Tuesday Jan 21, 2014

13 Discussion Starters Around Social Listening

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


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


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


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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


@mikestiles
Photo: Sundeip Arora, stock.xchng


Tuesday Jan 07, 2014

Ignoring Some Countries? Social Listening & Monitoring in Multiple Languages

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


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


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


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


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


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


Global and Local Language Functionality:

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


Native Language Text Analytics:

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


Sentiment Analysis:

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


Native Language User Interface and Publishing:

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


Global Dashboard Analytics:

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


Enhanced and Expanded Custom Indicators:

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


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


@mikestiles
Photo: stock.xchng



Friday Oct 11, 2013

Ghosts in the Demand Machine: The Hidden Sales Cycle

ghost handToday we continue chatting with Aberdeen Group’s Trip Kucera on how enterprises are using social to find and do something about online activity that’s happening every minute, and that’s affecting sales every minute.


Spotlight: What are the forces bearing down on organizations right now that are affecting how sales are surfaced and executed?

Trip: Since it’s just a few weeks until Halloween, how about a ghost story? This one’s not about the unrested souls of the dead, but for marketing and sales executives it’s an even scarier tale. Their customers are possessed, haunted by a hidden sales cycle of unseen influence shaping their preferences and priorities. This unseen influence, of course, is the reality of today’s empowered, ultra-informed customer brought about by the frictionless access to content and community. And it’s driving the approach that many organizations take to social media.


Spotlight: And you guys went out and got the numbers that prove it.

Trip: Aberdeen’s social relationship management research shows that the top two pressures shaping social media initiatives are the proliferation of new channels for engagement, which 63% of respondents identified as a top pressure, and the influence of third parties on customers’ decision journeys, which 56% of respondents identified as a top pressure. To put it another way, customers have an increasing number of channels on which to access an increasing supply of information. This is the “hidden” sales cycle.


Fig1


Spotlight: Hidden doesn’t sound good. How do we un-hide it?

Trip: The objective of social relationship management is essentially to first un-hide this sales cycle by understanding the customers’ decision journey, and then to influence it. There are two primary approaches organizations are taking. The first is to engage the influencers – the tastemakers and pundits – that are shaping the social conversation. This is more achievable in some markets like specialized or highly technical product markets that often rely on a relatively small corps of mavens for information than others, like general consumer or luxury goods markets.


Spotlight: Right, so like it or not, influencers are out there either helping the sale or hurting it, depending on their opinions and experiences. What’s the second approach?

Trip: The second is to become a source of influence through direct engagement with customers, which can happen through both organic “earned” media and paid channels. These approaches can also come together when customer advocates become influencers themselves.


Spotlight: I’m going to guess the better you treat your happy customers, the more effective and active they’re going to be at participating in this hidden sales cycle.

Trip: To this point, Aberdeen data shows that Leaders, the top performers as identified by Aberdeen’s research methodology, are not only more likely to identify both influencers and customer advocates, but to also then engineer engagement through social media marketing programs that include incentives, integration with marketing programs, content, and paid channels.


Spotlight: Bottom line, people are going to be out there talking about your brand, disseminating information and influencing people one way or the other, and the more you can listen to what’s going on and participate in that conversation, the better chance you have of turning this hidden sales cycle to your advantage.

Trip: Yes, losing “control” of your customer might be scary, not that you ever really had it to begin with, but not having a plan for engaging buyers in the hidden sales cycle should be truly frightening.


Fig2


@mikestiles
Photo: kasiakay, stock.xchng

Friday Jul 26, 2013

Social Listening: China’s Talking, Can You Hear Them?

ChinaHopefully, we’ve come to understand the value of social listening and social monitoring. It’s how we as brands and organizations learn what people are saying about us across the social web, and how we get to know our customers intimately, learning their values and expectations. It’s what allows us to respond in timely, relevant ways, driving new customers, referrals, loyalty, and increased sales.

Naturally, those are the kinds of benefits you’d like to apply to the largest, most socially active and fastest growing market on the planet, right? That would be China. And if you think you can’t listen to what’s being said about you there…you can.

China has the most active social media base plus the biggest Internet, mobile and social media population on the globe. 4 million additional Internet users are added per month, pushing that population to an estimated 800 million in 2015. There are 547 million estimated social users and 420 million estimated mobile web users. Much of the growth is fueled by rural and middle class users, where 97% of the Chinese middle class now owns a smartphone.

Back to the “active” part. A McKinsey report shows 91% of Internet-connected Chinese visited a social site. Compare that to 30% in Japan, 67% in the US, and 70% in South Korea. Social sharing in China went up 60% in 2012. During the 2012 Olympic Games opening ceremony, Twitter recorded almost 10 million related mentions. But China’s Twitter-like micro-blogging network Sina Weibo recorded 119 million. Incitez found that Chinese consumers spend more time (46 minutes a day) on social sites than any other country.

So yeah, it’s big. But does that represent a legit social opportunity for brands? Socially-connected consumer behavior in China isn’t much different from what we see elsewhere. They’re more likely to think about buying a product if it’s mentioned on social, and more likely to buy if a connection recommends it. On average, 66% of Chinese social users follow brands. The averaging user follows 6.7 of them. And yes, brands are well aware; over a thousand already have a presence on Sina Weibo.

And don’t forget that “active” part. An oral care product that executed a campaign on Chinese location-based network Jiepang gained over 846,000 branded user generated posts, creating 2.54 million earned media impressions…for $60k US. Monthly sales increased 23% during the campaign. Put that in your social ROI folder.

So if the opportunities are huge, and the social users there are highly active, how will you listen across social in China to surface those opportunities? The answer is powerful social listening technology that spans global languages and social sites. Oracle's Social Engagement & Monitoring (SE&M) product, part of the overall Social Relationship Management (SRM) platform, now lets you listen in Simplified Chinese, Portuguese and Spanish, with support and planned support for Chinese social networks/sources, and Latin America's Reclame Aqui and Vostu social networks. It’s the only product you’ll find with Latent Semantic Analysis (LSA) in multiple languages. LSA lets you identify messages you want to see, filer irrelevant posts, and get a clear picture of the social content you’re examining. That way, you can spot and do something about the messages that matter.

SE&M also gives you a deeper look into a conversation, like consumer interest, intent or psychographics. If you’re multinational or based in the Chinese and Latin American markets, that’s potential gold. Of course, the whole SRM offers a fully translated user interface in 31 languages, now including Chinese, Portuguese and Spanish. We’re global that way. And even more listening languages are on the way to help you mine fans and leads.

For a good first step, how about a few infographics on getting started with social relationship management? Pick a language.

English
Spanish
Brazilian Portuguese
Portuguese

In her recent presentation at Oracle OpenWorld Shanghai, VP Development, Oracle Social Cloud Meg Bear pointed out how crucial it is for global brands to connect, listen, learn and engage with China, home to over half the world’s top 15 social networks. Eyes and ears are turning to digital places like Tencent Weibo, Sina Weibo, Renren, Qzone, and fast-growing mobile messaging platform WeChat.

The volume of potential data is significant. And just like Americans, the Chinese fully expect you as brands to listen to that data, understand their needs, and deliver stellar user experiences in return.

@mikestiles
Photo: stock.xchng

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