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

Friday Jan 10, 2014

5 Secrets to Marketing and IT Collaboration Success

Today’s post is from Jack Newton, Dir. of Outbound Product Management & Strategy for Oracle Social Cloud. He shares results from the new Oracle, Leader Networks and Social Media Today study on Marketing/IT collaboration inside the enterprise.


Collaboration white paper coverIf you’re hoping that congress comes together in 2014, it’s probably a lost cause.


But it can be a different story with Marketing and IT leaders in modern organizations.


In Oracle’s Socially Driven Collaboration study, 26% of Marketing and 36% of IT leaders report that they collaborate frequently – with Marketing leading the charge. While that’s great, it’s disappointing that 20% of Marketing and a whopping 38% of IT leaders collaborate rarely or never.


For those who don’t collaborate, they’re holding themselves and their organization back.


In fact, 74% Marketing and 71% of IT leaders collaborating more report that they are more effective as professionals. With the business benefits that can come from collaboration, the C-Suite has a vested interest in creating a strong culture of collaboration, too. Some of the benefits include:

  • Stronger/more compelling marketing messages (54% Marketing; 51% IT)
  • Faster speed to market with products and services (47% Marketing; 43% IT)
  • Greater adoption of the products or services offered (40% Marketing; 42% IT)
  • Reduction in project costs (23% Marketing, 36% IT)
  • Fewer defects in products or services offered (26% Marketing, 27% IT)


How can you bridge the collaboration gap?


1. Get C-Suite Buy-in for Shared Goals

When it comes to the quality of collaboration between groups, 57% of Marketing and half of IT respondents classify their level of collaboration as being only “adequate.”


Turn the tide by tapping into the widespread belief among executives about the potential for social to transform business. An MIT Sloan Management Review executive study shows that 70% of senior leaders indicate that social business presents an opportunity to fundamentally change the way their organization works.

2. Understand the Perspective of Your Peers

For those who do see the benefit of collaboration, it can be frustrating to get the cold shoulder from the other team. More Marketers (17%) report that while they see the benefit, their peers in IT are not receptive.


Why is this a problem? A Lightspeed Research study shows that 25% of customers who complain on Twitter or Facebook expect a response within an hour. If the organization isn’t set up for social customer service, bring IT’s experience with organization-wide technology rollouts and Marketing’s experience with social together to fix it.


3. Be the Role Model

Over the past 12 months, 41% of Marketing and 38% of IT leaders say they have engaged in more collaboration. This means there’s a lot of room for improvement, since the majority of Marketing (56%) and IT respondents (60%) report no change.


Don’t be the anchor that’s weighing the company down. Kick things into gear by picking one point of customer pain or a business priority that has both IT and Marketing implications, then reach out. Be persistent.


4. Find Meaningful Metrics

Pick two or three initiatives that are near-term so you can show impact sooner rather than later. Use the list above for some ideas.


5. Carefully Choose Tools and Technology

Your new bargain basement bike may be able to get you to work now, but it’s not going to be very helpful when your job moves across town… in the wintertime… in the middle of a polar vortex.


One-off social tools are similar. The cost incurred when adopting short-term solutions and then switching to integrated tools can potentially be more than the money saved.


According to one IDC analyst, “aggregating into a new user experience (UX) or augmenting an existing one requires social tools to be integrated with other enterprise systems and needs to be embedded inside the work processes to get the most value.”


Want to learn more?


Download the study to see more findings and read interviews with social media leaders from Whole Foods Market, Chubb and Shell. They share tips and lessons learned that could be applied to almost any business on the journey to becoming more collaborative.


Tuesday Jan 07, 2014

Ignoring Some Countries? Social Listening & Monitoring in Multiple Languages

earthSocial media is a global shift, so for companies doing business in international markets, what sense does it make to listen to what some users are saying but not others?  This week, Oracle Social Cloud added 7 more language capabilities to the existing 4, tearing down even more language and cultural barriers.


And all the people said “Hurrah,” except in different languages.


Advanced social listening and monitoring using Oracle Social Relationship Management (SRM) is now available for Russian, French, German, Italian, Dutch, Japanese, and Korean. These languages join the solution’s existing English, Spanish, Chinese, and Portuguese capabilities.


The world is only getting smaller, and more interconnected. True global enterprises must be able to listen, engage, publish and analyze in each market, tapping into the wealth of data social brings. With Oracle Social Cloud watching over 700 million messages daily across social networks, blogs, forums and news sites, clients are empowered with knowledge of the discussions taking place…about THEM.


Let’s take a quick look at the social world and how it’s expanding and evolving. By 2017, the global social audience will be 2.55 billion, giving social a 24% penetration. While the most social use is, in order, in N. America, Western Europe, Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America, Asia, Mid-East and Africa, emerging economies are growing at a much faster clip. The Mid-East and Africa grew 191%, while Asia grew 146%.


Makes sense to have the capabilities to do something about that, right? Capabilities like:


Global and Local Language Functionality:

Helps tear down location/language barriers for improved multinational communication.


Native Language Text Analytics:

Oracle’s unique semantic text analysis lets you find relevant messages and avoid noise.


Sentiment Analysis:

Do they love or hate you? Content analysis in English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, German and Chinese.


Native Language User Interface and Publishing:

The solution’s user interface is available in 31 languages, a dream for native community managers.


Global Dashboard Analytics:

See where the conversations are happening around the world so you can allocate resources accordingly.


Enhanced and Expanded Custom Indicators:

The expanded library of Indicators lets you access and categorize targeted and specialized messages.


Social expertise isn’t just about scheduling posts anymore. Who brands choose as their social technology partner is going to separate the serious players from the “noodlers.” Not just in terms of being able to listen to a global marketplace, but to then be able to integrate what you hear across applications like marketing, customer service, and sales.


@mikestiles
Photo: stock.xchng



Friday Jan 03, 2014

Is Brand Affinity Completely Worthless?

Social media is largely thought of as a brand affinity play, and far too few brand leaders know why that’s valuable.


empty pocketBe honest. Does it bother you when someone doesn’t like you? Even if you have plenty of other friends, when you encounter someone that openly doesn’t want to be around you, do you find yourself frequently wondering why not?


That’s how it often works in real life. But as brands, we not only are stunningly uncurious as to why people don’t like us or use us, we don’t even care how much our existing customers like us. It’s an unnatural way to behave, and at a time when we’re tasked with connecting naturally with consumers.


There seems to be doubt around the value of building those relationships. Either that, or because the fruits of those relationships won’t show up on the ledger this quarter, building them is deprioritized. And because social is the stage on which relationship building is performed, it too isn’t given the resourcing and executive support to max out the winning of hearts and minds.


Like the buying journey itself, brand affinity is the result of variable multiple brand encounters that combine toward a result unique to each customer. No magic ROI equation. But if there can be agreement that repeat customers, existing customers increasing their spending with the brand, loyal customers who look at our brand first or only, and customers who market for us for free, all have a positive effect on revenue…then we’re getting somewhere.


Seriously? You’re telling me you see no dollar value in your customers being as cult-like about your brand as Apple’s? Others sell similar products, but Apple markets a brand experience customers are emotionally invested in. It’s part of their customers’ very identity. So yes, they’ll buy every new product sight unseen and passionately praise and defend the brand. Apple doesn’t need gimmicks…they need crowd control.


Why aren’t we all Apples? Because we haven’t been investing in the combo of product, service and culture that generates the kind of core customers that drive 80% of profits. Fame is a group activity, but you’ve got to assemble the group. Perhaps brands that see no or only passing value in brand affinity have no sales or marketing system in place to even capitalize on being loved.


You view your product as the bee’s knees (you don’t literally sell bee knees do you?), but many brands have no significant value prop differences vs. competitors. Given that, the ability to bond the public to you is make or break. So how do you do it?


The USC Marshall School of Business determined brand affinity is achieved by enticing, enabling and enriching; meaning what you offer must be appealing, it must help the customer, and it must make the customer feel empowered and “better.” With tech listening tools, the public will show you how to do those three things for them.


Will that produce returns? A survey sought to learn which airline people thought was best. Alaska Airlines won. However…a very high percentage of respondents who voted for it had NEVER flown Alaska Airlines. They thought it was best just because enthused customers said it was.


Brand affinity is among the highest-return marketing you can do.


@mikestiles
Photo: David Playford, stock.xchng

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