Experience Management Blog

Hear and Now: Social Listening (and Responding) in Real Time

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Listening isn’t a new concept.

In the 1850s, for example, playwrights, actors and artists in London would frequent a press clipping agency to see what was being said about them in the news — in essence, “listening” for mentions of themselves.

Fast forward to today and the same remains true about human nature: people want to know what’s being said about them. But, the opportunities for brands to leverage these conversations are limitless.

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Transparency and Simplicity Are The Keys To Privacy

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Keys to privacy

 

On the heels of the Snowden revelations and the complementary roles companies played, there are enormous debates going on right now about the privacy of individual consumer data.

The debates are well beyond just government collecting personal data. They get to the heart of what privacy is: the gradation between private and public, what collection is necessary and appropriate, and the use of data individually or in aggregate. It is going to be a while, if ever, before we can come to an agreement on these issues.

So, how should companies proceed in the meantime?

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How to Navigate the Wild West of Social Software

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social app map

 

 

About nine months ago, I was charged with creating a buyer’s guide for the social business applications market. The task seemed simple enough. I’ve written similar guides before and didn’t expect this project to be any different. But I was wrong – very, very wrong.

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What Can the US Navy Teach Brands About Being Social@Scale?

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As an organization or an entity begins to scale, it is common for things like operational efficiency to get in the way of interpersonal communications and relationships.

It’s common for things like customer experience or community cohesion to be sacrificed in the name of scale.

However, the central challenge of our time for large organizations that are faced with the rise of the empowered customer in the conversation economy is to not make that trade-off.

Instead, it’s to avoid the tyranny of just “doing” social and insist on delivering an experience across every touchpoint within every business silo that shows they are committed to “being” social. After all, that’s what people are entitled to. A real relationship.

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3 Reasons (Some) Marketers Will Give Up Earned Media in 2014

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Most people start slowing down in the few days leading up to Christmas.

Not my pal, Augie Ray who somehow found the energy to throw down a significant 2014 prediction.

His prediction: Three Reasons the Marketing Department Will Give Up On Earned Media in 2014

He’s Partially Right, but for the Wrong Reasons

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Facts and Fictions About Promoting a Facebook Post

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I will be the first person to say that I love Facebook. I love seeing photos of friends and figuring out how to use this powerful channel as an opportunity to build a brand’s community. However, I think anyone out there who runs a Facebook page for a brand has been frustrated to see a huge drop in fan impressions as Facebook is making the “pay to play” message very clear. If you’re ready to embrace this new way of thinking, then let’s chat about how to do it successfully… and how to avoid the confusing messages out there.

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The ROI on Stickers… and Social Media

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sprinklr stickers

You’ve seen them many times. Stickers on the cover of people’s laptops.

Some proclaim an allegiance to a movement, team or brand.

At Sprinklr, we have a few different stickers we’ve made over the course of the years.

Expensive? Not particularly, but if we went into the purchase of these stickers with the question of “What’s the ROI going to be?” we never would have bought them.

Recently, however, I had an experience that made me glad we did.

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Social Media Predictions for 2014

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Forecasting Marketing in 2014: Social Media Predictions

Even though spending on social media marketing is at an all-time high and continues to grow, there’s a good reason that the overall portion of the marketing budget dedicated to social channels remains comparatively small. Frankly, this is a bit surprising. It’s been nearly 10 years after social media arrived on the scene and today social media essentially dominates as a share of digital consumer attention, yet social channels remain an under served target for many businesses.

The underlying reasons for this general underinvestment in social media marketing are complex. In general, marketers have discovered that attaining their objectives through social media can be 1) less predictable, 2) the outcomes harder to tie to specific business goals, and 3) because the discipline itself is one of the fasted changing in the media business. Also, directly translating traditional marketing activities into social media usually doesn’t produce the best results, as marketing efforts typically have to be rethought for two-way engagement, user participation, and/or viral amplification.

Real-Time Marketing Cycle for Social Media

Some of the current data is sobering:

Yet over 70% of marketers plan on increasing their investment in social media next year, and by an average of 50%. This means marketers will be doing more in social, expectations by the business will be higher, and successful outcomes more important than ever.

In this environment then, my research indicates that marketing teams will be looking to increase the effectiveness of their social marketing efforts in three ways: a) by better adapting their digital assets and campaigns to social channels, b) shifting to a focus to managing for quality metrics, instead of just quantitative measures, and c) preparing for more rapid engagement in new channels including mobile and new emerging social networks.

Against this backdrop, here’s what 2014 holds in store for social media marketing:

  1. Marketers will get Facebook fatigue as the social networking giant continues to change its algorithms. Fresh off the most recent — and rather contentious — changes to brand pages, marketers will re-evaluate how much they invest in the platform in 2014, looking for a more diversified social strategy. I’ve long recommended that companies serious about social media should avoid driving their traffic to Facebook in general, and the latest round of changes by Facebook should give marketers reason to carefully rethink their plans.
  2. The resurgence of Google+. Now that Google+ has grown recently to become the #2 social network online, it will get new respect by marketers next year, who will figure out how to incorporate it into their social marketing plans.
  3. Image-based services and surprisingly, blogging, will see new emphasis. Whether it is Pinterest or Instagram, or images in feeds on Twitter and Facebook, compelling visuals continue to drive high engagement and attention. Marketers will be looking at expanding their efforts in this area next year. Blogging will also return as a key engagement strategy that avoids the lock-in and control issues of major social media sites.
  4. Integrated marketing begins in earnest. In 2014 it’ll be practical for the average organization to largely achieve a long-standing goal: Easily create an integrated marketing campaign that has presence and engagement capabilities at all the major social and non-social touchpoints. What’s new that will finally make this happen? The rise, maturity, and recent prominence of new multi-channel and “omnichannel” marketing platforms like Marketo and Eloqua that perform a lot of the work automatically to make consumer experiences seamless across Web, mobile, social, and other digital channels.
  5. Real-time marketing will get real. RTM was all the rage this year, and powerful examples like T-Mobile’s customer retention effort demonstrated that major, market shifting results were possible. But most organizations were just learning about it in 2013. Next year, they will begin integrated real-time efforts into their social media efforts, particularly as more companies build social media command centers capable of scaled listening, triage, and dispatch
  6. Social marketers will continue to struggle with mobile. Over 250 million Facebook users are mobile-only and that number is growing. While Facebook was able to gets its act together around mobile, it took an investment and effort that most marketing organizations won’t possess. Organizations willing to focus on mobile-first for their social marketing efforts will fare better, but it will be another difficult year adapting marketing strategies to both social and mobile.
  7. The move to measurement of quality of engagement, instead of quantity. Not that quantity won’t continue to matter, as it always determines the ultimate funnel size, but as measurement methods continue to improve dramatically, social marketers will also be able to determine if their efforts are resulting in the quality of engagement needed to drive business outcomes, like conversions. You can’t manage to what you can’t measure, and measuring quality of engagement will ensure more effective and efficient marketing campaigns in 2014
  8. A significant shift in the social networking landscape. The emergence of Snapchat and a host of other new social networks and apps shows how dynamic the industry is. Marketers will find it easy to focus on the old standbys like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, yet some of the best demographic segments will shift their attention to new social networking services in 2014, and smart marketers will allocate resources and budget next year to tap into them.

Of course, much more will happen in social media marketing next year, but these will be some of the most significant in my analysis. That’s not to say that some of the strategies of five years ago aren’t still key. For example, I’m still sanguine the major investments in customer communities have the biggest bang for the buck, even as the window increasingly closes on the easy opportunities.

What are you seeing as the biggest trends for social media marketing next year?

Real-Time Marketing Examples and Case Studies from 6 Major Brands

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Real-time marketing examples from 6 major brands

Real-time marketing enables companies to connect with consumers in the same way that consumers connect with each other – with timely, highly relevant content. When done correctly, interactions of this type increase engagement, boost earned media, and help humanize large brands.

Large organizations are constantly striving to be more engaging in social channels. They see the potential for earned media to offer transformational marketing benefits, but they struggle to be more than an outlet for company news and generic stock photos. Real-time marketing is a business practice that uses the conversations and activity of the market, consumers, and critical constituents to inform production of relevant and timely content. When brand content is rooted in this model, marketers can:

  • Become a source of trending news and content
  • Publically demonstrate a customer service commitment
  • Connect to seasonal events and trends

Our latest white paper outlines case studies from 6 major brands (Nissan, CitiBike, Absolut, WestJet, Xerox, and AT&T) that are achieving these outcomes through salient real-time marketing tactics.

Here’s an example of what’s inside our new white paper:

Absolut uses a local, current event to produce creative content 

5 Points NYC

Objective:

Absolut Vodka has a longstanding affiliation with the arts, and uses its social presences to align its brand with the art world. It made sense as an extension of that branding for Absolut to connect with the street art community as it processed the demise of the famed 5 Pointz graffiti park in New York.

Real-Time Marketing at Absolut
Action:

The spirits brand has an active Twitter presence, heavily focused on its involvement with visual arts and collaborations with the art community. The brand’s print advertising has long been praised for its creativity and artistic nature, and its social presence is a natural extension of that concept. (See #OpenCanvas, #TransformToday, #TransformBasel) So, in the wake of 5 Pointz’s closing, Absolut tweeted a simple image that memorialized the site.

Result:

The tweet yielded [117 retweets and 64 favorites], a substantial increase in engagement from the brand’s typical tweets (usually 1-10 retweets and 0-5 favorites). The success of this real-time tweet demonstrates the inclination of consumers and brand audiences to more readily engage with brand content when it is relevant and timely – especially when the brand has a longstanding voice in the context of a given trend.

Aligning your brand with the right trends

The brands we’ve looked at have determined practical ways to engage with audiences in real-time. They constantly seek ways to improve these tactics, in order to enhance their brand perception and audience engagement. In aligning their content with trending topics, powerful stories, and relevant concepts, their brands are revitalized and more than just a business. It’s a new way to build brands, and now is the time for your team to get started.

Download a copy of “How 6 Brands Are Leading the Real-Time Marketing Charge” to learn how brands like Xerox, AT&T, Absolut and Nissan have implemented real-time strategies that enable them to produce timely content and engage with audiences.

CTA-6 RTM Exs

 

Global Social Analytics: You’re Doing It Wrong

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jumbled numbers

It seems about once a week I sit down with clients to discuss how they plan to measure their social activities across regions. Sometimes these metrics are well thought out; but most of the time, they’re the results of a caboodle of blog leftovers and bad consultants.

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