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Archive for the 'social media monitoring' Category

The Key to Success in Enterprise Social Media

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Lately, I’ve been thinking way too much about organic B2B social media marketing. For obvious reasons, it’s where I play and have played for the last eight years. In that time, I’ve worked for some of the largest companies in the world and If you were to ask me what keeps me up at night it would vacillate between how can I do more with the tools and resources I have available to me and what am I missing? This is the great struggle for the enterprise in social media. Where does it fit? Does it fit?

I can tell you answering any of these questions requires some soul searching. The bottom line is that creating a solid, measurable, B2B social media strategy is extremely difficult, and to say that the enterprise just doesn’t have a clue, though it makes for great copy, just isn’t true. They know what’s up, to a degree. Whatever their degree of understanding is, the stark reality is that the pressure is on every CMO to make something of the potential that social media might offer the organization.

Let’s talk about business value

That clock you hear in your cube at the office? That’s for your benefit. It’s ticking and you need to figure out real quick where social media fits within your org. I’m of the opinion that social has to be part of any org; and where the rubber meets the road is the understanding or lack of understanding of those that are entrusted with managing it. My quick and dirty argument is that if you don’t use social then what are you going to do?

But let’s back up. You see, the challenge in your organization as it is in every other B2B organization, is that solving for X in social media, boils down to closing the chasm between conversations and conversions. It’s brutal at the B2B level.

Conversions in social media in general, in the purest sense of the word, can be few and very far between. But the same goes for conversations. Can we get people to click on content? Yes. Can we get people to talk about that content? Not really. We can get them to like, share and retweet but those are passive activities. They’re easy and lazy forms of what everyone defines as engagement. Now snap B2B on top of that. Uh-oh.

To put this in terms we can all relate to. A home run in B2B social media from an engagement standpoint for some companies might be 1%. That’s right,1%.

Time to temper those expectations or time to innovate.

I have a suggestion though. Maybe we need to look at B2B social media metrics differently and perhaps weight them differently. If you can get the data right, you can get the analytics right, right? Maybe I’m suggesting that conversations at the the B2B level, are so tough to come by, that maybe we need to measure them differently? Quit looking at them through a B2C lens.

Let’s simplify this. Would you agree that essentially, B2B marketers, are relying on a definition of engagement that a) really doesn’t mean much anymore in social media and b) shouldn’t apply to them? One could argue on behalf of both points.

The way engagement is and has been measured has been fairly consistent from the very beginning, but that doesn’t mean it’s right. What I’m really saying is that in place of more quantifiable metrics, the best that we have or the best that is presented to us as metrics by various tools and platforms, is how we’re measuring success. Likes, loves, mentions, favorites, follows, shares. expands and clickthroughs are our barometers for success in social media. Those are good but we need more, we need better.

For myself, I look at all of those things the same way, they’re good metrics and they give me a glimpse of something, a taste of something, a start, a start to something, something that could turn into something more. That’s it. It’s a pulse and it might be the closest we can get to a customer, client, prospect or partner, short of being with them in the flesh; and that’s pretty damn compelling. However, if we want to move the needle, then we need to do a better job of measuring customer engagement. Why? We need a better snapshot of who does what with our content. Should I care, that you took a millisecond to share, like or re-tweet a piece of my content? Not really, but if I know more about you. then maybe I can gauge and measure your INTENT.

You’re only as good as your content

The driving force behind this will be content. Content is driving everything. Great content, bad content, middle of the road content. All of it, in all its many different forms, is driving e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g…. We call it content, but back in the day it was a newspaper insert, a magazine ad, a radio spot, a 30 second commercial on TV. The form has changed but not the function. Get our attention.

What’s consistently baked into that content? A brands message. The point of that message? Buy our stuff.  And Social media? What’s its form? What’s its function? Buy our stuff.  The difference between the old and the new,  social can be a more direct conduit to the customer. The problem? One voice to two ears. Multiply that exponentially and what do you get? A funnel with noise.

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Social media marketer doesn’t mean social media analytics guru

If we can’t get comfortable with a firm definition of engagement where the only thing that matters is, if there is some type of conversion behind it, then we need to at least get a better idea of who our followers are; or who is most engaged with our stuff. The keys will be your content and how your audience is engaging with it.

The bottom line will be the data that’s derived from your content. Quality data, not just likes and mentions. Once we have the data, then we can make better decisions and informed decisions on what’s working, what’s not and how we’re going to reach those that matter. I’d also like to suggest that having a robust and separate social media analytics practice would be one of the wisest investments the enterprise could have going forward. Translation: Just because you might be a CMO or a director, doesn’t mean you’re a data scientist. Maybe you are but in my opinion, it’s the only way the enterprise is going to move the needle forward in 2018 with social media. Take the analytics side of the equation seriously and fund it properly.

With social media and its various platforms  we do what we do and it is what it is; and because of that, you can do anything, try anything and say anything. For brands, that’s the great potential.

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Two Hurdles and One Gap in Enterprise Social Media Engagement

Recently, my work required that I evaluate some of the top global brands in a certain industry in regards to internal b2b social media usage. I’ve used upwards of 7-10  free and paid social media monitoring and measurement tools to do it. I’ve looked at social data for a month and I have discovered two hurdles and one gap. I’m going to boil it down for you and spare you the pain of elaboration and if you happen to see me on the street I will give you the lodown on my findings.

So here it is:

It doesn’t matter if you’re a c-level executive, a director, a manager or the owner of a small business. One of your primary and most valuable comodities is your time.   Alotting time or taking time for engagement is not really high on the to-do list right now. Though recent data says that the more social your executives are the better performing your company  might be.

That’s hurdle #1. Executives need to take the time to be better at being social.

Having resources to do all the things that these companies and individuals have read, heard and want to do in social and should be doing in social needs to be a priority but is easier said than done.

Hurdle #2. Organizations are resourced challenged.

And the biggest gap?  The money is not there yet but social media budgets are continuing to loosen up quickly.  They used to be non-existant. In some very large organizations that I have seen, social is not a priority at any level be it in internal or external, yet.  The good news for all of these? You will see them all evolve in a positive  manor over the next 3-5 years.

On Social Media Tools, Noise, and Experience

I was driving through the Florida Everglades last week when I thought, “How in the hell does someone survive and get around out here in this vast expanse of nothingness?”  Which made me immediately draw a relation to the water that surrounds the glades being the internet so to speak, and the wispy reeds of sea grass or whatever the hell it is, being your customers or users of the internet.  I then thought, “There’s a lot of noise out there now, was it, or is it now because of social media?  Did social media create the noise?”  Is social responsible for this?

The short answer is yes.

Remember Dr. Seuss’s, “Horton Hears a Who?”  There’s a scene in the movie and in the book, where everyone in Whoville starts to shout in unison, “We are here, we are here”. They are trying to get Horton to hear them.  Social media is like that.  The plethora of platforms and devices has allowed everyone to have that voice, but the challenge for those with voices wanting to be heard, is the choices and platforms are multiplying like rabbits.  For those businesses who want to bridge the gap and find those people with voices-it’s getting harder and harder to sift through the weeds and grass.

In the Everglades, you get around by airboat, which amazes me honestly.  Why?  Everything looks the same.  If you look to your left or to your right, or forwards or backwards, it all looks exactly the same.  So how does one get around?  You have to have an experienced navigator.  Someone who knows the lay of the land.

Here’s the correlation.  I can use the best listening tools and platforms there are, but if I don’t know how to use them or I use them the wrong way, they are totally worthless to me.  I’m going to airboat around the glades and find lots of nothing.  If someone thinks they know how or knows what I want and they still get it wrong-Shame on me.  Does that mean there’s too much noise and one cannot navigate through it?  Does that mean there are no pockets of goodness in that vast landscape?  Not at all.  You just have to know someone who knows how to look and where to look.

A friend of mine, Mack Collier, earlier this month wrote a blog post on whether marketers should use social media personally before they use it professionally? I think we know the short answer again to that is yes. But I will end on this.

Just because you can get the boat in the water, start the engine and take off, doesn’t mean you know where you’re going or how to get there.

Three Plateaus in Social Media

For those of you who are new to the social space, this post does not entirely apply to you, though it perhaps eventually will.  So you can keep reading to see what will might happen to you.

Plateau #1

  • You’ve created half assed personas in Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Linkedin
  • You’ve added and perhaps bought followers, fans, likes, subscribers and contacts
  • You’ve created a blog and have added a few posts
  • You have pushed out some weak, self serving content on all of them
  • You had no strategy
  • You quit because, you see nothing gained and you claim that social media does not work

Plateau #2

  • You have done everything in Plateau #1 and…
  • You have added/bought thousands of people to your networks
  • You push out content on all of your networks but it’s over the top and self serving
  • You monitor all of your networks…sort of
  • You have engaged with people somewhat
  • Your activities have tailed off because it takes too much work and you’re not seeing the results and you’re not convinced that social media works. Pretty soon, it dies a slow death.

Plateau #3

  • You have identified and created personas in the right networks that fit your needs
  • You understand that it’s a marathon and not a sprint
  • You manage and grow all of your networks thoughtfully and effectively
  • You measure all of your efforts effectively
  • You create and meet all of your existing KPI’s
  • You adapt and you create new KPI’s
  • You create, adjust, and redefine your strategy accordingly
  • You thrive

As you can see, the 3 plateaus are fairly well defined and quite different. Most of you have done all or parts of each. Those that can get to the third plateau can certainly speak to the other two. Those that have quit after one or two, certainly know why they did. What’s your smell test?

Sure I love the conversation but…

I used to be a social media purist but I’ve evolved. Why? Well we have evolved.  We being the one’s that were there early on who experienced the magic of connecting with someone as smart as  say Gavin Heaton or Tom Martin and having them host our social media tweetchat. Or having that cool, deep discussion with a person like David Alston from Radian 6 when his company was just starting to gain traction, or becoming really good friends with someone i respect as much as Beth Harte. But what made all of those discussions and conversations cool was that we were connecting. Great for us but what about B2B?

There was always the missing component. An outcome. A means to an end. The Why and the What for.

At least that’s what companies wanted to know. And still want to know. They wanted a better value proposition. Some get it but others are still struggling with this. Yea social media is cool but what’s it all mean? What’s the point? To have conversations or make money?  Give us a business use case.

Well yesterdays news of the Salesforce aquisition of Radian6 is a game changer. It’s a watershed moment.  I still like being a purist at heart when it comes to social media but we have to justify its usage. Quite honestly, We have been fighting the good fight for quite some time. Justifying it’s relevance. Educating the masses. But adding strong measuremaent and analytics to social media engagement as it pertains to customer service and sales and lead generation, does just that.  The folks at Sales Force believe that.

With this Salesforce/Radian6 deal, and Lithium grabbing ScoutLabs and MarketWire folding Sysomos into the mix, you are now seeing an alignment of B2B with social beyond just the conversation. Social will always live inside of marketing and PR, but tying it to business functions has now come to the forefront. And the way that become legitimate is by adding measuring and monitoring functions that are directly applied to making money, saving money, and building equity.

Like I said, Watershed moment…

 

What Does Fully Engaged Mean?

Earlier this week, Ants Eye View posted The Cisco Social Media Listening Journey.

It was interesting to see Cisco’s evolution

But I was struck more with the final stage of the listening journey.

Food for thought. How fully engaged is your company? How fully engaged are your teams?

The Intersection of Customer Service and Social Media

The conversational divide…

I have a couple of quick questions: Does social media allow customers to get their issues resolved quicker than if they were to use traditional means? Does whining via social media move you to the head of the line? In a recent article in Adage the answer may be yes but below the surface there is an easier explanation.

If I’m a disgruntled customer, or just someone that is trying to get something resolved with a company I’m doing business with, chances are I’m going to go the traditional route; Phone, email, live chat, trouble ticket, phone again..It’s what I know-it’s how I am conditioned. Right?

What if I’m getting nowhere? And I know this social media thing might give me any time access to a company to get my problem resolved? Or at least to be heard? I should do it, right? Absolutely!

On the flip side, If the company is listening and monitoring, that company now has a chance because of social media, to get it right or to fix things before they spiral out of control. Right? And let’s face it, all the customer wants is to get their problem solved-that’s all.

But if said company screws  it up, or if I’m getting nowhere-what were my options in the past? Does this look familiar? Phone, email, live chat, trouble ticket, phone again..It’s what I know-it’s how I am conditioned.

According to Pete Blackshaw of Nielsen Online Digital Strategic Services, he thinks that social media is disrupting the harmony between departments when it comes to dealing with irate customers.

I say screw that. That’s their problem, not mine. I’m the customer and now finally, the tables have been turned. Social media is my ally. Treat me right and I’ll tell everyone how great your company is-if you don’t, then watch out.


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The Deets

Marc Meyer is a Digital and Social Media Strategist at DRMG. This is my personal blog where I share observations, thoughts and opinions that are all my own.

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