Friday Dec 19, 2014

3 Ways Social Media Can Grow Your B2B Business

By Pat Ma, Product Marketing Director, Oracle Social Cloud

Did you know that 83% of B2B marketers invest in social media to increase brand awareness? And 69% use social to increase web traffic while 65% use it to gain industry insights? Additionally, a whopping 91% use social media for promotion and awareness during events. Social is definitely a B2B thing.

Traditionally a B2C play, B2B businesses are increasingly seeing the value in social for business, particularly with the rise of B2B-specific social networks like LinkedIn, Slideshare, and Glassdoor. Furthermore, B2B companies understand that their buyers are using consumer social networks like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. These buyers are influenced by the content they see on these sites. 78% of B2B buyers and 84% of VPs and C-level executives use social media to make purchasing decisions.[1] B2B companies must incorporate social media into their business strategy in order to stay relevant with their customers and grow their businesses.

In working with B2B customers on their social media strategy and execution, we see three prominent use cases for using social media. B2B companies use social media to increase thought leadership, drive brand awareness, and discover competitive insights.

Increase Thought Leadership

B2B companies want to be perceived as thought leaders in their industries. They do this by producing and publishing content that helps establish their expertise in a particular field. This content can come in many forms, including white papers, webinars, executive bylines, infographics and much more. Companies create thought leadership content and use social media to distribute it.

For example, an identity management company uses social media as a vehicle to publish thought leadership content, leveraging Oracle Social Cloud capabilities. They publish engaging articles about their industry, offer tips about corporate identity management, promote their presence at industry events, and showcase industry awards they have won. They do all this to show their thought leadership in the identity management industry.

Drive Brand Awareness

B2B companies use social media channels to increase and drive their brand awareness. B2B companies are already using web, email, and mobile to communicate their message to customers. Now companies are adding social media channels to help distribute their content and drive brand awareness.

For example, a document processing company uses social media to plan and launch multichannel campaigns across the web, email, mobile, and social using Oracle Marketing Cloud and Oracle Social Cloud. Their content consists of thought leadership pieces, job postings, company awards, event promotions, employee recognition, and photos from company events. The goal of these activities is to generate brand awareness, which aids sales of their services. Social media helps this company get additional reach for content they have already created.

Discover Competitive Insights

B2B companies use social media to conduct competitive research. Specifically, companies use social listening software tools to monitor conversations on social networks, spot potential threats, see industry trends, get brand and industry insights, and use those insights to optimize their marketing and business growth strategies.

For example, an enterprise software company uses social listening to monitor industry buzz. They track competitors, when those competitors launch products, and press sentiment on competitive product reviews. When the company is ready to launch new products, they use social listening and analytics to get insights on market conditions and whether the new product will sell or not. When executives join or leave the company, they want to know where the story breaks, how fast the story is spreading, and if the story is affecting their stock price. B2B companies should harvest and analyze public social conversations for competitive research that fuels data-driven business decisions.

Although there are many more, these are the three most popular use cases we see for B2B companies using social media to grow their business. Through strategic use of social media, B2B companies are increasing their thought leadership, driving brand awareness, and discovering competitive insights.

How are you using social media to grow your B2B business? Please let us know by leaving a comment below. And check out our latest
Oracle Social Cloud video on B2B social media.

[1] DC, “Social Buying Meets Social Selling: How Trusted Networks Improve the Purchase Experience,” 2014.

Friday Dec 12, 2014

Five Big Ideas for Becoming a Customer Centric Organization

Customers have changed

The reality is that life on this planet is changing. It’s more connected, more empowered and more impatient. We are all part of this change and the pace of acceleration is giving Moore’s law a run for its money. Rights and privileges once taken are never returned. While digital music might have been a disappointment for Neil Young, it still disrupted analog distribution because the consumer wanted music to be more portable and more readily available. We might long with nostalgia for turn tables and record stores, but we are not giving up our iPhone/iPod any time soon. Time to face the music, the nature of being a customer has changed, and by extension, business has changed.

What it means to serve a customer, who is changing out from under you, becomes an exercise in business model agility. The most critical success criterion for business agility is clarity of vision. When you understand how your customer shapes your market, the business tactics become very clear and the organizational complexities become less confused (note: I never said easy). Customer centricity is a CEO and Board level discussion because it is directly tied to business strategy.

Here are five best practices I’ve seen with companies taking a more modern approach to their business.

1) Listen more than you talk – What is true in life, is even more so with customer relationships. You are way more likeable if you listen first and talk second. You have more useful things to say and you are [generally] less annoying. In the era of 24-hour news cycles and social media, this is hard. Technology can help but only if you let it. It is possible to get big and small insights but you need a structural way to leverage them. Too often I see customers listening and only leveraging a subset of the insights, because the group in charge of technology is tied to a single business function. Building an organization that is intellectually curious, that seeks understanding, and respects the wisdom of the crowds, even when [especially when] it is unpleasant, unclear and unvarnished.

2) Employee Engagement matters – Customer centricity requires every part of the organization to participate as it’s the mission critical. Organizations that don’t invest in their employees are going to experience breakdowns. Engaging the employees first, so that they can reflect your brand vision, is the most critical investment you can make. Sharing with your employees your vision, your plans and how you are listening to your customers, makes them better equipped to support your mission.

3) A dose of humility is a good thing – This bit is probably the most controversial but also the most powerful. As power shifts so does the value of humility. Instead of shouting out what’s so great about your product or your company, how about talking about your customers and what is great about them? How about making the customer the hero of your product story, not the product itself. This kind of thinking opens up whole new opportunities on how you service, promote and build products. How you think about the sales lead funnel and how you see market opportunity. Humility. It’s really a big idea. What this does is open up opportunities for vulnerability and transparency. It allows you to share things that didn’t work so great and show how you are trying to improve. It suggests you could be imperfect and it leaves room for the customer to step up and advise and support your company. Hint: They already are pretty clear on where you need to improve anyway.

4) Trade control for co-creation – Since we already have acknowledged that control is no longer an option for business, how about opening up to the idea of Co-creation. Modern companies are leveraging customer feedback at the large and small scale, to help prevent problems, improve outcomes and even take new products to market. The opportunity to leverage the community to help you serve them better, is a virtuous cycle that benefits everyone. Today the best examples of this are often based on serendipity, but I am hopeful for a day where this becomes the norm and not the exception. As an innovator, I see this as very exciting to create better products more quickly, leveraging the value of the network.

5) Review your KPIs – Now that you know there are new business opportunities available to you in this era of Customer Centricity – you need to think about how to drive this strategy to operational effect. Examine your key performance indicators (KPIs). Are they optimized for alignment to your business objective of customer centricity? Are you able to measure the real top and bottom line impact of putting the customer first? Are you capturing the evidence that helps you build lasting value for your business? It’s time to make sure you’re investing in the right things to make your business grow, and we all know we can’t manage what we don’t measure.

The business of business is getting more complex every day, but so are the innovations. Letting your customers become part of your competitive advantage is how you will win.

Tuesday Dec 09, 2014

Celebrating Social Campaigns with Michelle Lapierre of Marriott Rewards

Have you checked out the best and brightest in marketing? The recent Global Markie Awards honored excellence in marketing across a whole range of marketing categories. We are so happy that Marriott Rewards, an Oracle Social Cloud customer, won the Markie award for Best Social Campaign. The category was based on: 1) Effective use of social marketing as a strategy to build brand awareness or turn customers and prospects into advocates; 2) Social media used in new and interesting ways or as the centerpiece of a successful new program; and 3) Seized social media opportunities and generated proven results.

So we connected with Michelle Lapierre, Senior Director, Customer Experience and Social Media at Marriott Rewards, to hear about this award-winning campaign and what Marriott Rewards is doing next on social.

Oracle Social: Congratulations on recently winning a Markie Award for Best Social Campaign! Before we dive into the campaign specifics, can you describe your organization’s overall social media strategy? How has that strategy evolved?

Michelle: Marriott Rewards joined Facebook in December 2011 and quickly grew to be the largest and most engaged hotel loyalty brand on Facebook ( The continuing mission of Marriott Rewards is to engage target audiences around the world through social media channels in a consistent, authentic and meaningful way. The Marriott Rewards social media philosophy is to keep life at the center of the story, not hotels or programs or deals. We believe that our Facebook fans are not only our fans, but they are a diverse community of travelers, dreamers and storytellers. We see our social media channels as an outlet for their stories, not just our own.

Through an emphasis on compassionate and authentic community management and content development, we seek to engage, inspire and keep our Facebook friends coming back to the page on a regular basis. As such, we engage in extended conversations with our Facebook friends and listen to what they have to say, not just when they’re angry with us, but for all the reasons friends speak with each other.

Oracle Social: Can you tell us more about your award-winning campaign?

Michelle: The “30 Beds In 30 Days” sweepstakes was the second Facebook promotion in which Marriott Rewards gave away 30 Marriott Beds to 30 Facebook fans in 30 days. It’s great how much people love these beds! The sweepstakes was hosted on a Facebook enabled microsite, which was responsively designed for desktop, mobile and tablet users. It also lived on the Marriott Rewards Facebook page as a tab. As with the 2012 sweepstakes, it was co-sponsored by partners and the Marriott Rewards Credit Card by Chase.

Oracle Social: What were your goals for this campaign?

Michelle: Our primary goal was to increase fan acquisition and engagement on Facebook and also to drive traffic to partner sites like Chase Marriott Rewards Credit Card and Secondarily, we hoped to drive enrollments into the Marriott Rewards program.

Oracle Social: Clearly, this campaign was successful – not just for the award you won, but for the connections you strengthened with your Fans and Rewards numbers. Can you tell us about the results of this campaign?

Michelle: The 2013 “30 Beds in 30 Days” sweepstakes surpassed the results of the 2012 campaign in virtually every way, including Facebook fan acquisition, Rewards program enrollments, and traffic to our partners websites ( and the Marriott Rewards Credit Card by Chase).

The “30 Beds in 30 Days” sweepstakes increased our Share of Voice compared to our competitors during the campaign. It also generated more positive sentiment around the program in general outside of the contest. According to Oracle Social Cloud’s sentiment analysis, mentions of the Marriott Rewards program and the campaign outside of Marriott channels with a clearly defined sentiment ran 90% positive during the 30 Beds campaign.

Oracle Social: It was great to follow along with this campaign on your Marriott Rewards Facebook page. How did the campaign get started?

Michelle: The original idea actually came from a fan raving about our beds on the Marriott Rewards Facebook page. Our Marriott Rewards Facebook community is an extremely engaged group of fans. Since the idea for the “30 Beds in 30 Days” sweepstakes came from a Facebook fan, we decided to host the sweepstakes through Facebook. It was a perfect opportunity to thank the fans for their engagement, and give them the opportunity to engage with the brand every day on Facebook during the promotion, since fans could enter every day.

Oracle Social: That campaign was a great success. We’re happy for everyone who won a bed, and everyone who was more exposed to Marriott Rewards through this campaign. So what’s next for Marriott Rewards on social? We are followers of Marriott Rewards’ new Twitter handle: @MarriottRewards. What are your plans for that?

Michelle: It’s true – we are on Twitter now! We hope everyone reading this starts following us on Twitter, too. We know that Twitter is another great way for us to connect with our customers and hear their stories. We have also used it as a great way to get out news – like did you check out #SayHiToWifi? One of our first tweets from the new handle announced the news that Marriott Rewards members will receive free in-room WiFi. And, my best advice is to stay connected – something very fun is coming soon! 

Michelle Lapierre

Senior Director, Customer Experience and Social Media

Marriott Rewards, Marriott International 

Thursday Dec 04, 2014

Business Insider’s #BI_IGNITION2014 Recap in Twenty-Five Tweets

One of the industry’s most anticipated conferences came to a close yesterday in New York City after three days of jammed-packed industry experts and insights. Produced by Business Insider, one of the fastest-growing digital-media companies in the world, and hosted by Henry Blodget, Business Insider's Editor-in-Chief and CEO, IGNITION: Future of Digital brought together 700+ of the brightest minds in technology, media, entertainment and finance to share what they see on the horizon.

Topics included everything from social to mobile to wearables to big data to digital payments to Internet of Things and even drones. The speaker lineup read like a who’s who list with Chris Anderson, Tim Armstrong, Jeff Bezos, Mark Cuban, Barry Diller, John Doerr, David Karp, Bob Pittman, John Sculley and many others providing their experiences and thoughts on our new and emerging digital world and what it will mean for our lives, businesses and culture.

There’s way too much information to pack into a concise blog so we’ve decided to share the flavor of #BI_IGNITION2014 in twenty-five tweets. These are in no particular order, and if it leaves you wanting more, check out the hashtag on Twitter.


Drones are flying off the stage at the Times Center, amid talk about "people-based" marketing and the art within gaming. #BI_IGNITION2014 - @LiquidThread

"We're in Day Zero, or the early innings, of how 6-8 billion people are going to live." @johndoerr #BI_IGNITION2014 - @kpcb

Exceptional customer experience, customer-centric business will always win in the long run. @johnsculley #BI_IGNITION2014 - @oraclesocial

Middle class I grew up with kept score by what they owned, the new middle class won’t. #sharingeconomy @johnsculley #BI_IGNITION2014 - @socialmediamos

Can’t make a great games company without making great art. Games are art. Quality is crucial. Nexon’s @owenmahoney #BI_IGNITION2014 #gaming - @oraclesocial

.@cyberdustapp created by @mcuban so that your messages disappear forever #BI_IGNITION2014 - @ConferenceBites

Google now dwarfs traditional media; Facebook reaches more young people than TV #digital @hblodget #BI_IGNITION2014 - @socialmediamos

#Digital is the new medium and we’ve got lots of room to grow; It's like the cable industry in the 80’s. @hblodget #BI_IGNITION2014  - @oraclesocial

.@BenedictEvans on #mobile payments: Think how long we’ve had credit cards and yet we still use cash. Adoption will take time. - @oraclesocial

Jeff Bezos: Focus on genuine customer obsession; adding our own, unique twist; focusing on long-term; and operational excellence. #BI_IGNITION2014 - @oraclesocial

Jeff Bezos on drones: Long pole in this tent will be regulatory. Sad but possible that US will be late. I hope I’m wrong. #BI_IGNITION2014 - @BI_Events

.@brianboland from Facebook – we believe people-based marketing is the future. Personalization across all your devices. One you. #BI_IGNITION2014 - @PeteSpande

5X traffic comes from #social over search on BuzzFeed @jyarow #BI_IGNITION2014 #digital - @oraclesocial

Impressive: 2 years post-@WIRED, @chr1sa has built the biggest U.S. drone-maker. #BI_IGNITION2014 #drones - @MichelleTalbert

It took 150 yrs after the printing press to invent the newspaper. We don't know what the Internet is yet @jeffjarvis #BI_IGNITION2014 - @BI_Events

.@chr1sa is creating entirely new opportunities because of the innovation opportunities that comes w/ technology #BI_IGNITION2014 #drones - @PandoraPulse

3 factors growing the IoT: more mobiles devices, sensor costs are dropping, and more Internet users #BI_IGNITION2014 - @BIIntelligence

the idea of the 'smart home' is interesting for this millennial when thinking about aging boomer parents & future care #BI_IGNITION2014 - @ydlr

‪Recurring theme in every panel #BI_IGNITION2014 Future of Digital is the focus on personalization and customization - @HelenaVerellen

.@lisaweini on #programmatic #advertising: The old currency was scale, the new one is access to inventory, data, & tech. #BI_IGNITION2014 - @BI_Events

‪CMO's to do list for 2015 - cross device linkage, measuring impact of ads in-store. shifting from anonymity to identity #BI_IGNITION2014 - @ChristopherSRya

Tumblr CEO @davidkarp: the whole creative stack- software, hardware, distribution, commercialization -has been democratized #BI_IGNITION2014 - @craigett

Scale matters: HuffPost wouldn’t be able to compete without scale they now have. Scale and capability @timarmstrongaol #BI_IGNITION2014 - @BI_Events

Future of TV is more fragmentation, bundled system has no more elasticity in it - Barry Diller #BI_IGNITION2014 - @lisahopeking

1B daily left/right swipes on @tinder - great example that big companies can #incubate #BI_IGNITION2014 - @laurenperkins

Wednesday Nov 26, 2014

A Thanksgiving to Our Technologies

On this Thanksgiving Eve, we thought it only fitting to make today’s Oracle Social Spotlight a holiday themed version. So in the spirit of expressing gratitude, we offer up thanks around some of our most favorite and essential technologies—straight from the Oracle Social Cloud team members.

As you can imagine, our ever-present smartphone got many nods with several team members giving thanks to their iPhones. On the list was everything from electric cars to Instagram to fitness trackers to the Internet in general. Even our own Oracle SRM made the list, thanks to Reggie Bradford.

So below is our thanksgiving to our technologies, in no particular order. Enjoy! And have a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving.

  • iPhone – “It stays glued to me and connects me with everything from work to personal.” - Mike Strutton
  • Lfyt – “Lyft… because everyday I get to meet two new people in my community that I’d otherwise not have ever met.” – Rahim Fazal
  • Facebook – “The one technology that I’m most thankful for is Facebook. The reason why is because it keeps me up to date and in constant contact with many members of my family that live both near and far. :)” - Tonya Wright
  • Mophie - “Mophie case and Mophie charging pack. I cannot live without them if I am going to stay ALWAYS ON!” – Erika Brookes
  • iPhone – “I’d have to go with the iPhone for sure. Outside of the Internet itself, it has been the most transformative technology to really change our lives.” - Brian Culler
  • Electric Car – “My electric car (Nissan Leaf 2003 S, 5 door hatchback) because it is saving me money and is good for the environment. And I like to drive it because of the great features: proximity-based unlocking and locking, backup camera, Bluetooth, steering wheel stereo controls... and I could go on : )” – Lisa Black
  • Fitbit – “The most recent piece of technology that I am very thankful for is my Fitbit… Fitness trackers will track how far you have walked, how many floors of stairs you have climbed, and your hours of sleep… So if you want to lose weight, gain weight, become more healthy/active, or simply want to see how you are living your life... the Fitbit provides the most transparent illustrative feedback that I know of. The power of fitness trackers can revolutionize public health.” - Clark Phillips
  • Tablet Computer – “I’d have to say the tablet computer. It will empower and inspire the generation of people who are children right now, just as the LED and the first generation of console video games and home computers inspired mine.” – John Nolt
  • iPhone – “My iPhone, because without it I would feel disconnected.” - Joshua Davies
  • Instagram – “Hard to choose one, but I’ll go with Instagram. I can simply and effortlessly share with family and friends a task I’d be doing anyway – taking photos. It’s worth a thousand words, right?” – Amy Sorrells 
  • TiVo – “TiVo is still my favorite ;-)” – Meg Bear
  • SnapChat – “SnapChat. It helps me share those everyday moments with my girls!” - Sharon Miyakado 
  • Internet – “The Internet!” - Vinaya Shrestha
  • iPad – “My iPad for keeping my two boys entertained on the long drive to my in-laws for Thanksgiving.” – Angela Wells 
  • Oracle SRM – “I will say the SRM – it keeps on innovating and giving to all.” – Reggie Bradford
  • 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 last Saturday and could NOT function...” – Sandy Yu
  • GPS: “For me it’s GPS-based navigation. I don’t get lost anymore.” - Scotland Stephenson
  • Facetime – “It feels like my family, who is on an another continent, is just one button away. Facetime being free and very easy to use became a preferred communication line between first my parents and then rest of the family who wants to talk to me.” – Sriti Kumar
  • iPad - “I’m thankful for my iPad. It cooks, it cleans, it slices, it dices. I use it for recipes, house projects, reading, and more. It entertains and educates the kids at home and on the road. It’s an alarm, a calorie counter, a financial advisor, and a baseball scorekeeper.” – Jason Reynolds
  • Digital Media Player – “The digital media player; in my case, the Apple TV. It’s allowed me to ‘cut the cord’ with cable. I don’t watch a lot of TV… but when I do, at least I can choose what I want to watch and when. It’s also great because I can stream music through it… or stream video from my phone or computer to my TV. All that for under $100.” - Arturo Rodriguez
  • Travel Apps - “I love travel ecommerce sites/applications like and weather apps so I can plan a memorable getaway at a great price:)” – Chaundera Wolfe •
  • Calendar Apps: “Calendars and to-do lists on my phone. Without them, my life would be chaos.” - Salman Ansari
  • 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
  • iPhone – “I am most thankful for my iPhone. It is my phone/GPS/alarm clock/calendar/notebook/eReader/music/time manager/video camera/WiFi hotspot all in one device.” – Laura Ivey
  • Internet – “I'm thankful for the Internet, since it enables most of the technology we use today.” – Brian Weichel
  • Kindle – “My Kindle! It’s made reading on the go so much easier and more pleasant. :-)” – Lacey Bousquet
  • Internet - “Internet in general - it allows me to work from home!” – David Borchert
  • Kindle - “Kindle!” - Lia Schiza • Goggle Plus - “Google+. It’s still my most used social network. I like that it lets me share specific content with the appropriate circle of friends or family.” – Darren Cato
  • Facebook - “Facebook because it makes it easy to keep up with friends and family that live out of town.” – Cassie Powell •
  • Pregnancy App: “Pregnancy app, I love seeing how big the little one is each day! :)” – Amanda Crocker
  • iPhone – “If I have to pick just one, I will say my iPhone because it keeps me connected to all of my favorite apps and keeps me connected to my friends and family. :)” – Tiffany Thompson
  • Mobile Networks – “I'm thankful for mobile networks that enable us to stay connected to the world at large at any time. They really help us live a more fluid life where work and life don't have to compete with each other for our attention.” - Patricia Pichardo
  • Uber - “Well to be brutally honest for me its Uber...” - Amir Hoagland
  • Kindle – “It’s my Kindle.” - Olaf Kowalik • Heroku – “I am thankful for It allows me to launch my little projects to servers in seconds (for free) so that they are accessible to anyone with an Internet connection.” - Patrick Bradley
  • Podcasts - “I am most thankful for Podcasts. Podcasts fulfill the promise that satellite radio was supposed to fulfill - content targeted at an extremely narrow niche. Because podcasts are relatively easy and cheap to produce and distribute, there is a lot of content out there for just about any interest. Podcasts fill my commute with content that is very relevant to me.” - Scott Wright

Friday Nov 21, 2014

Insights Straight From #WOMMASummit

Author: Erika Brookes, VP, Oracle Social Cloud 

I attended this week the annual #WOMMASummit in Hollywood, California. As usual, it was a lively event full of industry thought leaders, informative sessions, engaging conversations, quotable tweets and more than a few innovative ideas.  I had the pleasure of speaking with LinkedIn executive Deanna Lazzaroni on the topic of B2B social marketing. Only we took a different stance on traditional “B2B” marketing with the session titled “B2B Social Media Made Simple: Hint, it’s All About P2P”. Meaning it’s all about people connecting to people.

By now, I hope you understand you aren’t “marketing” to broad-brushed, generic audiences anymore. You are trying to develop relationships with people. And that takes understanding those people—their likes, dislikes, desires and needs—accomplished through active listening. Once you understand someone better, you can engage and respond to that person in a more relevant and authentic manner. You’ll understand how to develop better content for them; interact at the appropriate time; educate and provide information; and ultimately help meet their needs.

Your business today must operate as a people-centric organization. It must be the guiding principle to your strategy and ultimately how your strategy is executed via your culture, people, processes and technology. It’s the right strategy that will help businesses succeed with today’s ever-changing world driven by empowered people.  

  1. Be People-Centric: Put people at the center of everything you do. This goes beyond being customer-centric. This includes your employees and partners – groups of people that are equally important in creating a customer-centric organization. Learn, engage and empower your employees and you can create an army of walking brand ambassadors. This is also true for your partners. It’s like amplifying your brand marketing power threefold. Drill into your organization the importance of being people-centric—across customers, employees and partners.
  2. Listen to Learn: The old adage that “we have two ears and one mouth so we can listen twice as much as we speak” has never been more applicable than in today’s socially enabled digital world. The greatest “focus group” we’ve ever imagined exists today with our social web, if only we leverage its incredibly insightful data. Customers and prospects—people—are out there having conversations that could yield you real business value. But you have to be listening. This listening extends to all of your employees and even your business partners. Make listening your organization’s new best practice. You’ll be amazed at how much you learn that can be put into action to drive real business objectives.
  3. Get a Handle on Your Data: Chances are you have incredibly valuable data on your customers… in incredibly siloed systems accessed by different departments for finite reasons. Data is the lifeblood of your organization: CRM data is essential. Social is insightful. Marketing transactional data is vital. Service activity is critical. And all those other owned sources—call center transcripts, customer reviews, forums and more—offer you a 360 view of the customer, but all too often is lying untapped or limited in its accessibility. Imagine if you can get a handle on it all; aggregate it, analyze it, and find actionable insights. That’s power. That is bottom line. It’s doable, but it requires next-generation technology systems that communicate and share. Your cloud technology solutions like CRM, marketing, commerce, service and social should be integrated and interoperable to tie together all of your customer data to power your customer engagements.
  4. Think Mobile First: This is best captured in the form of a Tweet from BuzzFeed executive Terry City during his WOMMA session: “If it doesn’t work on mobile, it doesn’t work.” And that about sums up where we are headed. Smartphones are changing our daily behaviors making activities like social networking, shopping and search increasingly mobile. Smartphones aren’t just lighter computers with smaller screens. They require a different approach than traditional laptops/desktops. You are dealing with a different mindset when someone is mobile… and yes, less real estate in which to engage. So you have to approach timing, content type and delivery, and the value prop differently. Smartphones also offer untapped and transformational potential—think sensors, beacons, location-based recognition. These powerful little computers can bring hyper-local targeting, personalization and contextual marketing to life.
  5. Be Human, Be Authentic: It’s amazing we still have to reinforce this one because it’s the most obvious, no-brainer advice of all. But everyday we see examples of organizations failing here. Want to see what a win looks like? Check out how General Motors handled the #ChevyGuy #technologyandstuff situation. A potentially damaging situation turned into gold simply by swiftly reacting at the right time and in an authentic, human and brilliant manner. Today it is about right time and real time content. And given that it is a person-to-person world, it should also be uniquely human, real and authentic.

Of course, this lists only five ways to succeed in today’s rapidly changing digital world, and it could easily be expanded to 10, 15 and 20 + advice points. As you think about your customers, employees and partners, try to keep this in mind: Our digital world might make it harder to remember there’s a person behind that email, Tweet, post, comment, or text. But your connections are being made with people. People with valuable information and insights; People wanting to be engaged and empowered; People wanting to interact with people. Welcome to the new world of P2P business—people connecting with people.  

Tuesday Nov 18, 2014

And Two Become One: The Convergence of Social & Mobile

Author: Amy Sorrells, Oracle Social Cloud

By now everyone should understand the importance of all things mobile. Yesterday at the annual WOMMA Summit, Terry City from BuzzFeed said the following that quickly garnered lots of Twitter love: “If it doesn’t work on mobile, it doesn’t work.”  And with every new smartphone sold this becomes increasingly right on.

(Image courtesy of WOMMA Summit)

The shift to social media being consumed on mobile devices is very real. But many brands’ existing strategies are based on the wrong assumption that social is still a desktop/laptop thing.  Do people still use desktops and laptops for social networking? Of course they do. It’s just that social media usage is rising and it’s being driven by the proliferation of smartphone adoption.

And it is not just social activities; mobile is driving changes across many behaviors from shopping to service to search.

Comscore says we in the U.S. spend 52% of our “digital time” on mobile apps. Mobile comprises 60% of digital media usage…a percentage that’s rising at a 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 U.S. 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 don’t stay in step with 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. Four out of five consumers use smartphones 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. Those using mobile are out and about, living their lives and ready to socially engage.

Smartphones aren’t just lighter laptops. They are enabled with innovative and valuable opportunities—think sensors, beacons, location-based recognition. They can bring hyper-local targeting, personalization and context marketing to life.

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.

Today businesses need a strategic social paid, owned and earned strategy – and it needs to be a mobile-first strategy. Do you forget about desktop/laptop usage? Of course not, you are still reaching and engaging there, but it’s dwindling. Mobile must take priority. 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 convenience and high relevance, targeted and amplified with mobile ad options, is the increasingly obvious path to pursue. 

Friday Nov 14, 2014

The Power & Engagement of Social

The customer is always right. If there had been any doubt about the truth of that adage, social networking has eliminated it completely. While delivering a satisfying experience has always been important, social networks make it more vital than ever.

In a very short time, social networks have fundamentally changed the way many customers expect to interact with businesses. In recent years, if a customer had a support question the person would typically refer to the support site and, if the answer wasn’t easy to find, call the contact centre. Now if a customer goes to the company’s support site or customer forum and doesn’t quickly get the answer, the satisfaction levels dip and the person will search elsewhere to see if others have encountered the same issue. At this stage, customers usually turn to social platforms or forums, which are the biggest source for such answers. The negative impact of dissatisfaction with the online experience cannot be overstated. If customers are not satisfied with the information they find when first arriving at a business website, they are more than twice as likely to visit a competitor’s site as they are to make a call to the company’s contact centre. Further, these customers are less likely to visit the site again to buy online from this organisation.

Reaching out to the customer

No one likes to reinvent the wheel. That is why when we as consumers run into issues, it is our natural inclination to try to find out if others have run into the same issue and what they did to resolve it. Given this, a company-sponsored customer forum can be a great focal point for customers. By creating a vibrant customer forum, an organisation will gain a lot of near-term and long-term benefits. A forum is where a lot of customers start when they need answers. When done right, company-sponsored forums can be the first and best place for customers to go when they want questions answered. With effective moderation, reputation models, and flexible control, customer forums can deliver significant value to the enterprise and customers alike. Organizations can also gain a wealth of insights that can be leveraged to foster improvements in product development, quality control, marketing, and other areas of the business as well.

‘Findability’ is key

Even without social networks in the picture, the challenge of navigating server directories, intranets, websites, e-mail folders and other resources to find useful information can be daunting. Customer forums and other social networks added into the mix can threaten to overwhelm internal and external users with noise, rather than come across as meaningful information.

To meet this challenge, organisations need sophisticated search capabilities that derive the true intent from each search. This requires search capabilities very different from those employed by web search platforms such as Google or Yahoo!. To derive a search as true intent, organisations need enterprise knowledge management that features an integrated combination of natural language processing, information lifecycle management, and analytical insight into user behaviours.

Building brands with social media

Social Media also provides a dais for organisations to connect and interact with their stakeholders directly and instantly. With a large user base, consumers leave vital pieces of information with each like or comment on the various social media channels. Amassing such information can furnish new insights for brand management.

Marketers need to adopt a further strategic form of communications rather than just spamming customers or prospect customers. This can be manoeuvred through communication leadership via forums, portals and even company websites. Being on a digital platform, means working on quick turn-around time and responsive customer communication. A consistency need to be maintained around messaging. Furthermore, when companies engage with customers openly on social media, they fortify a certain level of accountability.

To sum up, organisations can view the proliferation of social networks as a threat or an opportunity. It can be seen as a threat because of the seemingly endless new data streams social networks generate that needs to be sifted and processed for the information that is useful. However, enterprises need to approach social networking as a huge opportunity – a new way to communicate with and learn from customers in a mode that customers have embraced. By interacting with customers in their familiar mode, organisations can realise significant improvements in not only customer service but also product development, quality assurance, marketing, and virtually every other area of the business. By taking a strategic, knowledge based approach, organisations can most fully leverage the potential of social networks to truly enhance the customer experience and improve business performance.

Tuesday Nov 11, 2014

Facebook Allowing Users to “See Less” in Their News Feed

Author: Amy Sorrells, Oracle Social Cloud 

Facebook announced last Friday that it was giving users more control of what they see in their News Feeds with the network’s newly launched “News Feed Settings” tool. The personalized tool gives users better insights to what is taking up space in their Feed, allowing them to take actions like “unfollow” friends or Pages without unfriending them. Meaning, you don’t want to see their content right now but you might come back later and change your mind. The new tool also allows for users to choose to “See Less” content from selected friends and Pages.

Yes, the fight for News Feed real estate just got tougher.

No surprise here as Facebook must prioritize its users’ experience over anything else. That includes businesses and brands. It’s the right move as it’ll keep Facebook users happier and feeling more satisfied with their News Feed flow. That’ll keep users around and engaging more. That’s a win for users, brands and Facebook.

According to Mark Zuckerberg cited in a recent Tech Crunch article, there is on average around 1,500 posts per day that could be shown in a user’s News Feed.  Facebook shows only around 100 posts a day. A number Facebook feels is appropriate for the average user.

Zuckerberg repeated his devotion to users by stating, “we optimize for the readers.” As for Pages, he advises them, too: “Focus on great content.”

Focus on great content. Certainly you’ve heard that phrase one, two or a thousand times. But changes like this one Facebook made last week requires us to underscore the importance of creating and curating really good and relevant content.

Businesses and brands are tasked with generating content that will not only cut through the clutter but also help earn your way into the News Feed. We aren’t saying it’s an easy task, but it’s definitely possible. Here are five tactics to remember that will help you create better content, increase engagement and be more visible in the News Feed.

LISTEN & LEARN: If you haven’t started a “listen first” strategy then please start now. There are social listening and monitoring technologies available that allow you to listen across the vast social and digital web. Want to know what consumers are talking about? How about your customers’ interests and needs? What content does your competition use? How can you provide better value? Start setting up topics, terms and hashtags to follow and learn from the data flowing in. It’s like a giant focus group you should be leveraging every day.

2. qANALYTICS & INSIGHTS: You have access to a vast amount of data…but do you have any insights? Your analytics should tell you what type of content is resonating best. And what time of day gets better engagement. You should also know what networks are performing better and why? Those insights can be incredibly helpful in creating and publishing good content. And that is just scratching the surface of analytics and insights.

3.    INFLUENCERS & ADVOCATES: You should identify and engage with your influencers and advocates. And these are different audiences with different desires and motives. But both can be very powerful in helping share and socialize your content and brand. With the right listening technology, you can identify and learn what motivates them. Engage with them. Entice them. Co-create with them. They’ll guide you. Just listen, learn and activate.

4.   PAID & AMPLIFY: Paid should be part of your social media strategy. What percentage, of course, depends on your business, but at least some of your budget should be devoted to amplifying your message. Whether to support a planned campaign or to boost organic content in real-time that is resonating, you should have a system in place to execute on a coordinated paid, owned and earned social strategy.

5.     REAL & AUTHENTIC: This can’t be stressed enough. Behind every brand or organization, there should be an authentic, real and human voice. And it’s really not that hard. Think about your own personal relationships and how you want to be treated and the things that matter. It’s often just a dose of common sense and humanity. Take off your “selling” hat and just listen, learn, engage and provide some value to the conversation. Be real. Be relevant. Be engaging.

Friday Nov 07, 2014

Lessons Learned from Pivotcon: Listen, Learn & Humanize in the Age of People-Centric Business

By Meg Bear, Group Vice President, Oracle Social Cloud 

A few weeks ago I attended the annual Pivot Conference in New York City. The theme of Pivotcon, “The Digital Imperative,” focused on the creative disruption digital is having on society and how that is changing our culture, behaviors, businesses, homes, transportation, media and much more. The convergence of mobile, social and cloud technologies has altered how we view and interact with our world and empowered us to learn more, engage more, explore more, buy more, create more, share more and expand our digital capabilities beyond mere physical limitations.

(Photo L to R: Amy Sorrells, Oracle Social; Meg Bear, Oracle Social; Phil Colley, GM; and Rebecca Harris, GM)

Think about these changes within your own life. Uber has simplified and enhanced the transportation experience. We seek Yelp for locating the perfect spot to eat. We share stories on Facebook. We voice our opinions on Twitter. We network on LinkedIn. We control our homes remotely with Nest. We are never without our smartphones. And information is always just a click away. 

We are an empowered people. And it’s happening across all generations and shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, the rising millennials, no more a novelty but a mainstream reality, completely embody the digital imperative. They grew up mobile, social and open. They think and operate differently, embracing technologies for the greater good in a transparent, engaging and social way. They expect the businesses they buy from and work for to operate the same.  Here’s a reality check: In 2025, 75% of the workforce will be millennials – that’s your employees, partners and customers.

Organizations must completely re-think how they approach business. People now expect a higher level of interaction, personalization and value. Gartner analyst Laura McClellan said her research shows that in only two years 90% of companies expect to compete almost entirely on the basis of customer experience. Not on price. Not on product. On experience.  How’s that for a change?

Customer centricity and a priority on customer engagement is the business imperative. But I’d take that a step further. It’s not just a “customer” experience; it’s a “people” experience. Businesses need to enhance engagement and experiences not just for customers but also employees and partners. Believe me it all ties back to the bottom line. Happier more engaged employees can be your best brand assets. Ditto for partners. Listen, learn, personalize, engage, deliver value and build trust. You aren’t talking at “audiences” anymore; you are building relationships with people. If you listen carefully, with humility and openness, people will help guide you and co-create with you. You need to shift your idea of who has the power. Don’t operate as an impersonal entity; humanize your brand. Talk about a pivot.

Becoming a people-centric business requires major change and disruption. And it’s not going to be a clean, easy and fast process. But it’s something you must start championing inside your organization today. How? Well, that’s for another much longer discussion. But below are five reoccurring themes we heard throughout Pivotcon that are absolutely relevant to becoming a people-centric business. So think about how these should apply to across your business.

Collaboration: You absolutely can’t embrace major change and innovation without a collaborative effort across the enterprise. This falls in the “no more silos” bucket. CMOs can’t go it alone anymore. Neither can the CIO. Or the CCO. The famous Greek phrase, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts,” is totally applicable here. Break down those departmental silos and start communicating across departments and people.

Information: This is all about learning and insights. You need to understand your people (consumers, employees, partners) as well as possible. It’s not about the volume of data; it’s about actionable insights. One of my favorite quotes from Pivot revealed a certain truth: “We are drowning in data but starving for information.” But with the right technologies in place, you can aggregate, analyze and simplify data for invaluable insights that will allow you to understand and engage like never before. Listen and learn.

Integration: This refers to technologies. And as our partner Rebecca Harris of GM stated at Pivot, “Integration is the linchpin of the customer engagement strategy.” To truly be customer and people focused you can’t have systems that don’t integrate, communicate and exchange information. A big difference today is the pervasiveness of technology and the ability to integrate and weave it out the value chain to engage with the customer. Organizations must make integration key across the enterprise.

Personalization:  We are accustomed to technologies and experiences that are tailored to us. Whether that’s an ad, article, merchandise or media, the more it is targeted to our likes and needs the better it resonates and more value it provides. The data is out there to understand your people. You just need to listen, learn and follow their cues. Personalized content and interactions are the cornerstone to people-centricity.

Trust:  As Brian Solis said during Pivot, “Trust will be the new currency related to people-centric engagement.” We are operating in an open world where social networks bring forward the good, the bad and the ugly. Consumers don’t expect businesses to not have flaws, but they do expect authenticity and transparency when things don’t go right.  Just look at how GM and Chevrolet handled #ChevyGuy for establishing trust, not to mention authenticity and humanity. Businesses and executives who operate in an open and accountable manner will earn trust. And that will be key to cultivating and establishing relationships with your customers, employees and partners. 

Tuesday Nov 04, 2014

Social Enabling Child Welfare Agencies to Engage Community to Strengthen Families

The average citizen has a limited understanding of the child welfare system; much of it based on “worst case” news stories that lack context. Allowing these misconceptions and stereotypes to persist is damaging to the system. Social media provides an opportunity to bypass traditional media channels and enables Child Welfare Agencies to build and manage a brand for the child welfare system that strengthens communities by educating and encouraging participation. 

Leveraging Social Media to Connect, Educate, and Strengthen the Community They Serve

Social Media is a new concept for Government. Child Welfare Agencies are beginning to embrace technology to connect with the community they serve. Each day Child Welfare Employees do many good things than never make the news. HHS Agencies are leveraging social media such as Facebook and Twitter to promote the positive things that the HHS Agency is doing. Whether it is promoting children for adoption; increasing foster care capacity; creating communities of practice that enables providers or working with the community to promote their brand. The right tools allow monitoring of social networks to understand impact, sentiment, and participation. With the power of social media, these outreach campaigns can trigger conversations about the value of the system in supporting children and families.

Focus on Campaigns that Work Best:

Abuse of alcohol and drugs has had a dramatic effect on foster care, particularly in the past 20 years. With increasing frequency, children are coming into care because their parents are addicted to alcohol or drugs. Agencies are looking at technology to modernize the way they outreach and recruit foster and adoptive parents.

Child Welfare Recruitment Managers embrace the value of automating campaigns and recruitment strategies. Technology allows them to connect with individuals that they have not had access to in the past. Outbound campaigns allow recruitment managers to nurture new individuals through the process, no matter how or through what channel the individual chooses to engage with the agency. Once they know someone is interested they can deliver the right content in the context the individual is at during their particular stage in the journey.

Often, the public is not familiar with the mission of a child welfare agency.  Having a social media presence allows individuals to be a voyeur and slowly become educated about the agency. Individuals are curious by nature and as the agency promotes articles that highlight how foster care kids are graduating as valedictorian of their high school class; bios of children that are available for adoption; or success stories about foster care parents and CASA volunteers they become more open to the message. Over time, Child Welfare Agencies are able to educate the individual and nurture them until they are comfortable and ready to take that next step whether is just to find out more information, take a training course, or decide to adopt a child in foster care.

Technology provides recruitment managers with data and metrics to determine which campaigns and strategies are most effective, so they can double down on what works and move valuable resources from ineffective marketing campaigns. They can leverage social media to build targeted campaigns towards specific populations, demographics, and communities.

The Future of Connecting and Strengthening the Community:

When it comes to harnessing the power of social media, the majority of Child Welfare Agencies are just getting started. Child Welfare Directors understand that advances in technology have changed not only the way we communicate with each other but it has changed the way the community interacts with government.

Social media’s unique ability to connect people and create communities can serve the needs of the child welfare system. Allowing virtual communities to come together and transform the way the agency connects with the community they serve. These communities can be public groups to encourage participation or private groups so current stakeholders have a forum to communicate. Confidentiality is still perceived as a challenge, whether it is the inbound or outbound message. Automated tools are available that ensure CW Agency complies with confidentiality polity to review posts before publishing messaging. Technology also enables the Agency to determine which posts need immediate response and which to label as customer service issues.

CW Agencies can take advantage of being able to listen and analyze what is being said about the agency around key topics. This allows the agency to proactively respond correct erroneous information and publish public service announcements when needed.

Automated tools make it easy for a child welfare agency to manage the agency’s social presence, provides insights about the work they are doing and how to better communicate with their community while providing the metrics to measure what is working. 

Friday Oct 31, 2014

13 Un-scary Tips to Get You More Twitter Retweets

Do you have Twitter-envy?  Come on, admit it.  You’ve been tweeting like a madman for months and have rounded up a grand total of 35 followers.  Meanwhile your friend just started tweeting last week about nothing but pickles and already has 20,000 followers.  And those followers are giving him retweets that help boost his fan base even higher.  

How are they doing it!?  Are there ancient secrets being hidden only from you?  Is it a conspiracy?  Is your Twitter account broken?  Are poltergeists erasing your tweets?  I don’t want to stop you from pursuing such valid leads, but just in case those aren’t the things doing damage, here are some tips to give your tweets a fighting chance of being more appealing and thus shareable.

1. Um, learn to write.  Your friend has clearly mastered the pickle subject.  Do you know how many tweets there are a day? Over 500 million. No one’s going to retweet you unless you can make them mentally say, “Man, that’s great!” You have to be that good.

2. Assimilate into the Borg.  In this case, the Borg is your target audience, and there should be very little to distinguish you from them. Think like them, use their terminology, know what they like, know what they hate. Your audience can sniff out a poser.

3. Get their blood up.  Get a debate going by bringing up something your audience is actually passionate about. Steer clear of contrived questions nobody cares to hear the answers to. If you can safely do so, prime the pump with your opinion.

4. Make other people famous.  Guess what?  When you mention someone in your tweet, they’ll think it’s a brilliant tweet and will spread it to as many people as possible. Make human nature work to your advantage.

5. Think about your posting schedule.  Find your sweet tweet spot as far as how often you post and when you post, but base it on your target audience’s behavior. Avoid over-tweeting…unless you’re making it clear you’re live-tweeting something.

6. Put at least a little thought into your profile pic.  If you have a recognized logo, use it.  If it doesn’t stand out in a timeline of other faces, get creative and change it. People fly through their Twitter streams at top speed and that picture has to stop them.

7. In your Twitter profile, say who you really are and what you really do.  If you’re cutesy, coy, vague, evasive, or say nothing at all, you haven’t given anyone a reason in the world to follow you or pay attention to what you tweet.

8. Promote your Twitter account.  It’s okay, really.  But be very clear about all the enriching goodness they’re going to get if they go to it. They sure aren’t going to do it just as a favor to a total stranger.

9. Keep it short.  If you max out your 140 characters, there’s no room for people to retweet you.

10. First in wins.  If you know a bit of news in your field and you notice no one seems to have tweeted it yet, get it out there. Suddenly you become the cited source in all the subsequent retweeting.

11. Tweet worthy, rewarding links.  You don’t want to earn a reputation for links that make people regret having clicked it.

12. Get your ratings.  Find a social media management tool that will show you how each tweet does so you’ll know what’s working and what’s a waste of yours and everybody else’s time.

13. Please, cool it with the hashtags.  There are proper ways to use hashtags, but when your tweet has as many symbols as letters, you’re off the rails. Use them to put your tweet in front of existing category audiences. If you make one up to be funny, make sure it’s really funny.

These tips aren’t that hard and definitely shouldn’t scare you away from tweeting.  The only thing you should really fear is a steady stream of tweets going out there from your handle that are imminently ignorable.  Remember, you have pickle tweets to compete with.

@mikestiles @oraclesocial

Tuesday Oct 21, 2014

11 Ways to Wreck Your Social Relationships

social media relationshipsSocial media marketing is all about building authentic relationships. It involves many of the things human relationships live and die by; knowing the person, trust, altruism, patience, etc. So it follows naturally the opposite traits would lead to relationship failure; narcissism, mistrust, selfishness and the like.

When you look at how some brands treat their fans, followers and customers on social, it kind of makes you wonder what their real world human relationships are like. Even as long as social marketing has been around and as much thought leadership has been written on the subject, customers are still NOT getting the experience they want to have with their brands on social.

There are plenty more, but here are 11 ways you can risk having your customers one day tell you, “We need to talk.”

1. And You Are…?

Don’t get or pay attention to any analytics. Don’t try to find out who your fans are, where they are, or what they like. If you accidentally find out what they like, don’t act on it. It’s a great way to prove over and over to them you couldn’t care less.

2. Lie to Them

You silver-tongued smoothie. Just keep putting up those misleading headlines or links to things that violate their expectations. It’s a real trust-builder. And while you’re at it, throw some unrelated trending hashtags into your tweets to trick people into seeing you.

3. Keep Them Guessing

Start a social channel, sweep fans off their feet with content, then suddenly vanish for half a month. Play hard to get. Never let them know where they stand with you or what they’re going to get from you.

4. Bore Them Stupid

Ever been on a date where the other person talked endlessly yet managed to never touch on a single topic you cared anything about? Brands are doing that all the time with their content. People like you to talk about them.

5. Don’t Care How You Look

Let your Timeline go. Don’t give yourself an attractive cover or photo. Make sure your profile picture really bland. Don’t post a lot of videos or photos…just show them lots and lots of text. Oh, and make sure everything you do looks horrible on mobile.

6. Be Obtuse

Leave them thoroughly confused by cramming your tweets with as many tags, links, hashtags, and hieroglyphic symbols as you can. Make them WORK to understand what you’re trying to communicate. Maybe they’ll think it’s fun.

7. Come Across as Desperate and Needy

Who isn’t drawn to that? In every Facebook post and every tweet, make sure you’re pushing your product as hard as you can and trying to get a commitment out of them after the first meeting.

8. Show No Effort

Make posts and tweets like, “Is everybody ready for the weekend?” Nothing makes a fan feel special more than being addressed as part of the masses with a message that sounds like an obligation, created on your phone as you’re heading out the door.

9. Expect Too Much Too Soon

It’s very important that if you aren’t being Liked by thousands and they aren’t commenting and sharing your content like crazy, you start resenting them and abandon your efforts to connect with them. Just be sure to blame it on them and not you.

10. Ignore Them

IF they interact or reach out to you at all, that’s a really big deal. You should be doing flips. Ignoring their gesture or not responding to their interaction until 2 weeks later is a fantastic way to foster hostility.

11. Insist the Relationship Be All About You

What do you need? What do you want to get out of this? That’s why you’re doing this and that’s all that really matters, right? If your customer is happy and fulfilled, that’s nice and all, but it’s hardly the main point. Make sure everything is done your way and happens 100% on your terms.

You want your brand to be as desirable as possible in your social marketing. The people you’re courting want to be appreciated, thought about, cared about, and loyally attended to. If you don’t do it, it’s your brand that pays the price, not the customer. They’ll get over you, move on, and find someone else very quickly.

@mikestiles @oraclesocial

Tuesday Oct 14, 2014

The Things You Hear When You’re an Oracle Social Customer

Oracle Social CloudWe mostly explore topics and trends around social marketing in this space.  (It’s not best practice to always write about your product.) That said, since readers aren’t privy to the emails Oracle Social Cloud customers often get announcing new features and capabilities, we wanted to put you in their shoes and summarize some they’ve gotten so far this year.

One actually was blogworthy, the rollout of Social Station, a customizable user experience workspace within the Oracle Social Relationship Management (SRM) platform. Customers can set up their work environments with drag and drop modules like Custom Analytics and an Enhanced Calendar so it works best for them. Meanwhile, our developers get to play and build new modules.

Engage is the part of the product where you watch and respond to activity on your channels and Listen topics. Our customers can now take action on multiple messages by doing some box checking then clicking an action in a dropdown. And they can now take public interactions private by initiating Twitter direct messages within Engage.

Listen & Analyze is the section of SRM where customers monitor what’s being said about them across social and the web. Lately they’ve gotten some good integration with Engage in that they can choose which topics they want fed to Engage right from their Listen & Analyze topics list. If it’s deleted in one, it’s deleted in the other. And topics show in the same bundle in Engage as they do in Listen & Analyze. All synced up. Plus 3 new languages (Swedish, Finnish and Norwegian) have been added to the Topic Creation language dropdown, and there’s a customizable dashboard chart picker.

The Publish component got some new toys too. Customers can upload their pre-planned content calendars via CSV, and those posts will be populated into Publish ready to go! We even give them the CSV sample file to fill out. The calendar is more interactive too. Click on a post in it and a sidebar opens showing them the posts for that day plus a short preview of each. Click a preview and they get even more details. From here they can edit or remove a post then go right back to the calendar.

You might know that Facebook lets you create Lookalike Audiences. It takes targeting data from a custom audience you created and makes a new audience based on it. We fixed it so customers can create Lookalike Audience within the SRM. They can also opt out their fans from Facebook custom audiences. Upload the fan list to the Media Account for the custom audience, and Facebook won’t include them in future custom audiences. Lastly, our customers have an updated pie chart on each custom audience's Detail page showing the percentage of their custom audience made from each source used to make that audience.

We hope that our customers love getting these regular emails telling them about our additions and improvements to the Oracle SRM platform as much as we love…well, adding and improving stuff.

@mikestiles @oraclesocial

Tuesday Oct 07, 2014

9 Starting Points for B2B Social Marketing

Are businesses still debating whether or not there’s a role for social in B2B?  Sure you’ll still find pockets of resistance (and nostalgia), but the marketing dollars being moved to social say the debate is all but over.  It says at the very least, serious businesses do not intend to get left in the dust as their competitors build relationships and start ongoing dialogues with buyers via social.

Better that you be the one to beat your competitor to the punch in establishing a comprehensive, integrated social marketing strategy.  And if you’re going to do it, you may as well get started on the right foot with 9 foundational principles.

1. Know whom you want to talk to.  If your answer is “Golly gee, anybody and everybody who might even remotely be interested in what I have,” you’re going out there untargeted and smelling desperate.  Know who the likely prospects are and act on where they live digitally.

2. Use social to offer your prospects something they genuinely want or need.  They don’t owe you anything and they don’t care if your company does well.  They only care about solving a problem they currently have and making their jobs & lives easier.  Speak to that.

3. Track how the content you’re giving your prospects does with them.  Did they consume it?  Did they visibly react to it (engagement)?  Or did they find it immediately skip-able?  Don’t keep giving them stuff that fails, you’ll start looking tone-deaf.

4. Hire the most exceptionally gifted channel managers to run your social efforts and empower them with the social technology to maximize their greatness.  If your brand were a person, your channel manager is that person.  So it’s critical to get this right.

5. You should listen for signals from your prospects as intently as SETI listens for alien signals from space.  And you should get just as excited if you get something.  Respond in a rapid, constructive manner…even if the signal you got back was negative.

6. Be a thought leader in your industry or sector.  If you’re tired of the term “thought leader,” be a professor, an educator, or a researcher.  If you can teach a prospect something they didn’t previously know, you’ll achieve an elevated status in their minds.

7. Be consistent.  If you start posting on social then disappear, what good did that do you?  If your blogs are published randomly, or only come out when you can serve the brand’s interests, you’re sending some very bad messages.  I’m selfish and I can’t be counted on.

8. Use social to supplement your overall marketing efforts.  Integration is a big topic in the marketing world.  It’s what everyone is racing toward even though frankly, it’s not that easy.  Go with a tech partner that’s most likely to get you to true modern marketing.

9. Somehow, some way, acquire patience.  B2B selling is a process, and one that will never move as fast as you need it to.  Social will not get you to the quick B2B close.  So you not only have to be consistent, you have to be persistent and keep the steady social drumbeat going.

Those B2B prospects are a tough bunch, much less likely to give you quick trust or the benefit of the doubt like consumers.  But B2B is made up of real people (people immersed in a labyrinth of proposals and approval processes, but people nonetheless), so value can be given, relationships can be built, and coffee can go to closers thanks to social B2B marketing.

@mikestiles @oraclesocial


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