Archive for the ‘Engagement’ Category

Embracing Social Media Measurement

By Deirdre Breakenridge, Co-Author of Cyberbranding: Brand Building in the Digital Economy

If there’s one area of marketing strategy that deserves significant attention, it’s measurement. Back in the days of traditional communications, marketers were always held accountable for the results of their campaigns. We had to know if the marketing efforts raised awareness, created consumer loyalty, and moved products off the shelves or if our initiatives helped the brand’s reputation. However, much of our measurement was based on eyeballs or impressions. How much did that advertisement cost and how many people actually saw it in their favorite magazines or heard it on the radio during their morning drive to work?

Then we morphed into digital communications and were able to target our campaigns to capture activity and sales from clicks to conversations. And we became no strangers to the terms PPC and CPM. Today, as a result of social media marketing, we are focused on conversations and participation in the social sphere. Consumers are becoming more active in their Web communities and trusting the advice and word of their peers over the brand’s messages. As a result, marketers know they need to create opportunities for brands to engage with their consumers through high levels of interaction. Of course, social media engagement can lead to any of the following: awareness, perception, reputation, education, conversations, authority, leads/sales, etc.

With so much listening, monitoring, and measuring that needs to be done, how do you select the right tools to capture the metrics that show value to the brand? How can you tell the difference between the high-level/high-value interactions versus the Facebook “like” or follower on Twitter that never leads to a product sale? I’ve found a couple of different measurement techniques that show good value for any brand that takes the time to invest in these types of measurement. They are “share of voice” and “social influence marketing (SIM) score.”

If you are unfamiliar with these two metrics, here’s a brief overview:

Share of Voice

A brand’s share of voice includes any type of brand mention, which could appear in social networks, blogs, microblogs, message boards and forums, video and photo sharing sites, wikis, etc. Share of voice lets you hear what people are saying and where they are saying it, how they perceive your brand, and what they think about it. You can compare your brand’s share of voice to that of your competitors. You can also capture those communities that have a greater share of voice, allowing you to capitalize on any brand champions speaking on your behalf by building better relationships with them as they continue to be your advocates. It’s also a good practice to evaluate any weak areas where you can create stronger ties with your stakeholders and engage in more meaningful interactions.

Social Influence Marketing (SIM) Score

The SIM developed by Razorfish supports a brand’s attempts to track, analyze, and improve net sentiment by setting benchmarks against itself and also by comparing the SIM scores to that of its competitors. The SIM score is calculated by looking at the brand’s positive, neutral, and negative mentions in relation to total conversations, both for the brand and the brand’s industry. For example, net sentiment for a brand (which is calculated by positive mentions plus neutral mentions minus negative mentions) is divided by total conversations (positive plus neutral plus negative) to get a brand sentiment score. The same calculation is used to obtain the net industry sentiment score, calculating the positive plus neutral minus negative mentions, and then dividing by total industry conversations. The SIM score is equal to the total net sentiment divided by total industry sentiment.

These are only a couple of the metrics that can be used to measure the results of social media marketing. With so many conversations to capture from our consumers and other stakeholders in Web communities, we must embrace social media measurement. Whether you are using free tools (such as Social Mention and Alterian) or automated services (including Radian6 and Sysomos), it’s critical to turn up the volume on our listening/monitoring and measurement practices and show our executives that no matter where we market, there are results, and we are accountable.

Questions and Answers about Relationship Marketing and Relationship Commerce

By Ted Rubin, Chief Social Marketing Officer at OpenSky

1: Relationships: how do you build them online?

I believe everything we do in our personal and business lives revolves around relationships—now more than ever. With effort, an online relationship may begin from the request of a Facebook friend or following someone on Twitter. But make no mistake—that initial request or follow will never create the relationship. Trust is built upon interaction, when you’re true to your word, authentic, and genuine. To build relationships online, you (as a brand or individual) have to offer value in return.

Be it via valuable information or personal introductions, engagement and interaction will remain key. By asking questions and proposing ideas, you can engage your followers in such a way to give them the ability and reason to respond. Then when they do respond, interact with them to solidify your relationship, lest it fade away. Directly acknowledge their response, ask follow-up questions, and share their insights with others. Follow me on Twitter (@TedRubin), and you’ll see what I mean. The more responsive you are to your audience, the more responsive they’ll be to you. And that’s where relationships are born.

2: What is the true value of a fan or follower to a marketer/brand?

I believe many are looking at this in too narrow a fashion. Everyone is trying to assign a dollar value to a Facebook fan or Twitter follower instead of addressing the fact that engagement and interaction that takes place in these mediums are incredibly important to a brand. Building a relationship with existing and future customers is the true value and strength of social media marketing. ROI is certainly incredibly important whenever investing, but companies have to start looking at ROR (“return on relationship”) when planning, strategizing, and most importantly, evaluating social marketing.

A new study shows that those who are fans or followers of a brand on Facebook or Twitter are significantly more likely to buy products and services or recommend the brand to a friend. Specifically, the study by Chadwick Martin Bailey and iModerate Research Technologies found that 60 percent of Facebook fans and 79 percent of Twitter followers are more likely to recommend those brands since becoming a fan or follower. And an impressive 51 percent of Facebook fans and 67 percent of Twitter followers are more likely to buy the brands they follow or are a fan of. Considering Facebook’s 400 million-plus users, the opportunity is great for social media marketers.

3: ROR: exactly what is that?

Facebook fans, retweets, site visits, video views, positive ratings, and vibrant communities are not measureable financial assets—they aren’t reflected on the balance sheet and can’t be counted on an income statement—but that doesn’t mean they are valueless. Instead, these are leading indicators that a brand is doing something to create value that can lead to financial results in the future. In addition, these relationships can be leveraged through initiatives, campaigns, and events to create real dollar value for a brand. In other words, ROR = return on relationship!

In a fast-paced digital world, defining and maintaining our relationships has become unexpectedly difficult. Social media has enabled us to connect with an infinite number of individuals; it has given us the tools to extend relationships that years ago would have been impossible. Yet make no mistake—social media is a facilitator of relationships, but it is not the relationship itself. You have to give to get. It’s so simple in concept yet not always easy to wrap your arms around when online since it is not as simple as a favor, a hug, or a handshake.

4: What is “relationship commerce?”

The way I see it, we’re overdue for a revolution in retail. So many of us have been sharing our passions and discoveries, it’s about time we acquired tools that empower us to share in the economic benefits. I believe that our economy is experiencing a monumental shift toward an era of increased self sufficiency. We all need to learn to earn, to provide for ourselves. We can’t continue to live dependent upon the (one time) security blanket of big corporations, parent companies, and traditional jobs. They may not always be there.

How many of you spend more than 10 hours a week on your online presence? 15 hours? 40+ hours? How many times have you recommended something to a friend, and how many times have you made a purchase based upon the recommendation of a friend? How many of us wish that our passions, our energy, and our influence could evolve away from pure hobbies and into a revenue stream? Relationship commerce—sharing what you love with others and facilitating their ability to buy it—easily can be a piece of that puzzle. That’s how it can make shopping better. Relationship commerce is simple yet novel: it’s commerce that emanates from people you know and trust. It’s this interpersonal exchange, the relationship, which differentiates relationship commerce. Life is not just about financial exchange, and neither is commerce. Relationships matter!

5: What can marketers do in the next five minutes to apply this information?

A great Twitter behavior that is often overlooked as being important is thanking people for retweeting you and for giving you a mention/shout out. So say thank you. Engage. Ask questions. Propose ideas. Give your followers/fans the ability and reason to answer.

Most misunderstand Twitter. It’s not a broadcasting tool for marketing, but an extremely valuable networking, experimenting, and seeding tool. And always remember we all have lurkers—those watching and following our conversations. Even though they do not make themselves known, they are there. So be aware.

Content is King in B2B

By John Watton, Chief Marketing Officer at ShipServ

I really enjoyed presenting at B2B Marketing Magazine’s recent conference in London. It was a tough assignment, as I was on just before the two-minute moment of silence at 11:00 a.m. to honor Armistice Day. There’s nothing like standing between an audience and a nation’s respect for those who gave their lives in armed conflict. So timing was critical to say the least. No over-runs this time. (And, on a separate note, I have to say a mournful moment of reflection is hardly the crescendo a presenter is looking to end on).

Anyway, I was presenting on the theme “Campaigns are dead. Long live content.” What really struck me after the presentation was the power of great content—its potential to propagate and the transparent trackability of feedback on social media:

  1. Feedback. I could, thanks to several tweeters in the room, get immediate feedback on what the audience thought. Thankfully, it was good (I blushed appropriately), but in the past, I’ve found it almost impossible to gauge an audience’s reactions. Remember, I also work in the UK, and we’re all far too polite. Twitter just unlocks those inhibitions.
  2. Propagation. Within an hour, the network kicked in, and I could see that from a core of say six to nine tweeters, 20-plus were retweeting comments on/from my presentation, some from as far afield as Brazil and the U.S. The content spread.
  3. Trackability. All of this was transparent and visible to me. A few hours after my session, I loaded my presentation onto SlideShare and tweeted the delegates (still in session). Within two hours, there had been 222 views of my presentation. SlideShare also selected my content as one of the featured presentations on its home page.

Within 48 hours of the conference, my presentation had received 862 views and 63 downloads. This just blew me away. Remember, I’m a CMO, but I’m no Seth Godin. Despite being a marketing pro of many years, I don’t sell marketing services nor make a living from doing so. So this was very rewarding for me.

What’s my learning? It wasn’t the viral power of social media (we all know that), but to harness that power, you need great content at the heart of what you do. What I had to say resonated. That wasn’t by accident. I prepared. I tried to make sure my content was relevant, interesting, engaging, surprising, and of value. And it worked.

The result: people liked it, shared it, and spread the word. And for all of us B2B marketers, we should never forget that if we get the basics right with great content, social media gives us the power to connect and engage on an impressive scale.

How to Really Get “Liked” on Facebook

By Dr. Angela Hausman, Associate Professor at Howard University

“Likes” have replaced “fans” on business Facebook pages. Having more likes is a good thing, and Starbucks is the leading company, with more than 16 million likes. Starbucks is followed closely by Coca Cola, with more than 15 million likes. You can see the rest of the top 25 companies on the TNW Web site. As the average Facebook user has 80 friends, Starbucks’ message reaches more than 1.26 billion people!

How to Avoid the Top Three Facebook Faux Pas

Getting likes involves more than building a Facebook business page and waiting for people to find it. And if you use your business page as just another outlet for your press releases, as many businesses on Facebook do, you’re not likely to generate much interest or get many likes. Similarly, using your Facebook fan page to echo your tweets is a bad idea. Certainly, putting some good tweets on Facebook is fine, but don’t link them so all your tweets are automatically sent to your Facebook page. Buying Facebook fans or engaging in Facebook exchanges (where businesses agree to like each other) are similarly bad ideas, as they deliver fans who are not truly engaged with the brand.

Getting Likes

The key to getting Facebook likes is to give people a reason for liking your brand. Here are some great examples of ways to drive Facebook likes:

  • Support a cause. Pedigree recently launched a campaign to encourage dog owners to like its brand. For every Facebook user who did so, Pedigree donated a bowl of dog food to an adoption center. To date, more than a million bowls of food have been donated—which means Pedigree has added a million new likes. As part of the strategy, Pedigree also encourages sharing the program across about a dozen other social media platforms.
  • Give exclusive content. People want to feel special and love having access to information and products before anyone else. Having this access encourages them to like your brand and increases the likelihood they’ll pass along your information to their friends. Movie producers, book authors, and musical performers use this extensively. For instance, Taylor Swift often gives fans advance access to her music tracks or music videos before they reach the public. And companies are starting to use this tool. For example, Procter & Gamble offered advance access to Pantene for its fans before the product was sold in stores.
  • Host a contest. The Albuquerque Convention & Visitors Bureau hosts a contest on its Facebook page. People who like the page are entered into the contest and have a chance to win two tickets for a hot air balloon ride during the famous Balloon Festival. And Dunkin’ Donuts is using its contest not only to build its fan base, but to attract other fans. Contestants upload a video showing how much Dunkin’ Donuts’ coffee means to them. Winners get a trip to Costa Rica or a year’s supply of the coffee delivered to their homes. The contest encourages Facebook users to like Dunkin’ Donuts, and the contestants encourage their friends to like the brand to be able to vote for their videos and win the contest.

Simply said, likes on Facebook encourage meaningful engagement with your brand. Just make sure you understand how to generate them appropriately.

Do CMOs Really Understand the Value of Twitter?

By Kent Huffman, Chief Marketing Officer at BearCom Wireless and Co-Publisher of Social Media Marketing Magazine

In a recent blog post on Forbes.com, CMO Club CEO Pete Krainik noted, “Most Chief Marketing Officers see the value of engaging with customers—and the value of engaging them where they hang out, talk, and spend their time.” Pete is surely right about that. But then why are only a very small percentage of CMOs active in the social media world themselves, particularly on Twitter?

I attended the CMO Club’s semiannual CMO Summit in San Francisco last week. Again this year, it was an excellent event and was well attended by a nice cross-section of B2C and B2B Chief Marketing Officers from around the country, representing all different types and sizes of companies and organizations. On the last day of the Summit, I was part of a panel who discussed the business impact of social media and community building, including the most effective social media marketing tools. But surprisingly, I discovered that out of the 80-plus heads of marketing in attendance at the Summit, only 16 who carry the official title of CMO for their organizations are currently active on Twitter:

B2C Chief Marketing Officers:

B2B Chief Marketing Officers:

B2C/B2B Chief Marketing Officers:

This is obviously not a scientific study, but two things struck me when reviewing this list: 1) even though there were more B2C CMOs at the Summit than B2B, more B2B CMOs are active on Twitter than their B2C counterparts, and 2) very few “big brands” in either the B2C or B2B world are represented by their CMOs on Twitter. It’s also interesting to note that you can make the same basic observations when reviewing the list of the top CMOs on Twitter that I curate as Co-Publisher for Social Media Marketing Magazine.

So why is that the case? Do most CMOs not understand the value of Twitter and other social media tools? Or do they just not consider them a priority for their careers or their companies?

“Most CMOs barely understand the value of building relationships with customers and giving them a voice, let alone how to navigate and make use of the world of Twitter. Social media marketing to most in the C-suite is still something campaign based, but social media marketing needs to be woven into fabric of all marketing channels, strategically managed from a 360-degree perspective,” said Ted Rubin, Chief Social Marketing Officer at OpenSky and the most-followed CMO on Twitter. “The key here is to convince CMOs to get personally involved in social media by having someone with hands-on knowledge mentor them, so they get first-hand knowledge, build their own personal following, and learn from the ground up. That way, they can properly guide and manage the integration process,” Ted added.

John Dragoon, the Chief Marketing Officer at Novell, noted, “All markets are conversations, and good marketers are embracing new tools to have these conversations. The beauty of social media tools is they allow you to experiment quickly and learn even faster. Active participation is the key to success. And make no mistake—your customers are listening.”

Could Big Brands Learn a Thing or Two from Singer Leann Rimes? Hell, Yeah!

By Aaron Strout, Chief Marketing Officer at Powered

I have always been a music enthusiast, but I’ve never been that interested in country music. And while I’m not ready to race out and fill my iTunes account with the likes of Kenny Chesney and Garth Brooks, I recently purchased a few songs by the lovely and talented Leann Rimes. Why the sudden change of heart? If you must know, it was because of a single tweet. Well, it was actually two tweets… and the fact that during a show I saw at the ANA’s Masters of Marketing event, she was authentic and genuinely made an attempt to connect with the crowd of 1,500 senior marketers.

As someone that embraced Twitter back in 2007, I regularly use it to learn, engage, and build relationships. To that end, I often make a point of acknowledging people, companies, and organizations when I feel like they are doing a good job. This may or may not mean anything to them, but it’s my style, and so far, it’s borne a lot of goodwill and business value for me.

Getting back to Leann Rimes and her performance at the ANA conference last week: as she was wrapping up her set, I took the time to look her up on Twitter and send her a thank you tweet. Imagine my surprise when she actually tweeted me back!

The reason I’m sharing this experience is not to show off—although who doesn’t love having a successful female country singer tweet them back—but rather to point out a lesson that big brands could learn from this experience. For starters, it doesn’t hurt to follow Ms. Rimes’ lead and ensure that your brand is perceived as credible and authentic. That was the thing about Leann that got me to tweet her in the first place. But more importantly, the fact that someone as busy as she must be took the time to tweet back to a potential fan was huge.

Did she do it because she knew that I was on the fence about liking her? I don’t think so. Looking back in her tweet stream, it appears she does that with a lot of people. It’s just who she is. What I can guarantee is that while she is a very talented singer, one of the main reasons she has become so successful is because she engages her “customers.”

Now would I have been as excited if a brand like Lexus or Starbucks tweeted me back? Probably not. But I do appreciate it when a brand takes the time to acknowledge me, and it has made me more likely to stick with that brand. For example, in the case of WiFi provider Boingo, I’ve actually become one of its biggest fans, primarily because Boingo regularly engages me in conversation on Twitter. Now Boingo only earns $120 per year from me, but I tell everyone I know about Boingo, have mentioned it in blog posts, and have even gone so far as to be interviewed in an article about Boingo and the “network effect of super fans” on the FASTforward blog.

So is your company engaging its customers? It doesn’t take a lot to get started—just a good listening tool and an internal and/or external resource that can help reach out to customers (or prospective customers) who are mentioning you. You’ll be surprised how far a tweet, a blog comment, or even a Facebook “like” will go in turning people’s heads.