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

Sunday Mar 09, 2014

Saturday: Top Panel Takeaways from the Oracle Discovery Lounge at SXSW

Oracle Social at SXSWIt was quite the full and successful day at the Oracle Discovery Lounge at SXSW Interactive, as the social leaders of major brands shared their experiences and lessons learned around social ROI, social marketing, social customer service, and social management.


For those who couldn’t make it to Austin or the Waller Creek Boathouse, here are some of the top takeaways.


The Right POEM Equation in Today’s Shifting Social Landscape

Oracle Group VP Meg Bear, Kenshoo Social GM Sivan Metzger, Nanigans Biz Dev SVP Ben Tregoe, and SHIFT CEO James Borow

Oracle Social's Meg Bear


  • In the paid space, you must know what content is performing well and will bring good results for you if it gets some paid support.
  • You can't go forward realistically without including all stakeholders in the paid, owned, earned ecosystem.
  • Attribution is a challenge. If you make $100, how much of that went to each marketing component?
  • The ad is really the last step in a long process, and each step deserves some credit for the win.
  • Bigger companies are trying to get into more of a startup mindset so the newest tools can be tried out.
  • CMO's seeking to show how each paid social expense speaks directly to business KPI’s is the very near future.


Setting the Record Straight; Say Goodbye to Social ROI Myths

Oracle VP Erika Brookes, LEGO Director Lars Silberbauer, Pernod Ricard’s Jeremie Moritz.

Erika Brookes SXSW


  • Having social data is like having your head come up out of the water.
  • Lego empowers their front line people to do not just community management, but paid media for immediate action.
  • 500 people have been trained in social at Lego. They have a "social driver's license." The process was selective, not everybody was invited to get trained in and participate in social.
  • Getting staff to participate on internal social networks helps get everyone used to being more social overall.
  • Switch focus to smaller communities consisting of the fans who matter and who are engaging.
  • Pernod Ricard doesn't try to understand everything. Data is there to help, not do the whole job for them.


Slamming Social Into High Gear; a GM Case Study on Social

DigiDay’s John McDermott, GM Director Social Media Communications Mary Henige, GM Social Center of Expertise Lead Rebecca Harris


  • GM uses social a great deal for customer care, where owners can ask all sorts of service and product questions.
  • Their team knows the topics important to their targets and run strategy against it. It's not hit and miss.
  • GM uses photos fans send in as their Facebook cover photos, and they're among the most shared.
  • Social listening lets them know if there's something their customers aren't understanding or need help with.
  • Social and events like SXSW help get them in front of younger demos that may not be eager to walk into a showroom.
  • Social listening in a crisis helps you find your biggest advocates & defenders.


Related content you might want to check out:

  • FREE whitepaper on measuring social ROI in the enterprise.
  • See fun Instagram images coming out of SXSW mixed in with tweets from @oraclesocial with our SXSW Experience Tab.
  • Video: Oracle's Meg Bear talks with new paid social partner SHIFT's CEO James Borow.
  • Video: Oracle Social's Erika Brookes talks social ROI myths with Pernod Ricard's Jeremie Moritz.
  • Video: Oracle Social's Mike Stiles talks with GM's Mary Henige about how you manage such a massive customer base. 
  • There's a LOT going on at Oracle Social. Get access to all of it with our brand new one-stop Infowall.

    @mikestiles

Friday Nov 15, 2013

Big Data Crucial to Seeing the Social Marketing ROI Light

LighthouseEveryone calls for the definitive ROI of social marketing, and while we can debate if such a beast exists, we should all agree Big Data is the path to it. In fact, if anyone can show me the ROI of marketing in the dark in 2013, please do.


Remember when people with clipboards in malls tried to take you away to a small room and ask you questions for an hour in exchange for a modest gift certificate? That’s the kind of ambush it used to take to find out what customers liked.


Look at us now. Millions all over the globe are on multiple social platforms voluntarily giving us vast amounts of information about their preferences and behaviors every second. With CRM, we also know what they bought, when they bought it, at what price, and whether they contacted customer service with a problem. They’re giving brands tons of info we claimed we wanted. In return, we act like we have no idea who they are.


To be fair, it’s a lot more info than most brands were ready for. 90% of the world’s data was generated in the last 2 years alone. 80% of that data is unstructured, meaning legacy systems were never intended to deal with it. But that unstructured data is what gives us the kind of customer insight that makes the relevant, personalized, one-on-one customer experiences increasingly essential for modern business possible. So we should probably get serious about it.


Being unable to spot trends, not knowing what your target audience is into, not being able to predict future likely behaviors or product needs, not knowing which customers can influence others in your favor, not knowing which conversations you should join, not knowing the history of a customer who reaches out to you for help, all of that leaves you in the dark.


You know what happens in the dark? You can’t see anything and you miss a lot.


If you’re not ready for big data now, the future won’t be getting any easier for you. Computer Services Corp. says the volume of data produced is expected to be 44 times greater in 2020 than it was in 2009, 75% of it being created by individuals. Even if all you care about is SEO, the major search engines are placing a renewed emphasis on the unstructured data represented by social.


So how can there possibly be no ROI in knowing your customers, listening to them, responding to them, making them undyingly loyal, retaining their business, and having them market you to their peers? Big Data is what can get you there. And that’s only going to happen if the CMO and CIO collaborate on data integration connecting social data to enterprise and marketing data.


@mikestiles
Photo: stock.xchng

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 Jul 12, 2013

Social Marketing: What We Should Do Right Now

checkmarkNobody likes wasting their time, or their effort, or their money.  That’s why it’s handy to know, at least in general, what does and doesn’t constitute effective social marketing.

The infographic and slideshow farms have been very busy, presenting several articles and studies that all speak to what the social user wants and is thinking. So let’s do some listening and act on what users are telling us.

Mary Meeker’s 2013 Internet Trends report asked what social media people are using. Facebook is still #1 but…was the only network to decline.  YouTube experienced the strongest growth, with Twitter, G+ and LinkedIn rounding out the top 5.
So we should: Keep maximizing and resourcing Facebook, but wake up to the fact that people like to get info and entertainment via video, preferably short ones.

We also learn from the study how hard it is to get Americans to share content. Saudi Arabia shares the most at 60%, while the US fell below the global 24% average at 15%.  Japan shares the least.
So we should: Realize most people only share if the content triggers an emotion, or if sharing it casts a positive reflection on them.  Our content can’t just “lay there.”

The disconnect between marketers and the real world remains stunning. While only 6% of the public spends their media time with print, we put 23% of our ad spend toward it.  Meanwhile, as users spend 12% of their time on mobile, we threw a mere 3% of ad spend that way.
So we should: Give ourselves a good face-palm, say “Duh,” and market where the people are.  

The amount of content created grew 9 times in 5 years. Over 500 million photos uploaded a day, 100 hours of video uploaded to YouTube per minute. And think audio is dead? 11 hours of sound was uploaded to SoundCloud per minute. 
So we should: Recognize we’ve got content competition not just from our competition, but from anyone with a phone.  See section above about how our content can’t just lay there.

45% of Groupon transactions in North America are from mobile, up from less than 15% two years ago. Tablet growth is even faster than smartphone growth.  People want access to everything no matter where they are.
So we should: Develop experiences with the device user first in mind.  Not only will mobile use only go up, the study says it will soon be wearable/drivable and hands-free.

Surveyed CEO’s said they now think technological factors will have the biggest impact on their organizations, second only to market forces.
So we should: Disrupt the enterprise, scary as that is.  Socially enable it so all customer touch point experiences and analytics can be integrated into actionable data.  That’s where social ROI comes from.

A Ypulse study of 14-30 year-olds sought to learn where they get their information. Social was at the top of the list with 68%, followed by word of mouth. 
So we should: Recognize that social IS word of mouth, and we have a golden opportunity to not only be a source of usable info but to have it spread credibly.  Key word: “usable.”

66% of this age group have little confidence the news they get is accurate. Information sources have forfeited their credibility.  The audience is highly guarded.
So we should: Begin the long process now of building trust through honesty, transparency, sincerity, humility, and making sure we know the customer intimately. 

69% of 14-30-year-olds prefer to be informed by people who are older, not by people of the same age.
So we should: Not embarrass ourselves pandering to young users, desperately trying to be “hip.”  Oh, and just being 22 doesn’t qualify someone to be a community manager.

Lastly, our friends at Georgia Tech compiled 14 things that make a real difference in your ability to get Twitter followers. They didn’t study brands, but what works for individuals applies to us as well.  The top factor: when people see a friend follow an account, they’re more likely to follow it.
So we should: Recognize success begets success.  Retweets attract more followers as well.  So get momentum by acting on these next suggestions.

Inform. Make sure tweets have a target and a point. Use clear, simple language. And don’t pack your tweets with worthless hashtags. 
So we should: Realize even one little tweet is content.  Don’t ask your customers what they’re doing this weekend.  That’s generic filler.  And make tweets quickly readable.  Cool it with the symbols, hashtags, and hieroglyphics.

That’s a lot of things we should be doing. But, since they’re responses to what the audiences we’re trying to win over and turn into our advocates are telling us they like and want, perhaps it’s high time we got serious about following their lead.

@mikestiles
Photo: stock.xchng

Tuesday May 07, 2013

Social ROI: Our Industry’s Screaming Goat

goatYou know the screaming goat meme, right? It’s where a goat will pop up in a video with a hair-raising bleat and jarringly interrupt whatever was happening in the video. Well that’s social ROI. Despite all the cool advancements and opportunities social keeps bringing to marketers, ROI keeps popping up. Baaaaaa!

It’s understandable. A CEO can listen all day long to the litany of amazing things social can do and still likely wrap the meeting up with, “Yeah, but…” For them, it all boils down to a need to determine if all this is doing them any good. The Fournaise Marketing Group found out 73% of CEOs think marketers lack business credibility because they aren’t focused on tangible value.

We who are intuitive about social know the corporate world has been turned on its head, as has marketing, CRM and CX. We know the customer is in charge. We know we can’t control the message 100% anymore. We know we can’t just push our ads, we have to listen. We know we have to give customers content of real value. We know that great products and service + trust in the brand gets you the kind of highly effective customer evangelism that leads to more customers, lifelong loyalty, and sales.

Baaaaaaaa!

That’s not good enough for the screaming social ROI goat. They want you to prove that your tweet directly led to the sale of a widget. Here’s what you tell them.

Social ROI alone might forever be too elusive to fully calm the restless CEO. But the coming Social Enabled Enterprise ROI can. It’s more than tweeting, posting or putting up that video you hope will go viral, it’s holistically integrated big data (including social data) that gathers intelligence, analyzes it and uses it to conduct precision targeting on your most likely prospects. It's marketing automation bringing paid, owned and earned together.  It’s marketing that shifts from screaming in the dark to solving problems for customers with whom you have a relationship. Even the loudest goat can connect improved efficiencies to ROI.

With social, there’s a virtual parade of disparate ROI’s, including financial, prospect engagement, search engine ranking, brand reputation, thought leadership, and competitive edge. Hypatia Research shows nearly 13% of companies don’t measure social ROI at all, possibly because they assume there is none or regard it as too fuzzy.

Baaaaaaa!

Tell your goat to quit munching on tin cans and get a social relationship management platform that lets you attract the public, listen to what they’re saying about how you could get them to love you more and buy more from you, analyze the effectiveness your communications, monitor so you can react to issues with blinding speed and tear down barriers to sales, and integrate with existing CRM systems so all data works hand-in-hand and isn’t wasted. The holistic, socially enabled enterprise of the future operates knowing ROI is now about value and efficiencies, which in turn converts to profits.

@mikestiles
Photo: stock.xchng

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