignore brand content. One replied, “It’s an ad. . .and they never say anything funny or interesting.” You wrote the check, you got it seen, but for whatever reason, you found the quality of the content itself completely expendable. Yawn.


@mikestiles @oraclesocial
Photo: freeimages.com

Tuesday Aug 26, 2014

An Engaging Experience at CRM Evolution 2014

Our guest post today is from Oracle Social Cloud Group VP Meg Bear, fresh off presenting at the CRM Evolution event. With seismic technology shifts taking place in CRM, we wanted to get her take on what she heard and saw.


What a fun week! CRM Evolution wasn’t just a great experience; it was a truly engaging event. The reason I say that is many of the conversations at the event were around best practices for customer experience and customer engagement. Thanks to the amazing Ray Wang for summarizing the discussion so concisely!


Buzzwords aside, I was happy to see the focus on engagement and I believe there are two key distinctions between the concepts. Firstly, engagement suggests an ongoing relationship, versus a one-time experience. Importantly, engagement makes it clear that the customer is in control and the actions taken by an organization, only impact the outcome.


CRM EvolutionWhat made CRM Evolution 2014 such a great experience and so engaging, you may ask? Well, it wasn’t the view from the windowless press/analyst room I spent most of my day in that’s for sure. The amazing conversations I was lucky enough to join (and of course the hugs!) make this “THE” event for those who care deeply about this industry.


I shared fascinating discussions with the delightful Paul Greenberg. Paul has an amazing ability to bring people together (as he clearly showed in his role as CRM Evolution Conference chair) and hosted a panel on the growing importance of customer engagement that I joined. Not content with lifting the curtain on the increasingly small distinction between “social CRM” and traditional CRM systems, Paul asked complex and insightful questions about business, social and customer engagement. I was honored to participate.


And it wasn’t just Paul. My visit was enriched by a large number of industry veterans sharing their experiences. Denis Pombriant kindly took the time to share his presentation with me even though I was double booked during his session; Brian Vellmure and I talked for so long that I made him late for a Yankees game (sorry, Brian!); and I waited for but did not get coffee (to say the “experience” at the hotel Café could have used a little investment would be an understatement) with the one and only Brent Leary. Any minute spent getting Michael Krigsman’s take on the state of things is always a minute well spent. And that’s not to mention the countless other conversations I had with some of the best people in the industry including Marshall Lager.


One of the things I was talking about was how the right user experience can increase customer engagement. As with the introduction of Social Station, a cool new workstation within Oracle Social Cloud, we now provide a next-gen user experience that drives productivity and social business results. It was great to see some of the initial reaction and read what Maria Minsker (CRM Magazine), Natalie Gagliordi (ZDNet), Tom Murphy (CMSWire), Omar Akhtar (The Hub) and others had to say about the latest enhancements.


By making it easier than ever to understand, report and share social insights across the enterprise, Social Station helps our customers move at the speed of social. And that’s not just a nice to have. That type of agility is a must-have if organizations are to engage customers in a way that has a positive and tangible impact on business results.


So thanks to Paul, the rest of CRM Evolution team and everyone that took the time to meet and speak with me. I hope to see many of you at Oracle OpenWorld next month and perhaps while I am there, I will get my very own selfie with Ray Wang.



@oraclesocial

Friday Aug 22, 2014

Customization: It’s Wanted in Enterprise Tech Platforms Too

social media managementDid you know that every customer service person does their job the exact same way in every business organization?  And did you know that every business organization cares about the exact same metrics? I hope not, because both those things couldn’t be farther from the truth. And if there are different needs and approaches in different enterprises, it stands to reason technology platforms must become increasingly customizable.


Oracle Social Cloud sees that coming and is doing something about it, at least in terms of social media management. Today we introduce Social Station, a customizable user experience workspace within the Oracle Social Relationship Management (SRM) platform.


We think a lot about customer-centricity and customer experience around here, and we know our own customers are ready to start moving forward in being able to set up their work environments in the ways that work best for them. That kind of thing increases productivity, helps deliver on social objectives faster, and generally just makes life more pleasant.


A recent IDG Enterprise report says that enterprises currently investing in more consumerized, easy-to-use technologies experience a 56% increase in employee productivity and a 46% increase in customer satisfaction. Imagine that. When you make it easier and more pleasant for employees to help customers, more customers get helped and everyone ends up happier.

social media analytics

So what does this Social Station do and what does it mean, exactly? It’s an innovative move to take some pretty high-end tech (take a bow developers) and simplify it, making things more intuitive:


  • Drag and drop lets you easily build out and personalize your social workspace with different modules.
  • The new Custom Analytics module can mix and match over 120 metrics with thousands of customizable reporting options. You can check constantly refreshed updates and keep a real-time eye on the numbers you’re trying to move.
  • One-click sharing and annotation in the Custom Analytics module improves sharing and collaboration across teams, departments and executives.
  • Multi-view layout helps you leverage social insights by letting you monitor conversations by network, stream, metric, graph type, date range, and relative time period.
  • The Enhanced Calendar is a better visual representation of content, posts, networks and views, letting you easily toggle between functions and views.
  • The Oracle Social Station sets us up to always be developing & launching additional social modules for you, covering areas like content curation, influencer engagement, and command center creation.

social media management

Oracle Social Cloud Group VP Meg Bear says, “Consumers today have high expectations of their technology application capabilities and usability, and those expectations don’t stop when they enter their workplaces.” In other words, internal enterprise technology platforms must reflect the personalization and customization being called for in consumer products and marketing.


“One size fits all” is becoming an endangered concept.


@mikestiles @oraclesocial

Tuesday Aug 19, 2014

So You Want to Be a Social Media Director

social media directorDo you want to be a Social Media Director? Some say the title is already losing its relevance; that social should be a basic skill that is required and used no matter what your position is inside the enterprise.


I suppose that’s visionary, and a fun thing for thought leaders to say. But in the vast majority of business organizations, we’re so far away from that reality that the thought of not having someone driving social’s implementation and guiding its proper usage conjures up images of anarchy.


That said, social media has become so broad, so catch-all, and so extended across business functions, that today’s Social Media Director, depending on the size of their staff, must make jacks-of-all-trades look like one-trick-ponies. Just as the purview of the CMO has grown all-encompassing, the disciplines required of their heads of social are stacking up.


Master of Content

Every social pipeline you build must stay filled, with quantity and quality. Content takes time, and the job never stops. Never. And no, it’s not true that anybody can write.


Master of Customer Experience

You must have a passion for hearing from customers and making them really happy.


Master of PR

You must know how to communicate and leverage the trust you’ve built when crises strike. Couldn’t hurt to be a Master of Politics.


Master of Social Technology

So many social management tools on the market. You have to know what social tech ecosystem makes sense and avoid piecemeal point solutions.


Master of Business Development

Social for selling and prospecting is hot, and you have to know how to use social to do it.


Master of Analytics

Nothing else matters if you can’t prove social is helping the brand. That’s right, creative content guy has to also be a math and stats geek. Good luck with that.


Master of Paid Media

You’ve got to learn the language, learn the tactics, learn the vendors and learn how to measure results.


Master of Education

Guess who gets to teach everyone who has no clue how to use social for business.


Master of Personal Likability

You’ll be leading the voice, tone, image and personality of the brand. If you don’t instinctively know how to be liked by actual people, the brand will be starting from a deficit.


How deep must you go in this parade of masteries? Again, that depends on your employer’s maturity level in social. Serious players recognize these as distinct disciplines requiring true experts for maximum effect. Less serious players will need you to execute personally in many of these areas. Do the best you can, and try to grow quickly at each.


If you’re the sole person executing all social…well…you’re in the game of managing expectations and trying to socially educate your employer. The good news is, you should be making a certifiable killing. If you’re alone and your salary is modest, time to understand how many brands out there crave what you’ve mastered. Not to push back against thought leaders, but the need for brand social leadership has not gone away…not even a little bit.


@mikestiles @oraclesocial
Photo: Stefan Wagner, freeimages.com




Friday Aug 15, 2014

Alert: It is No Longer 1982, So Why is CRM Still There?

Hot off the heels of Oracle’s recent LinkedIn integration announcement and Oracle Marketing Cloud Interact 2014, the Oracle Social Cloud is preparing for another big event, the CRM Evolution conference and exhibition in NYC. The role of social channels in customer engagement continues to grow, and social customer engagement will be a significant theme at the conference.


According to Paul Greenberg, CRM Evolution Conference Chair, author, and Managing Principal at The 56 Group, social channels have become so pervasive that there is no longer a clear reason to make a distinction between “social CRM” and traditional CRM systems.


Why not? Because social is a communication hub every bit as vital and used as the phone or email. What makes social different is that if you think of it as a phone, it’s a party line. That means customer interactions are far from secret, and social connections are listening in by the hundreds, hearing whether their friend is having a positive or negative experience with your brand.


According to a Mention.com study, 76% of brand mentions are neutral, neither positive nor negative. These mentions fail to get much notice. So think what that means about the remaining 24% of mentions. They’re standing out, because a verdict, about you, is being rendered in them, usually with emotion. Suddenly, where the R of CRM has been lip service and somewhat expendable in the past, “relationship” takes on new meaning, seriousness, and urgency.


Remarkably, legions of brands still approach CRM as if it were 1982. Today, brands must provide customer experiences the customer actually likes (how dare they expect such things). They must intimately know not only their customers, but each customer, because technology now makes personalized experiences possible.


That’s why the Oracle Social Cloud has been so mission-oriented about seamlessly integrating social with sales, marketing and customer service interactions so the enterprise can have an actionable 360-degree view of the customer. It’s the key to that customer-centricity we hear so much about these days.


If you’re attending CRM Evolution, Chris Moody, Director of Product Marketing for the Oracle Marketing Cloud, will show you how unified customer experiences and enhanced customer centricity will help you attract and keep ideal customers and brand advocates (“The Pursuit of Customer-Centricity” Aug 19 at 2:45p ET)


And Meg Bear, Group Vice President for the Oracle Social Cloud, will sit on a panel talking about “terms of engagement” and the ways tech can now enhance your interactions with customers (Aug 20 at 10a ET).


If you can’t be there, we’ll be doing our live-tweeting thing from the @oraclesocial handle, so make sure you’re a faithful follower. You’ll notice NOBODY is writing about the wisdom of “company-centricity.” Now is the time to bring your customer relationship management into the socially connected age.


@mikestiles
Photo: Sue Pizarro, freeimages.com

Tuesday Aug 12, 2014

5 Things Brands Should Learn From the Rise of YouTube Celebrities

YouTube social media contentTV actors used to worry about reality show stars stealing their thunder and opportunities.  Ah what quaint days those were. Turns out the no-names doing seemingly brainless stuff as YouTube “celebrities” loomed as the larger dinosaur-killing catastrophic threat.


We present as evidence a recent survey commissioned by Variety, the traditional film/TV industry’s legendary trade publication. It showed that as far as US teens 13-18 are concerned, the faces they watch on YouTube are more important and influential to them than Sheldon, Leonard & Penny.


No, those actors aren’t hurting (just renegotiated huge new per episode deals). But much of a star’s value is in their ability to sell stuff. And that’s where YouTube celebrities are shining, ranking sky high on traits like engaging, approachable, authentic, and relatable. They even hold their own in sex appeal vs. the glitterati. Their fans love that they aren’t handled by slick PR machines or marketing operatives. There’s realness and intimacy.


It used to be that YouTubers put out content hoping to get discovered by the networks & studios. Now, that could be the worst thing that could happen to them as it risks damaging the profitable relationships they’ve built with fans. The top earner, a Swedish gamer known as PewDiePie, has 23.9 million subscribers and 3.69 billion total views, earning him up to an estimated $8.47 million per year after Google’s 45% cut. Who needs Hollywood?


So what should we as brands tasked with using content to build audiences and relationships take from this seismic shift in entertainment sources?


1. Your brand is legendary? So what? Nobody owes you a thing. The Variety article points out it’s not that teens don’t know the big TV, movie and music stars, it’s that they fail to appeal to them like YouTube stars do. You’re building your audience from scratch, and on even footing. Act like it.


2. You’ve got to be a consistent, reliable presence. If your brand doesn’t have a “show,” you’re in trouble. Your one-off attempt at a viral video or your twice a year Prezi about your white papers is a neglectful, non-serious effort that will be rewarded as such.


3. You must be real. This runs counter to everything corporate communications was built to be. “Who can be the best fraud” is no longer the game. Nobody really believed you were perfect and flawless anyway.


4. You must be approachable/accessible. Again, corporate customer service and interaction has been historically constructed for one purpose, to avoid actual contact with customers. You can’t build intimacy and hide at the same time.


5. Communities get built around great content. Following a YouTube star alone isn’t nearly as much fun as having a tribe to discuss the star and their content with. If the content strikes a chord, fan bases coalesce and spread quickly. Think less about creating fans of your brand, and more (much, much more) about creating fans of your content.


Modern marketing and the technology to optimize social distribution & promotion are falling into place. But those capabilities will go completely wasted if brands can’t stop self-obsessing long enough to care about what kind of content will make them a star with their customers.


@mikestiles @oraclesocial
Photo: freeimages.com

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