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  • Paul Fennemore 11:22 on August 21, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , social media analytics, social media campaigns, social media monitoring, , social media tools, ,   

    Navigating the world of social media monitoring tools 

    If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it! 

    This may be an old business saying, but is has never been more pertinent when it comes to social media.

    It is possible to track and trace in real-time any digital communication if it’s in the public domain.  Social media has of course created an explosion of trackable online and public dialogue.

    Herein lays an amazing opportunity to gain an endless amount of market and consumer insight and intelligence. But herein also lays considerable new challenges for marketers.

    The technology is not the issue

    In response to the anticipated market opportunity for monitoring and analysing what consumers are saying on social media there has is a  plethora of software tools developed that can perform these tasks.

    A colleague dedicated over a year to the creation of a taxonomy and guide summing up the main features, functions and benefits of a remarkable 250 different tools. This report is available from  http://ideya.eu.com/reports.html.But despite the guidance given by the report, the process of selecting the right tools is still a bewildering exercise particularly as and they range in price from free to over £150,000 per annum. So where do you start

    Start with deciding what you want to measure

    Unless you want to get totally confused by the masses amount of data you can collect, start by deciding what it is you need to measure.

    These measurements should be based on your goals for using social media. Remember, social media is best used in conjunction with your other marcoms activities and not used in isolation. Therefore, refer back to your original marcoms goals and then work out how social media can most effectively achieve these goals by augmenting your other marketing and customer services programs.

    Resist being carried away by obvious metrics such as numbers of Facebook or Twitter fans or followers. These stats are good for the ego but have only on vague correlation to tangible goals that social media is great as realising. Goals such as increasing average order value, improving customer life time value, reaching more of your total addressable market, increasing customer satisfaction and reducing churn rate.

    Having decided on what you can achieve with social media then decide what metrics you need to measure the ROI.

    The next step is to start the process of selecting the most cost effective tools that can produce the data you need in easily produced and digestible management dashboard reports. But there are other considerations.

    Data integration is vital

    The unstructured data gleaned from social media will offer up great insight but will considerably more valuable if can be integrated with and correlated to your other data sets. Transactional data, web data and purchased research data that should be held in your CRM systems.

    Knowing who is saying what on social media, their propensity to buy, sentiment, advocacy and social capital or influence is invaluable for building ongoing engagement. But you also need to match that data with consumers buying patterns and market segment classifications. This is what data scientists have started to term as ‘Big Data’. This collection of data enables marketers to know how to better engage with consumers through personalised interactive content.

    Therefore, organisations that use CRM comprehensively need a social media monitoring system that integrates SocialCRM data with their CRM databases.

    Software vendors offer integrated tools

    A few technology vendors are starting to build this capability into their software. Notably Salesforce.com, a leader in CRM systems, has made a flurry of acquisitions to provide an integrated social system.

    Salesforce.com is tooling up to provide a complete social enterprise platform offering tools that will allow you to listen, gain insight, engage,  publish, advertise and measure social marketing programs http://www.salesforce.com/uk/solutions/.

    They have acquired Radian6 a leading social monitoring tool, Chatter an online employee collaboration system and Buddy Media. Buddy Media is used for social media content distribution and moderation, user engagement and measuring the reach of your content and the buzz it generates across the Blogosphere.

    Many other social media monitoring technology providers integrate operation capacity of CRM systems with their tools and services.  Ideya’s report has identified around 62 SMM tools providers that currently offer their own CRM or allow integration with other CRM technologies.

     

    Accessible and affordable

    The good news is that systems such as those provided by Salesforce.com and many others are provisioned as ‘software as a service’ (Saas). These services mean no IT hardware investment, systems implementation effort and problematic deployment issues and not least, no capital investment.

    Start simply

    Just get started by trying out a monitoring tool to get a feel of what it can do and use the above tips to plan your way forward.

    For those of you need to dig deeper into social media metrics I can’t recommend  enough reading Social Media Metrics by Jim Sterne. In the meantime consider the following 11 tips.

     

    11 points to work through

    1. Be clear about what you are intending to achieve by adopting social media and decide what you want to use a tool for.  For example, market insight and prediction, competitive monitoring, customer satisfaction and sentiment analysis,  market reach and influence,  building social capital, campaign measurement, influencer, conversation and community marketing.
    2. Set measurable social media goals against your core business objectives and prioritise them.
    3. Decide what the metrics you are going to use to measure your success.
    4. Don’t just measure numbers of Fans or Followers.
    5. Be clear about the main sources of data you want to monitor e.g. social networks, blogs, microblogs, social bookmarks, video and photosharing sites, news, duscussion boards and reviews, smartphones and geographic coverage.
    6. Do you need to merge social media data with CRM data? Make a list of the benefits this can bring to your marcoms programs because this is a bigish investment.
    7. Decide if you need your social media content distribution system to measure the reach and buzz generated by your content.
    8. Decide what management reports you need for different functions of your organisation – customers services, PR and marketing will need different dashboards.
    9. Be clear about what you can realistically do with the data to improve your marcoms initiatives.
    10. Make sure you have the people with the skills and time to use the insight reports to improve your marcoms.
    11. Seek advice from specialists in this field such as the author of this blog and start simple.

    .

    Paul Fennemore

    http://www.viapoint.co.uk

    paul.fennemore@viapoint.co.uk

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  • Paul Fennemore 12:36 on May 8, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , family arches, , , paul fennemore, , , social media campaigns, , , , , , viapoint, viapoituk   

    Don’t be corporate with negative posts on social networks 

    Don’t be corporate with negative posts on social networks

    ImageToday, I was asked by an oil company, how to prevent bloggers posting inappropriate comments on their social network pages. They are worried that they cannot control what is being said about their company, This is a major challenge for them that they did not know how to manage.

    The following is my response……………………………………………

    Your company is going on a journey with social media. The issue is that organisations don’t understand what that journey entails or where the destination is going to be.

    Therefore, grounded on extensive research I have done with two leading business schools, I have developed a social media adoption framework. The purpose of the framework is to give organisations a greater understanding of what they need to do to and how to do it.  Here is a link to the framework https://viapointuk.wordpress.com/2012/02/18/its-time-for-corporates-to-stop-playing-with-social-media/

    To your point about negative feedback.  In order for social networks to flourish they have to be open, transparent and honest. This means that you will get negative comments.

    If the comments are fair, then surely you need to know about them and act on them. When you deal with valid negative comments or even wrong perceptions, it’s important not to respond in an official corporate tone. You are dealing with individuals who need to be acknowledged and handled with respect and in the case of social networks, in a conversational manner.

    As social networkers operate in a real-time and interactive ecosystem you have to be resourced to operate in this environment. Delays in responding, if required, can cause further frustration and potentially lead to a social media bushfire of negative posts.

    If the posts are unfair the others members of the online communities are likely to shout them down without you having to do anything.  So when this happens, listen to see what happens. You may well find some advocates this way who you can go onto support and nurture.

    But don’t go down the route of firms like McDonalds who is building a network of fans by gratuitously rewarding them to post positive comments under a scheme called Family Arches. This misguided strategy will surely lead to yet and another backlash for McDonalds because it undermines all the tacit rules of social networks.

    However, there are ‘Trolls’. People who are intent on making unjustified negative comments and ‘social media stalking’ companies or individuals.  These people should not be responded to as you give them credence and great satisfaction by doing so. There are online laws for these people and if they are guilty of slander and harassment they can get legally managed.

    Companies who are adopting social media need to undergo a cultural change and transition to the new paradigm where the consumers, shareholders and employees have more influence over brand or service reputation.  Trying to suppress these vocies will cause a backlash. We have seen plenty of examples of this.  Key strategies are to define your ‘tone of voice, cultural change, set out an employee code of conduct and governance guidelines and even a ‘crisis management’ procedure.

    The issue is that most companies underestimate the resources required to manage their social media operations. It calls for resources including conversation and community management and moderation and good content generation.

    If you set off playing around with social media without a plan you are likely to run into trouble. Once a company has set up social network pages without a plan, skills and resources, the company is leaving itself open to a whole range of issues.   Therefore, formulate a strategy with the appropriate budget , resources and skills and importantly ensure that your board level directors understand it and are bought into it.

    Paul Fennemore is MD of Viapoint a leading social media strategy and services provider. Paul also conducts research with Henley Business School and lectures at Henley and Oxford Brookes University. He also found presenting and on panels at business conferences.

    Paul.fennemore@viapoint.co.uk

    @paulfennemore

     
  • Paul Fennemore 12:07 on March 14, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , social media campaigns, , , ,   

    Don’t start a social media bush-fire with your brand 

    In days gone by most channels of marketing and communications could be controlled by the brand.  Marketers could determine what messages are conveyed, to whom, where and when ensuring their precious brand reputation is kept in-tact.

    Enter social media and a whole new tinder dry marketing environment. Power is being transferred to the consumer. They can refer, recommend, vote, score and comment on positively or negatively anything they feel or experience about a product or service.  And the big dose of fuel to the bush-fire comes from social media’s interactively, real-time capacity to broadcast messages with unlimited reach in compelling multi-media formats such as pictures and videos taken on the go from smartphones.

    Brands are being compelled to be more open, honest and transparent. Trying to hide or disguise issues on social networks with service quality, for example, is likely to fan the flames of discontent.

    In fear of a loss of control, many organisations are holding back on adopting social media either because they once had their hands burnt or someone else in their industry did. There are lots of examples.

    But there is a solution and let’s face it there has to be, no organisation can dig in and hope that the flames of social media will die down.  Unlike most marketing channels, social media initiatives call for a risk assessment. For most in marketing, risk assessment wasn’t covered in their marketing school curriculum.  Well time to learn a new skills and processes – social media marketing risk analysis.

    Social media risk assessment is about analysing the potential negative consequences of a marketing initiative or how to handle a flare up about your organisation.  If you already understand that marketing is a science and a lot of social science, then you will buy into the following few broad principles that need to be adhered to…………….

    1. Remember you are dealing with individuals now, not markets.
    2. Test social media initiatives on real people (not sample groups) by asking for their reaction before running. Gauge their reaction.
    3. Understand what is motivating users to participate in online social communities and think through the reactions you are likely to get – scenario plan.
    4. Check that your initiative builds ongoing ‘engagement’ not is not a traditional marketing ‘campaign’ as they don’t work.
    5. Check that you are being honest, open and transparent – or just go and hide somewhere.
    6. Never be corporate or official with your responses to negative posts.
    7. Assign skilled resources and technologies to monitor discourse.

    Making sure that the social media fires you ignite are setting people alight with enthusiasm and not inciting them to burn down the town requires new specialist skills and  risk assessment and damage limitation are two vital elements to successful social media marketing and communications.

    Paul Fennemore

    Managing Director Viapoint

    Viapoint – UK’s Leading Social Media Consultancy, Managed Services and Training Provider

    Researcher and Lecturer at Henley Business School and Oxford Brookes University

    paul.fennemore@viapoint.co.uk

    http://www.viapoint.co.uk

     
  • Paul Fennemore 18:00 on October 25, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , fans, followers, , , social media campaigns,   

    Engaging Your Audience 

    Katie Taylor, Social Media and Marketing @ Viapoint

    You’ve got a pristine Facebook page, you’ve got an ample number of followers on Twitter, and your blog stats are looking as healthy as a pre-Christmas goose. You’ve made excellent headway in giving your company or organisation a running start at a successful social commerce campaign – but what now?

    It’s easy to sit back once the hard work of laying your social media foundations is over and done with, but this is a dangerous period of transition. It’s important to remember that although you’ve done a fine job in pushing your company into an important network of tools and ideas, the hard work doesn’t end there. Your fans, followers, clients – however you’d prefer to address them – are now expecting you to become engaged with them. This is the blessing and the curse of social commerce; your beloved customers are connected to you for feedback and reassurance, however they also demand a similar exchange of communication from you. They want their social loyalty’s worth. They may not have paid for the privilege of hearing your latest news or seeing your latest videos, but they are offering you a like, a follow, a quantifiable piece of evidence that you are connecting with your clients or customers. In the social age, this is priceless.

    There are many companies out there using social media in ingenious ways, and for a campaign to truly capture the imagination of your customers, I have invented three rules to live by:

    1. Your campaign has to have a point. To post an inspiring picture or a funny quote every so often is a great addition to your campaign, but it can’t be all of your efforts. Think about why you’re doing it, and make sure all your efforts go into achieving this, whether it’s raising your brand’s profile, changing your company’s brand altogether or just simply using social media as a way to inform. Changing the message every week will leave your followers and fans confused, and your hard work will go unheeded.
    2. Encourage your fans and followers to take part. By all means push out information that might be of use to them – after all, they wouldn’t be following you if you didn’t have anything to offer them. It’s of mutual benefit for you to get everybody more involved, however. I always maintain that a social media user’s most useful asset to the company or brand is their boredom. Give them something to engage with, whether it’s a poll, a competition or something more creative. Companies like Cravendale and Skittles have been gaining thousands of followers in recent weeks simply by increasing the level of activity fans are encouraged to take part in. Other organisations are using twitter to get their followers involved in more ingenious ways: “National Media Museum Turns Fans Into Permanent Exhibit”. This isn’t to suggest you should also craft statues to commend your beloved fans for all eternity – it just stands to prove that rewarding fans and followers’ loyalty can go a long way, and there are hundreds of creative ways of doing this.
    3.  Do not, under any circumstances, spam or beg. This is bad etiquette no matter what platform you partake in it on. Your folowers may have ‘opted in’ to your updates, but this doesn’t mean you can then fill their timelines with repeated information. Once a day is more than enough for most purposes – by all means tweet and post on your facebook multiple times a day, but make each post interesting, or at least relevant. The more something is repeated, the less relevant it becomes. Followers and fans are far easier to lose than they are to gain, so it’s always favourable to avoid the risk. If you think it could be misconstrued as spam, do not post it. Also be aware that by asking facebook fans to “like” or comment on a post in order to enter a competition goes against Facebook’s Terms of Use. Yes, everybody seems to be doing it, but you need to be aware that it is risky, and your page could be taken down without notice. Read the full Facebook Terms of Service here.

    If you have any further additions to these rules, I’d be very interested to hear them! Comment below or email me at Katie.taylor@viapoint.co.uk.

     
  • Paul Fennemore 12:27 on August 30, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , social media campaigns   

    Social Commerce is the Long Game 

    My Definition: “Social commerce is the practice of using social media for commercial purposes”.

    The short -term dichotomy

    When it comes to using social commerce correctly it takes time and patience to produce results.

    Social commerce is about building communities, identifying and generating e-Influencers and in turn increasing advocates. Having done so, sales will start to improve and more customers will be kept, but these strategies take time; you can’t make friends and influence people in matter of a few short months.

    So here’s the social commerce dichotomy. Many marketing directors are driven by a results horizon of three to six months – in other words they are under pressure to run campaigns that show returns in less than half a year.  The end result is that the agencies they use are not using social media networks to generate engagement and build communities; they are sticking to traditional marketing practices such as display ads and sporadic campaigns in hope of getting click-throughs.  The issue with this is that display ads are not effective when posted in people’s social spaces and social commerce engagement demands a continuous drip feed not short term hits.

    Overcoming the dichotomy with courage

    Firms such as Nokia, RIM, Motorola, Playstation and Xbox have proven that consumers who are involved with them via social media networks spend annually 20% to 140% more than a consumer who is not. So what are these companies doing to achieve these outstanding results?

    Amongst other best social commerce practices, they are formulating a social commerce strategy with clear objectives to be achieved over the minimum of a year.  They take a programatical approach whereby they use social media to and strengthen their longer term marketing objectives as well as augmenting marketing campaigns. Social commerce is far more effective when integrated with other Marcoms initiatives and not treated in isolation.

    They use surveillance tools such as EngageSciences, Cymfony or ExactTarget to identify consumers with the greatest social network ‘reach’ and classify them as a new market segment category and nurture a supportive relationship with them. They don’t spray them with display ads or offer them gratuitous discounts, but over-time reward them for an ‘earned contribution’.

    There is enough well-researched evidence to substantiate that this approach works, and that short-term traditional marketing tactics are ineffective unless you get lucky with a viral campaign such as the Diet Coke and Mentos, as demonstrated here.  Unfortunately these viral events don’t originate by design.

    Those marketing directors who set about understanding all the many facets of social commerce, particularly the social science and formulate a strategy, are successful at convincing their board to play the long game. They make their strategy inclusive, involving their staff and others who can contribute to positively enhance brand reputation and improve customer service.  A few firms such as O2, Phones4u, Kodak and Virgin Atlantic have embraced these winning ways.

    To find out more about my research into wining social commerce strategies please contact me paul.fennemore@viapoint.co.uk.

     
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