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Category: theJustification

How Do Your Social Media Objectives Stack Up?

Dec/Tue | Category: theJustification | 

In working with clients big and small, one question is almost always the same: 

What can social media do for my business?

Our usual response is to ask them “What do you WANT social media to do for your business?” in return.  This can be a hard question to answer for newcomers to the space because they are still learning what the potential of a solid social media strategy is, so answers vary.  A popular answer is always “make money” or “sell product” but there are many other objectives you can strive to achieve through social media.  Today we discovered through one of our favorite social media minds, Jason Falls at Social Media Explorer some data recently released by Business.com on the Top Social Media Success Metrics:

 

This survey included more than 1,400 businesses, 69% of whom engage in social media marketing, and provides a great piece of data to benchmark your own program against.  Where do your priorities stack up?  Are you missing anything or do you need to rethink your focus?

A list like this also provides great insight on what can be gained through a strong social media strategy.  Interestingly, the all important “revenue” is ranked about halfway down and we see the generation of web traffic, engagement with prospects and customers and brand awareness as the highest priority overall. Which tells us that there are quite a few companies out there that really “get” social media.  They are understanding the value of creating and cultivating community – bringing people to a destination and then engaging with them. 

The only topics we thought were missing were internal uses for social media – engagement, brand ambassador building, communications, etc.  This could be due to the size of the companies that responded or the way questions were asked, but it’s something we challenge our clients not to forget.  While we know the customer is #1, happy, informed, excited employees are equally important.  Just today Drew McLelland shared a great MarketingProfs post on this:  Marketing Starts at HomeAmber Naslund of Altitude Branding also has a great series on Internal Social Media with excellent ideas of how to focus these efforts and leverage your team for results.

So now we ask you:  What are your social media success metrics?  Is there anything else missing from this list?  Share your thoughts in the comments.

Smarter Advertising: Measuring Buzz of an Ad Campaign Through Monitoring

Dec/Tue | Category: theJustification | 

A little over a month ago we met with a very smart media planning agency.  We talked about social monitoring and the insights you could learn and then started thinking the relation of that to placing ads might be interesting.  So, we selected an ad campaign that a Fortune 100 company is running with them to put the theory to the test.  (Note:  Due to NDA agreements we can’t disclose the name of the client or the campaign, but rest assured it’s a good one.)

Normally we’d start any program by looking at the objectives, but without access to the original campaign strategy, that wasn’t possible.  Instead, we established our goal as simply to measure buzz and sentiment around the campaign in general.  We hoped to reveal how much conversation the campaign sparked and among what audience.

To set up the monitoring, we carefully created a list of keywords and phrases to monitor in order to measure the buzz.  We then built this into the two tools we are currently testing – Filtrbox and Scout Labs – and set it to run.

The initial “buzz” report returned a lot of advertising trade coverage from mainstream media and blogs resulting mostly from the press release the company had sent out.  This initial blip quickly died down and it almost seemed that all we were going to be able to say was that there was effectively zero buzz.  However, toward the end of the week, we began to pick up on strong reactions to the celebrity talent used in the campaign.  Quickly we added those as separate key words so we could track the buzz and conversation sentiment around each.

What we found by was eye opening – while the mainstream news and blog coverage of the campaign faded off, the social discussion about these celebrities picked up each week.  People were tweeting to the celebs that they loved (or hated) them in the commercials and their friends were retweeting these comments – all with links to footage of the ads the client posted on YouTube!  Social media was a measurable driver in the campaign.  Here’s what the chart looks like after five weeks of tracking:

The other exciting part of this discovery is opportunity.  To engagement marketers each of these mentions symbolizes an opportunity to talk to the customer – to thank them for their appreciation, to point out to them the outtakes videos of that commercial which they might enjoy – to drive conversation and bring them deeper into the brand experience.

The data we collected through monitoring also tells us how the campaign and it’s components are fairing in the court of true public opinion – and what that public consists of.  For example, one celeb resonated with African American men particularly well while another sparked conversation among women age 30-45 (this was noticed antecdotally but a tool like “MAP” Sysomos could give us even greater detail on these demographics should the client be interested).  Two other celebs that were used were almost never mentioned in the social space.  Where we’re at now is looking back to the business objectives to determine if these things are good or bad.  If “buzz” is one of the desired objectives, this data can help influence a decision on what ads to continue to place and which may need to be discontinued.

The lesson we learned is that social media monitoring alone can be a powerful tool in tracking an ad campaign, but you can also leverage these findings to identify new engagement opportunities with your customers.  However, before you rush off to set up your current campaign, we want to stress the importance of defining the objectives of the campaign clearly so that you can use this data to help you measure your success against those objectives and utilize the intelligence collected to its fullest potential.

 

Anyone else out there made great discoveries using tracking tools?  We’d love to hear your stories!

 

Telling the Stories Your Customers Want to Hear

Oct/Fri | Category: theJustification | 

With heavy backgrounds in public relations and communications, we’ve spent a lot of time testing the effectiveness of different methods of storytelling.

 

When we first started out in our careers we were ushered to a fax machine and given an endless printout from the dot matrix printer with the name and fax number of every journalist in the immediate and not so immediate area.  Little attention was paid to the outlet or the reporter it would be delivered to.  Our carefully crafted press release would simply roll off the fax and into a pile of thousands of others.  It was a long shot – working on take rates not unlike that of direct mail.  If we were lucky 5% might reach out for more information or even write a story.

 

It didn’t work.  Then some of us started thinking – let’s just fax this to the outlets that the story would be a fit for.  Travel stories no longer went to tech magazines and local event announcements stopped going to those out of area.  Results improved.

 

Then email came along and allowed us to reach specific reporters with the stories that were appropriate for that particular section.  GENIUS!  We started targeting our releases to the right people.  Results improved again.

 

Finally, we dropped the never ending pitch lists all together and started customizing our pitches to each journalist.  We started thinking what they would need to tell a great story and about what their audience would want to read.  We even went as far as to think about how we could give them a story angle completely customized to them.  An automotive publication with a writer that loves racing – let’s lead with some not-so-well-known facts about our racing history.  They love toys?  Let’s tell them about the cool factor of the new sound system’s iPod integration.  And the results?  Yep, you guessed it – improved DRAMATICALLY!

 

It was at this point we, as PR and communications professionals, struck gold.  We were developing actual relationships. Not by having to buy a journalist lunch or give them free product, but by just listening, understanding what they want and what their interests are and then letting them know how our opportunity met their need or desire. We were useful to them and they became loyal.

 

Now, take this same model and apply it to the more traditional side of marketing – advertising.  Advertising starts off as the one to many conversation (or one to thousands in most cases) with an advertisement, direct mail piece, etc.  From there we move into targeted ads and then keyword purchasing.  We buy media in particular magazines and on particular networks and for a while it’s effective but then consumers stop listening.

 

Enter search and social media.  The platforms that began emerging offered opportunities for the customers to get quickly to exactly what they want, bypassing your advertisements in the process.  However, this same technology also allowed us to start listening to consumers – finding out what they were saying and what they were interested in and then allowing you a forum in which to respond.

 

Once you build the right tools to enable engagement and communication, you can interact directly with your customers.  But bear in mind, they will see through attempts at overt marketing so proceed using honest information and a true desire to be authentic* and transparent.*  Do this and you can build a relationship with your customer making yourself valuable to them.

 

This is your opportunity to tell your cutomer the story they’ve been wanting to hear.

 

*Note:  we’ll talk more about the ideas of authenticity and transparency in future posts, but remember the open forum is self-policing so if you lie, mislead, cover up or are otherwise dishonest, someone will call you out.  It’s almost guaranteed.

 

Social Media is FAR more than a Fad.

Oct/Fri | Category: theJustification | 

My dad refers to it as the “tweety thing” and my husband thinks that Facebook has no purpose except to keep me employed.  Ah, the joys of trying to constantly explain that…

 

…SOCIAL MEDIA IS NOT A FAD. 

 

At first I explained the power of social media and the shift its caused in consumer behavior and attitude.  It went something like this, “Social media, like Facebook and Twitter, have fundamentally changed…  blah, blah, blah” and was met with this glassy-eyed stare I came to know well.  They would smile and nod, but always with that vacant look.  They just didn’t get it. 

 

Well, thank goodness for the Eric Qualman, author of “SocialNomics” – a man far more talented than I at pairing the data – all those mind blowing new facts – with theories on marketing.  Then he got even smarter and added simple but effective graphics and some good music.  Now instead of explaining “that Facestalker thing” and the draw of “twits,” I simply sit people down in front of this video for four minutes and watch the light bulb go off. 

 

 

If you need any more convincing than that, you probably don’t yet own a computer and are still wondering about how you could condense your book of 500 CDs into a portable form so you can listen to it on a plane, so do yourself a favor and send us a letter via mail and we’ll gladly refer you to Dell where you can start your journey into this century.

 

For the rest of you, hope you were as inspired by this as I was.