Tuesday Aug 19, 2014

So You Want to Be a Social Media Director

social media directorDo you want to be a Social Media Director? Some say the title is already losing its relevance; that social should be a basic skill that is required and used no matter what your position is inside the enterprise.


I suppose that’s visionary, and a fun thing for thought leaders to say. But in the vast majority of business organizations, we’re so far away from that reality that the thought of not having someone driving social’s implementation and guiding its proper usage conjures up images of anarchy.


That said, social media has become so broad, so catch-all, and so extended across business functions, that today’s Social Media Director, depending on the size of their staff, must make jacks-of-all-trades look like one-trick-ponies. Just as the purview of the CMO has grown all-encompassing, the disciplines required of their heads of social are stacking up.


Master of Content

Every social pipeline you build must stay filled, with quantity and quality. Content takes time, and the job never stops. Never. And no, it’s not true that anybody can write.


Master of Customer Experience

You must have a passion for hearing from customers and making them really happy.


Master of PR

You must know how to communicate and leverage the trust you’ve built when crises strike. Couldn’t hurt to be a Master of Politics.


Master of Social Technology

So many social management tools on the market. You have to know what social tech ecosystem makes sense and avoid piecemeal point solutions.


Master of Business Development

Social for selling and prospecting is hot, and you have to know how to use social to do it.


Master of Analytics

Nothing else matters if you can’t prove social is helping the brand. That’s right, creative content guy has to also be a math and stats geek. Good luck with that.


Master of Paid Media

You’ve got to learn the language, learn the tactics, learn the vendors and learn how to measure results.


Master of Education

Guess who gets to teach everyone who has no clue how to use social for business.


Master of Personal Likability

You’ll be leading the voice, tone, image and personality of the brand. If you don’t instinctively know how to be liked by actual people, the brand will be starting from a deficit.


How deep must you go in this parade of masteries? Again, that depends on your employer’s maturity level in social. Serious players recognize these as distinct disciplines requiring true experts for maximum effect. Less serious players will need you to execute personally in many of these areas. Do the best you can, and try to grow quickly at each.


If you’re the sole person executing all social…well…you’re in the game of managing expectations and trying to socially educate your employer. The good news is, you should be making a certifiable killing. If you’re alone and your salary is modest, time to understand how many brands out there crave what you’ve mastered. Not to push back against thought leaders, but the need for brand social leadership has not gone away…not even a little bit.


@mikestiles @oraclesocial
Photo: Stefan Wagner, freeimages.com




Friday Aug 08, 2014

Is Google Plus Toast?

Google Plus is just 3 years old, far to young to have already entered that “awkward” stage. But just like a maturing adolescent, Google Plus seems to be trying to find itself, to figure out what it is, and to find the crowd it wants to run with.


Recent events have broadcast strong signals that its dream of being a major social network has begun hitting the wall of reality. Kind of like that moment it dawned on you the band you formed with your slacker friends that practiced in your basement was NOT going to be the next Beatles.


When that moment arrives, the next logical step is to figure out what plan B is going to be. Plan A was to make G+ a foundation from which identities (real, not anonymous) would be established, and that would be used to log into all Google’s products and services. Thoughts of being a full-on competitor to the likes of Facebook reportedly faded coinciding with the departure of the farther of Google Plus, Vic Gundotra.


Technically, Plan A was a success. The single login was created and G+ was integrated into YouTube and Gmail. If you wanted to use Hangouts, Photos, Talk, gChat, Auto Backup, you were going to be a G+ user. In fact, if you used Google products for personal and work, you were probably going to have several G+ accounts. Many blanched at the imposition of it, but Google Plus user numbers soared.


Now recent developments:


All things that make you go hmm, as is the fact some users got a survey from Google asking what they’d think if G+ didn’t exist anymore. Data says it wouldn’t exactly rock monthly schedules. Nielsen saw in November US site users spent an average 6 hours, 15 minutes there, compared to G+’s visitors spending an average 7 minutes on that site. Smartphone usage paints a similar story.


And yet…you’ll find plenty of Google Plus defenders. Forrester’s Nate Elliott points out 22% of US online adults told them they visited G+ monthly, the same as Twitter and beating out LinkedIn, Pinterest, & Instagram. Of even more interest to marketers, they saw that on average, top brands gathered 90% more fans on G+ than on Twitter. Like engagement? Looking at interactions with over 2,500 brand posts across 7 social networks, Forrester saw G+ generate almost as much per follower engagement as Facebook, and almost twice Twitter’s engagement.


But arguments that Google Plus is an effective social network don’t mean much if Google itself does not intend for G+ to be a social network. Analysts like Scott Strawn of International Data believe it will instead be a means of linking Google products, this time more for business customers & purposes vs. for connecting and sharing by the masses, with the Google Plus brand moving steadily into the background.


So even if you want to say that Google Plus as a social network is “toast,” that doesn’t mean it can’t then be effectively reimagined for different purposes, like say croutons.



@mikestiles @oraclesocial
Photo: freeimages.com

Friday May 16, 2014

What the Foursquare Spin-Off of Swarm Says to Marketers

Foursquare SwarmFoursquare has chosen to rid itself of the check-in functions of its app and spin them off into a separate app called Swarm.


Why?


As we know, Facebook had already started down this road of unbundling usages of its app into smaller, more focused standalone applications. The thinking being when an app does a lot of things, it’s harder to find what you want to do and harder to use. But Foursquare users basically only did two things; check in to places & meet with friends, and discover new places.


Swarm is now the Foursquare check-in app. Check-in and you can see a graph showing where nearby friends are. If you don’t want anyone to know where you are, you can toggle off neighborhood sharing. There’s now history search, which Foursquare calls one of its most requested features ever. So if you loved a place but can’t remember the name or where it was, you’re in business. And, to help coordinate activities with friends, there’s “Plans” so you can ask who’s up for what.


Meanwhile Foursquare, later this summer, will become Foursquare’s discovery app and the one meant to give Yelp headaches. Perhaps Foursquare's strongest asset is its existing directory of every place everyone ever checked into on the platform, with more being added daily. Users can quickly see digestible tips about what to try or avoid left behind by friends and experts.


CEO Dennis Crowley has been working since 2012 to stop people from thinking of Foursquare as an only for-fun check-in app where you can try to be Mayor of a doughnut shop. The UI was changed and once search came to the forefront, searches doubled in 2 months. Plus 50 million monthly visitors were getting intel from all those reviews.


(And by the way, badges will be dropped in Swarm in favor of emotion-revealing stickers you can unlock, and you only compete against friends for Mayorships, not the whole Foursquare universe.)


So what should you, the marketer, take away from these developments? Awareness of the emergence of passive suggestion. As Crowley puts it, “The best version of Foursquare is the one you don’t have to remember to use.” As long as your ambient location is turned on, Foursquare will know where you are and can notify you of timely, relevant suggestions, no check-in necessary. Foursquare says test users interacted with the passive suggestion version of the app 60% more.


This speaks to the tidal movement toward right person/right place/right time/right way marketing that platforms such as the Oracle Social Cloud are facilitating. If you as a marketer know what the weather is, know what time of day it is, know where a customer is, know what’s nearby, and know what they generally like and do based on past behavior, then you can use their social app of choice to deliver offers or info that will be appropriate, appreciated, and hopefully acted upon.


Not to mention this should be a nice reminder of how critical mobile and context is to any serious marketing strategy.


Will Foursquare’s spinning off of Swarm be a winner? Other location broadcasting business models have struggled, including one of Facebook's that was not unlike Swarm. There must be a willingness on the part of consumers to make their location available more often than not, a trend that can only solidify with marketers’ responsible, rewarding usage of that info.


@mikestiles @oraclesocial
Photo: freeimages.com



Tuesday Jul 23, 2013

The Great Social Marketing Pain Point Poll

headacheJust as customers have pain points we as marketers need to address, we ourselves have to deal with our own social marketing pain points. Like any physical pain, pretending it’s not there, ignoring it, or putting off getting it seen about is highly likely to only make the situation worse.

Conversely, getting a good check-up and taking an honest, realistic inventory of what’s causing you to function at less than 100% is a pretty effective investment of time. If you’re not keeping pace with the competition, or if your social efforts are stuck in neutral, it’s high time to pinpoint specifically what the issues are that are preventing your growth and social marketing maturation.

So welcome to the Social Spotlight clinic, where we want to find out, “where does it hurt?” Below is a rather lengthy list of possible social marketing pain points you might be experiencing. Is it a complete list? Probably not. If your main stumbling block isn’t listed below, by all means let us know what it is in the comment section.

Otherwise we ask that you help out your fellow social marketers by participating in our “Great Social Pain Point Poll.” Below are your choices, so you can think and study in advance, but we ask that you go to the poll on our Oracle Social Facebook page and select three of the options. In the end, with your help and input, we’ll know what surfaces as the most common, pressing issues holding back the socially enabled enterprise.

Ready? Open up and say “ah.”

Social Marketing Pain Points:

  • Establishing the goals you want social to achieve
  • Getting social properties to drive traffic to owned properties like your site.
  • Getting your fans/followers to engage with your content
  • Getting fans/followers to give you referrals
  • Tying your social properties to your enterprise CRM software system.
  • Figuring out what content to put on your social channels
  • Figuring out who can and will create the content for your social channels
  • Resourcing for the manpower required to manage all your social channels
  • Figuring out where to find great social channel managers
  • Resourcing for/finding outsourced entities for content creation
  • Figuring out what metrics/KPI’s you need to watch that relate to business objectives.
  • Routing the feedback you get on social to product managers/developers
  • Streamlining your social channel management on one dashboard
  • Getting the C-suite to fully understand and embrace social and its benefits
  • Getting employees to participate on social on behalf of the brand
  • Legal issues surrounding social and content creation
  • Wanting to stop/prevent people from slamming your brand on social
  • Learning who your fans/followers are and what they want
  • Effectively and efficiently targeting your desired audience
  • Making sure your social is optimized and effective on mobile
  • Figuring out how to execute sales within the Facebook environment
  • Teaching sales reps to effectively use social for sales/relationship building
  • Finding people who can blog for the brand consistently
  • Figuring out the efficient management of hundreds of social streams
  • Figuring out who should and shouldn’t be allowed to represent your brand on social
  • Figuring out the approval process for content/posts/tweets
  • Creation of brand-wide social media standards & practices
  • Successfully utilizing social for PR and influence marketing
  • Successfully utilizing social for internal communication and collaboration
  • Figuring out how to market your social properties and let people know they exist
  • Learning and using the SEO advantages of social channels
  • Getting videos made to populate a brand YouTube channel
  • Setting up workflow so social can be effectively used for customer service
  • Maintaining a consistent voice and personality across social channels
  • Maintaining brand messaging across social channels
  • Deciding what to give fans/followers of value in return for their liking/following you (discounts, insider deals or info, etc.)
  • Figuring out how to demonstrate ROI
  • Gathering and managing the big data that comes in continuously from social
  • Listening to all the people talking about your brand out there on social

Remember, go to the poll on the Oracle Social Facebook page and pick your top 3. Then we’ll all know which pain is hurting the most and is in dire need of attention.

@mikestiles
Photo: stock.xchng

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