Tuesday Nov 11, 2014

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

Author: Amy Sorrells, Oracle Social Cloud 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday Aug 22, 2014

Customization: It’s Wanted in Enterprise Tech Platforms Too

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

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

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

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

social media analytics

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

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

social media management

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

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

@mikestiles @oraclesocial

Tuesday Jul 29, 2014

What’s Not to Like About Analytics Customized Just for You?

“There just isn’t enough data available out there,” said nobody in the past year.  The problem organizations face today is analytics, the practical management of the vast amounts of social data now available. And that’s before looping in all other enterprise data.

Apparently, one size does not fit all. Metrics that matter to one brand don’t matter to another. Different bosses want to see different KPI’s. Some companies have 6 community managers with a couple specializing in analytics, while some have one soul doing it all, with limited time to allocate toward analytics.

Oracle Social just released Custom Analytics as part of its Social Relationship Management (SRM) platform. So I made the usual pest of myself and riddled Analytics Product Manager Lisa Black with questions.

Pest: What’s changed about the way analytics can be surfaced in Oracle SRM?

Lisa: The biggest change is that a user can select the metrics they care about most, and lay out those metrics in the order they choose. This offers unparalleled flexibility compared with the previous way analytics was surfaced. The experience becomes more user-centric AND more enterprise scale. User centric because of what I just described. Enterprise scale because now the user can create a CMO view, a brand manager view, and a community manager view of the information – all from the social data centralized in the SRM platform.

Pest: Any additional advantages other than the ones you mentioned?

Lisa: I can now more easily, in a side-by-side view, compare the performance of my brand across multiple social networks. I can also more easily compare multiple streams within a network. Say I have 3 Facebook pages and want to compare them without looking at an aggregate – I can now do that. And if I want the aggregate of my 3 Facebook pages, I can do that! I can select which KPIs to display and plot several metrics on the same graph, which is great when comparing actions such as likes, comments and shares. The configurability offers many options, including more intelligent time period selections such as ‘current month’ and ‘previous month’. Being able to compare these time periods without selecting start & end dates means my report will stay relevant without having to make new date selections. Lastly, I can share my work with others on my team within the SRM platform by sending them a link.

Pest: If I’m a CM responsible for reporting the performance of our social channels to upper management, how can this help me?

Lisa: It’ll save you time and let you focus on the goals upper management is interested in watching, such as audience growth or increased engagement. Now you can spend your time analyzing data to make useful conclusions, which can go in your reports. There’s more value in that than having to navigate multiple pages to piece a story together.

Pest: So now it’s easier to surface the KPI’s you care about. But how do brands determine what the “metrics that matter” are?

Lisa: With this new way to surface info, doing trend analysis and identifying possible outliers for further investigation gets smoother. Let’s say I think the most important metric is engagement on Facebook. As a test, I send similar media-rich content to Facebook and Twitter, and notice retweets are increasing faster than Facebook engagement. Now I can quickly add modules to compare Facebook fan growth with Twitter follower growth to see if the engagement trend is impacting audience size.

Pest: What’s on the analytics wish list? What are brands asking for?

Lisa: The immediate wish list includes incorporating additional metrics from the social networks’ API’s and adding more of our own calculated KPI’s. The SRM is going to surface the KPI’s in the most actionable way possible so users can distinguish the rate at which something is changing and know when to take action. Analytics is evolving as a critical part of the SRM platform, and that’s exciting to be a part of!

What can we say? When you have someone who actually gets this excited about analytics, good things keep getting added to that part of the product.

@mikestiles @oraclesocial
Photo: freedigitalphotos.net

Tuesday Jul 15, 2014

Oracle Social SRM Surfaces the Top Terms Around #WorldCup

So, how did you like that World Cup final? If activity on social is any indication, you were all about it. Facebook reported that 88 million people had over 280 million social interactions around the 1-0 victory of Germany over Argentina. 10.5 million of those people were in the US, 10 million in Brazil, over 7 million in Argentina, and 5 million in Germany.

That breaks the Facebook record for highest level of conversation about a single sporting event, beating out 2013’s Super Bowl, complete with blackout. On Twitter, pretty much the same thing was happening. 32.1 million tweets flew during the match. #WorldCupFinal was used over a million times in 24 hours. And a Twitter record was broken as well, with a peak of 618,725 tweets per minute after the match.

Interesting facts indeed, and a wakeup call for anyone who still might think social is not where the public goes en masse in order to connect, comment and share their emotions around big events, and on a global scale.

Beyond these overall social statistics around the final World Cup match, we wanted to tap into the power of the Oracle SRM platform’s Social Engagement & Monitoring tools to see which terms were surfacing within posts containing #WorldCup. At the first level were terms we would all expect to see…worldcup, win, final, and support.

But after the obvious comes the interesting. When listening in English during the run of the entire World Cup. The top terms of interest were:

  • #joinin (FIFA’s official campaign)
  • Fractured (as in Neymar’s back fracture)
  • Neymar (as in the guy who’s back got fractured)
  • Goalkeeper (Tim Howard’s 16 saves vs. Belgium)
  • Adidas (as related to Lionel Messi getting the Adidas Golden Ball)
  • Messi

Who doesn’t love a good adjective? These were the top descriptors used in #WorldCup conversations:

  • Epic
  • Incredible
  • Proud
  • Great
  • Crazy

We’re sure Brazilians had descriptors of their own which thankfully did not make the top 5.

We then turned our social listening to what Spanish and German speaking users were saying in their tweets hashtagged #WorldCup during the final 2 matches. In Spanish it was:

  • #allin (Adidas’ campaign hashtag)
  • @listerineglobal (the result of a dominating Listerine tie-in campaign)
  • Messi

In German, we heard:

  • Stern (rapid sellout of the winning German shirt with 4 stars)
  • Stolz (German for “proud”)
  • Schweinsteiger (Germany’s Bastian Schwinsteiger)

Sure, we looked up these statistics just for fun. Kinda makes you want to party with us, right? But having just been reminded once again of the power of social and the sheer volume of the conversations happening on it at any one time, we’re also reminded that brand marketers are served very well when they can go deeper than surface-level term analysis, learning what specifics their audience cares most about. Learn that, and you have the ability to craft content and campaigns primed and ready for open ears.

@mikestiles @oraclesocial
Photo: freeimages.com

Friday Jun 13, 2014

Big Data for Social Requires Fast Data…So Oracle Did That

We know the goal.  Acquire big data, then use it to deliver just the right messages to customers and prospects at just the right time, in just the right place, in just the right way. Easy, right?

Of course not. If it were easy, all brands would be on their game, delivering these perfect and profitable customer experiences every day. If I had been browsing guitar amps lately and I was near a guitar store this weekend, I’d get a social message to the effect of, “Hey, we saw friend x recommended brand y guitar amp to you. Swing by and we’ll give you 20% off on it. Rock on.”

That kind of experience rarely happens to me (maybe because I don’t play guitar). For those to happen, social big data, combined with other public and enterprise data, needed to “learn” what I was seeking and which brand I was leaning toward due to peer-to-peer recommendation.

Then, it had to retain and “know” that info so that when a real-time location signal came through, that knowledge could be tapped and leveraged to create and deliver the message before the moment is lost. It not only requires big data, it requires fast data.

All social marketing ecosystems are not created equal. Few are capable of the size and speed of data gathering, processing, filtering and delivery that makes a social enabled enterprise even possible. A social marketing platform that can tap into the kind of size and speed Oracle can serve up would position you exceptionally well against your competition.

On June 10, Larry Ellison announced the Oracle Database In Memory Option, an add-on to the Oracle 12c database that super-boosts real-time analytics and transactional workloads. How much of a super-boost? Real-time analytics queries that are 100x faster and online transaction processing that’s twice as fast. It’s possible because your most important info can be held in dynamic random-access memory (DRAM) for instant access. And data can be stored in both the columns needed for analytics and the rows used for transactions.

Big data that lags behind the customer’s speed of life doesn’t do you much good. They’re out there right now, researching and buying on mobile. Half of all local searches are performed on mobile. eMarketer estimates mobile commerce sales should go over $113 billion by 2017. Mobile use continues to explode and digital payments are only getting easier to do.

The future of the enterprise is this: a massive shared customer data pool continuously pulling from multiple data sources, available to all business functions for insight and action in perfect alignment so customer interactions aren’t carried out in department silos, generating metrics that inform against varied business goals and can be turned around for real-time, on-location customer engagement and conversion. Wowsers.

Will you be able to handle that coming big data volume as well as the need for speed?

@mikestiles @oraclesocial
Photo: freeimages.com

Tuesday Mar 18, 2014

Oracle Social and Chevrolet #IdeaRally Tapped Into YOUR Brilliance

On March 10 in Austin, concurrent with SXSW Interactive, Oracle Social and Chevrolet teamed up to harvest ideas both from those in attendance at the Oracle Discovery Lounge and those in the Twitterverse on possible innovations around 4G connected cars, in-dash applications and overall automotive technology.

As event hosts Rahim Fazal of Oracle and Richard Choi of Chevrolet quickly discovered, followers of @oraclesocial and @Chevrolet are quite the brainstormers. Search #IdeaRally and you’ll get just a small idea of how the car experience is going to be significantly changing in the very near future.

What are your favorite possible applications? Parental controls that let you know if your kid is speeding? Reminders you need something from a store you’re driving near? Directions read by celebrity voices? Immediate alerts car maintenance is needed? Feel free to continue contributing your own ideas to the hashtag. Meanwhile, here’s a speedy infographic powered by Oracle Social’s Listen functionality with stats from the rally.

IdeaRally Infographic


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

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.

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.

Photo: 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).


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.


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.

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.

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.

Photo: Sundeip Arora, stock.xchng

Tuesday Aug 27, 2013

Predictive Analytics: Your Marketing Magic 8-Ball?

No doubt you have at one time or another called a customer service line and were met with a voicemail tree assigning options to various numbers.  Often, and amazingly, the reason you’re calling is not listed among the options. That company’s predictive analytics came up short.

After keeping track of and studying why most people call, the brand whose help you need determined the top options their customers need on the service line. You just fell through the cracks. You have to select “Other.” A likely but even more disturbing possibility is that the brand didn’t study their data at all and simply guessed amongst themselves what options customers would need.

Misfires like that are more impactful now than they used to be thanks to the empowered consumer. They willingly give organizations an enormous amount of personal and consumer data, from a variety of sources and in a variety of ways. In return, they fully expect brands to use that data intelligently to know what customers want, and to provide seamless customer sales and service experiences no matter what the touch point.

Customers really notice when you don’t know them and don’t appear to care about them. They don’t like it, and it’s a short hop to them not liking you.

Predictive analytics not only shows that you know them, it shows you care enough about them to know in advance what they will like or need. It’s not terribly unlike someone who can predict with great accuracy what their significant other will like for a birthday present. Get it wrong and you’re sleeping on the couch.

Predictive Analytics World runs down the definition as “combing through past info to derive models and analyses that help project future outcomes.” It can be used to learn what customers want and learn ways to optimize operations. That means efficiencies, cost savings and happy consumers. What makes that possible? Something we talk about a lot these days, big data.

We’ve also talked a lot about the merging roles of the CMO and CIO. Traditionally, data has been the domain of IT. But increasingly, marketing is being held accountable for the measurable, effective use of that data, which includes predictive analytics. The volume of data and the speed at which it comes in is now an enterprise reality that’s forcing historic structural and operational changes internally. Predictive analytics can intelligently inform those changes.

Managed properly, real-time actions, reactions, and changes in the marketplace can now be added to historical data in models. Managed poorly, or if predictive analytics models are requested but then not deployed successfully in the business, potential benefits are lost. Best Buy learned under 10% of customers constituted almost 45% of its sales and redesigned stores accordingly. Predictive analytics are used to forecast how patients will feel about drugs and treatments. And you’ve probably seen news reports about how city police departments are using predictive analytics to prevent crime before it happens (cue comparisons to “Minority Report.”)

If you determine that customer acquisition, customer sales, customer service, customer retention, customer reactivation, and operational efficiencies are relevant to your organization, it’s time to make sure your social engagement and monitoring tool is pulling in the social data that can be integrated with enterprise data so that quality predictive analytics models can be run.

Photo: James Barker, freedigitalphotos.net

Tuesday Aug 06, 2013

Integrated Social and Enterprise Data = Enhanced Analytics. Why a Savvy CMO + Experienced CIO are Necessary to Succeed

This is the fourth in a series of posts on the value of leveraging social data across your enterprise, with Oracle Social VP Product Development Don Springer and Oracle Social Analytics Product Manager Kaylin Linke.

handful of screensIn today’s post, we are going to explore the recent trend, really a necessity, on the collaboration between the CMO and CIO to integrate social and enterprise data into a data “pool” so all departments in the organization can leverage it according to their specific needs. Why is this happening?

  • The CMO has become the primary owner for social (earned, owned and paid media) within the enterprise and is leading the effort to create more compelling customer experiences by listening, learning and engaging with customers meaningfully. The CMO buys the social CRM tools, selects the data and hires the staff to drive social relationship management within the enterprise. Usually, marketing are the social experts within the company.
  • The CIO has always been the owner and provider of the enterprise’s traditional data (including customer records such as transactional, operational, and behavioral). In addition, the CIO typically leads the technical architecture decisions to acquire, store, process and make available new forms of consumer generated information to the enterprise.
  • The rest of the enterprise needs access to unified and enriched data, made more valuable by blending social and enterprise data together intelligently. The enterprise’s departments are looking to the CMO to drive business requirements and social “know-how” and the CIO to manage data & technical architecture and integration interfaces. As a team, they’re being called on to lead the charge on socially enabling their organization.

As discussed in previous posts, the value proposition for big data analytics is already recognized. The hard part can be getting started.

So, you want to integrate Social + Enterprise Data…

Let’s first review the basic steps of the data integration process:

Step 1: Identify the data.  
This will be a mix of:

  • Traditional sources (customer profile data and transactional data including orders, service requests, digital campaign response history, surveys, etc.)
  • Social data (unified social profiles, tweets, posts, pictures, videos, etc.).

In this step, the CMO will be working alongside the CIO to identify what data is currently available and in what format. Any discovered gaps in data will need to be further researched to identify potential sources or solutions.

Step 2: Plug that data into a data exchange mechanism.  
For new sources of public data (e.g. digital, curated, social, etc.), many are looking to migrate and outsource this to a cloud-based data-as-a-service provider or DaaS. For proprietary data, this can be stored in a private cloud environment or on-premise. In either approach, the office of the CIO will look for a solution allowing access to all data through a unified architectural approach, so new data-pools can leverage already implemented enterprise data pools (e.g. MDM records).

Step 3: Enrich the data.  
As explained in a previous post on DaaS, the enterprise will want to enrich the combination of traditional data and social data to gain insights based on a more complete view of the customer. The CIO leads the delivery of these services to meet the requirements of the CMO.

Step 4: Analytics & next generation data pull. 
By creating a shared data pool and sharing best practices, the CMO & CIO can help all functions across the enterprise conduct new insight detections and ongoing actionability through a variety of CX and CRM solutions.

Use Case – Improve Campaigns with Analytics that Leverage Social + Enterprise Data…

Let’s explore one of the most popular use cases for the office of the CMO, a campaign. Assuming the shared data pool is now in place (social + enterprise data), the following analytics-based approach toward optimizing the campaign across digital, social and traditional media channels is improved:

don blog graphic

There are two important areas to analyze for data insights, prior to preparing the campaign:

  • Current Content Performance: what type of content are consumers engaging with the most across your digital & social assets? What times/days of the week are optimal for communication, and is it different between social, digital and traditional media? What is the demographic breakdown of your customer base, fan base?
  • Current Consumer Conversation: what are consumers saying about your brand/products? Is there language that you can echo back, are there current conversations happening that you should be aware of (e.g. a problem with a product, or specific questions, or a gap that my latest campaign could help address), are your competitors doing something similar, what are their current taglines, how are consumers reacting to their products & language vs. your own?

Leverage the pre-campaign analysis to inform the campaign’s overall strategy & success metrics. Then, do the campaign creative, corresponding content, schedule, and launch.

During Campaign
Perform real-time monitoring to identify opportunities for campaign shifts to improve the outcome while you still can (adjust messaging, profile targeting media mix and media sequencing). Monitoring includes:

  • Quantitative – Track what is working across owned and paid media (reach, impressions, engagement metrics, responses, growth in fans, etc.)
  • Qualitative – Track why the campaign is working by listening to/polling targeted consumers for their themes of interest, desired response propensity, likes/dislikes, why resonating/irritating by targeted profiles, etc.

The post-campaign analysis then becomes the learning basis for your next pre-campaign work, along with re-starting your consumer analysis anew because social is ever-changing along with consumer perspectives. So stay fresh.

In addition, the insights learned may also feed into other opportunities – such as identifying key advocates, new, previously unknown opportunities, or new messaging platforms to extend or launch a campaign. By listening to “earned” conversations outside of your normal “owned” channels, you will find new influencers, brand advocates and loyal customers. These relationships can be an advantage for early testing during the soft release of a new product or promotion.

Also, insights viewed alongside the sales results of your campaign can provide you with analytics that provide a more complete picture of success. Over-time, these analytics become your knowledge base to deploy best practices and institute a data-driven approach to get on a path of optimization and continuous improvement.

It will be fascinating to watch how more executives join forces with the CMO and CIO to socially enable their various business functions and leverage the combination of social and traditional data to provide better customer experiences. We are already seeing this from some of our customers that are including Sales, E-Commerce and Support executives into their social corporate guidance teams. In the future, we will continue to shares trends where we see interesting use cases that leverage enterprise data alongside social data.

Photo: SOMMAI, freedigitalphotos.net


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