Friday Mar 28, 2014

Three Busted Social ROI Myths

Today’s post is from Jack Newton, Dir. of Outbound Product Management & Strategy for Oracle Social Cloud. He dispels some of the myths around social ROI, and demonstrates how to put ROI measurement on solid ground.


social media mythsI have social ROI set up as a Google Alert, and it's rare that a day goes by when there's not something posted about it. There are good reasons for this.


One is that there are many myths about measuring ROI. And just like the definition of a myth – “a… legendary story… with or without a determinable basis of fact” -- myths tend to endure, get passed down and then repeated.


Every good story needs a hero. That hero can be you by following some steps to get your company on solid ground with measuring ROI. And at the same time, set the company on a course to make the entire customer experience better.


Myth 1 There isn’t a way to correlate social indicators with broader business objectives and metrics.


You may be surprised at how social analytics being collected today can be used to show progress against business goals and objectives.


  • Conversations: Number of customers or prospects
  • Likes/followers: Customer retention or advocacy
  • Customer service requests: Customer satisfaction; time to resolve
  • Reach: Brand value or engagement
  • Demographics and location: Market expansion


Intrepid Social Spotlight blogger Mike Stiles has covered this topic in more detail – “Social Media Metrics Explained.”


Myth 2Social media only applies to marketing.


The fact is, taking advantage of social business practices and sharing insights across the organization can benefit everyone while improving CX.


  • Commerce & Sales: Stronger and more relevant messages and customer loyalty
  • Customer Support: Call center cost savings and better service
  • Human Resources: Talent pipeline strength and employee retention
  • Internal Collaboration: Speed to market with new products and services and richer consumer insights


Getting started may take some reaching out to other groups within the organization, but it’s well worth the effort. Nearly two-thirds of Marketing and IT leaders who collaborate report that they’re more effective as professionals.


Myth 3 Executive leadership isn’t interested in social ROI.


If senior leadership doesn’t show an interest in social ROI, it could be because the numbers aren’t presented in a form that’s relevant to the C-suite.


All organizations have metrics and objectives that are set by company leadership.

If you don't know the primary metrics your company and group use to measure success, you should start there.


If you’re still having trouble getting attention, share these stats to show how getting serious about digital and social can make a positive impact on revenue. According to CapGemini, companies that are more mature from a digital perspective see:

  • 9% more revenues on average
  • 26% more profit than their competitors
  • 12% higher market valuation


Busting More Myths


John Lennon once said, “I believe in everything until it’s disproved.”  Learn about 3 more myths and how to disprove them in a new whitepaper about social ROI, which can be downloaded right here.


Photo: stock.xchng

Tuesday Mar 25, 2014

Facebook Business Manager: THE Answer for Brands?

social businessSo you’ve got a lot of Facebook Pages to manage but you still haven’t employed a social relationship management platform to handle them, as well as your other social media channels.  If that’s your situation, the recent revelation Facebook is developing something called the Facebook Business Manager might have struck your interest.


It will only hold your interest, however, if you are a relatively small brand, and are social marketing only on Facebook.


What Facebook is doing with Business Manager is the best it can do, try to help brands and agencies cope with multiple Pages and ad accounts. From Facebook’s own description: management can happen in one place, ad accounts are easier to set up and manage, account permissions are easier and clearer, and you don’t have to friend someone or have their Facebook login email to give them access to accounts (which should help cut down on the building of fake profiles for business Page management).


What does this mean for brand social marketers and agencies? Well it means Facebook sees what third party developers have been doing, and they like it. They think it makes total sense. And while Business Manager is meant to help big brands and agencies, the question arises, what big brand or agency only markets on Facebook?


If anything, this underscores how indispensable a social relationship management platform that offers deeper functionalities and aggregation across multiple social channels is.

  • Aggregated analytics across all your properties.
  • Tools like Oracle Social’s “Engage” that let you triage, assign, and process all incoming engagement across social networks.
  • Publishing and scheduling via a powerful workflow system across multiple social networks.
  • Additional security features
  • Industry-leading listening capability across the Internet at large


This is modern, enterprise level social marketing. And to their credit, Facebook is not insinuating this is the end of Preferred Marketing Developers, saying, "We're also working on API availability so PMDs can build it into their tools and interfaces, as well as build their own proprietary tools and interfaces on top of it - just like they do with our ads API." They know big players need advanced features and an integrated social marketing picture that doesn’t end with Facebook.


Obviously, we’ll learn more as Facebook Business Manager rolls out to more users and continues its development. But the reality of our social multi-channel world will hopefully inspire you to look more closely into the comprehensive platforms that truly set you up for not just modern marketing, but the socially enabled enterprise.


@mikestiles
Photo: Zlyoga, stock.xchng



Friday Mar 21, 2014

Breaking Down the FFIEC’s Social Media: Consumer Compliance Risk Management Guidance

If ever there was an industry nervous about using social, it’s financial services.  There are plenty of ways to get into trouble, as opposed to using social to sell cookies. Today’s blog comes to us from Tom Chernaik, CEO of CMP.LY, a social startup whose CommandPost addresses third-party entanglement and adoption issues, disclosure and other legal and measurement challenges. In addition to the blog, give a listen to the recent webcast with Tom and Oracle Social’s Angela Wells, “Making it all Make Sense – The FFIEC’s Consumer Compliance Risk Management Guidance.”  Just register as you would for the live webinar and you'll see the listen on-demand option.


social media for financial servicesOn December 11, 2013, the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) published final guidance to address how federal consumer protection and compliance laws, regulations and policies relate to social media activities conducted by retail banks, saving associations and credit unions.


Social media use is subject to virtually the same legal requirements as other forms of business-related media use; the only exception is social media occurs solely on the Internet. Because of this, financial institutions open themselves up to heightened risk by communicating on social, even if they don’t violate specific regulations. To safeguard against these risks, the FFIEC recommends institutions perform appropriate risk assessments (that take into account the institution’s size, activities and risk profile) and build a risk management program; the higher the risk profile, the more detailed the program.

The guidance offers simple steps for creating a risk management program:

  • Understand the reason why your institution is (or is not) using social media.
  • Discuss institutional objectives for social media use.
  • Align corporate objectives with the strategic vision.
  • Enforce a governance structure that emphasizes a strong “tone from the top.”


Financial institutions also need to create clear and concise policies that address social media presence and comply with relevant consumer privacy laws and regulations, along with the laws and regulations applicable to advertising and the proper use of consumer disclosures. (For example, Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering Programs should be incorporated into a financial institution’s policies and procedures to ensure compliance with the Bank Secrecy Act and the Patriot Act’s recordkeeping and reporting requirements.)


comp.ly logoFurthermore, policies should address how to manage consumer information and address consumer complaints. While a financial institution doesn’t need to monitor and respond to all Internet communications on social, it should perform an appropriate review based upon previous risk assessments when evaluating how to monitor and respond to such communications.


Once social media policies have been finalized, financial institutions are responsible for policy implementation and oversight. Institutions should:

  • Identify who can use social on behalf of the company, along with what can’t be shared (e.g. private customer information or profanity).
  • Explain how employees can use social and the processes and technologies available for employee social media use for business purposes.
  • Define the frequency of content publication and processes governing workflow for approval, monitoring and enforcement.
  • Distinguish clear roles and responsibilities for supervision.


All in all, the FFIEC’s guidance was primarily intended to help financial institutions understand the risks involved with social media use, clarify existing compliance requirements and responsibilities and encourage the implementation of oversight, processes and controls. However, while practical and intended to be relatively easy to implement, the guidance should be tailored to meet a specific institution’s circumstances and needs.

Photo: stock.xchng

Tuesday Feb 25, 2014

Who Can You Trust to Handle Your Social Media?

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


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


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


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


Community Managers


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


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


Employees


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


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


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


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


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


@mikestiles
Photo: Piotr Dorabiala, stock.xchng

Friday Feb 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

Friday Feb 07, 2014

Social Media Metrics Explained

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


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


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


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


Oracle Social Analytics

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


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


@mikestiles
Photo: stock.xchng

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 Sep 27, 2013

All Together Now: Social Relationship Management is a Team Sport

soccer huddleAs brands adapt to the new world of social across the enterprise and using the massive amounts of available social data to generate superior customer experiences, the question always arises of how to organize internally for the most effective social relationship management possible. We kept the lines of communication open with Aberdeen’s Trip Kucera for a talk on that very subject.


Spotlight: It’s not uncommon to see big brands honestly trying to communicate via social, but winding up with egg on the face for not executing it properly. You probably see the same thing right?

Trip: Well, a funny thing happened in social media earlier this summer. Some folks from the “Occupy” movement tweeted a photo of some chalk art they’d created in front of the new Bank of America building in NYC. That was right after they’d been asked to leave by the local constabulary. The chalk art featured the Monopoly guy and fairly predictable missives about the 99%, etc. The tweet included a mention of @BankofAmerica. No news value here so far, right?


postSpotlight: I’m still impressed with your use of the word “constabulary,” but I bet there’s more to the story.

Trip: There is. As it sometimes goes with social, the response is where things get interesting. @BofA_Help responds with a “helpful” and friendly, but obviously auto-generated tweet, “We are here to help, listen, and learn from our customers and are glad to assist with any account related inquiries.” In fact, they auto-replied to every single retweet of the Occupy post mentioning @BankofAmerica, including those of an increasingly mocking tone. It’s not hard to see how this (auto)-response might come off as the epitome of faceless, nameless corporate America.


Spotlight: It’s one of those things where an instant, generic auto-reply probably sounded like a good idea at the time internally. But in the real world, it exposed them.

Trip: Yes, and the point here isn’t to pile on, but to learn from this rather public moment how we all might be able to do it better. Two thoughts come to mind:

  • Social is personal. It’s an essentially person-to-person medium. Social is interactive and responsive by its nature, and customers expect it that way. Window dressing won’t do anymore. If you’re going to have a social presence, it needs to have presence. Of course, that can make scaling social for large brands challenging.
  • Social is a team sport. Marketing may, and should, have primary responsibility for a firm’s social presence, but it’s a responsibility that’s increasingly shared with other stakeholders, including the sales and support organizations.


Spotlight: We just came out of Oracle OpenWorld and so much of the conversation revolved around customer experience and social’s critical role in it.

Trip: Great customer experience is core to social media success, but social relationship management Leaders, the top performers as identified by Aberdeen’s research methodology, don’t just wait for the magic to happen, they engineer engagement through effective teamwork. Aberdeen’s recent social relationship management research found that as a compliment to their social listening capabilities, top-performing companies are 36% more likely than Followers to identify and prioritize social posts for engagement (45% vs. 33%), and 53% of Leaders have established a workflow to pass info from social marketing to internal stakeholders for follow-up, such as a “hot” lead or customer complaint, compared with 42% of followers. These capabilities are the social version of the 360˚ view of the customer, but also point to the transparency of social. That improperly handled customer service issue can quickly become a drag on social brand equity.


Figure: Social Engagement is a Team Sport

figure
Source: Aberdeen Group, July 2013


Spotlight: So it’s not like you can just go rogue and start doing social for your company. The C-suite has to give the green light. And frankly, getting top-level support has been an issue.

Trip: Organizational imperatives like this often start at the top, and social is no exception. The notion of the socially enabled enterprise has clearly reached the C-level. Senior management at Leader companies is 23% more likely than their Follower counterparts to understand and support the company’s social media strategy. Senior management support is not only instrumental in getting everyone on the same page, so to speak, but in granting “permission” for the organization to develop its social voice as an extension of its culture.


Spotlight: Of course, that permission usually comes with caveats in the form of social media policies, whether those are soft guidelines or hard rules.

Trip: Just as broader corporate culture should be expressed and represented in the norms and policies of a company, its social culture should be at the heart of any social media policy. To this point, we find that Leaders are 30% more likely to have a company policy in place for employee use of social media, 61% vs. 47%.


Spotlight: Sounds like the advice is that if you don’t have any social plan for the organization, let an internal leader craft that plan and support them in it.

Trip: We know that great social media moments start with, and could very well end without, great customer moments. But smart companies also know that winning in the “hidden sales cycle” of social requires more. It requires an organizational commitment to social relationship management that starts at the top and stays all together.


Don’t forget to check out some further insights into just how organizations are dealing with social entering and being applied across the entire enterprise by getting our study of social business from Oracle, Leader Networks, and Social Media Today.


@mikestiles
Photo: stock.xchng

Thursday Sep 26, 2013

Oracle OpenWorld: Day 4

ReggieOracle OpenWorld Day 4 saw a breathtaking America’s Cup win for Oracle Team USA and more keen insight into technology’s forward march in terms of big data, the cloud, customer experience and the morning’s specific focus…social’s astonishing impact on organizations and business.


Social Spotlight once again gets you on the inside and keeps you up to speed on the top thoughts coming out of this incredible annual event.


Keynote on Social with Reggie Bradford, David Vap, Tesco, and LEGO’s Lars Silberbauer.


Technology is being driven by the accelerating trends of social, mobile, data and cloud.


Customer expectations are increasing, creating massive disruptions that make it harder to differentiate, compete and win.


86% will stop doing business with you after one...ONE bad experience.


Only 16% of organizations describe their customer experiences as "advanced."


Your customers couldn't care less about the silos you've built inside of your organization. It’s NOT their problem.


Customers are a wide variety of demographics, and they're trying to engage with you on numerous channels of their choosing.


Oracle's complete CX solutions suite includes marketing, commerce, sales, service, and social.


Digital natives move seamlessly between the real and digital worlds, whichever works best and is most convenient at the moment.


Things are shifting from multiple customers/one experience to one customer/multiple experiences.


He who serves the customer best in this seamless, connected world, wins.


Consumer adoption cycles are going faster. If you're not in a position to adopt and adapt yourself, you're in trouble.


90% of all purchases are subject to social influence.


Companies that collaborate across departments that take advantage of technologies are the most successful.


For social to achieve its true value, it has to be part of a broader ecosystem to enhance the customer experience.


Social is being extended across the enterprise, integrated with the application stack.


Oracle recently announced the integration of the Oracle SRM with key components of Eloqua.


The Oracle SRM is built for global scale, with access to over 700 million messages daily, 185 countries, and 31 global languages.


CX


Empowering Social Business with Meg Bear


Data volume will grow 20 times what it is today by 2020.


300 million photos are uploaded to Facebook daily, and there are an average 400 million tweets per day.


Customers don't stand still in the buying journey. Approach them as one conversation, one transaction, one relationship.


A combined effort is needed from functions that are “onstage” with customers and “backstage” supporting these interactions.


70% of businesses today use social technology and 90% report getting business benefits from it.


Even internally, social collaboration and sharing results in a projected 20-25% increase in productivity.


Brands are moving from using social to broadcast messages to listening, learning and engaging with customers to cultivate relationships.


Social applies across the enterprise: marketing, commerce, selling, customer service, HR, and collaboration.


70% of executives think social can fundamentally change how their organization works. But only 10% rate themselves highly on it.


Just 34% of social professionals think their social is aligned to business goals and outcomes.


The culprits holding back “Social Business” are lack of overall strategy, competing priorities, and lack of business ROI.


Gartner estimates 80% of social business projects will disappoint due to lack of leadership support and taking a narrow view of social.


We're moving from a “siloed” world to a holistic, unified approach - with departments and technology solutions.


Best Practices: Attain executive buy-in & support, align social with clear business objectives, collaborate across people, processes & technology, enact social policy guidance (guidance…not rules), let the company’s social champions lead, integrate social across key areas of the enterprise.


If you’d like to see even more great content that came out of Oracle OpenWorld 2013, it’s ready and waiting for you at OpenWorld Live.


@mikestiles

Friday Sep 13, 2013

What’s the Point of Your Social? Understanding the Path to Social Relationship Management ROI

You know what smart people do?  They seek out smarter people. So in an attempt to be smart, I grabbed Trip Kucera, Senior Research Analyst at the Aberdeen Group to see what they’re discovering about how organizations are approaching social ROI. Trip leads the Marketing Effectiveness and Strategy practice and is well aware that in many C-suites, ROI is the stick in the spokes that’s slowing down adoption of the socially enabled enterprise.


Spotlight: Why should CEO’s, CMO’s, and CIO’s start taking social seriously?

Trip: Several weeks ago, we witnessed the latest in a string of social media follies when a British Airways customer purchased a promoted Tweet to express his displeasure with the service. Social has long been an echo chamber of complaints, some warranted and some not, but this may be one of the first times a customer actually invested their own money to be heard. That’s a milestone in the evolution of the empowered customer and not the last of it we’ll see as advertising gets put in the hands of the average consumer.


Spotlight: Ah, so the damage an upset customer can do should be factored in to social ROI. There’s a cost to getting it wrong?

Trip: Disgruntled customers are nothing new, and brands are wise not to overreact to every complaint lodged on Twitter and Facebook. But such moments put a new wrinkle on how organizations consider the ROI of their social relationship management strategies. A social strategy that might have more effectively addressed the customer’s concern probably isn’t going to immediately generate revenue or reduce costs, but something beyond a 9-5 social presence as was the case for BA probably seems like a pretty good investment in hindsight.

Figure: Leaders Put Brand Image on Top



Spotlight: I know you’ve got research on how much brands are expecting social to directly result in leads, so spill it.

Trip: Over the last few years, brands have built up their social communities with the hope of eventually figuring out how to convert likes into leads. But we’ve seen an interesting evolution in the focus on social strategies in Aberdeen’s research. In late 2011, social demand generation or customer acquisition was identified as the top strategic action. But in Aberdeen’s most recent survey, the largest percentage of top-performing companies are focused on improving the image of the brand, with direct demand generation/customer acquisition coming in as the 2nd most adopted strategy, but the top among all companies combined and Followers separately. (Aberdeen’s methodology identifies the high and low performers in a given survey and uses this to identify best practices as the strategies and capabilities used by top performing firms)


Spotlight: So brands are coming around? They see social as belonging at the top of the funnel as opposed to being a “closer”?

Trip: Well, this prioritization suggests a maturing of social relationship management priorities and maybe a more nuanced sense of payback for investing in it. These firms are banking on the fact that positive social brand image will convert to brand equity.

The trust in this conversion is evident in the social metrics preferred by Leaders, which show a bias towards monetization. Seventy percent (70%) of Leaders rank inbound website traffic as “valuable” or “very valuable” in measuring the impact of social relationship management (4 or 5 on 1-5 value scale) vs. 54% of Followers; and 60% of Leaders indicate marketing leads/conversions as “valuable” or “very valuable” (compared with 59% of Followers). Interestingly, social sentiment, a direct measure of positive brand resonance on social, appears towards the bottom of the list.


Figure: No Vanity Here - Leaders Prefer Business Impact Measure



Spotlight: Now you’re making me dizzy. So they’re using social for brand image as a strategy, but they want to see leads as the metric.

Trip: This juxtaposition points to the evolution and maturity of social relationship management, along with an understanding that the path to value isn’t necessarily a direct line. At a strategy level, firms are focused on building capabilities that support positive brand image (and actively engineer opportunities for engagement), but they ultimately will measure the impact in terms of real, tangible business benefits, rather than vanity metrics.


Spotlight: So basically, the path toward becoming a brand Leader in social involves little more than getting it right…using the right tools and executing the right strategies.

Trip: It’s hard to tell exactly what the impact of a more proactive social relationship management initiative on the part of British Airways might have been. But aggregated data from Aberdeen’s Social Relationship Management study shows cumulative adoption of best practices makes a tangible difference for firms. One of the key metrics we use to determine Leaders is the year-over-year change in positive social mentions of the brand or product, directly aligned to the top strategic action. On average, Leaders generate 114% more website traffic from social activity vs. Followers (11.5% vs. 5.4%) and 55% higher leads/conversions from social compared to Followers (4.0% vs. 2.6%).


Spotlight: Now that I know Aberdeen has all this great data, you know I’m going to come back to you for more of it, right?

Trip: I’m looking forward to it Mike.  Social relationship management has clearly moved past the experimental phase, but there’s always a place for data that can help marketers and executives better chart their path.

@mikestiles
Photo: bschwehn, stock.xchng

Friday Jun 21, 2013

Provocative Tweets From the Dachis Social Business Summit

tower guardOn June 20, all who follow social business and how social is changing how we do business and internal business structures, gathered in London for the Dachis Social Business Summit. In addition to Oracle SVP Product Development, Reggie Bradford, brands and thought leaders posed some thought-provoking ideas and figures. Here are some of the most oft-tweeted points, and our thoughts that they provoked.

Tweet: The winners will be those who use data to improve performance.
Thought: Everyone is dwelling on ROI. Why isn’t everyone dwelling on the opportunity to make their product or service better (as if that doesn’t have an effect on ROI)? Big data can improve you…let it.

Tweet: High performance hinges on integrated teams that interact with each other.
Thought: Team members may work well with each other, but does the team as a whole “get” what other teams are doing? That’s the key to an integrated, companywide workforce. (Internal social platforms can facilitate that by the way).

Tweet: Performance improvements come from making the invisible visible.
Thought: Many of the factors that drive customer behavior and decisions are invisible. Through social, customers are now showing us what we couldn’t see before…if we’re paying attention.

Tweet: Games have continuous feedback, which is why they’re so engaging.  Apply that to business operations.
Thought: You think your employees have an obligation to be 100% passionate and engaged at all times about making you richer. Think again. Like customers, they must be motivated. Visible insight that they’re advancing on their goals helps.

Tweet: Who can add value to the data?  Data will tend to migrate to where it will be most effective.
Thought: Not everybody needs all the data. One team will be able to make sense of, use, and add value to data that may be irrelevant to another team. Like a strategized football play, the data has to get sent to the spot on the field where it’s needed most.

Tweet: The sale isn’t the light at the end of the tunnel, it’s the start of a new marketing cycle.
Thought: Another reason the ROI question is fundamentally flawed. The sale is not the end of the potential return on investment. After-the-sale service and nurturing begins where the sales “victory” ends.

Tweet: A dead sale is one that’s not shared.  People must be incentivized to share.
Thought: Guess what, customers now know their value to you as marketers on your behalf. They’ll tell people about your product, but you’ve got to answer, “Why should I?” And you’ve got to answer it with something substantial, not lame trinkets.

Tweet: Social user motivations are competition, affection, excellence and curiosity.
Thought: Your followers will engage IF; they can get something for doing it, love your culture so much they want you to win, are consistently stunned at the perfection and coolness of your products, or have been stimulated enough to want to know more.

Tweet: In Europe, 92% surveyed said they couldn’t care less about brands.
Thought: Oh well, so much for loving you or being impressed enough with your products & service that they want you to win. We’ve got a long way to go.

Tweet: A complaint is a gift.
Thought: Our instinct where complaints are concerned is to a) not listen, b) dismiss the one who complains as a kook, c) make excuses, and d) reassure ourselves with internal group-think that they’re wrong and we’re right. It’s the perfect recipe for how to never, ever grow or get better. In a way, this customer cares more than you do.

Tweet: 78% of consumers think peer recommendation is the best form of advertising.  Eventually, engagement is going to eat advertising.
Thought: Why is peer recommendation best? Trust. If a friend tells me how great a movie was, I believe him. He has credibility with me. He’s seen it, and he could care less if I buy a ticket. He’s telling me it was awesome because he sincerely believes that it was.  That’s gold.


Tweet:
86% of customers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience.
Thought: This “how mad can we make our customers without losing them” strategy has to end. The customer experience has actual monetary value, money you’re probably leaving on the table.

@mikestiles
Photo: stock.xchng

Tuesday Jun 18, 2013

8 Tough Social Strategy Questions for Your CEO

thinkerOften, the best way to get someone to think is to ask questions that get them to at least start thinking about what you’ve asked.  You may not get an answer right away, but the search for a good answer begins because an unanswered question tends to linger until resolved. This can get your CEO contemplating their social strategy.

We derive our questions from the recently released “State of Social Marketing” report from Altimeter Group, which polled a variety of brand and digital types involved in social marketing.

Study: The main goal of social is a near tie between engagement and brand lift.  Sales as the top goal fell over 40% in this year’s survey.
Question: Just what is it you want our social to accomplish?  
Pick one. Pick the one by which you’re going to judge the value of our social media. Pick the one you think is worth investing in. Don’t just leave me groping in the dark to prove “general” social ROI.

Study: It’s now believed most social users expect exclusive content from brands, even more than customer service, and definitely more than deals.
Question: If we start social channels for our brand, where will the content come from?  
You wouldn’t start a TV station without knowing where the shows to put on it will come from. But that’s what CEO’s are doing with social channels. The belief is that content comes out of thin air, by magic, and for free. What a dumb belief.

Study: More than anything else, budgets are holding back social and digital marketing.
Question: Is it because you don’t know what social marketing realistically costs, or is it that you won’t budget for it until it proves that it’s effective with no resources?  
This is the classic “don’t get in the water until you know how to swim” philosophy. It makes zero common sense. If they want to “test” social, fine. But give it legs to stand on so that it can fairly pass that test.

Study: More than ever, executive buy-in is cited as the reason social went mainstream at the brand.
Question: What will it take to get you excited about social?  
When you’re dating, you’re going along, having a pleasant time. But then that one little thing happens that sets off fireworks and alters the relationship. What would make your CEO finally “heart” social?

Study: Fewer social marketers believe they understand their social user than did last year.
Question: Do you even care what your customers think?  
Because seriously, with the growing awareness we’re in the age of customer centricity, with enormously empowered customers, with tools available to know and understand the customer better than ever before, if you don’t know your customer, it’s because you’re going out of your way not to. Find out if your CEO is a fan of trapped, manipulated customers or of raving fans.

Study: 54% have still not asked social users what they want from the brand.  That’s unchanged from 2011.
Question: New question not necessary. Just ask the one above again.  
Study: Only slightly more managers see social as being a mainstream part of their organizations than did in 2011.

Question: You realize you’re at risk of being a dinosaur, right?  
Corporate leaders aren’t being asked to be innovators, pioneers and risk-takers. That ship has sailed. Now we’re at the point where the continued refusal to adopt a fully accepted modern means of communication makes an organization just look silly. It’s like taking a wait-and-see approach toward this “telephone” thing.

Study: The trends managers are most concerned about are mobile experiences, followed by content management. Integrated experiences came in 6th.
Question: How can we have integrated experiences (which include mobile and content management) with a patchwork of vendors and tools?
If your CEO can show you seamless integration amongst a quilt of disparate technologies that socially enable the enterprise, they should. Otherwise, time to talk about choosing a technology partner whose components can be added as needed.

Discussions like these should not be avoided. Answers rarely come without questions before them.

@mikestiles
Photo: Mario Sanchez, 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.

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