Friday May 31, 2013

Oracle Speaks the Languages of Social Marketing

world jigsawA few blog posts back, we looked at how social is a planet-spanning phenomenon, as well as a global social marketing opportunity. But only for those who understand social is the way to talk to the world, that value and relevancy is key no matter the target location, and that your social management tools must be able to play ball globally, and at scale.

Oracle Sr. Product Manager Christian Rauh brings us the good news that if you’re under the Oracle Social Relationship Management wing, your ability to build those critical, one-on-one fan relationships, no matter what the language or culture, just got even better.

Christian says, “Why should a German channel manager have to also be fluent in English just so they can fully understand and use their social marketing, listening, engagement and analytics platform? Our Social Cloud SRM now lets marketers get the maximum advantage out of our platform, no matter where they are on the planet. A Community Manager in Brazil can log in and be presented with a Portuguese user interface across every social component. Users in Japan can review their analytics in a Japanese environment. The need to get help from English speakers to perform tasks in the SRM is ebbing away.”


There you have it in all its common sense simplicity. You should be able to experience the Oracle Social Relationship Management platform in your native language so you can hire the best person for the CM job (even if they don’t speak English), work efficiently, get everything the platform has to offer, and communicate with fans and followers taking every cultural nuance and interpretation into account. And since you should be able to, with Oracle, you can.

srmlang2
Go ahead, pick your SRM interface language. There are 30 of them.

  • Bulgarian
  • Chinese (simplified)
  • Chinese (traditional)
  • Croatian
  • Czech
  • Danish
  • Dutch
  • English
  • Estonian
  • Finnish
  • French
  • French (Canada)
  • German
  • Greek
  • Hungarian
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Latvian
  • Lithuanian
  • Norwegian
  • Polish
  • Portuguese
  • Romanian
  • Serbian (Latin chars)
  • Slovenian
  • Spanish
  • Swedish
  • Turkish
  • Ukrainian

Even if you don’t see your language on that list, the Oracle SRM can still read and write in any UTF-8 supported characters. These are the languages in which the interface itself is available. This is also welcome news if you’re a brand based in an English speaking country but with varied social channels globally. Not only can your team use the platform in the language of their choice, your management of that team then becomes imminently easier and more efficient.

Le Social est pour le monde entier.

@mikestiles
Photo: stock.xchng


Tuesday May 28, 2013

Who are These “Influencers” I’m Supposed to Find?

red micBrands have gone beyond paying stars millions to endorse products.  They’re making them Creative Directors. Lady Gaga’s been doing it for Polaroid for 3 years. Will.i.am “works” for Intel, and Justin Timberlake for Bud Light. Why is this happening? The raw power of influencers.

Whether it’s Psy selling pistachios or Beyonce’s face on Pepsi cans, influencers are sought out, courted, and offered the sun, moon and stars just to bask in part of their glow. And it’s always been that way. What makes them worth it?

They have the ongoing attention of the masses, they have credibility with those people, and they elevate the value of a brand by being associated with it. By gosh if 50 Cent drinks Vitamin Water, that’s what I should be drinking!

The good news is influence is not a market cornered exclusively by celebs. There are people who have the ongoing attention of your target audience, have credibility with them, and can elevate the value of your brand by being associated with it. Those are the influencers you must find.

Who are they? Where are they? The answers are different for every industry vertical, brand and product. The science is in discovering them. The art is in making them your fan and advocate.  An influencer: 

Has built a significant audience with consistent, valued content.
You’re not just looking for bloggers and media types, although they certainly carry weight. You’re looking for anyone online with a significant following of potential customers. Make sure most of their posts are relevant to your topic and get reasonable engagement. And make sure they produce content consistently. You may love or hate Social Spotlight, but you can count on it being there every Tuesday and Friday. 

Has built trust by never or rarely steering readers wrong.
We’ve seen it in study after study, one positive recommendation from a known and trusted source is more influential and leads to more desired actions taken than any ad, gimmick or product review. Yes, Alicia Keys is the Creative Director for Blackberry, but posting a tweet marked “sent from my iPhone” did little to add to her trust (she says she was hacked).   

Is willing to write about and share things they think are great.
80% of user impressions on products and services were made by 6% of users on social. That’s an indication of just how anti-social most social users are. An influencer who prides themselves on never mentioning anyone or sharing others’ content isn’t worth cultivating.  

Understands mutually beneficial relationships.
Like the Beatles said, “In the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.” Influencers know they’re valuable to you. But if you make them a true fan, they won’t mind giving you a mention or two. Make sure you earn the consideration by contributing to their channel in ways that benefit them (see more below).

Once you’re clear on your topic, finding influencers active around it is a matter of using a glut of available tools, including Klout (including Klout for Business), Peer Index, Kred, Technorati, etc. And there are native tools like Google searches, LinkedIn groups, Facebook groups and Pages (Graph Search makes this easier than it used to be), and Twitter chat search (hosts are usually active). Overall, the most engaged participants are good influencer candidates.

Courting and winning over influencers is trickier. You must have a winning product and value proposition. Few will write about you “just because.” Listen. Get a feel for their style and willingness to write about others. Determine what the influencer wants, be that sharing their blog, retweeting them or participating in their forums. Remember that mutually beneficial relationship? Hold up your end of that. Refer potential clients to them, buy their book, go to their events, pat them on the back, or offer a written rave.

Just remember as you’re looking for superstar influencers, there is no substitute for having a product and customer service that makes one customer so stoked about you that they praise you from the social rooftops. Replicate that at scale with a holistic, integrated social relationship management platform, and no one will be able to keep the good word about you from spreading.

@mikestiles
Photo: stock.xchng

Friday May 24, 2013

Facebook Tabs and Apps: Your Page’s Attractions

swingsThe last time you went to an amusement park, did you just walk around and look at the rides, or did you actually ride them?  Seems like a silly question, but it’s not quite enough to just go somewhere. You want to experience something once you’re there. In the amusement park that is your brand’s Facebook Page, Tabs and Apps are your attractions.

Because Facebook is often described as a platform in “permanent beta,” Tabs have changed and evolved. In the olden days, they were always visible to the left. Brands could set a default landing page using Tabs so new visitors would see a promoted offer or other desired Tab.

Then came Timeline. Tabs became…boxes, which fell quickly out of view as a visitor scrolled down the Timeline. PageLever reported tab engagement dropped 53% since Timeline’s full implemention. Most thoughts and efforts turned to the News Feed, since that’s where users far and away spent the bulk of their Facebook time. Studies showed only 2% of fans would return to a brand’s Timeline after liking the Page.

Wow. No wonder many started ringing the death knell for Tabs.

Facebook was nudging brands away from controlled, one-size-fits-all Tabs experiences and toward one-on-one fan interaction and relevant content creation for the News Feed. But it’s hardly an either/or proposition. Well-crafted Tabs experiences give brands something to draw people toward via the News Feed. The News Feed can be the barker that gets users into the attraction.

And attractions are what Tabs and Apps should be. Done well, they can be real engagement monsters. Content for the News Feed is of prime importance. But usually, it’s a quick look from the user and then it’s on to the next item. Tabs are a way to not just get them, but hold them. A video on the News Feed is good. A video that’s episode 1, directing people to a YouTube app where the whole series can be watched is great.

A quality social relationship management platform is most likely going to give you a nice menu of Tabs content that can be easily customized and implemented. To give you an idea of the many “attractions” available, Oracle Social offers:

Basic:

  • Calendar
  • Causes
  • Coupons
  • Events
  • Posts
Interactive:
  • Comments
  • Gifts
  • Google+
  • Google Map
  • Like
  • Poll
  • Quiz
  • Twitter Follow
  • View to View
  • Like Gate
  • Pinterest Follow

Feeds:

  • MailChimp
  • RSS
  • Twitter
  • Instagram Feed
  • Pinterest Board
  • Pinterest Feed
  • Twitter Live

Forms:

  • Custom Form
  • Newsletter
  • Signup
  • Survey
  • Sweepstakes
  • Video and Photo Contest

Media:

  • Banner
  • Fan Media
  • Flickr
  • MP3
  • Photo Albums
  • Photos
  • Slide 
  • Spotify
  • Videos
  • Vimeo
  • YouTube
  • YouTube Channel
  • Instagram Moderation
  • YouTube Embed

Custom:

  • Flash
  • HTML
  • iFrame
  • JSON
  • CSS Override
  • Fan Counter

As you can see, there’s not a lot you can’t execute as a brand within the Facebook environment, where most social users are spending their time.

Looming on the horizon is yet another possible change to brand Timelines in which the Tabs boxes return to actual tabs, as they are already on personal profiles. Will users discover your attractions on the Timeline itself? Far more likely they’ll see what you have to offer as you actively promote these Facebook Tabs (perhaps with some paid effort behind it) in your News Feed content. Your barker has to give them enough to make them want to come in for the ride.

@mikestiles
Photo: stock.xchng

Tuesday May 21, 2013

Social Data Part 2: Socially Enabled Big Data Analytics and CX Management

This is the second in a series of posts on the value of leveraging social data across your enterprise, from Oracle Social VP Product Development Don Springer

In this post, I will cover more advanced “next” steps in how to leverage social data within your enterprise’s Big Data Analytics, Business Intelligence and Customer Experience Management deployed applications and systems. This is a follow-up to a post I wrote in April around the first step in implementing a Social CRM approach and the value for your enterprise specific social data.

Social Data Integration Framework to Socially Enable Big Data Analytics and CX Management.

Once you have successfully deployed a Social-CRM Platform as described in the post referenced above, it’s possible to know more than ever before about your customers, prospects and key target segments. Expanding your social listening capabilities to not only capture customer and prospect signals, but also their key profile information along with your results from social engagement, opens up a comprehensive approach to socially enabled big data analytics and CX Management.

The framework diagram below shows a representation of how this infrastructure could look within your enterprise:

Springer1

At the core, is a Socially Enabled Consumer Data Store to provide a 360 view of your customers, integrating:

  • Unstructured content that captures your customers intentions, interests and needs along the ‘Customer Lifecycle Journey’ from social and internal data sources
  • Quantified transactional, behavioral and customer profile data within your CX Management Applications.

As you delve deeper into this new data store, your data starts to have the following characteristics:

Springer2

As this unified view of your customer data comes together, you have the ability to support the following key capabilities in regards to Big Data Analytics and CX Management (leveraging the initial diagram in this post):

Springer1

Let’s dig a bit more into each of the core components within this framework:

Social & Enterprise Unstructured Data - Signal Detection

  • Social. The ability to quickly and consistently filter through all the noise in the publicly available online environment and capture highly targeted, relevant customer/prospect signal information,
  • Enterprise Text (Call Center Transcripts, Chat and Email Logs). Additionally, capture signal detection from your internal customer-to-company internal data sources to provide a unified, consistent and repeatable approach for all customer & prospect real-time and historical signal detection.
Socially Enabled Consumer Data Store (Next Generation)
  • The data repository should be architected to support high performance and horizontal scalability for both structured and unstructured data. The data model should be designed to support your specific CX Management and Business Analytics data models, combining hadoop, map reduction (for unstructured data) and r-base (for structured data) for complete and seamless data access. 
  • Within this environment, customer & prospect signal data should be enriched with your other structured enterprise data (Via CX Management systems and other Business Intelligence customer data) in a continual, near real-time basis.
  • What’s new in this data-model: A combined content perspective – social and transactional.  And a combined profile perspective – profile (marrying internal client profile information with social profile information) and behavioral (demographics and psychographics)
Insight Discovery (built on the consumer centric data repository)
  • An ability for your analysts to uncover new insights across structured and unstructured data by conducting contextual data drill-down about your customers, prospects and key business data.
  • Take these insights and determine if new, unique, high-value Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) can be generated within your business intelligence systems for faster decision making and real-time business management (action via CX Management). 
Business intelligence & Real-time Analytics
  • Repeatable, near real-time dashboard and reporting on existing and newly discovered KPIs to easily see trends, determine important variances & outliers, and track overall performance. “Correlations and patterns from disparate, linked data sources yield the greatest insights and transformative opportunities” - Gartner
  • Real-time alerts based on pertinent conditions. For example, a client may have indicated in Social Media that they are investigating a competitor’s offerings. Analytically, tracking this on a periodic basis for trends across filtered and group KPIs is important for data-driven, objective decision-making across the line of business for executives and their teams. 
CX Management
  • CX Management for Sales, Marketing, Services and Commerce allows your suitable business functions to act on any newly generated signals (alerts). For example, take action on the customer’s signal when they are evaluating a competitor.  
  • Engagement can be managed via your CX Management application’s workflow to match that customer need to the appropriate, company determined response. 
  • Broadcast Delivery, via Marketing Automation solutions, will allow results achieved through specific customer experience interactions to be amplified through targeted segment communication efforts.

At the core, this socially enabled Big Data Analytics and CX Management framework allows your enterprise the ability to integrate your current enterprise data with new sources of public data and corresponding signals for faster decision-making and real-time ‘ROI-oriented’ action.

This post covers some pretty advanced concepts. In my customer interactions, the more savvy and advanced enterprises are just now looking to consolidate their successful experiments into a unified approach described in the diagram above. Hopefully, this post provides you with a suitable a framework to begin thinking about your own enterprise approach for socially enabling your key external facing business functions.

Based on reader feedback, I’ll plan on writing some additional posts highlighting ‘best practices’ from where we are seeing specific customer value from the above approach.

In future posts, I’ll also be bringing in other colleagues to discuss in more detail aspects of socially enabled big data analytics and CX Management including topics like: public Data-as-a-Service (DaaS), lessons learned on data enrichment, a market perspective on data-matching (connecting offline to online profile information), etc.

Friday May 17, 2013

Data Adoption Must Come Before Social ROI

On May 14, Social Media Today hosted the webinar “What Is Social ROI Made of? New Revenue or Reduced Costs?” with a panel consisting of Oracle VP Product Strategy Erika Brookes, MarketShare CEO Wes Nichols, and V3 Integrated Marketing CEO Shelly Kramer. Based on the number of retweets, things were said that really hit home. Below are some of the discussion’s highlights.

go team gorillaEB: If you’re looking for social ROI, you have to start with a strategy. Big data and little data must then connect back to that strategy.

SK: The C-level feels as long as we’re on Twitter and have a Facebook page, social is covered. When you ask what their goals for it are and how it ties back to their strategy, they have an “Oh my God” moment.

EB: Data fuels the belief that with all this digital data, surely we can do a better job of telling the story of what works and what doesn’t work. True, but you have to know what the intent was for getting into social in the first place.

WN: Companies operate in swim lanes. Direct mail is a lane. PR is a lane. Social is a lane. Each lane reports its own ROI, often self-serving, which doesn’t help the CFO. It’s critical to know how these lanes interact with each other.

SK: Marketers know what needs to be done. They know what’s important. But they aren’t staffed or resourced to collect the data, analyze it, and leverage it.

EB: It’s not just about marketing anymore. It’s about how do I attribute across the company. That’s where the data problem grows enormously and the call for marketers to be prepared goes up. The CMO has to collaborate with IT and sales.

WN: What used to be done by marketers isn’t possible anymore. You have to have the technology infrastructure to process the data. Most don’t have that set up internally.

EB: People have legacy tech, then buy new tech, and those things aren’t hinging together. That has to happen for real time insight. Marketers must share with IT the metrics on which they’ll be measured. That’s what facilitates actionable decision-making.

WN: It’s not so much a sales funnel anymore, it’s a pinball machine. A social post might bounce you to a video. The video might bounce you to a search. The search might bounce you to a coupon. The coupon might bounce you into the store to buy something.

SK: Even smart marketers still think a 40k/year person running the social channels has it covered. That’s far from the case. Job descriptions want a digital strategist, social strategist, email strategist, content strategist, and business analyst all rolled into one person…for maybe 70k. That’s craziness.

EB: Even at 100k you won’t find someone who does all those aspects really well, because they’re very distinct functions and disciplines.

SK: Expectations are totally out of whack with what they want to pay somebody. Just pushing out your content is not integrating social into business objectives toward any hope of ROI.

WN: There’s no correlation or causation between vanity metrics and P&L or ROI impact. Once they see the lift impact of social, they’ll allocate for staffing. Until then, they’re going to keep dabbling.

EB: Marketers want this. But are they really prepared for the wholesale changes required inside the organization?

WN: You have to look broad to look narrow. You have to look at the ROI of marketing to get to the ROI of social. You can’t measure at a what’s-under-your-nose campaign level.

SK: Content marketing is so not new. But we’re struggling to get clients to understand the importance of content strategy and how that, SEO, et al works to drive leads. We’re struggling to get clients to understand the importance of data to drive business strategy.

EB: Companies realize they’ve built audience, but now how do you turn that into engagement and sales? More marketers are asking for help turning those opportunities into something the rest of the organization can activate upon. CMO tenures are increasing, not declining, because they’re thinking broadly about social and tech, and the data is there to tell success stories.

WN: CMO’s can be at the executive table, armed with proof of impact. Otherwise they get relegated to the kids’ table. Being numbers-oriented doesn’t mean you can’t be creative. Analytics can show the impact of creative and thereby get more funding for it. But without numbers, marketing looks soft and thus an easy place to make cuts.

SK: If you try to do this on the cheap, you’re going to get what you pay for and you’re going to get what you deserve. You have to be in it to win it.

WN: You’re CEO has to embrace the changes that are underway. Marketing is not yell and sell, it’s customer dialogue and relationship building, leveraging social.

EB: Oracle did a study with The Economist and found companies with cross collaboration across departments, taking advantage of disruptive technologies, are the most successful. Marketers can start the dialogue internally about data sources and the metrics you’ll be measured on. Get the buy-in and structure in place.

WN: We can prove the impact of marketing is larger than what they’re currently getting credit for. You need the tools to defend and grow marketing investments. Analytics is like electricity running through the whole organization. It will one day be as taken for granted as electricity.

@mikestiles
Photo: stock.xchng, Glenn Pebley

Thursday May 16, 2013

グローバル・ソーシャル・マーケティング: 多様性への対応

Special Thanks to Kazuma Tamura

international flagsマーケティング担当者の中には、自分の周辺で起きていることの管理に追われ、世界的な業務展開のあり方になかなか目が届かない人たちもいます。ソーシャルは11の私的な関係を築くものでもありますが、同時に世界的な現象でもあります。つまり、グローバル・ソーシャル・マーケティングがもたらすチャンスはとても重要だということです。

ご存知のように、世界はどんどん小さくなってきており、ビジネスと経済はますますグローバル化しています。またブランドの影響力は地域の壁を超え、魅力的な収益チャンスのある新興市場にも拡大しつつあります。そのため、ソーシャル面でのグローバルな取り組みは、企業の広告、調査、分析、戦略に大きな意味を持つようになり、今や顧客サービスもその一部となっています。

しかし、具体的にはどのような取り組みを指すのでしょうか。

まず、ソーシャルが世界と対話する手段であることを理解する必要があります。こちらのインフォグラフィックには現状がよく表されており、次のような興味深い事実が示されています。

  • 2012年には、全世界のインターネット・ユーザーの50%がソーシャル・ネットワークにサインインしている。
  • 世界でもっともFacebookユーザーが多い都市はバンコクで、ジャカルタ、サンパウロ、イスタンブール、メキシコシティがそれに続く。
  • YouTubeトラフィックの70%は米国外からのものである。またYouTubeは世界43か国で60言語にローカライズされている。
  • Twitter使用の世界トップ3は、米国、ブラジル、日本である。また同プラットフォームで英語の次に多く使用されている言語は日本語である。
  • Google Plusが多く使用されている国は、米国、インド、ブラジル、英国、カナダである。
  • LinkedInがもっとも急激に成長している国はインドネシアであり、その成長率は111%である。
  • 2011年から2012年までに、シンガポールではInstagramの市場シェアが8,121%伸びている。
  • Taggedは世界最大のソーシャル検索ネットワークであり、メンバー数は33,000万人である。Taggedは、世界220か国、18言語で利用できる。

Facebookユーザーの約80%は米国とカナダ以外のユーザーであり、Twitterのユーザーベースの約70%は米国以外の国なのです。国際化に対応できない企業は、市場に存在するチャンスや顧客の多くを逃してしまうでしょう。

第二に、自社のキャンペーンのターゲットとしてどの市場が適切かを判断することが重要です。自社のサービスがどの地域でも通用するとはかぎりません。仮に通用するとしても、各地域でどのソーシャル・プラットフォームが好まれるかを把握しなければ、目的はうまく果たせないでしょう。GlobalWebIndexOneの調査によると、世界でもっとも高い成長率を示しているのはTwitter40%)で、特に急速な成長が見られるのは香港だとのことです。ただし日本では、世界で唯一、FacebookよりもTwitterの方が人気があります。また中国では、Facebookは利用できません。ロシアでは、自国製のソーシャル・プラットフォームのほうが好まれていますし、英国では、Pinterestのユーザーが女性よりも男性に多いというのも意外な事実です。これらのことからわかるように、1つのネットワークですべての地域に対応することはきわめて困難なのです。

第三に、マーケティング・メッセージ���決める際には、単に各国の言語を理解するだけでなく、それぞれの文化や、メッセージの受け取り方の違いまで理解することが重要です。W3Techs.comの調査によると、Webコンテンツの54.9%は英語で記述されており、2位のドイツ語(6.4%)を大きく引き離しています。これを見ると、多言語化の重要性にやや疑問が生じるかもしれません。しかし、Mashableのエキスパートたちによると、英語以外の言語ではキーワード・ランキングの競争率が英語よりもはるかに低いため、検索ランキングでランクを上げるには多言語展開のほうが有利な場合があるということなのです。また、世界のインターネット・ユーザーの大部分は、英語を第一言語としないユーザーなのです。

4つ目の重要な取り組みは、ソーシャル管理ツールを通じて、各地域のユーザーのソーシャル行動の違いを監視、調査することです。ForresterGlobal Social Media Adoptionによると、中国とインドでは、インターネットを使用する成人の少なくとも4分の3"作成者"であるとされています。つまり、これらのユーザーは実際にコンテンツを作成しているということです。この割合は米国では24%に過ぎず、欧米各国のユーザーの多くが"閲覧者"であることを示しています。また各国内でも言語や文化はさまざまであり、企業のメッセージに対する受け止め方や反応は地域ごとに異なります。一貫した法則として唯一言えることは、コンテンツが真に価値あるものでなければならないということです。

既存の市場は今後もソーシャルへの対応を強めていくでしょう。また新興市場も急速にソーシャル化に向かっています。そしてその背景には、モバイルでのソーシャル利用の増加という傾向があります。グローバル・ソーシャル・マーケティングとは、人的側面と技術的側面の両方から対応を求められる取り組みです。人的側面では文化に適応したメッセージを生み出し、技術的側面からはソーシャル・キャンペーンのグローバルな管理に努めることが必要なのです。世界が小さくなりつつある今こそ、地域をまたいだ対話のノウハウをソーシャルを通じて学ぶべきときだと言えるでしょう。

@mikestiles
Photo: stock.xchng

Tuesday May 14, 2013

Can Social Marketing Really Get You the Growth You Want?

big benAre the changes social and mobile are bringing to business a disruption or opportunity? Oracle Social Sr. Director Richard Beattie discussed at CloudWorld London how it’s both, but the end result is a better understanding of the customer, which in turn leads to the up arrows businesses love to see on charts. Below are Richard’s thoughts:

Welcome to business in the age of the empowered consumer. Always connected, always on the go, always informed. It’s every company’s new reality.

The rise of social (and increasingly mobile) has fundamentally changed the “customer.” Today, they live in a multichannel, multi-device digitally connected world where they can interact across multiple touch points globally and in real-time. They’re using social to connect, engage, learn, share and communicate like never before. And their expectations of businesses and the customer experience are higher. They know you have a wealth of data about them, so they expect you to use it for better overall experiences.

Social has been transformational. It’s made us view the force of “word-of-mouth” in a new and powerful light. At any moment, millions of social conversations are happening worldwide, many of those about your business.

Consider:

  • Nielsen found Americans spend 121 billion minutes per month on social networks.
  • 91% of online adults use social regularly (Experian 2012 Digital Marketer: Benchmark & Trend Report).
  • One fifth of all online time is spent on social, the #1 online activity (eMarketer).
  • 40% spend more time socializing online than they do face-to-face (AllTwitter).
  • 250 million photos are uploaded per day on Facebook.
  • Almost 40% of consumers have tweeted about a brand.
  • 58% have Liked a brand, 41% have shared content about a brand.
  • 38% of online consumers follow retailers through one or more social sites. 

Social lets businesses have relationships with customers at scale. But being able to realize the full potential of that promise hinges on having the right technology partner. Social is the “killer app” for service, commerce, etc. due to its relevance with how customers want to interact with brands. An integrated technology platform must be in place to truly transform the customer experience.

Social can hurt or help your business, amplifying both positive and negative experiences. The key to making sure those experiences are positive is integrating systems and strategies across the enterprise. Because social is complex and ever evolving, your tech partner should be uniquely qualified to deploy social as a seamless add-on to existing enterprise applications, with the ability to grow and adapt when and as needed.

Knowing the customer, parsing all of the holistic data that’s available, using that to quickly respond and improve the overall experience, those are the steps that lead to brand advocates and loyalists that seed real and measurable growth.

@mikestiles
Photo: stock.xchng

Friday May 10, 2013

Social Marketing Secrets from My Parking Problem

booted carAs marketers, and specifically as social marketers, we’re often guilty of not putting ourselves in the shoes of the consumer. As masters of over-thinking, we work feverishly to figure out what will “work” with our target market, without ever stopping to think about what works on us.

That’s right, we’re not only marketers, we’re consumers too. We are somebody’s target. Does it not follow logically then that the kinds of things that are effective on you might also be effective on your brand’s audience? That your desires, reactions and behaviors might also be theirs?

I was reminded of this when I recently had a (gasp) positive and effective experience being marketed to. It wasn’t social. In fact it was quite guerilla and old school. But it holds core lessons for social strategy.

I’ve been paying daily to park in a lot with an “in by 9am” rate. Problems include spaces sometimes not being available and the price going up to $20 on days when events were happening downtown. There’s no in and out, so I can’t leave for lunch and come back without paying again. And it’s not covered parking, so everything from the summer sun to inconsiderate birds wreck their havoc.

Then the daily rate went up. That’s when I started getting cards on my windshield, something that normally makes me quite irate. But…the card was about a special $50/month deal in a nearby parking deck. Brilliant!

Here’s a business that knew what area competitors were doing, identified a resulting pain point for the competition’s customers, offered a proposition of real value that spoke to that pain point, and presented it at exactly the time and place where the pain was most top of mind. Score.

I assumed the special $50 rate was for one or two introductory months. But when I emailed that question to the deck, they responded (right away) that the rate was good for as long as I renewed. Game-Set-Match. Guess who had me as a customer but lost me. Guess who won my business, has me feeling good about their brand and telling this story.

All of the elements of this success are available to you via the social-enabled enterprise. With an integrated platform you can do (at scale with marketing automation encompassing paid, owned and earned) what my parking deck did; watch the competition to see if they’re giving you an opportunity, listen to potential customers who post their desires, deliver your proposition of real value to them when and where it will be best received, respond quickly and positively to potential customer inquiries, and leverage opportunities for customers to share with friends how happy they are with you.

See? You had the secret to effective social marketing with you all along.

@mikestiles
Photo: Samuel Rosa, stock.xchng

Tuesday May 07, 2013

Social ROI: Our Industry’s Screaming Goat

goatYou know the screaming goat meme, right? It’s where a goat will pop up in a video with a hair-raising bleat and jarringly interrupt whatever was happening in the video. Well that’s social ROI. Despite all the cool advancements and opportunities social keeps bringing to marketers, ROI keeps popping up. Baaaaaa!

It’s understandable. A CEO can listen all day long to the litany of amazing things social can do and still likely wrap the meeting up with, “Yeah, but…” For them, it all boils down to a need to determine if all this is doing them any good. The Fournaise Marketing Group found out 73% of CEOs think marketers lack business credibility because they aren’t focused on tangible value.

We who are intuitive about social know the corporate world has been turned on its head, as has marketing, CRM and CX. We know the customer is in charge. We know we can’t control the message 100% anymore. We know we can’t just push our ads, we have to listen. We know we have to give customers content of real value. We know that great products and service + trust in the brand gets you the kind of highly effective customer evangelism that leads to more customers, lifelong loyalty, and sales.

Baaaaaaaa!

That’s not good enough for the screaming social ROI goat. They want you to prove that your tweet directly led to the sale of a widget. Here’s what you tell them.

Social ROI alone might forever be too elusive to fully calm the restless CEO. But the coming Social Enabled Enterprise ROI can. It’s more than tweeting, posting or putting up that video you hope will go viral, it’s holistically integrated big data (including social data) that gathers intelligence, analyzes it and uses it to conduct precision targeting on your most likely prospects. It's marketing automation bringing paid, owned and earned together.  It’s marketing that shifts from screaming in the dark to solving problems for customers with whom you have a relationship. Even the loudest goat can connect improved efficiencies to ROI.

With social, there’s a virtual parade of disparate ROI’s, including financial, prospect engagement, search engine ranking, brand reputation, thought leadership, and competitive edge. Hypatia Research shows nearly 13% of companies don’t measure social ROI at all, possibly because they assume there is none or regard it as too fuzzy.

Baaaaaaa!

Tell your goat to quit munching on tin cans and get a social relationship management platform that lets you attract the public, listen to what they’re saying about how you could get them to love you more and buy more from you, analyze the effectiveness your communications, monitor so you can react to issues with blinding speed and tear down barriers to sales, and integrate with existing CRM systems so all data works hand-in-hand and isn’t wasted. The holistic, socially enabled enterprise of the future operates knowing ROI is now about value and efficiencies, which in turn converts to profits.

@mikestiles
Photo: stock.xchng

Friday May 03, 2013

Global Social Marketing: Vive la Difference

international flagsThere are those who struggle to control what happens at their own desk, much less oversee an operation that spans the entire planet.  But even though social is about intimate, one-to-one relationships, it’s also a truly global phenomenon and thus, a global social marketing opportunity.

Yes, the world is getting smaller. Business and economies grow increasingly globalized. And brands are reaching across borders into emerging markets where tempting profits await. So global social efforts to publish, listen, analyze, strategize, and wow with customer service must be a part of that.

Now…how do you do it?

First, grasp that social is the way to talk to the world. This infographic is a nice snapshot of where things stand. Fun facts include:

  • In 2012, 50% of worldwide Internet users signed into a social network.
  • Bangkok has more Facebook users than any other city, followed by Jakarta, Sao Paulo, Istanbul and Mexico City.
  • 70% of YouTube traffic comes from outside the US. YouTube is localized in 43 countries and across 60 languages.
  • The top 3 countries for Twitter are the US, Brazil and Japan. Japanese is the 2nd most used language after English on the platform.
  • The top countries for Google Plus are the US, India, Brazil, UK and Canada.
  • LinkedIn is experiencing the most growth in Indonesia at 111%.
  • From 2011 to 2012, Instagram’s share of the market grew 8,121% in Singapore.
  • Tagged is the largest social discovery network in the world with 330 million members. It’s available in 220 countries in 18 languages.

About 80% of Facebook’s users are outside the US and Canada, and roughly 70% of Twitter’s user base in non-US. If you’re not international, that’s a lot of cards and customers to leave on the table.

Second, decide if a market is appropriate for your campaign. What you offer won’t make sense everywhere. Even if it does, know what social platforms each region prefers. GlobalWebIndexOne says Twitter tops global growth at 40%, the fastest growth coming from Hong Kong. Japan is the only place where Twitter is more popular than Facebook. You can’t do Facebook in China. Russia prefers its homegrown social platforms. In the UK, males outnumber females on Pinterest! One network just won’t fit all.

Third, frame your message with an understanding not just of the language, but of the culture and how that message will be perceived. A W3Techs.com survey shows English makes up 54.9% of web content, with German a distant 2nd at 6.4%. Does that warrant going multilingual? Experts at Mashable say for one thing, the competition for keywords isn’t nearly as high for non-English, so international search rankings might be an easier lift. For another thing, most global Internet users don’t speak English as a first language.

Fourth, learn via your monitoring and listening social management tool that users in different regions behave differently on social. Forrester's Global Social Media Adoption shows at least 3/4 of online adults in China and India are “creators,” meaning they tend to actually make content. Only 24% of users in the US do that because we, and most of the west, are “spectators.” Even within countries, there’s a melting pot of languages and cultures all processing and acting on your message through their own filters. The only consistent rule of thumb…the content must be of real value.

Established markets continue to grow in social adoption. Emerging markets are rapidly embracing it. Right behind that will be more love for social on mobile. Yes, global social marketing is an imposing human and technological task. Human for the need to craft messages to cultures, technological for the ability to manage social campaigns globally at scale. But it’s a small world now, so it’s time to learn to talk to each other on social.

@mikestiles
Photo: stock.xchng

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