Tuesday Oct 14, 2014

The Things You Hear When You’re an Oracle Social Customer

Oracle Social CloudWe mostly explore topics and trends around social marketing in this space.  (It’s not best practice to always write about your product.) That said, since readers aren’t privy to the emails Oracle Social Cloud customers often get announcing new features and capabilities, we wanted to put you in their shoes and summarize some they’ve gotten so far this year.


One actually was blogworthy, the rollout of Social Station, a customizable user experience workspace within the Oracle Social Relationship Management (SRM) platform. Customers can set up their work environments with drag and drop modules like Custom Analytics and an Enhanced Calendar so it works best for them. Meanwhile, our developers get to play and build new modules.


Engage is the part of the product where you watch and respond to activity on your channels and Listen topics. Our customers can now take action on multiple messages by doing some box checking then clicking an action in a dropdown. And they can now take public interactions private by initiating Twitter direct messages within Engage.


Listen & Analyze is the section of SRM where customers monitor what’s being said about them across social and the web. Lately they’ve gotten some good integration with Engage in that they can choose which topics they want fed to Engage right from their Listen & Analyze topics list. If it’s deleted in one, it’s deleted in the other. And topics show in the same bundle in Engage as they do in Listen & Analyze. All synced up. Plus 3 new languages (Swedish, Finnish and Norwegian) have been added to the Topic Creation language dropdown, and there’s a customizable dashboard chart picker.


The Publish component got some new toys too. Customers can upload their pre-planned content calendars via CSV, and those posts will be populated into Publish ready to go! We even give them the CSV sample file to fill out. The calendar is more interactive too. Click on a post in it and a sidebar opens showing them the posts for that day plus a short preview of each. Click a preview and they get even more details. From here they can edit or remove a post then go right back to the calendar.


You might know that Facebook lets you create Lookalike Audiences. It takes targeting data from a custom audience you created and makes a new audience based on it. We fixed it so customers can create Lookalike Audience within the SRM. They can also opt out their fans from Facebook custom audiences. Upload the fan list to the Media Account for the custom audience, and Facebook won’t include them in future custom audiences. Lastly, our customers have an updated pie chart on each custom audience's Detail page showing the percentage of their custom audience made from each source used to make that audience.


We hope that our customers love getting these regular emails telling them about our additions and improvements to the Oracle SRM platform as much as we love…well, adding and improving stuff.


@mikestiles @oraclesocial
Photo: freeimages.com

Friday Oct 03, 2014

What We Saw and Did at Oracle OpenWorld: Thursday

Oracle OpenWorldAll good things must come to an end, although innovations in the Oracle Cloud and Oracle Social Cloud never end and are always an ongoing process. After all, we want to have great stories to tell and great announcements to make at Oracle OpenWorld 2015. Believe it or not, after a great night at Treasure Island with Aerosmith and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, attendees still made it in for one final day of discussions.


In the wrap-up of CX Central (which by itself had over 2000 participants and over 300 sessions) Meg Bear and GM’s Rebecca Harris were talking about the importance of Latent Semantic Analysis in social listening. For instance, Rebecca pointed out that “good morning” is often shortened to ‘GM’ on Twitter…a problem for their monitoring, as is the fact that “Chevrolet” is in the lyrics of almost 2000 songs.


Meg said we’re well past discussions of whether social is a fad and are now hearing more stories about product innovations coming through and from brand social channels. Orgs can turn that into strategic value. Rebecca said every department touches social in some way, with each department believing they’re doing what’s right. But there must be an integrated strategy through the customer lens, which involves stakeholder meetings that aren’t always pleasant.


Oracle’s Rahim Fazal and Mike Ballard led a great session on how governments and utilities can effectively use social before and during disasters/ emergencies. From its very beginnings in Rome, government was intended to be local, instant, personal and social. So governments must consider all channels to serve all constituents of all ages in all socio-economic groups, wherever they are. At its peak, Instagram users uploaded Sandy-related pictures at a rate of 10/second. Facebook mentions of Sandy and Frankenstorm were up 1 million percent!


During a crisis, don’t try to control the conversation. Let people vent. Your job is to provide actionable info. Mike said 624 million customers worldwide are expected to engage with utilities by the end of 2017. You won’t have much trust if you create a social presence when a major issue happens. It has to already be there and ready. Even if a utility is doing a great job in a disaster, nobody will know without steady communication. Mike suggests developing a social engagement and resource strategy, then stress test it to make sure it’ll work during the real deal.


Altimeter Group’s Andrew Jones had a nice chat with us about the importance of social identities. Limited insight will only lead to messages and ads that lack context and make no sense. 57% of consumers are fine with providing personal info if they benefit and it’s used responsibly. 77% would trust business more if they explained how they’re using personal info to improve their online experience.


The benefits of compiling social identities include richer customer profiles, cross-channel engagements, efficiencies of marketing budgets, and social media ROI. It also lets you leverage influencers, identify prospects, reach custom audiences, find lookalike audiences, nurture leads, personalize products, gain real time insight, retain and reactivate, reward loyalty, and tap advocates. Gee, is that all?


Oracle OpenWorld WizardThen it was on to Rahim’s super-casual chat about social data with BlueKai’s Molly Parr and Marriott Rewards’ Michelle Lapierre. Disparate data creates marketing complexity and lost revenue. If they can’t pull together all their data, marketers fail to target the right customers. Yet 82% of enterprise marketers have NO synchronized view of customer data. 58% say social data is important but 52% collect little to none of it.


Molly says data is fine, but the ability to activate on data is finer. Most data is tied to specific execution, but today it must be “unchained,” with focus shifting from campaigns to customers. Can multiple small vendors deliver that kind of unchained, actionable data across the enterprise? Michelle said that’s a tough way to go. It’s putting functionalities under one umbrella that makes more sense.


Thanks to all who attended our social and CX Central sessions at this year’s Oracle OpenWorld and for those who have virtually attended through this blog and @oraclesocial. But don’t leave now. Keep your eyes on these space as we continue to build the power of social listening and data into the newly upgraded Oracle Cloud.


@mikestiles @oraclesocial







Thursday Oct 02, 2014

What We Saw and Did at Oracle OpenWorld: Wednesday

Oracle OpenWorld 2014It was Oracle Social Cloud’s busiest day yet at Oracle OpenWorld 2014, and here come the takeaways…conveniently packaged in a single post because you’re such a faithful Social Spotlight reader!


Faz Shoja-Assadi and Eran Cedar treated attendees to a peek at the Oracle Social Cloud roadmap and vision, explaining Oracle’s goal was to acquire best of breed companies, then unify and deliver one social relationship management platform that’s comprehensive, customer-centric and integrated. With 82.3% of CMO’s agreeing social impacts their business, it was and is a worthy goal.


Eran loves showing off our recent developments, like Custom Audiences, a paid media partnership program, Dynamic Link Tracking, a Mobile SRM, and Actionable Insights. But what fun is a roadmap if you can’t see what’s around the corner? Oracle Social Cloud customers can look forward to a new, modular user experience with a new calendar, Custom Analytics, user role dashboards, and a responsive design. Publishing will get simpler and more powerful; with more social networks, Quick Post, and content curation.


Oracle Social Cloud

And there’s the ongoing development of the newly announced Social Station and Social Intelligence Center, which lets customers show off their social activity at events (like we’re doing at OpenWorld) and at HQ. Integrations with BlueKai, Omniture, and Commerce are on the way. And lastly a Developer Platform will let customers extend Oracle Social Cloud to do what they need it to do via a variety of API’s.


Next, Oracle’s Angela Wells, Holly Spaeth of Polaris, Meghaan Blauvelt of Nestle and Michelle Lapierre of Marriott Rewards dealt with that pesky social ROI topic. Angela said 89% of brand leaders think measuring it is a priority, but only 49% can actually quantify its impact. 66% feel pressured to do so. The panel brought up the “Cost of Ignoring,” i.e. what will a brand lose by not doing social? Holly said since there’s not a clear direct path to the sale, brands should think about ROI in terms other than the sale. For instance, Polaris can save millions in warranty claims just by listening to customers, and that’s social ROI. Meghaan said the ROI of social and media is totally dependent on the quality and ROI of content. And Michelle said if you’re winning trust and preference, you’ve created ROI.


Our Erika Brookes chatted with Melissa Schreiber of FleishmanHillard and Chevrolet’s Jamie Barbour about “Superfans.” A top takeaway: there are differences between influencers and advocates. Advocates have more trust, are likely to recommend, share to help, have passion, and stick around. Influencers have huge followings and can get people to a brand, but from there, advocates are the ones who reinforce how great it is.


Oracle OpenWorld entertainmentThis kind of fandom has power, and value. Social users talking about Olympic athletes in Sochi not being able to get Chobani yogurt generated 380 million impressions and $70 million in unpaid media value. Jamie closed saying people are quite used to using social to tell their stories, and brands can offer bigger stages for them to do that.


Oracle’s Tara Roberts, and GM’s Rebecca Harris and Whitney Drake talked about how to create and operate “Global Command Centers.” GM’s has 16, count ‘em, 16 screens watching activity for their brands. In fact, it was listening on social that led to aluminum steering wheels being removed. They got pretty hot in the south. The panel’s advice was to start small, just start. Make each department’s role in the center clear. Have a “connector” to educate leadership on the tech needs. And be ready to adopt innovations.


Erika Brookes returned to hash out the changing roles in the C-Suite with Oracle Chief Customer Officer Jeb Dasteel; Kevin Bird, CMO of Buddhacom, and EVP Michael Farber of Booz, Allen & Hamilton. The gist was that the marketing and technology worlds are merging. Michael noted how we tend to add positions and not retire outdates ones. The org needs reimagining in anticipation of what platforms will be able to do in the future. His advice is communicate and don’t be so territorial. Jeb recommends the CIO be closely partnered with whatever Chief runs customer-centricity. His advice is to be a change agent and adopt a consultative approach. Kevin wondered aloud if there won’t be more joint C-level situations like Oracle’s co-CEO’s. His advice is to listen, be open to change, and be optimistic!


Oracle’s Tara Roberts and Kathryn Schotthoefer of Heavenspot presented on the effective use of social data. Tara put this wakeup call out there: 2/3 of digital info is created by consumers yet only 1% of the digital universe was actually analyzed in 2013. There’s so much to be learned. Kathryn said they use social data to find out what movie/TV fans are buzzing about. In the past, she’s been dubious but now believes Latent Semantic Analysis can work effectively, interpreting words that have different meanings depending on what community’s using it.


One more day to go! Let’s see what we learn tomorrow.


@mikestiles @oraclesocial

Wednesday Oct 01, 2014

What We Saw and Did at Oracle OpenWorld: Tuesday

Oracle Social Intelligence CenterFew things are more gratifying than being at Oracle OpenWorld and having a big announcement to make. So imagine how gratified we were today to make TWO big announcements about the Oracle Social Cloud.


First, additional features were added to Social Station, the customizable workspace within the Oracle Social Cloud platform. Joining Custom Analytics and the Enhanced Calendar will be the Social Intelligence Center with its real-time data visualizations around geography, topic/theme, influencers, volume, and sentiment. The new Content Curation module helps you quickly find content on topics or for a certain social channels and react within Social Station. The Quick Post module streamlines publishing by letting you create posts alongside other modules. Lastly, the Social Media Mixer aggregates social data from multiple channels into one real-time visualization.


Next, we were proud to announce to all these Oracle fans in SF the release of Social Commerce. Building on the existing integration between Oracle Social Cloud and Oracle Commerce, hyper-targeted content can be delivered to segmented Facebook audiences thanks to insights about digital shopping behavior, resulting in better experiences, better relationships, and more conversions.


For those not yet familiar with the Oracle Social Cloud, Oracle’s Meg Bear, Reggie Bradford and Rahim Fazal gave a “Sky High Overview” with some compelling facts along the way. Gartner says the percentage of customers whose purchase behavior will be dictated by social and digital interactions is 80%. In 2 years, Gartner says 90% of companies expect to be competing almost entirely on the basis of customer experience. With that going on, just look at how marketing’s influence has expanded across business functions.


Marketing across the Enterprise


Forrester says we make 500 billion impressions on each other about products and services every year, so your social management platform becomes a critical tool. Differentiators of the Oracle Social Cloud include: a unified platform with modern configurable UI/UX, deeper precision listening, global social resources, and integration with CX apps and beyond.


You also don’t need a social platform that’s not really into innovation. In addition to Social Station and Social Commerce, the Oracle Social Cloud recently executed on a paid media partnership, SRM mobile, LinkedIn support, advanced global listening, and Dynamic Link Tracking.


The roundtable focused on how rapidly organizations, and the roles in them, are changing. Reggie said they’re starved for time and having to do more with less, so a global platform with integrated components addresses that. Today’s CMO must be embedded in science, data, tech, analytics. It’s not just art like it used to be. As for CIO’s, the smart ones will figure out how to bring their expertise in a way that moves innovation forward, and will see security and protecting the company become a growing emphasis of the position. We encourage you to watch the full interview Reggie did with GM on how social is driving their customer experience that was featured in the session.


And of course, Larry Ellison took to the OpenWorld stage once again, this time to personally conduct a live demo of the upgraded 2014 Oracle Cloud platform. Frankly, he looked like he was having a ball, a sentiment the social chatter backed up. The root of Ellison’s presentation was that everything on top of the platform, and even that YOU build on the platform, automatically inherits the modernizing characteristics of the Oracle Cloud, including social and mobile.


Larry EllisonEllison showed how with a push of a button, data and applications can be moved from on-premise into the cloud (and back if desired). Oracle can access all of your data sources, structured and unstructured, because the Oracle Cloud was designed on hundreds of standards. And while Ellison pointed out Oracle has not historically been known for ease of use or low cost, the company is focused on just that…made possible with automation.


As you can tell, a lot goes on here. In trying to come up with a next-best-thing-to-being-there offering, we’re doing extensive coverage on our Twitter handle @oraclesocial, doing these daily summary blogs, and you can check out our Twitter Waterfall on our Facebook Page. We’ll keep the knowledge coming.


@mikestiles @oraclesocial

Tuesday Sep 30, 2014

What We Saw and Did at Oracle OpenWorld: Monday

Oracle CEO Mark Hurd

Day 2 of Oracle OpenWorld 2014, and there were so many takeaways for social practitioners that there’s not even room for a long opening paragraph.


The day began with a Keynote and a “wheel of customers” hosted by CEO Mark Hurd. Mark pointed out 87% of orgs are using a public cloud, and it’s projected by 2020, 1/3 of all data will reside in clouds. Yet most enterprises are still working off 20-year old legacy applications with over 80% of IT being spent on maintenance. The message: you must modernize to survive.


Walgreens CIO Tim Theriault said seamless integration from Oracle should help them leverage technology, even as IT budgets go down (falling IT budgets was a common theme today). Jamie Miller of GE said Oracle will solve the hard problems in ways we can’t even imagine today. Procter & Gamble uses Oracle to service 4 billion customers per day! Steve Little of Xerox said they have 145,000 employees and about 10,000 contractors, with no single visibility into all that because they’re on 150 HR systems worldwide! Naturally they’re moving toward one global platform. Intel’s Kim Stevenson spoke much truth when she said every industry is in a disruptive state, and she doesn’t know a business leader that thinks IT moves too fast. She asked Mark to make sure Oracle keeps innovating and driving these business transformations.


Oracle OpenWorldOracle Social’s Phil Sykes moderated a session on social for retail. IDC’s Miya Knights said their research shows consumers with 5+ devices are more willing to share data with retailers, but brands must treat that data with respect. Customers are learning how valuable it is. She reminded us many use social for info on how to better use products they already have. Kristina Console of Method says they need social sites to function as commerce sites, which is why they have great interest in Twitter’s “buy now” button. They’re big on Pinterest, offering incentives there, using it to remind customers the company is green, and wrapping products in imagery that conveys feelings, thus yielding amazing engagement.


But…ROI and measurement is still the tough nut that needs cracking. Miya said social listening is an absolute prerequisite for ROI, while Kristina said even if you get huge engagement, proving what happens after it is the hard part. Oracle’s Gary Kirschner aimed for the endgame: every aspect of the customer experience being variable in real time based on customer data.


Our own Angela Wells joined Tom Cernaik of Command Post and Katie Gulas of BBVA Compass Bank to discuss social for financial services. Angela kicked things off by saying the customer journey is no funnel. It’s a figure-8 loop including brand interactions during both purchases and ownership. Katie said social touches several parts of her bank; HR, Corporate Communications, Marketing, Web, and Service. And don’t think banks can’t do social contests. BBVA did one that generated valuable one-on-one interactions with small business leads. She does suggest using a contest vendor, keeping it simple, and anticipating questions though. Tom’s advice was around those fun-filled regulations. For instance you can share 3rd party content via a disclosure banner or an interstitial disclosure. Social is subject to the same rules that apply to traditional media. You should establish documented policies and procedures, train reps on their responsibilities, and disclose & disclaim. And you should have governance based on clear signals from the C-Suite, which must be involved in social processes and policies.


Social Media Customer Journey

Then manufacturers got their social advice from the likes of Oracle’s Bill Hobbib, Marshall Powell, and Polaris Industries’ Holly Spaeth. Bill conveyed that if a loyal customer engages, they’d like some recognition for it. Giving them dynamically personalized content will lead to more conversions. Holly actually did tell a good social ROI story. Their existing social listening tool wasn’t cutting it, so what Oracle Social Cloud offered was a way to eliminate irrelevant signals. Sounds simple, but it saved them 20-30 hours a week at $70 an hour. Money in the bank.


And of course, Oracle OpenWorld attendees continue to fill the Social Intelligence Center, where they’ve been able to see for themselves how we’re applying social listening to OpenWorld itself. Much more tomorrow!


@mikestiles @oraclesocial


Friday Sep 19, 2014

The Social Spotlight Will Shine on #OOW14

Oracle OpenWorld

Want to see an example of “busy” and “everywhere”? Then keep an eye on the Oracle Social Cloud team as they head into this year’s Oracle OpenWorld. Famous for their motto of “surely we can tackle even more,” Oracle’s top socializers will be all over Moscone, from the Social Intelligence Center in CX Central to 16+ social track sessions to live demos to comprehensive social coverage. Oracle Social Cloud will be trumpeting the social business imperative with live, interactive displays and inspiring speakers from Oracle, General Motors, Chevrolet, FleishmanHillard, Nestle, Polaris, CMP.LY and more.


If you’re bringing yourself live and in person to to OpenWorld, catch as many of these highlights as you can. But you can also “attend” from a distance if you’re a loyal follower of @oraclesocial, because we’ll be bringing you the key highlights and takeaways:


  • Social Intelligence Center: Swing by the Oracle SRM “Social Intelligence Center” in CX Central in Moscone West. We don’t know if it will literally make you smarter, but it is a real world demonstration of how the Oracle Social Cloud’s Social Relationship Management (SRM) platform serves up big data visualizations. Specifically, we’ll be watching the web and social chatter around #OOW14 using advanced analytics and deeper listening. You can see the new graphical representations of social data and global activity, get some great ideas for establishing a Social Intelligence Center at your brand, or see firsthand how the Oracle SRM platform is a mean modernizing, social management streamlining machine. And don’t forget to tweet about what you see.



  • “A Sky-High Overview: Oracle Social Cloud” with Meg Bear, Group Vice President of Oracle Social. Tuesday, Sept. 30 @ 10 and 11:45am.


  • “Show Me the Money: Building the Business Case for Social” with Holly Spaeth of Polaris; Michelle Lapierre of Marriott; Meghan Blauvelt, Nestle; and Angela Wells of Oracle Social. Wednesday, Oct. 1 @ 11:45am.


  • “Social Relationship Management: Lessons Learned from the Olympics, Super Bowl, Grammys and More” with Jamie Barbour of Chevrolet; Melissa Schreiber of FleishmanHillard; and Erika Brookes of Oracle Social. Wednesday, Oct. 1 @ 1pm.



  • “Whose Customer is this Anyway? Rise of the CCO, the CDO and the “New” CMO” with Jeb Dasteel, Oracle’s Chief Customer Officer (CCO); other C-Suite executives; and Erika Brookes of Oracle Social. Wednesday, Oct. 1 @ 3:45pm.


  • “Leveraging Social Identity to Build Better Customer Relations” with Andrew Jones of the Altimeter Group. Thursday, Oct. 2 @ 11:30am.


  • “When Social Data = Opportunity: Leveraging Social Data to Target Custom Audiences” with Michelle Lapierre of Marriott; Rahim Fazal of Oracle Social, and Molly Parr of BlueKai. Thursday, Oct. 2 @ 12:45pm.


  • “B2B Social Success: Leveraging Social Relationship Management for Leads” with Bill Hobbib of Oracle, Holly Spaeth of Polaris, and Katie Gulus of BBVA. Thursday, Oct 2 @ 2:00pm.


Want the most thorough coverage of Oracle Social’s OpenWorld activities imaginable? Then by all means go ahead and make sure you’ve friended and followed us on all our channels, including Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn. And subscribe to our daily Social Spotlight podcast!


If you’re there, we want YOU to contribute to our channels and share the sights and takeaways you’re getting at OpenWorld. And if you aren’t there, we want to get your reactions to what you’re hearing and reading.


@mikestiles @oraclesocial



Friday Aug 22, 2014

Customization: It’s Wanted in Enterprise Tech Platforms Too

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


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


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


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

social media analytics

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


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

social media management

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


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


@mikestiles @oraclesocial

Tuesday Jul 22, 2014

Cut Yourself a Break: Get a Social Management Platform

If you’re a community manager who’s publishing, monitoring, engaging, and analyzing communities on multiple social networks manually and individually, you need a hug.  We’re sure you’re getting by just fine, because you’re a typical superstar CM that possesses multi-disciplinary skills. But at what point do you cut yourself a break and let a social management platform preserve your sanity?

The expectations on you seem to have gone nowhere but up, while the resourcing has either stayed the same or inched up an embarrassingly uninformed amount. A pro-grade social management platform is not exactly a luxury, it’s STEP ONE in any true commitment to social marketing and customer communication.

You know the best practices. You know the right things to do. But your brand is making it quite an uphill climb for you. I can almost guarantee your CMO does not know what it’s like to be a community manager. I can even almost guarantee the person to whom you directly report has no clue what you do, or how you do it, or what it entails. Sooner is better than later to educate them (and no one can do this but you) on how vital social management platforms have become.

Tell them this is what one could be doing for you:

1. Scheduling posts. Lining up the optimum number of posts every day across multiple social networks so fans can get in the habit of consistently seeing content from you.

2. Finding and alerting you to mentions of your brand or unwanted content. Let the platform watch for things that need your attention, otherwise you’re stuck watching screens 24/7…and paranoid.

3. Gathering richer analytics than native gets you. What if your KPI’s aren’t what Facebook thinks they should be? Don’t get buried in numbers, see the ones that matter.

4. Publishing to all of your streams with one click, and from one dashboard. If you’d rather watch a wall of 4 or 5 monitors, and rock 4 or 5 keyboards, knock your lights out.

5. Giving you the quickest way to leverage rich media like video, coupons, polls and quizzes that get higher engagement. Optimizing, posting and promoting a video 5 times on 5 different channels is time you’ll never get back.

6. Targeting your posts across platforms. Seattle doesn’t want to hear about the deal you’re only offering in Dallas. Too much of that irrelevancy, and they won’t want to see anything from you.

7. Integrating with other enterprise systems. If your social marketing is “talking” to your CRM, sales, fulfillment, etc. systems, customers may start to feel like your brand actually knows them!

Even if you enjoy being a social marketing martyr, that doesn’t mean that approach is the most efficient or effective for the company. Encourage your decision-makers to let a social management platform get the repetitive drudgery and busywork off your plate so you can use what makes you particularly valuable, your skills at finding & creating better content and increasing personal engagement with posts.

@mikestiles @oraclesocial
Photo: freeimages.com

Tuesday Jul 01, 2014

NOT the Usual List: What Brands Are Doing Wrong on Social

That title assumes brands are doing something wrong on social. Are they? Clearly, the vast majority of consumers are connected to the brands they use on social and actively and regularly engage with them, sending revenue skyrocketing.


Oh wait. That’s not happening. Stats tell us while 86% of us marketing pros have Liked a brand on Facebook, 58% of consumers have. 61% of marketers follow a brand on Twitter. You know how many consumers do that? 12%.


We’ve seen and read the standard, often-blogged list of brand social mistakes; focusing on follower quantity over quality, posting too much, not using images, blah blah blah. But here are some errors brands might be tripping over that don’t get nearly as much talk.


Scaring employees away from social by squawking like Chicken Little:

Really? You don’t know why they aren’t using their personal channels to amplify the brand’s message when there’s ZERO to be gained and you exude it will be the end of their professional lives if they mess up?


Thinking the world is as narcissistic about your brand as you are:

Customers care about one thing (maybe two). They care that your product works, keeps working, and solves a need they have. Past that, they might care how socially responsible your company is. Post accordingly.


Staying on platforms that just aren’t working for you:

If you can’t resource/staff 7 social networks, don’t be on 7 social networks. Yes, the advice is to be where your customers are. But if a channel is all tumbleweeds, or if you’re on it and looking bad, focus on getting it right on fewer networks.


Trying to be cool:

Don’t try to talk young if you aren’t. Don’t try to “tap” into what’s hot with a younger demo if your brand isn’t sincerely all about it, as in a “Red Bull” kind of way. Patronizing not only rarely works, it offends people.


Flying with the lemmings:

Remember when Oreo did that Super Bowl thing and then seemingly every brand in the world was attempting an “Oreo” moment? Yeah, think of something original that can be uniquely yours and not a me-too.


Treating social marketing like you’re grabbing things at a yard sale:

If you’re going to go the “potpourri of point solution, least expensive, non-integrated tools” route, get the aspirin ready. It’ll never give you the stability for today’s marketing a fully integrated social management platform will.


Listening in 100% defensive mode:

Proving the customer wrong is not the intent of listening on social. Keeping them at arm’s length is not an achievement. If you cared about and acted on what you heard, you’d be indestructible. Oh, and sticking with downright abusive customer service experiences…that’s going to kill you. No, really. That’s going to knock you completely out of the game one day.


Expecting the one poor schmuck you have running all your social channels 24/7/365 to possess six highly specialized, skilled disciplines and execute in all those areas…and for near entry-level money.

‘Nuff said.


Getting bent out of shape when your meager social marketing efforts don’t directly result in customers pounding on your door, waving cash in your face.

Don’t even talk about how your social isn’t a success until you’ve set clearly defined and reasonable goals for it, and have a way to credibly measure the metrics that speak to those goals.


@mikestiles @oraclesocial
Photo: freeimages.com



Friday Jun 27, 2014

What’s Holding You Up: No Chief Marketing Technologist

The marketing world has had to absorb several truths over the past 5 years.  Technology is changing, fast, for both consumers and businesses. Marketing now finds itself leading the entire customer experience, at every touch point. And technology is creating capabilities and driving KPI accountability in this enormously expanded endeavor. Keeping up has been a crushing challenge. Good luck doing it without a Chief Marketing Technologist.


What is a Chief Marketing Technologist? And how does that fit in with the frequent calls we’ve heard for greater CMO/CIO collaboration? The CMT might be the best way for the CMO to get that collaboration done. The best could address every complaint Marketing has about IT (not responsive, not willing to innovate, not agile enough, etc.) and every complaint IT has about Marketing (don’t understand the importance of compliance, don’t understand security needs, don’t even speak the language, etc.)


Gartner discovered 67% of marketing departments plan to up spending on tech activities over the next 2 years. 61% are increasing capital expenditures on tech, and 65% are raising budgets for tech service providers like the Oracle Social Cloud. That’s good news, and it makes sense, but managing all that is a real bear.


Many a business has lost much valuable time trying to change internal roles and areas of expertise by sheer force of will, ignoring the deep differences between marketer-types and technology-types. You don’t have the luxury of time to burn anymore. A person with the existing newly-highly-marketable hybrid skillsets of tech and marketing can put you in the fast lane.


And by the way, you can call them whatever you want to; Chief Marketing Technologist, Chief Digital Officer, Captain Big Data, Big Tech Cheese…as long as they take command of the most needed tasks in marketing today.


  • Making sure marketing tech addresses business goals
  • Be an effective go-between/translator between Marketing and IT
  • Evaluating and choosing tech and 3rd party providers
  • Brainstorm or curate new digital methods/opportunities
  • Encourage experimentation and innovation
  • Make sure requests of IT are reasonable
  • Make sure IT policies are adhered to
  • Help in explaining activities to others in the C-suite
  • Ensure Marketing staff has proper training in the tools


If you don’t have a Chief Marketing Technologist, or someone competently filling that role, that’s an awful lot for a CMO or CIO to take on in addition to their other required talents and responsibilities. The likely outcome is that things will not move forward with the speed and vigor required to keep up with the changes tech and changing behaviors/expectations demand.


But get it right, commit to that area of expertise, and you’ll put real distance between you and your competition. Gartner found orgs with a CMT-type person will spend 11.7% of their revenue on marketing, compared to 7.1% for those that don’t. They’ll spend 30% of their marketing budget on digital, compared to 21% for those that don’t. They’ll spend 9.8% of their marketing budget on innovation, compared to 5% for those that don’t.


In other words, investments get made when there’s something in place that warrants putting gas in the tank. Leave the confusion in place, and what CEO can summon the confidence to facilitate modern marketing? As the Tech Guys Who Get Marketing say, a Chief Marketing Technologist is “critical to keeping the left brain and right brain from blaming each other about why the body keeps tripping instead of sprinting through the 100m at record pace.”

@mikestiles @oraclesocial
Photo: freeimages.com

Tuesday Jun 10, 2014

Why I Love the Social Management Platform I Use

Not long ago, I asked the product heads for the various components of the Oracle Social Cloud’s SRM to say what they thought was coolest about their component. And while they did a fine job, it was recently pointed out to me that no one around here uses the platform in a real-world setting more than I do, as I not only blog and podcast my brains out, I also run Oracle Social’s own social properties.


Of course I’m pro-Oracle Social’s product. Duh. But if you can get around immediately writing this off as a puff piece, there are real reasons beyond my employment that the Oracle SRM works for me as a community manager. If it didn’t, I could have simply written about something else, like how people love smartphones or something genius like that.


Post Grid

I like seeing what I want to see. I’m difficult that way. Post grid lets me see all posts for all channels, with custom columns showing me how posts are doing. I can filter the grid by social channel, published, scheduled, draft, suggested, etc. Then there’s a pullout side panel that shows me post details, including engagement analytics. From the pullout, I can preview the post, do a quick edit, a full edit, or (my favorite) copy a post so I can edit it and schedule it for other times so I don’t have to repeat from scratch. I’m not lazy, just time conscious.



The Post Creation Environment

Given our post volume, I need this to be as easy as it can be. I can highlight which streams I want the post to go out on, edit for the individual streams, maintain a media library that’s easy to upload to and attach from, tag posts, insert links that auto-shorten to an orac.le shortlink, schedule with a nice calendar visual, geo-target, drop photos inline into Twitter, and review each post.


Watching My Channels

The Engage component of the Oracle SRM brings in and drops into a grid the activity that’s happening on all my channels. I keep this open round-the-clock. Again, I get to see only what I want; social network, stream, unread messages, engagement by how I labeled them, and date range. I can bring up a post with a click, reply, label it, retweet it, assign it, delete it, archive it, etc. So don’t bother trying to be a troll on my channels.



Analytics

Social publishing and engaging 24/7 would be pretty unrewarding if I couldn’t see how our audience was responding. Frankly, I get more analytics than I know what to do with (I’m a content creator, not a data analyst). But I do know what numbers I care about, and they’re available by channel, date range, and campaigns. I’m seeing fan count, sources and demographics. I’m seeing engagement, what kinds of posts are getting engagement, and top engagers. I’m seeing my reach, both organic and paid. I’m seeing how individual posts performed in terms of engagement and virality, and posting time/date insight.


Have I covered all the value propositions? I’ve covered pathetically few of them. It would be impossible in blog length to give shout-outs to the vast number of features and functionalities. From organizing teams and managing permissions with Workflow to the powerful ability to monitor topics (and your competition) across the web in Listen, it’s a major, and increasingly necessary, weapon in your social marketing arsenal.


The life of a Community Manager is not for everybody. So if the Oracle SRM can actually make a Community Manager’s life easier, what’s not to love?


I invite you to take a look at and participate in our Oracle Social Cloud social channels!

Facebook

Twitter

YouTube

Google Plus

LinkedIn

Daily Podcast on iHeartRadio



@mikestiles @oraclesocial
Photo: freeimages.com

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 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 Dec 20, 2013

How Social Media Plays Into the Innovations of 2014, Pt. 1

lightbulbNo doubt 2014 will be filled with tech innovations that alter our landscape, just as 2013 has been.  But how will social media’s role, be it as part of or as a driver of these innovations play out? Some educated speculation:


Wearable Tech

It’s not enough that people have technology, now they want to be the technology. Wearables look to be a $50 billion industry in 5 years. Sure some of it makes you look downright odd. But in 2014 people will get more comfortable sporting smartrings, smartbracelets, smartwatches, smartwigs, and connected glasses.


Why? We apparently have no desire to ever be “unplugged.” Our vital signs, our exercise achievements, how we’re sleeping, what we’re eating, our location, what sounds we’re hearing, how we interact with the “Internet of Things” (including our cars), will increasingly be collected, recorded, then often published on social. We’re social creatures who like doing life together. Today, we stay “together” via social.


Wearable tech is also about immediately available info. We want to know who’s nearby, what places are nearby, what their reviews are, how to get there, and what we can get if we go. We want all that within reach, no matter the place or time. Mobile social is already being built on these capabilities, with all the opportunities for brands that entails.


Mobile

Speaking of mobile, with over 6.8 billion mobile users worldwide and growing, we’re already talking about laptops being passé just as we were saying the same of desktops. Be it for work or play, people want everything they use immediately in hand.


Mobile innovations will be less about new features (a phone that bends!) and more about the movement of more of our activities to mobile. Nielsen shows 38% of tablet users and 24% of phone users bought something through their device. The public is growing comfortable with that, and the social component of commerce will make such experiences evermore frictionless, timely and relevant.


Ad spending on mobile and the social that accompanies it will soar well beyond the $11.4 billion projected for 2013 as brands capitalize on the ability to reach out to those near their establishment, or to project a need based on mobile data. Understanding the need to offer up things of real and immediate value, loyalty programs will be big in 2014, with social used to drive and administer them.


More mobile apps will enjoy downloads, which hit 102 billion in 2013, up from 64 billion in 2012. With no more patience for poor mobile browser experiences, consumers will require a mobile app to do what they want to do. Once they have the app, comfort with making purchases inside of it will grow, projected to account for 48% of app store revenue by 2017. Many of these apps will have social components, and of course will be marketed via social.


At the root of all this mobile activity is the ability to gather invaluable big data on consumer behavior, patterns, interests, whereabouts, buying activities, customer service activities, and influencer behavior on their friends. “Getting it right” in 2014 will mean being able to get and activate this mobile sourced data


Wordless Stories & Data Visualization

Action movies do well in international markets. The dialogue is sparse, and the story can be followed even if you don’t speak the language. In 2013, imagery drove engagement. We saw bigger pictures, better pictures, using images to communicate the message, infographics, Instagram Direct for visual messaging, etc. Every platform dedicated themselves to more visual experiences.


2014 innovations will make creating such imagery easier than ever, and social will continue to make it easier to share those images. People and brands will get much better at understanding the best images evoke emotion.


The imagery movement will extend to data presentation in 2014. Beyond the clever infographic, the results of massive, often complex data crunching tell stories, which must then be presented in clear and memorable ways. If that isn’t done, the data and the potential lessons are wasted.


Most will tell you data visualization is downright hard, especially if you want personal, interactive experiences. Ask for big data visualization in real time and you really get puzzled looks. But in 2014 we’ll get closer to the goal in terms of tech and cost, able to funnel social data into those equations and use social to distribute results. Yes, even real-time interactive ones.


3D printing

Want an open-source 3D metal printer for only $1500? Michigan Technological University might have one for you. And that’s indicative of how fast prices are falling and capabilities are rising for individuals to turn software blueprints into real world items.


Studies show printer owners could save up to $2,000 a year cranking out basic goods themselves, and we’ve seen 3D printers make an array of amazing things like movie collectibles, medical applications, stronger & lighter jet engine parts, jewelry, albums, clothing, hearing aids…the list goes on. Complete plastic 3D printer kits can be had for only $250, so it’s not hard to see the masses getting into this game in 2014.


To help them, 3D print shops are popping up everywhere, with no shortage of object blueprints being uploaded every day from a variety of sources where they can be downloaded free and turned into solid objects. You can bet blueprint designers will be collaborating, designing and marketing on social, requests for blueprints will be made via social, blueprint reviews will be posted on social, and photos and videos of finished products will populate social channels.


Oh there are far more innovations on the horizon than that. And for every title with “Part 1” in it, there should be a Part 2. So touch base next week for this continued gaze into our social future.


@mikestiles
Photo: Sufi Nawaz, stock.xchng

Tuesday Dec 17, 2013

Socially Enabled Enterprise Resolutions for 2014

Today’s post comes from Jack Newton, Dir. of Outbound Product Management & Strategy for Oracle Social Cloud. He shares some results from Oracle’s Socially Enabled Enterprise study which looks through the eyes of more than 900 Marketing and IT leaders at how organizations are leveraging social technologies and practices around the world.


2014 notebookWith 72% of adult Internet users in the U.S. being active on at least one social network, you can’t ignore social’s power to shape your brand. But driving engagement should just be the starting point – not the destination.


When social capabilities are woven into the fabric of daily business operations - from consumer marketing and sales, to customer service and research, to employee communications and collaboration – social has the potential to go far beyond building brand awareness to the transformation of the organization. Creating better customer experiences, enabling more responsive internal networks and driving organizational efficiencies are just some of the paybacks.


With all of the potential benefits, it’s time to resolve to make 2014 the year of the Socially Enabled Enterprise.


Resolution 1 – Dedicate Yourself to the Cause

Chances are that your organization aspires to be socially enabled since 97% of Marketing and IT leaders surveyed say it's part of their strategic agenda.


There are several reasons why you should be prepared to get more social. Consider:

  • Enterprises are increasing their investment in social platforms. Eight in ten believe their organizations will increase their social business application investment over the coming year.
  • More funding for social may be available. A sizable number of Marketers and IT leaders (48% and 35%) believe that it will be easier to get funding for social business initiatives over the next 12 months.
  • Get ready to grow your staff. More than half of IT and Marketing leaders indicate that the size of their respective departments will grow over the next 12 months.


If you’re already well on the way, then challenge yourself to build upon the success that you’ve experienced. If you’re just getting started, assess where you are today and create a roadmap for where you want to head.


Resolution 2 – Use Social for More Than Just Marketing

Sharing what you’re learning from social listening may inspire you and your peers to think about new and better ways to serve customers.


Today almost half of study respondents use insights from social within their department to learn informally. Some of the top ways that study respondents anticipate that they will use insights derived from social platforms in the future include:

  • Integration into customer care initiatives (60%)
  • Leverage departmentally to help impact goals (62%)
  • Inform product and R&D efforts (45%)


When it comes to R&D and new product development today, organizations outside of the U.S. are significantly more likely to use social business insights: Non-U.S. at 38.6% compared to 29.5% for U.S.


Resolution 3 – Celebrate Success

Now you’re on board and have some insights and goals in place. What should you do if others don’t share the same excitement around socially enabling the organization?


First, don’t feel discouraged. It could just be you are outpacing the ability of the organization to adapt. According to the study, 43% Marketing and IT leaders believe it will take their companies more than a year to leverage social business activities throughout their organizations.


One way to kick start social is to resolve to make showing progress a priority; Set some concrete objectives, champion them departmentally at first, and then work your way up the chain of command so others can see what successes you are having. Keep an eye out for opportunities to achieve some quick wins. A succession of quick wins goes a long way toward building momentum and shows commitment. Early success often earns you freedom to try more with social.


Start the Year Off Right

Start the year off on solid ground by immediately leveraging social. Listen to what's being said by your customers, prospects, influencers, competitors and detractors on social networks. Use what you learn to guide your company’s efforts in marketing, sales, product development, human resources, customer support and more. Your competitors are doing it. And if you don't, 2014 may be a year when they pass you by.


So say goodbye to 2013 and make 2014 the year you become the catalyst to make your company a socially enabled enterprise!

Photo: freedigitalphotos.net


About

Get the latest changes and innovations to social technology platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube, and learn where social marketing trends are headed.

Connect With Us

Twitter