Tuesday Mar 04, 2014

The Secrets to Making People Care About Your Social Marketing Content

boring social media contentI write about social marketing…a lot. And I’ve found that the more tech innovation comes along, the more relentless expectations by brand leaders are that marketing be executed purely from automated, algorithm-driven machines.


The tech tools are stunning in their ability to gather, analyze, inform and direct customer interactions. I’m lucky enough to be with the only company with the depth and resources in business software across the enterprise to build a fully integrated marketing and customer experience environment. If I were a brand, I’d be nervous about messing with anything else.


But success unavoidably keeps boiling down to making content that attracts, holds, and inspires people. That is a human artistic endeavor. How do you make people care about the content you’re putting out? You don’t. You take what they already care about and craft your content from that foundation. Here’s what they care about.


1. Looking Good

Being associated with you is either going to be embarrassing or empowering. Your users want to look cool. If you give them content that makes them look cool if they share it, they’ll do it. If it makes them look like your salespeople, that’s embarrassing.


2. Not Being Played for a Chump

If you bait me with an awesome headline then fail to deliver value or generate interest in the first couple of graphs, I feel tricked. And I don’t like people who think so little of me they try to trick me. 38% of people who land on a page bounce almost instantly.


3. Feeling Like They Belong

Guess why people are on social to begin with. To connect. If they don’t feel they’re getting insider info or special deals from you, they don’t regard it as much of a connection. If they praise or reach out to you and get ignored, that’s full-on rejection, one of the deepest human fears there is. Heart+Mind Strategies found 72% of US users shifting back to using social primarily to stay in touch with family and friends. Brands are losing them.


4. Feeling Known

If you care enough to know what platforms they prefer, what kind of content they respond to, when they tend to be online, what kinds of images grab their attention, which of your products they use, etc., they’re far less likely to blow off or gloss over content that comes from you.


5. Not Having Their Time Wasted

That means your stuff better either entertain, inform, or both. Keep content fresh. If you can solve a problem they’re having, solve it. If you can make them smarter (overall, not just about you and what you offer), do it. If you can make them laugh, do it.


6. Being Able to Trust You

Robert Cialdini of Arizona State University writes about six “Weapons of Influence.”

Several revolve around authority and trust. Our default is to trust authority. Brands have a head start. You’re an authority…until you violate that trust. People also commit to and defend the choices they make. They’ll go to distance to support their choice to Like you, but can be pushed too far. And they trust groupthink. If your fans are happy and participating, there won’t be much dissent. But if the tide turns against you thanks to bad content, the dominos will fall quickly.

7. Things Being Fast and Easy

Resist your corporate urge to make things as complex as possible to prove to the people up the hall how hard you work. People move through social content lightning fast. Overthink what you’re doing and they’ll say “eh…” and move right past your stuff. Quick and easy to consume, quick and easy to share.


Some brands have started to question whether social users want content from them at all. eMarketer shows over half think brands should be creating timely digital content. So much for that excuse. They want content, they just want it to be good. And they’re working diligently to edit out the noise.


Don’t be noise. Test your content, make sure it touches on basic human emotional triggers, and you’re on your way to users looking forward to your content and turning into brand advocates.


@mikestiles
Photo: stock.xchng

Friday Feb 28, 2014

Oracle Social Ready to Rock SXSW for Attendees and Followers

Social Marketing, the social enterprise, and the social cloud will be well represented by the Oracle Social team at this year’s SXSW in Austin. If you’re going, great! We’ll see you there. But even if you’re unable to attend, follow @oraclesocial like a hawk and you’ll get all the takeaways you need, right in the comfort of wherever you are.


Here’s what we’re doing:


ORACLE TEAM USA

You can meet and get your picture made with some of the crew that snagged victory from the jaws of defeat, winning the America’s Cup in the “Miracle on the Bay.” Members of Oracle Team USA like grinder Shannon Falcone will be at our Oracle Discovery Lounge at the Waller Creek Boathouse March 8 and 9 from 4-5p.


ORACLE DISCOVERY LOUNGE AT THE BOATHOUSE

And speaking of the Discovery Lounge, that will be Oracle’s headquarters at SXSW. Immerse yourself in innovation around the Social Cloud, Marketing Cloud, and the Internet of Things. These are the innovations rapidly changing today’s enterprise. The networking, food, music, happy hours, and demos run March 8-10, 11a-7p. Come find out just how social we can be!


BRILLIANT SESSIONS AT THE BOATHOUSE

Mar 8, 1p - The Right POEM Equation in Today’s Shifting Social Landscape.

Oracle Group VP Meg Bear, Kenshoo Social GM Sivan Metzger, Nanigan’s SVP Ben Tregoe, and SHIFT CEO James Borow cover the rising importance of social advertising to target and amplify content for higher engagement. Find out how to leverage paid, owned and earned.


Mar 8, 3p - Setting the Record Straight; Say Goodbye to Social ROI Myths

Oracle VP Erika Brookes, LEGO Director Lars Silberbauer, and Pernod Ricard’s Jeremie Moritz bust myths about social ROI and show how it can be approached in a unified, structured way. Also learn how to align social KPIs with business objectives.


Mar 8, 5p - Slamming Social Into High Gear; a GM Case Study on Social

GM Director of Social Media Communications Mary Henige, GM Social Center of Expertise lead Rebecca Harris, and Digiday’s John McDermont talk about how GM uses social to establish relationships before, during and after the sale. Hear about the new vehicle tech landscape, including self-driving cars, wearable tech, and infotainment.


Plus see modern marketing in action with Oracle Eloqua, and see how Java empowers and navigates the Internet of Things.


#IdeaRally

The startup #IdeaRally is a physical & virtual gathering of entrepreneurs, technologists, media, industry leaders and startup buffs brainstorming around one of Chevrolet’s guiding principals, technology. What new possibilities do YOU think auto tech and things like Chevrolet’s new 4G connected cars present? Submit your ideas and RT the best ideas by following #IdeaRally March 10 starting at 6p.


ACCELERATOR!

Beyond the Oracle Discovery Lounge, Oracle is proud to sponsor the Accelerator program, March 8-9 at the Startup Village. New, cutting edge technologies will be pitched to a live audience as well as a panel of judges, including Oracle Social Cloud’s Rahim Fazal. Which startups will emerge as the biggest thinkers of our time?


And somewhere in there we’ll try to grab a rib or brisket. Don’t forget, even if you aren’t going to SXSW, follow @oraclesocial and we’ll be your eyes and ears in Austin.

SXSW Oracle Social invite


@mikestiles



Tuesday Feb 25, 2014

Who Can You Trust to Handle Your Social Media?

social media trustWho’s writing and managing your social media channels? Because whoever that is, THEY are the public voice of your brand. They are your image. They’re the ones building relationships and forming bonds.


Who’s commenting on, liking and sharing your posts, seemingly everyone except your own employees? Are your people really that indifferent to the company and its products?


Much handwringing goes on over who should be allowed to speak for a brand on social. The result of said handwringing (and social policies the length of which rival omnibus bills of Congress) is that employees are not engaging around the brand on social at all. If that’s what you were going for, congrats!


Your social marketing is in the hands of your brand community managers, and the employees extending and amplifying the brand on their personal social channels. Do you trust them? Or are your days and nights spent stressing about controlling them?


Community Managers


For our purposes let’s take this to mean anyone contributing to or managing the actual brand-owned social channels. If they are all of the below, back off and trust them.


  • Intimately knows and represents the audience
  • Can get answers to questions, like now
  • Knows what’s genuinely cool about your brand
  • Has a human personality and recoils at corporate jargon
  • Cares about thrilling customers
  • Unceasingly creative and quick thinking
  • Calm, with great judgment
  • Master of the tech tools
  • Ever-curious researcher and curator
  • Confident and autonomous
  • Literate


Employees


Employees might be the greatest wasted natural social marketing resource of our time. Why have they built a wall between their personal social and the brand they work for? Because they’re scared to death.


When social policies are vague, malleable, and based largely on “eh…it depends,” any intelligent employee will choose to socially stay as far away from the brand as they can. There is NO incentive to engage and tons of risk in doing so. Safe + easy is an unbeatable combo.


Do you think your employees are so determined to help you on their personal social channels…for free…that they’re willing to curl up by the fire and read your social media usage policy? The shocking answer is…maybe! Over 50% of employees want to share news about their company. But just 45% of employers encourage employees to engage. It’s silly to not want employees to be active, engaged fans of their own company. So:


  • Make it clear you want them to engage, it’s not a trap.
  • Lay out a few big “don’ts” like competition bashing or violating confidentiality.
  • Have them apply workplace common sense, nothing discriminatory, etc.
  • Encourage them to put the good ol’ “opinions are mine” on their profiles.
  • Ask that they say nothing at all about the brand if they can’t say anything nice.
  • Provide them with content that’s incredibly easy to share.
  • Incentivize engagement. Give them the answer to “why should I?”
  • Offer social training, especially for new employees.


That done, if you still can’t summon up the trust to let your Community Managers and employees market your brand on social, how is it you trust them to work there at all?


@mikestiles
Photo: Piotr Dorabiala, stock.xchng

Friday Feb 21, 2014

Why Facebook Buys Things Like WhatsApp

In 2009, some guy named Brian Acton was rejected for a job at Facebook.  In 2014, that same guy is worth at least $3 billion because Facebook bought his and co-founder Jan Koum’s 5-year-old startup, WhatsApp, for $19 billion.


Many were stunned by Facebook’s purchase of Instagram in April, 2012 for $1 billion. How could it possibly be worth it? Those same jaws have now dropped through the floor, past the basement, and are tunneling deep into the ground.


Here’s what turned Mark Zuckerberg’s head when he looked at WhatsApp:

  • 450 million users
  • That number reached faster than any company in history
  • A platform adding 1 million users per day
  • 70% active daily use
  • The most popular messaging app for smartphones
  • Message volume approaching the entire global telecom SMS volume.


And here’s what Zuck wants for Facebook:

  • To truly be a mobile and apps company, as declared.
  • To keep time engaged online focused on Facebook properties.
  • To be where messaging on smartphones happens.
  • To capitalize on emerging markets.
  • To keep growing and adding, not losing, younger users.
  • To eliminate a possible rival and keep it out of competitors’ hands.
  • To have additional potential revenue models.


When you find something that gives you everything you want, and you’re Facebook, the wallet comes out.


Look at the $3 billion failed offer for Snapchat. If people are going to real-time message via something other than social nets, Facebook wants that bet hedged. Messaging results in enormous time-spent-on-platform, and Facebook wants to be that platform. It’s said their focus is on mobile and apps, spending $100 million on an analytics service to track apps and surface winners.


Where does Facebook look if it wants to keep growing? 1.23 billion monthly active users is nothing to sneeze at, but it starts to represent saturation in the developed world. That leaves emerging markets, where messaging apps are a prime motivator for even getting a smartphone. Japan’s Line, South Korea’s Kakao, WeChat…all examples of priority going to messaging. Plus, if Facebook can’t draw younger users one way, it can get the job done another way.


But is it worth it?


WhatsApp’s model is free use for year 1, then 99-cents annually. Facebook sees the user count going to at least 1 billion, so that’s $1 billion a year without ever even going to ads, which Facebook doesn’t rule out eventually doing. And users don’t mind paying, happy to avoid telecom text fees, especially for overseas contacts. Then there’s the value of keeping eyes in Facebook’s world, and keeping a tool with explosive growth out of the hands of entities like Google.


Who should be scared? Other social nets like Twitter might not need to be scared but should certainly be aware of changing messaging preferences. Telecom companies probably need cheering up most. Internet-based services overtook carriers in text volume back in 2012, a big moneymaker they’re increasingly getting squeezed to offer free.

Time will tell how Facebook’s 45th acquisition, the 4th-largest tech acquisition of the past decade and one that’s given WhatsApp a greater value than Coca-Cola Enterprises, pays off…or doesn’t.


@mikestiles
Photo: stock.xchng


Tuesday Feb 18, 2014

New Social Media Guide for Pharma Should Make You Feel Better

social media marketing regulations“One of the most frustrating things about this industry is how we use regulations as an excuse to not participate in social media.” 

- Trish Nettleship, Global Director Social Media & Influence at UCB Pharma


“The excuse for ignoring patients on social channels just went ‘poof’.”

- Leerom Segal, CEO of Klick Health.


That “poof” sound you heard was the release of new FDA guidelines January 13 on the use of social in medical product or pharmaceutical promotion. And it was something social marketers had been waiting on for over 4 years. This was just a draft. A full report is expected this summer.


Here’s what they put out there…for now:

  • Companies can post promo messages on social without first submitting them for FDA approval. But they do have to submit all that promo content after the fact.
  • Firms are responsible for product promo communications on sites that are owned, controlled, created, influenced, or operated by, or on behalf of, the firm.
  • Under some circumstances, firms are responsible for promo on 3rd-party sites, such as if they have control or influence in the process via collaboration, editorial, preview, or review. If they’re just paying to post marketing with no say over other content, no problem.
  • A firm is responsible for the content generated by employees or agents acting on the firm’s behalf to promote the firm's product.


The guidelines have a lot to do with the realities of the social revolution and seek a workable solution for meeting regulatory requirements also being able to participate on social. What’s not workable is submitting every user comment for government approval before it can be published, stripping away the real-time nature of social.


Which is what today’s patient wants.


  • 59% of US adults have looked online for health info in past 12 months.
  • 18% have gone online to find others who share the same health concerns.
  • The average US consumer spends about 52 hours looking for health info online annually.
  • 54% of online health searches were on behalf of someone else.


People are actively engaged in their healthcare and go straight to the web and social with their questions. It falls on pharmaceutical companies and health providers in general to be present on social, empowering, educating, and building trusted relationships. These latest guidelines give firms more of a green light to do just that.


Oracle Social Cloud Director of Outbound Product Management Angela Wells suggests steps pharma companies can start taking in response:

  • Set a social policy: how can you leverage social with each stakeholder group?
  • Solidify workflow, approvals, and permissions.
  • Identify how you’ll archive info for the monthly FDA reporting (some social management platforms automate such archiving and exporting more efficiently than others).
  • Listen to your audience & create targeted content themes.
  • Tap into relevant hashtags, communities and conversations, like #hcsm, #carechat, #HITsm, #MedEd, #bigCchat, #RMchat, #DigitalPharmacist, #DrugSafety, #QualityChat


@mikestiles
Photo: Christy Thompson, stock.xchng

Friday Feb 14, 2014

What You Should Look for in a Social Listening Tool

Today’s guest post is from Oracle VP eCommerce and Social, CX Applications Business Group Bill Hobbib, offering up some clarity in a space increasingly crowded with vendors, both large and small, about what features and functions you should look for when shopping for a social listening tool. Beware of incomplete solutions.


Social ListeningFrom time to time, you’ll see analyst rundowns of enterprise listening platforms, each using their own criteria, definitions and methodology. In the midst of these varied approaches, yielding varied results, how can a listening platform best be evaluated?


Buyers now require broader capabilities from their social solutions that extend beyond a single department or group within a large enterprise to address the needs of organizations that want to leverage social, such as Marketing, Sales, Customer Service, and Commerce. Enterprises want solutions that support the integration of social data across the business to understand customers at a transactional and an intention & lifestyle level. They are looking for not just listening alone, but listening integrated with engaging, publishing, and analytics.


When considering listening and sentiment technologies, it’s important to note that all are not equal. For example, while different automated approaches to sentiment analysis may yield similar results from an identical dataset, for sentiment analysis to be accurate, the initial data must be clean of irrelevant results.


Cutting through the noise to get the best social data for analysis is challenging. This is where different listening technologies make a difference. And this is why many customers have moved from keyword/Boolean listening technology to more sophisticated latent semantic analysis (LSA) - to avoid the noise, errors, and time to separate signal from noise associated with the keyword/Boolean approach.

social listening table


The best solution is to blend all of the above for optimum results. Important considerations with social listening are: the amount of time it takes to onboard and build dictionaries, the effort to remove irrelevant content, and the automatic pulling of common words. Of what value is social data for business analysis if it takes excessive manual effort to find the signal through the noise, or if the data is noisy or just plain wrong?


Another consideration for a listening platform is out-of-the-box availability of indicators that can capture and filter conversations based on intentions (e.g. purchase, switching, sale/coupon), activities & interests, product attributes like price/quality/customer service, and brand health measures. These get you beyond tracking buzz to actionable insights, such as a customer service rep engaging with an unhappy customer, passing competitive or product insights to a product development organization, or using the insights gleaned from customers to create more compelling content the customers can engage with on social media. Also, given the importance of selling and marketing on a global level, support for listening in multiple languages should be considered, especially for enterprise businesses.


Further considerations important to many customers are the amount of time a listening tool has been available and proven in the market, the amount of time the vendor has been in business, and the financial stability of the vendor.


One last aspect: Altimeter Group looked at innovations in the social space and has written about the trend of integrating social with other customer engagement channels for the best data, targeting, and context. “The result: a technology suite that goes beyond just social, designed to entice CMOs with one-stop shopping convenience.” Altimeter sees further consolidation as tech keeps coming together in larger suites and consolidation occurs as the market evolves.


Over time, the market won’t be able to support so many smaller players. Several social vendors have already ceased operation. Altimeter observes, “This left their customers high and dry and needing to start the search for vital tools all over again. That has been another reason why some companies are looking to the big players.”


In summary, buyers considering social listening solutions must assess several factors. The vendors’ offering should be evaluated for a proven track record with the deepest listening technology to quickly, easily, accurately separate signal from noise and categorize conversations based on intentions. The product or solution strategy should include integration of social with other customer engagement channels. And the vendors’ market presence and financial stability should be assessed on multiple dimensions to ensure they have the customer traction and financial resources to be there for you over the long haul.


Happy shopping.

Photo: imagerymajestic/freedigitalphotos.net

Tuesday Feb 11, 2014

Were the Super Bowl Social Winners REALLY the Winners?

Super Bowl socialWe know who won the Super Bowl.  (In fact we knew that pretty early in the game.) But every year comes the inevitable post-game analysis of which ads performed best, and, more recently, analysis of which brands executed best on social around the event.


IEG’s annual sponsorship survey shows that social enjoyed the highest increase (+14%) in importance of any channel for activation (+14%), putting it just shy of PR.


It was interesting to watch the various strategies in play. More than ever, ads did not debut during the Super Bowl. They were released either in part or in full prior to the event on digital and social to get buzz started so the buzz would hit its zenith on the big night.


Other brands formed real-time “war rooms” in the hopes of capturing a moment such as Oreo had last year when the lights went out in the stadium. Such a big brand moment however did not occur this year, despite being baited by Joe Namath’s coat and premature coin flipping.


Some brands did big giveaways. Others staged stunts while still others stuck with the tried-and-true user generated content submissions. And, oddly, a great many brands all adopted the same tactic at once, which was to monitor and inject themselves into other brands’ social conversations.


Well? What worked?


Traditionally, social success is measured on a volume metric, Share of Voice (SOV). If that’s the way you’d like to judge, here are your winners:

  1. Budweiser 12.92%
  2. T-Mobile 11.63%
  3. RadioShack 10.37%
  4. Microsoft 6.58%
  5. Coca-Cola 6.17%


But wouldn’t it help to know if the ads made viewers experience generally positive emotions toward and around the brands? That’s a measure of sentiment. Here again, Budweiser wins with 70% positive sentiment. T-Mobile also did well with Tim Tebow’s help, as did RadioShack with its use of nostalgic celebrities.


Beyond these social metrics, we think the deeper you can look, the better. So our friends at Oracle Social Strategy Consulting conceived the Oracle Brand Tracker Index (BTI) to use indicators in the Oracle SRM Listen component to understand the reaction of “engaged consumers” to Super Bowl ads.


The BTI takes positive ad attributes from the SRM indicators (Awesomeness, Humor, Favorite, etc.), subtracts negative ad attributes, then divides the result by each brand's mentions to see whose ads drove awareness + preference.


The results illustrate “buzz” isn’t everything.


Big Game social BTI

#1 on the BTI was Squarespace, which certainly didn’t enjoy the volume of others but performed relevantly and positively with its engagers. The depiction of characters you find on the Internet was relatable and social posts called out specific ones.


RadioShack was a winner in both SOV and BTI (#2), thanks to characters that brought fond memories. Social users had fun spotting each celebrity and calling out their faves on social. #3 Chevrolet left a heartfelt impression with its “Life” commercial around World Cancer Day. Viewers began sharing their own cancer survival stories on social.


#4 Bud Light’s “Epic Night” prank was praised for its use of a non-celebrity, non-actor average guy. Viewers could easily see themselves as that guy. And they continue to love (for the 8th year) Doritos’ (#5) “Crash the Super Bowl” spots. They like that members of the very funny public get the opportunity to be on such a huge stage.


What the Oracle BTI teaches us is what we actually write about quite often. Emotionally connecting with your audience, relating to them, knowing them, and meaning something to them is what will extend your social reach and power. If your fans and followers feel understood, invited and welcome, your brand will be taking home the trophy.


Feel free to take a full look at Oracle Social Strategy Consulting’s Super Bowl report.


@mikestiles
Photo: stock.xchng

Friday Feb 07, 2014

Social Media Metrics Explained

social media metricsWhen it comes to social media metrics, a wealth of info can turn into an embarrassment of riches. Embarrassing because you’re looking at all these figures, assuming they’re all important, but perplexed over which ones to care about and what those numbers are trying to say.


And if you’re confused, you can only imagine what happens when the bosses look at those numbers.


So assisted by definitions from the Oracle Social Cloud’s analytics, let’s explain just what some of those more prominent figures are.


  • New Fans – Oh look, here’s how many people Liked my Page in a set period.
  • Average Number of New Fans – Average number of people who Liked our page in a set period.
  • Removed Fans – Rats, this number of people unliked our page.
  • Fan Sources – Hey, now we know where the people who Liked us came from, be it it our Page profile, recommended pages, mobile page suggestions, search, etc.
  • Page Stories – Here’s the number of times our Page was Liked, our posts were engaged with, someone checked in, mentioned our Page, tagged a photo of us, etc.
  • People Talking About This - The average number of unique users who created a story about our Page in a set period. That was nice of them.
  • Average Engaged Users – This is a really important number. It’s the average number of unique users who created a story or clicked on content from our Page during a set period.
  • Negative Feedback – Okay, it’s painful, but it shows us how many people unliked us, hit the “X” button on our posts, reported us as spam, and hid one post or even all of our stuff.
  • Top Engaged Users – It helps to know who our real friends are so we can treat them special.
  • Referral Sources – Hmm, if that’s where our visitors are coming from, let’s go there more often and invite them!
  • Impressions – How many times content associated with our Page showed up on a browser. This can be Paid like a Sponsored Story or ad, Organic like being seen in News Feeds or on our Page, or Viral like stories about our Page by a friend of a Fan or a non-Fan.
  • Page Virality – Pretty important. People Talking About This divided by Unique Impressions (the number of people who’ve seen content associated with our Page).
  • Average Reach – Also a biggie. The average number of unique users who saw content associated with our Page during a set period, including paid, organic and viral.
  • Engagement Rate – Pay attention to this one. It’s the percentage of users who interacted with our post when exposed to it. To get it, you add Likes, comments, Shares, link clicks, video plays, photo views, and answers, then divide by Reach.
  • Top Posts – See that top performing post? Let’s do more of that.
  • Best and Worst Performing Times - Based on the ratio of posts to interaction over a 90 day rolling period. Maybe we shouldn’t post when our target is asleep.
  • Total Twitter Engagement Rate - The total percentage of people who interacted with our Twitter stream when exposed to it during a set period.
  • Total Retweet Rate - The percentage of people who retweeted a tweet from our stream when exposed to it during a set period.
  • Total Mention Rate - The percentage of people who mentioned our stream during a set period.


Oracle Social Analytics

Which of these statistics rise above the others in importance depends on your immediate goals for social. You might still be in the audience-building phase, you may be trying to activate your existing audience, or you might be trying to show leads, conversions and service successes from social (in which case you’ll probably want to do some integration with other enterprise systems like CRM).


But at least now you’ve got a fine start in being able to listen to what those numbers are trying to tell you.


@mikestiles
Photo: stock.xchng

Tuesday Feb 04, 2014

Find Out How Close You Are to Being a True Social Business

BackpackerAs organizations have moved through their social strategies in fits and starts, it’s likely many have wished there were some sort of handbook for just how to become a social business in the truest, most effective sense of the term. Well, there’s good news about that.


The Altimeter Group, on behalf of Oracle, has put together the clearest, most detailed path yet seen toward achieving just that, “Delivering on the Promise of the Social Business.” And at a cost of free, it’s quite a worthwhile download.


It should come as welcome relief to managers who had control wrested out their hands by the social and customer experience revolutions, and who desire to get some of that control and order back, with sensible social strategies employed both in their external communications and their internal workflows.


The eBook’s authors point out enterprise orgs have an average of 178 social accounts, with some 13 departments actively engaging on social. Yes the concept of the social business is emerging, but with major challenges around all these disparate, non-strategic, ad-hoc, non-integrated social approaches…all being executed in the silos of yesterday’s organizational structures.


If you don’t have the right systems, training, tools, or people to execute social at scale, don’t be overly hard on yourself. You’re hardly alone. New ways of thinking, collaborating, and operating are needed across people, processes, and technology. And this eBook reveals the value of those transformations.


The value of becoming a social business exists across the entire enterprise:

  • Marketing and Communications – example: right-time & real-time marketing
  • Sales – example: using social signals to prioritize and score leads.
  • Customer Care – example: faster response times at potentially lower costs.
  • HR and Talent Management: example: social recruiting.
  • Product Development – example: opening up internal innovation.
  • Internal Collaboration – example: collective expertise to propagate best practices.


You’ll learn the 6 stages of social business maturity, measured by how aligned social is with business goals and how aligned the org is to allow for proper execution. And as a social leader inside your organization, you’ll learn what your priorities should be, from making sure strategy lines up with business goals to showcasing results to the right people.


Will you ever be 100% of the way “there” as a social business? Of course not. Our new reality is that new ways to communicate, collaborate and execute present themselves continuously. This is a journey, not a destination. But if you’re going to go on a journey, a guide sure can come in handy.


Bonus: Join Altimeter Group’s Charlene Li and Oracle Social’s Erika Brookes for a webcast on the eBook’s findings and recommendations Feb. 13 at noon EST.


@mikestiles
Photo: Benjamin Earwicker, stock.xchng

Friday Jan 31, 2014

Oracle Social Cloud Stars Showcase Their Fave Product Features

starsOracle’s Larry Ellison (whom I think we can all agree has been moderately successful) just told us the keys to future corporate success.  Want to know what they are? In his keynote at CloudWorld SF, Ellison revealed it’s happy, talented employees and customer experience, saying, “What is Oracle? It’s a bunch of people with great ideas building product.”


We have the privilege of watching those people in action every day and never cease to be amazed. So we wanted to catch our Senior Product Managers in between their screens and the snack room and have them share what they like best about the various components of Oracle’s Social Relationship Management platform.


Kim Wolfe - Publish


Since we’re all human, I love that the SRM Publish tool offers several error handling solutions.


First, you can delete posts from a social network without being an admin on the page. Let’s say you accidentally publish a post and want to remove it. Doing so natively requires you be signed in to the page as an admin. If you’re not one but do have publishing access in the SRM, you can get rid of it right away without native admin access and without having to ask someone else to do it (thus revealing to all you goofed up).

Publish

Second, you can change the published destination link of a post without deleting & starting all over or changing the short link. When you post with a destination link using SRM, the destination link is converted into a short link, which is published. So what if the destination link (say a campaign landing page) changes? Just choose “Quick Edit” from the dashboard and change the destination link. When you save the post, the short link stays the same while the destination link takes people to the right landing page.


Lisa Black - Analytics


I’ve got 3 favorite things about Oracle Social Analytics, but I’ll try to make them short.


1. You can view public & private data in one platform. When you put these together you’ve got something really transformative for the enterprise. As a software provider with deep enterprise analytics experience, Oracle is uniquely positioned to change the landscape of social analytics.


2. You can compare social media performance across the different social networks. Which network is doing best, and how, and when? As our platform moves towards more configurable reporting, it’s getting easier and easier to contrast and compare multiple social networks in a single view.


3. Aggregate analysis for multiple social media properties. Unlike other “solutions,” SRM delivers out-of-the-box KPIs that aggregate information for multiple social media properties. For example, if you have multiple Facebook pages (some companies have hundreds!) you can view aggregate KPIs for the entire organization AND for configurable subsets. You can define custom groupings of properties.


Larry Stewart – Workflow & Automation, Content & Apps


The thing I like most about Workflow & Automation is…it feels like NASA's Central Command Center (come on, who doesn't want to have control of a command center?) To get campaigns and users ready for launch, you set up bundles, users & teams, social properties & channels, automations & plugins, or our newest addition - a Workflow template. It’s all run through a Central Command Center, and you don't have to fly to Cape Canaveral or go through astronaut training to experience it.


The greatest thing about Content & Apps is that if you have even a little bit of CSS knowledge, you can deliver a really impressive Facebook page in minutes. The game below is an example of the kind of flexibility and variety that can be delivered. Whether it's Shopping, Games, or embedding social content from Pinterest, YouTube, Spotify, etc. on your Facebook page, Content & Apps delivers.

Content & Apps


Christie Sultemeier – Engage


What do I like most about Engage? It would have to be our message categorization functionality, labels. You can filter by label in Engage to quickly and easily navigate to the most important messages at any given time, whether it’s hot customer service issues or potential sales opportunities.


Messages in Engage can be labeled in 3 different ways.

  • Manually: A user can open a message in Engage and add a label on-the-fly, like maybe "Spring Campaign."
  • Automatically by Keyword: Let’s say you want to setup a "Bad Word" auto-label for any time "shoot" or "darn" appear in a message or comment. You can do that with the auto-label functionality.
  • Automatically by Indicators: This is advanced, and really cool. Powered by latent semantic analysis, messages in Engage are automatically labeled things like "Purchase Language" or "Customer Service," telling you what the message is about without you having to read every word. This lets you act on customer intent and interest more efficiently.


Engage

We also let you set up Automation Rules based on labels, like auto-assign or auto-delete. If you wanted all posts labeled "Sales Lead" to get automatically assigned to a rep, or all posts labeled "Bad Words" to be automatically deleted, it can be done quickly and easily!


What these fine people and their teams have made is already great…and getting better by the day. If Larry’s right and success depends on talented people, who you choose as your social technology partner matters more than ever.


@mikestiles
Photo: freedigitalphotos.net

Tuesday Jan 28, 2014

12 Reasons to Feel Awesome About Being a Social Community Manager

The below originally appeared yesterday on the Community Manager Appreciation Day site.  We hope all CM's were given an extra helping of gratitude and had a special day!

jumpI would debate you that the true stars of Social Marketing are the brand Community Managers, except for the fact that such a debate is long over. If you’re not sure how much you appreciate yours, briefly imagine them suddenly vanishing. What would you do? What would all your social properties look like? What would your social communities start saying about you?


Because they’re so due our appreciation, Community Manager Appreciation Day was established in 2010 and held January 27, featuring a 24-hour live hangout with all kinds of topics and experts.  But there's no reason you can't still take the time to thank your CM or sing their praises on social using #CMAD and #CMGR.


Meanwhile, here are just a few reasons Community Managers should also use this time to take stock of everything they bring to the social marketing table.


  • You have been put in the position of being the real-time public voice and representative of the entire brand. Not an agency, not the CEO…you.


  • If you’re good, you’re so in demand you have no idea.


  • You can write! And while that’s something everyone claims to be able to do, the reality is that most either can’t, are lousy at it, or don’t want to do it.


  • It’s highly likely you have one of the best personalities in the building. After all, your job is specifically to not bore people.


  • You know more about your brand’s strengths and weaknesses than your C-suite, and you know about them sooner.


  • You are the wall standing between your brand and a public relations disaster. It’s like Oracle's Erika Brookes likes to say around here, “You can’t teach judgment.”


  • You’re called upon to have nearly every marketing discipline in the book, and all at the same time, and in one position. If you aren’t already, you should start feeling really strong about your career prospects.


  • Yes it’s a hard, all-consuming job, but the good news is the tools are getting better.


  • Trying to describe to people what you do is a great mind exercise!


  • The job is making you thick-skinned. That’s going to serve you very well throughout your life and career.


  • When fans are liking what the brand is doing on social, they’re liking what you are doing. That should be a nice ego boost.


  • You’re learning almost every minute of every day based on what customers do and don’t like, and what does and doesn’t work. You’re internalizing exceptionally good business instincts.


Social marketing, content marketing, digital marketing, influencer marketing…it a very exciting space to be in, and developments keep coming fast and furious. None of it would be possible without you multi-talented, dynamic personalities interacting with the people who matter most, the customers, and for that we are greatly appreciative.


@mikestiles
Photo: freedigitalphotos.net

Friday Jan 24, 2014

How Orgs Can Set Up an Analytics Framework that Leverages Social Data

social marketing, social mediaIn our last blog we discussed how a good bit of our social marketing focus should be on social listening. The wonderful product of all that listening is a wealth of social data. But what do you do with it? How do you employ it? How do you turn it into something actionable that speaks to business goals?


The answers lie in setting up a framework in the organization to move and process not just social data, but social data combined with enterprise and public and curated data. We wouldn’t want to withhold that kind of knowledge from you, so we have a new and FREE Oracle White Paper, “The Value of Social Data,” available for download on the subject.


While it certainly doesn’t cover all the bases (that’s why you need a White Paper), here are a few points from Oracle Social VP Product Development Don Springer.


  • Orgs have made significant progress in deploying social CRM, but want stronger, more automated ways to socially enable customer-facing functions.

  • Enterprise data growth is expected to continue at 40% through 2020, driven by consumer generated content.

  • The social CRM process involves listening, engaging (1-on-1), creating relevant content, publishing, establishing and managing workflows, and analyzing.

  • When that process is set up, you then amplify the social value you get by integrating with other core applications.

  • A Socially Enabled Consumer Data Store can provide a 360-degree view of your customers.

  • This store consists of unstructured content that captures customers intentions, interests and needs from social/internal data sources; plus quantified transactional, behavioral & customer profile data in your CX Management Applications.

  • Additional “public” data can be integrated via a cloud-based Data-as-as-Service platform (DaaS).

  • The key is not just getting the data, but using it to help discover the insights to connect to and improve KPIs.

  • We’ve seen a need for more business applications to ingest and use “quality” curated, social, transactional reference data and corresponding insights.

  • The problem for orgs is getting this data into an easily accessible system and having the contextual integration of the data/insights exportable to business applications.

  • Essentially, DaaS becomes a single entry point for public data, able to extract and integrate the right data from the right sources with the right factoring at the right time.

  • The CMO and CIO are collaborating out of necessity to integrate social and enterprise data into a data “pool” so all departments can leverage it.

  • Over time, these analytics become your knowledge base for a data-driven approach to optimization and continuous improvement.


Don’t forget to download the full “The Value of Social Data” paper at your convenience and start pondering what your enterprise’s framework might look like.


@mikestiles
Photo: stock.xchng

Tuesday Jan 21, 2014

13 Discussion Starters Around Social Listening

With most brands having social properties in place and social marketing tools for managing those properties in action (you DO have that, right?), it’s probably time to start having more discussions about social listening.


Below are some things you could say either in meetings or in the halls to get the neurons firing in your org about turning social listening insights into actionable items that directly address business objectives.


1. What are our customers and prospects saying about us on social channels, blogs, forums, etc.? Do we know?


2. Just for kicks, let’s outline all the right, optimized queries or search strings we’d put into a listening tool so that only what we really need and care about surfaces. Let’s go Boolean crazy.

3. You know, if we knew what people are saying about our competition, we could zero in on their bigger weaknesses and deliver a value prop to make their customers switch.


4. Do you guys think we’d get better data from people by listening to their honest conversations on social than we get from focus groups or our own surveys?


5. Okay, given how many conversations are constantly going on, who are the social listening vendors that can handle that big data and integrate it with things like our CRM system?


6. It sure would be cool if our customers had more input and could guide us toward improving our products and developing new ones. They’re the buyers so that makes sense, right?


7. I wonder how many of our customers don’t even reach out directly to us when they’re unhappy. They’re out there stewing about us and telling their friends, and we don’t even know we made them mad.


8. If we ever do something stupid, I’d sure like to know it sooner rather than later.


9. I know we’re listening on social, but we are a global organization, so does our tool listen in multiple languages?


10. Do you ever get the feeling that a lot of our customer research is old news by the time we get the results back? We’ve got to learn what’s going on and react faster.


11. Social listening is fine, but I’d only call the data social intelligence if it’s specific enough we can use it to take actions, make decisions or change our strategy.


12. Has anybody around here studied sentiment analysis? Can we really track if we’re winning or losing customer hearts & minds with that?


13. If we could pleasantly shock our customers by knowing what they have, what they need, when they need it & what problem they might be having…no one could touch us. We’d be swimming in ROI.


The strength and promise of social lies in communication that flows in all directions. Trying to talk to someone through the wide end of a megaphone rarely works out. Don’t be the brand holding the megaphone. Start having serious discussions about social listening.


@mikestiles
Photo: Sundeip Arora, stock.xchng


Friday Jan 17, 2014

Pinterest: The Latest Picture on Big Social Marketing Engagement

social marketing with imageryFirst of all, thanks for reading this.  It would appear we as a people are driving toward eliminating the written word and returning to communicating primarily via pictures. And whether that’s good or bad, visually driven social media networks like Pinterest continue to draw some of the highest engagement in social marketing.


Engagement is what we as brands crave on social. Having somewhere down the line decided impressions are worthless (I totally disagree), we’re using active interacting as our yardstick, and Pinterest makes fine engagement bait.


Our friends in Oracle Social Strategy Consulting tell us from 2012 to 2013, Pinterest sharing went up at least 50%. A ShareThis study underlines that, saying Pinterest is growing faster at sharing than any other social media service and has passed email to become the 3rd most popular way to share.


Pinterest is the leader in eCommerce traffic sources. It’s rapidly gaining share from Facebook in social shopping sessions, and users coming from Pinterest to retail sites are 10% more likely to buy something, part of why they’re regarded as twice as valuable to online retailers on average than Facebook fans. And 8thBridge found that online retailers prefer the ‘Pin It’ button to the Facebook “Like” 62% to 59%.


A recent Pew Project shows Pinterest saw the biggest usage spike in 2013, going from 15 to 21% and surpassing Twitter. It now has over 70 million active users globally. Who are they? You already knew the answer. Mostly women; college-educated women 25-44. Moms in particular are 61% more likely to use Pinterest than the average American.


Ah but it doesn’t stop there. Pinterest is now the 2nd largest social sharing site for news, surpassing Twitter in that as well. Pinterest drives more traffic to online publishers than Twitter, Linkedin and Reddit combined.


Heading into 2014, Pinterest is ready for mobile (2nd most mobile behind Instagram), offers analytics that tell us things like most repinned and most clicked, Rich Pins make pins more informative and interactive, and there’s the new Place Pins for travel lovers.


Most recently we saw Pinterest’s purchase of Visual Graph, which is all about turning the site’s massive content into massive data via image recognition. The tech id’s objects and faces without needing alternate text or tags. Searches for items will be highly accurate and relevant, turning Pinterest into a personalized catalogue on steroids.


Pinterest is not without challenges. It’s not monetizing yet, where the delicate dance of not turning off users enters the picture. The company doesn’t even own the rights to the name “Pinterest” in Europe and Australia. And as young and hot as it is, Pinterest could already be growing “long in the tooth.” 80% of the Pinterest-like We Heart It’s users are under 24, whereas 80% of Pinterest users are over 24.


But for right now, if engagement is going to be our scoreboard, a mighty pretty picture is being painted for Pinterest.


@mikestiles
Photo: freedigitalphotos.net


Tuesday Jan 14, 2014

Content Marketing & Social Marketing: What’s the Difference?

Content MarketingSocial Marketing used to be the buzz phrase. Now the buzz phrase is Content Marketing. But is it fair to call something a “buzz” that’s been around forever and is the foundation of human communication?


It’s kind of odd that it wasn’t until social media came along that marketers got serious about connecting socially with customers. Likewise, now we’re talking in a surge about content marketing. Really? We didn’t know until recently our customers would appreciate quality relevant content, or that it’d make them feel good about us?


We’ve been a social species since we were hassling wooly mammoth. We’ve been storytellers since we figured out we could make a mark on a cave wall. Yet marketers seem to just now be evolving into what we learned back in the Ice Age.


Here’s the difference between content marketing and social marketing.


Content marketing is the story you etch on the cave wall. You know viewers will relate to it, want it, and will like it.


Social marketing is the wall. It’s the distribution channel, the stage you put your story on. Your audience might already be sitting in the cave, or you might have to go tell people to come look at it.


Don’t Do This


The biggest mistake you can make on social is to have a blank wall. It might be the finest wall around, but if there are no stories on it, why would I look at it? I come to expect nothing from that wall.


Do This Instead


We seem to be in a place right now where we’re getting pieces right, but not the whole puzzle. The puzzle consists of:

  • Resourced, consistent quality content
  • Served up or promoted on social
  • Supported by paid efforts to expand reach and exposure
  • A way to listen for boos or applause
  • Using what you hear to tweak future content
  • Tapping into the loyal, trusting audience you’ve built to offer a solution from your brand that will make their life better.


There. You’ve just been given enough content and social strategy to hassle a mammoth.


Are Brands Serious About Content?


No.


A Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs study shows 23% of B2C marketers don’t even know how much of their budget is allocated to content. Of those that did know, 17% said it was getting 1-4% of it. The walls are blank.


Well, that’s not fair. They aren’t blank. They’re full of ads.


That might be because marketers are finding content creation intimidating. After decades of commoditizing creative skills, turns out finding people who are truly great at it isn’t easy. The long held belief of “geez, anybody can write” turns out to be far from true. You can’t fake it, because the content has to compete. You need entertainers.


Content & Social Need Each Other


Can there be social marketing without content marketing? And if so, what is that social marketing comprised of in the absence of content? The two are increasingly moving toward a healthy codependency.


@mikestiles
Photo: picaland, stock.xchng

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