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

    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, , , , , , , , twitter, 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: , , , , , , , twitter   

    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 18:44 on February 5, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , twitter   

    McDonalds: Corporates Still with the Wrong Social Media Mind Set 

    The week that Macdonald’s makes another massive social media gaff should bring home to CEOs and their CMOs that social media is not for the inexperienced http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2090862/McDstories-McDonalds-Twitter-promotion-backfires-users-share-fast-food-horror-stories.html.

    Putting social media in the hands of a well intention junior campaign manager is like a CMO putting an automatic weapon in the hands of an angry 5 year old. And yet despite the very public mishaps of MP’s, Skittles, Habitat, United Airlines, Nestle, Toyota and countless more many corporates are still lost as to how use social media effectively.  Yet paradoxically there is now enough experience and evidence to know what social media strategies work and don’t work.

    The main issue is that companies and many agencies still believe that social media is about marketing campaigns and running them in the same way they always have done.  In fact social media marketing and communications is so fundamentally different a whole new approach is required

    A change of mind set is needed.  Consider social media or social commerce as a strategic marketing and communications channel that has the power to make organisations more agile, be much more in tune with their employees their market and their supply chain. Social media has the potential to transform businesses.

    Astra Zeneca announced drastic cut backs, making thousands redundant because they had new drugs coming to market soon enough. Yet those Pharmaceutical companies are using social media to crowdsource R&D and innovation, such as Proctor & Gamble, are keeping their share price up by having reduced R&D cycle times by 40% through using an online network of 80,000 independent innovators.

    CEO’s and CMO’s need to make social media strategic and stop delegating it to marketing campaign managers and campaign managers need to understand that social media is not about campaigns. Social media marketing is its most effective when joining up traditional marketing campaigns and perpetuating ongoing consumer engagement thereby building brand loyalty and increased word of mouth.  Tactical marketing campaigns and social media do not mix as McDonald’s has yet again demonstrated.

    Paul Fennemore

    Managing Director Viapoint

    http://www.viapoint.co.uk

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

    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 15:43 on June 7, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , twilderness, twitter   

    Hunting in the Twilderness 

    Free and Easy (or not)

    It’s easy to imagine that for all the coverage social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook receive, that a business would be failing its online marketing strategy by not getting totally immersed. Woah there. Not so hasty.

    Twitter accounts might be free, but that isn’t to say that it’s definitely the social networking site for you. Peer pressure from other companies might draw you in, but after registering and choosing an avatar that best captures your personality and sense of fun (but also your professionalism and endless abounding enthusiasm) there’s a gap.

    0 followers. 0 posts. 0 following. Zero is not your friend. Zero wishes you’d never started this.

    The point here is to take your time and acclimatise to this new way of communicating. Tweeting is simple, but firing off effective and engaging Tweets is a skill that takes time to hone and sharpen. You can throw as many arrows as you like, but like bow-hunting, you’ll only hit your target with a concentrated aim.

    Of course, you could swap the bow and arrow for an AK47 and mow down everything in your path, but as any soldier (or gamer for that matter) will tell you, these aren’t very accurate over long-ranges and tend to scatter wasted bullets everywhere. That’s your information and content there, scattered all over the place. Not exactly an efficient way of working, is it?

    You need a new way of working. You need a sniper (or at least a very accurately-thrown stick). Spewing out information can be damaging as well as ineffectual too – spam is never welcome, no matter what format it comes in.

    Would your company really benefit from updating all day long? Is what you want constant contact with your customers, or are you joining Twitter because you heard that you probably should? Most companies and brands can get a lot out of signing up, but deciding what you want from your Twitter account is vital. Setting one up and updating it for a week before letting it go stale is social networking suicide – likewise, setting up an account and sharing a few asinine comments about the weather or the state of the roads in your area correlates directly with follower decline.

    Think about what you need, and use the tools to make it happen. Adapt them if necessary – use twitter to broadcast your blogs; use blogger to generate content for your Facebook page; use Facebook to entice people to follow you on Twitter. It’s all there; you just have to work out what you stand to gain.

     
  • Paul Fennemore 14:51 on June 6, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , getting started, , twitter   

    Social Media – More like a steam train than a space shuttle. 

    A recent article from the Creative Freelancer Blog was being retweeted left right and centre, and it caught our eye. Titled “Is Social Media Making You Lazy?”, it got us thinking. Does it really? Perhaps sitting at a desk typing and sharing links is lazy. We’d never thought of it that way before – to us it had always just been another form of interaction. It made us feel bad. We went out for a walk on our lunch break to think about what we’d (not) done.

    But what alternatives are there, in 2011? In most cases there are exhibitions to be strolled around and business cards to be collected; in a few there are even coffees to be socially sipped and hands to be shaken. But does this form of contact really make a difference when it comes to contacting prospective partners and clients? In some cases, this might be true. Of course at some point you have to make face time a priority, but at the beginning of a working relationship, why not use social media? It’s there to be utilised after all.

    You can’t look people in the eye or judge them on the strength of their handshake over a friendly hashtag game, but do we still work in nicotine-stained offices and wear pinstriped bowler hats? There’s plenty of time to swap heavyweight embossed business cards once the ice has been broken, and in the world of Social Media, that rather aloof layer of frozen water is very thin indeed.

    The greatest mistake a company can make when it comes to Social Media is to believe that simply having a Twitter account or a Facebook page is enough. It really isn’t as simple as that. Social networking is a demanding platform that requires a great deal of attention and understanding in order for it to work to best advantage.

    To go back to our original analogy, you can’t build a great, shiny monolith of a Facebook page or Twitter account, throw comparably huge amounts of time and money at it, and then catapult it into space to await some spectacular results. The fuel will burn out, and eventually all the positive momentum you built up will be lost. To meet and maintain contacts who mean something to you and your company, your content needs to be fresh and engaging, and it’s this content that will keep people interested in your social media campaigns. It’s an endless loop of feeding and consuming, much like a steam train.

    Social media is not a self-sufficient marketing tool. You cannot assume a twitter account will gain you instant notoriety. As with face-to-face networking, you have to put the work in. So, if you ask us, social media isn’t making us lazy. If you’re doing it properly, it provides an invaluable and constant stream of useful information, interesting contacts and outsider knowledge. Yes, there’s no substitute for human conversation, but how many customers of yours did you meet face to face for the first time?

     
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