When it comes to Noise filtering, Facebook’s efforts are noticeable. Borrowing concepts, we are already familiar with, from Twitter or Google+, Facebook has advanced them to make Facebook Feeds more relevant to individual users. The second feature, Tickers, brings back life to real-time conversation. The two features that are recently announced:
News Feed: See What Matters at the Top
The following video is a user’s first reaction to the NewsFeed changes. As it appears, to someone who is not aware of the change, this could be annoying.
Typically, when you are launching a new product or service, you consider starting a new website, or adding a section on your existing site to promote and provide information about the launch. Now, with Facebook Fan Pages, the concept of destination websites are changing. Instead of investing resources in building a website, businesses are finding it easy to create a Fan Page and far more beneficial to leverage the community effects of fan base.
The following question was asked in a Q&A forum to social media expert Guy Kawasaki (Disclosure: Advisor to ObjectiveMarketer):
“I’m a small business entrepreneur, and I’ll be introducing a consumer product soon. Should I create a website for my company or a Facebook fan page?”
Guy Kawasaki responded in detail based off his personal experience of creating a Fan Page for new and coming book Enchantment. In his own words “For you, the bottom line is that if you’re small business owner who is busy, impatient, cheap, picky and realistic (shallowness is optional) and want to ride a tsunami rather than roll your own sand castle, then it’s time to consider a Facebook fan page instead of a free-standing website.”
Now, you may or not agree to all mentioned there, but you will definitely find some key takeaways to help your decision.The complete reasoning for opting for a Fan Page, and the benefits plus words of caution can be found on this American Express Open Forum site “http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/the-world/article/ask-the-wiseguy-facebook-fan-page-or-website-guy-kawasaki“.
We will next cover an interesting topic about the SEO worth of Facebook Pages. Any suggestions, case studies, or related experience – please email email@example.com
Brand v/s Consumer Activity on Twitter
According to a report by eMarketer, “marketers are using a significantly greater share of their tweets to push out news and information rather than converse with other users. Just 16% of brands’ tweets use the “@” symbol, a sign of back-and-forth engagement on the service – very low compared to consumer stats, which is almost 43%.”
Stats in Isolation, do not Mean Anything
Indeed, the very fabric of Internet is changing into a platform that facilitates conversation. Consumers are now engaging in conversation with countless others through network of friends, across international boundaries, and who probably they have never physically met – connected through shared interest, belief or philosophy. In this evolution of consumer-brand relationship, Brands that have successfully adapted to the changing consumers are the ones that have found ways to foster and nurture a community of their most loyal fans.
However, an “engagement service/ system” for brands, which is both scalable and efficient, is essentially a community of enthusiasts and loyal supporter who engage for and on-behalf of the brands, and not necessarily the numbers of @ they accumulate over time.
Brands Builds Communities, Gathers Advocates
If you are spending your ‘social media time’ to listen to all mentions of your brands as they happen, and respond to them real time –either you are not working strategically or you have surplus resources. Assigning a dedicated resource 24×7 to respond to mentions is not “long-term” thinking. Listening is very important – and, there is a value in aggregating response, which is not collected in isolation – to understand patterns / behaviors and to identify collective insights of your brand mentions. However, it is neither scalable nor necessary to put a resource for real time response to all brand mentions – as they happen. A real time response is great, but it need not come from you. Instead, a brand can help create and manage a thriving community in each network – that stands up for the brand. For example, when a prospect asks a question about a product, and a friend from the network responds to this query, the recommendation sounds much more real and convincing.
The Intuit Example
One brand that comes to mind, when you think of community involvement is Intuit. In 2009 the company built community right into their products. Users have become company ambassadors and today, 70% of users get their answers from the community site versus customer support – significantly driving down support costs. Intuit is leveraging Twitter and observing customer-created videos on YouTube that showcase Intuit’s products.”
There are endless list of successful brand communities like Running Plus (Nike), My Starbucks Idea, Dell Ideastrom, eBay Powersellers etc. These communities are present everywhere and doing well with or without user interaction directly.
Bring Community Building in your Agenda
Here are some pointers which will help you kick start your own community with better results:
- Identify the loyal supporters of your brands – These are the influencers, who amplify your messages to a larger audience, and are those few loyal supporters, who are also respected in their communities. It makes a great sense to nurture, and acknowledge their help in building your brand. Read about how you can get this information from ObjectiveMarketer.
- Foster many-to-many relationships. A brand community is not a one-to-many relationship—that’s brand autocracy. People need to interact with each other and not simply “the brand” if you want to create a successful brand community. Therefore, build peer-to-peer communication into your structure.
- Don’t create “more.” Massive amounts of information is being created about your brand and distributed across the web everyday. Rather than spend time asking people to create more content, make it easy for people to enjoy and engage with the stuff that already exists.
- Let your advocates advocate. The only way to inspire your best advocates is to let them work their magic without interference except in issues of ethics and legality. Your advocates are not pawns—they are your partners, so treat them that way.
- Observe the 1-9-90 rule. This new rule, pioneered by Josh Bernoff and Charlene Li in their seminal book Groundswell, is quickly becoming a standard: 1% of your population will create content, 9% will comment or engage with it, and 90% will just browse. Voyeurs rule the online world, so keep this in mind.
Finally always keep in mind the three golden rules:
- WORD OF MOUTH DRIVES CHOICE
- CUSTOMERS TRUST, RELY AND ACT ON ADVICE FROM PEOPLE THEY KNOW
- ALWAYS BE THE “HOST” & NOT THE “MASTER”
An interesting article was published on The Fast Company, and the following thoughts do great justice to summarize the content of this blogpost “The one thing to remember: the turbo charger (social media) is useless without an engine (passionate customers). Businesses must offer a great customer experience to draw in those passionate customers, who will in turn spread the word about your products and services.”
We have figured it out, more or less, that the best day to launch an email campaign is “Tuesday” – based on logic as well as stats collected on click percentage the emails receive when sent out during the week.
Social Media usage is very different than email usage. And, as such to come up with a generic benchmark like with emails, may not be ideal – and also too pre-mature at this stage. The best benchmark would be to know from your own stats, generated by interactions from your own followers / fans of social channels – suggesting the days and times, when your audience is most attentive. Again, depending on what type of message it is (for e.g. promotional v/s casual) the response of your audience would be different.
ObjectiveMarketer has a very useful feature to provide you with an answer to the “sweetspot” question for your campaigns and it is called Campaign HeatMap. It shows you the aggregate performance of all clicks in your campaign in a day of the week X time of the day matrix. Getting this information at the campaign level also helps identify the pattern for different kind of messages. This graph visually tells you on what day and at what time, your campaign has received maximum number of clicks.
Now, you can use this information when you are deciding to launch a big announcement. Based on your past stats and patterns of clicks received by your audience, this can be a crucial piece of information you need to get a sense of timing for your campaigns.
What more information you think can make this heatmap more useful? Please, do share with us!Let’s begin the conversation.
If you would like to try this feature and several other such useful capabilities of ObjectiveMarketer, please sign up for 15 days free trial at http://app.objectivemarketer.com
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It’s a big day at ObjectiveMarketer as we announce our new release! We have been working hard to build efficiency into the platform, such that you get more done, with greater impact and in lesser time. Loaded with refreshingly cool features, this summer release is all set to take the heat off your social media initiatives. So, relax, sit-back and enjoy- and let ObjectiveMarketer do the work for you!
As one of the leading Social Media Management Platforms, our endeavor remains in helping businesses become Social Media Efficient. And, with ObjectiveMarketer 3.0, the new capabilities are designed to bring more visibility into social ROI and to make social media efforts more strategic for businesses. The key benefits of ObjectiveMarketer 3.0 release are highlighted here:
- #EaseofUse: Sophisticated, yet easy. How wonderful!
- Completely revamped User Interface with easy visual cues
- #Engage: Integrated Follower /Fan Management
- Rule based Auto Follow and Auto DM for Twitter
- Trends and Stats of Follower and Fan acquisition.
- Twitter Keyword Streams with Reply/Retweet options
- Facebook Comments /Twitter Mentions / User Stats and Follow back
- #ROI: Comprehensive Reporting Interface
- Multiple dimensional view of stats and aggregated data
- Generate pre-formatted, downloadable PDF reports
- Overall Campaign Performance with user defined VALUE of each initiative
- Mentions / Influencers / Amplifier Data as leads and follow-ups
- Filter by Date/time range and export to CSV
- #Integration: Seamlessly integrate with other pieces of Social CRM
- Rich set of APIs to integrate with Native CRM or to build custom widgets
- White-label solution to offer custom service based off ObjectiveMarketer’s technology
We are happy to have customers who range from Fortune 100 companies to single employee businesses (or their agencies)– as we get to study, understand and work with them in implementing wide range of applicability of Social Media in their businesses. We are setting the stage for new generation of Marketing. And we welcome you to be with us. New users Sign up Now for 14 days Free Trial: http://app.objectivemarketer.com
One of the first steps we recommend ObjectiveMarketer users, when they get started with the product, is to “create some campaigns“.
A campaign means a different things to different people, depending on which side of the business they are coming from. In ObjectiveMarketer, the concept of campaigns is very simple – it is a group of similarly themed messages. A campaign is created as a placeholder for contents, including messages and assets like YouTube video etc. A campaign in ObjectiveMarketer is akin to Folders in computer used to organize files, or it can be thought of as a Project, or a Program or an Initiative. Usually, a campaign in ObjectiveMarketer can be a part of a bigger organization wide campaign.
The concept of campaigns is one of the most powerful and unique features of ObjectiveMarketer, which is designed to avoid randomness and to make social media management more strategy driven. The top five use cases suggesting reasons, why creating a campaign can be very helpful in a social media process are:
- Better organization of messages
- Makes communication more strategic
- Ability to audit content
- Implement A/B/n test scenarios
- Aggregate view of performance
Let us take each of them, one by one, with some real use cases.
Better organization of messages
Tammy works for a digital media agency, offering search, social and mobile marketing services. To promote, and to increase the brand awareness of her agency, Tammy uses ObjectiveMarketer. She creates three campaigns, each representing the three different focus areas of her business. For each of these campaigns, she structures her content and delivery options.
A simple way of organizing her messages like this allows Tammy to be completely in the know of where she is spending more time, and which of these areas are working better with her audience on social channels. Now that her communication strategy is streamlined, she can concentrate on things like “how to get new clients, and make existing ones happier”.
Makes communication more strategic
The most important reason why you should use Campaigns is that it allows you to be strategic, and helps you to plan before you publish.
Mike manages social media for a Real Estate business. He plans ahead of time, what is the content he is going to use to engage his audience with. He plans on some themes, which are his campaigns in ObjectiveMarketer, like:
- Avoid Foreclosure – This campaign will share tips for those homeowners who are in trouble with their mortgage. These messages will create a positive image for the company, and will open threads for interaction and better user engagement.
- First Time Buyer Tips – This campaign will share messages aimed at users who are 1st time buyers. This is a very niche set of users, and the purpose is again to educate and engage with users.
- Congratulations! Houses Sold – This is an automated message, which is fed from their listing site and each time a property is sold, the message is sent out. This demonstrates the success of business, in very subtle manner.
- Free Tours – One day of the week the real estate business offers free tours of the properties for the first 50 users who register. This is a promotional campaign, primarily a lead generation activity.
As can be seen above, just deciding upon the strategy of communication, and sticking to them helps you to plan further about what content to generate, where to get it from, how frequent the content needs to be shared and such – saving time, and working on things which have been well planned, and thought of.
Ability to audit content
Debbie likes to create her campaigns by the week. So, beginning each month she creates 4 campaigns like June Week1, June Week2 … and she schedules messages for her campaigns ahead of time, sometimes for the next week too. This way she can take a look at her whole month broken by weeks even before the reports are generated.
Another interesting use case of creating campaigns for audit purposes is to create campaigns by user names. Each time, a user shares a content that user will select the campaign by her name. This is an easy, effortless way of keeping tab of each individual users responsibility.
Implement A/B/n test scenarios
ObjectiveMarketer campaigns by design allow you to test different strategies. For example, the tone of the messages, the placement and use of keywords, the use of hashtags. How do you know, which type of messages get you more response from audience? A use case that was tried out by one of the ObjectiveMarketer users was as follows. He created two different campaigns, each one with a contrasting tone. In one, he used a more salesy pitch and in the other, made it sound more informational – both leading to the same website. What he saw was that both received comparable number of clicks, but, the second one received a higher number of retweets, and got him more followers. Once, you have identified what works for you, chose that as the winning strategy. And, with the feedback that ObjectiveMarketer stats provide, keep optimizing.
Aggregate view of performance
The best use case of ObjectiveMarketer campaigns is the ability to view an overall campaign performance. You can see an aggregate performance of your campaign, and compare different parameters for all your campaigns. You can create benchmark for your campaigns and try different ways to meet your campaign goals.
Summarizing it all
There are several ways in which a grouping of messages can help you be more systematic and strategic. If you have a use case, which is not mentioned here, please feel free to share. The step before monetizing from any initiative is managing. If you are managing well, you can make better plans for a sustainable business objective. And, the campaigns help you to consolidate, and manage your initiatives, aligning your social media goals with the bigger corporate goals.
As Guy Kawasaki once said,” if you are really trying to take the heat off Twitter Marketing, you better do it right“. And, ObjectiveMarketer campaigns are one of those tools that help you do it right.
Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz announced his resignation on Twitter, in a Haiku, becoming the first Fortune 200 head to do so, according to the New York Times. (I wonder, if there is any in Fortune 500 that resigned on Twitter? Must find out!). The report also mentions that while at Sun, he became the first chief executive of a major company to put up his own blog. Clearly, Schwartz was an early adopter of social media, who chose the blog to “disclose critical business matters to investors” along with press release, as a medium.
This made a story(in Feb 2010 when he tweeted his resignation (twee-resigned?), and continues to make a story even today as it is very rare example of a CEO tweeting. However, what is more common, and that does not come as a surprise is to see that the chief execs still don’t feel encouraged to participate on Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, inspite of the phenomenal growth of social networking channels. As of June 2009, based off a study conducted by UberCEO (All things CEO) only 2 of the fortune 100 companies were on Twitter, and none had a blog. It is somewhat dated article, however, it is not hard to believe that a very little has changed in the stats. The complete research can be read here. Mind you, they have been a bit too harsh on the CEO’s calling them “Social Media Slackers”.
So, why the hesitation?
Too much noise? Granted, social channels (e.g. Twitter) can get noisy with its built in “Many-to-Many” communication links. But, guess what? You are the CEO. If you have something interesting to say, there are your customers, prospects, analysts all waiting to hear from you. And, knock-knock … they are using Twitter to listen! No press release will throw as much light on an issue as a tweet straight from the chief himself, directing the readers to the full story.
There is a risk involved. CEO’s not only represent a brand, but, in many cases they are brands in themselves. Heard of Richard Branson? (BTW, Branson has an active Twitter account, with almost 350k followers). So, when thousands and millions of eyes are watching you, and reading you – it is very important to be careful in choosing the right message, and avoiding controversial / brand damaging communication. But, who are we talking about? CEO’s of companies who are responsible of managing multi-million / multi-billion dollar businesses, and not a teen who just got her driver’s license! We have seen the kind of mistakes CEO’s can make, the picture tells the story below.
With a good band of PR executives, and a strategy in place, CEO’s can most effectively use social networks to not just communicate the good, but also do damage control in a very powerful way. The YouTube apology from the Toyota CEO has become a legend and will be cited in the years to come.
Finally, time. Where do CEO’s have time to blog and / or tweet? Well, I am not a fan of having people tweet for you. But, CEO’s can take help in performing this chore, if at all. With several apps available that not only allow you to strategically use the medium to communicate with time efficient ways, but, also to analyze, it only gets better if the CEO’s embrace the social.
Few days back, I read an interesting interview of Forrester Research CEO George Colony, about whether or not CEOs should be engaged in social media. I think this post will be best summarized from an excerpt from the article. It is a quote from Bill Marriott — he has a great blog. He’s 77 years old and he has one of the best CEO blogs out there. And he said:
Seriously, what’s the big deal?
Please, share examples of CEO’s you know who tweet well, or are active in social media space in the comments.
Journey of a Book – From Prints to Kindle to Twitter
The sight of someone reading a book is usually a conversation starter. You can find the nature of a man, by the cover of the book he is reading – well, the cover, the title and in many cases, the thickness of the book suggests a lot about the person reading the book. I came across this interesting blog post, where the author tries to find out what the daily commuters read on local trains, travelling to and from their work. However, in the era of digital books or e-books, made more popular through readers like Kindle, Nook or iPad, this “cover story” no longer holds true. You can not find anything about the person besides, that he/she is tech-savvy.
Kindle, an Amazon product, which has 60% of the market share for e-book readers today has rolled out an upgrade to its readers, which makes book reading social again. Now Kindle users can share a line from the book on Twitter and Facebook. This opens up a new way of sharing what you are reading with your online social group, searching for like-minded individuals through books that they are reading and for publishers, to find out more about the book readership. Few things that need consideration include, copyright issues. Will book publishers allow pictures to be shared on twitter, Facebook and, how are sensitive issues controlled. Well, we will see.
Using Kindle, book reading can now be a great conversation starter, again!
Read more on this upgrade from Kindle on this InformationWeek article.
Join the Forces
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