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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!

 

Giving Thanks for Connections IRL (in Real Life)

Nov/Wed | Category: theIdeas | 

IRL.  In real life.  Two years ago I didn’t know what that stood for, in fact, I’m not sure it even existed.  Today I know the acronym well.  Spending so much time online in a virtual world talking with Twitter friends, making new LinkedIn connections and following my favorite people on Facebook sometimes makes me feel more disconnected than connected. 

 

Ironically, with more power to connect than ever before, I’m looking forward to putting down the Blackberry and stepping away from the laptop to connect with people in real life. This Thanksgiving I’m replacing “LOL” with real laughs and hugging goodbye rather than typing “TTYL.”

 

This year, as you give thanks with your family and friends, remember the power of real life, in person connections.  After the holiday, put that lesson to work for you.  Get out more and start taking your online connections offline and get to know some of those 1000+ Twitter followers or Facebook fans IRL.  After all, how many really great stories start with “Remember that time on Facebook…”

 

We wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving and leave you with this heartwarming video to encourage you to stop and reconnect IRL…

 

RAVE: A Great Use of Twitter Auto Direct Message

Nov/Thu | Category: theRants&Raves | 

Of course, as soon as we post a rant about all of those annoying “Thanks for the following.  I look forward to tweeting with you.” auto direct messages, we FINALLY get a Twitter Auto direct message that’s a good use of the feature.  So we just had to share how this person used it. 

After starting up our new company Twitter account for the Social Method, we added a contact we met earlier in the year, Rebekah King, owner of ReBiz Works, and when we followed her on Twitter (@Rebekah_King) we received an auto DM to let us know we were following her personal account and that if we were looking for her business account we could follow her @ReBizWorks.  Useful, smart and definitely appreciated! 

Thanks Rebekah for a great example of how you might be able to use the auto DM feature on Twitter effectively if you have multiple accounts. 

Why Social Media is NOT the Magical Cure to Bottom Line Illness

Nov/Thu | Category: theIdeas | 

We’d all love to believe that there is a magic cure to these tough economic times and some will even sell you on the idea that social media is just that when it comes to making your bottom line healthier.

They are lying.

We know, we know, it’s hard to give up the dream.  We all want to believe there is a magical get rich quick scheme that will allow us to retire by the end of the year.  I’m definitely on board with that concept.  However, the only people that’s likely to happen for are those that make a fortune off of selling you on the idea that social media is your magical solution.

So, let’s establish something first and foremost – SOCIAL MEDIA IS A TOOL IT IS NOT A STRATEGY.

If your objective reads “Build a Facebook Page” or “Tweet daily” then you’ve failed.  Not because these are bad things to do necessarily but because your not thinking about the PURPOSE of doing them.

Our suggestion:  start over. Clear the slate and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who are the audiences interested in my brand/product/service?
  • How are our relationships with those audiences now?
  • How can we improve those relationships?
  • What is the benefit of an improved relationship to both us and to them?
  • How can we use the new media tools to add to our business objectives?

One of our favorite Social Media minds, Jason Falls from Social Media Explorer had a great post today on the components of successful social media strategy and shared this great diagram:

 

We completely agree with this diagram and post and would add to this saying that these are the same things that also can be looked at from a higher level and create a great marketing strategy overall.  Basically, know your business and what differentiates it, know who you want to reach, know how to reach them and know how to encourage them to do what you want when you reach them.

So, back to the lesson – to succeed, you can’t think of social media, or any marketing technique, as a “quick fix.”  To be effective you have to ALWAYS START WITH STRATEGY and think about how you’re going to use all these tools and tactics to accomplish your business objectives.

Once you’ve thought about your overall goals and objectives, drill down into how all of these tools can be used to accomplish those objectives taking into account how your customers use these mediums.  Create an overall strategy for your social media efforts that fits in and integrates with all of the other efforts you are putting forth.  THEN begin to think through the tactical applications for each medium you plan to use.

Now you’re ready to go.  It’s not going to happen overnight.  It will take time, commitment, perseverance but this strategy you’ve created will keep you on course and focused on having an EFFECTIVE and MEANINGFUL presence on social networks.

In subsequent posts we’re going to explore each stage of this process in-depth from writing the strategy through identifying the best players in your organization to implement your strategy all the way down to how you actually set up networks – step by step.  So, subscribe to our blog, follow us on Twitter or become a fan on Facebook – whichever works best for you – and stay updated as we share more information and ideas you can use.

 

RANT: Turn off Your Twitter Auto Direct Message.

Nov/Wed | Category: theRants&Raves | 

We get it.  Generally it starts with a good intention like “I want to acknowledge all of the fine people that follow me on Twitter” but then a bad execution is born – the Auto Direct Message (DM).  Sure you appreciate your new followers, but since when is a canned response to anything professional or appreciative?  STOP IT!

 

Want to appreciate a new follower?  Go to their page, see what they’re about.  If you’re interested in them, follow them back and send them a PERSONAL note relevant to them. 

What?  That would actually take time and effort?  

HELLO!  You’re in SOCIAL media.  Being SOCIAL is the point.  

If someone approached you at a party, you wouldn’t say, “hello, nice to meet you.  I am Sam.  I work at Widgets Inc., here’s a card with a link to my video to learn more about me” to everyone you meet would you?  Then don’t do it online.

So how do you do it right?  Revisit the intent.  We recently had a new follower who’s profile said they love Philly sports teams so we asked if they were excited about the Phillies in the World Series (this was prior to them taking a Yankees beating).  It showed we took notice of them and started a conversation between us.  Objective achieved.  It took less than two minutes.

One word of caution here – don’t be fake.  If you’re really not all that interested in that person then no need to send them a note with feigned interest.  Simply wait until they post something interesting to you and respond to it.  Again, appreciation shown, objective achieved. 

Lesson:  just because the online tool is available, it doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.  Think it through first.  If you MUST have an auto DM, don’t expect it to endear you to your new followers.  Our typical reaction is an eye roll and a quick delete. 

Got it?

 

Rules for Surviving Zombieland Apply to Social Marketing

Nov/Wed | Category: theTricks | 

Recently I had the distinct pleasure of going to see Zombieland.  Well, that might be an exaggeration.  My preferences are always romantic comedy or a good horror flick (which I’m rapidly becoming convinced they don’t make anymore).  However, like any good wife, I throw my husband a bone every now and again so I granted him the movie night choice.

Honestly, it was a thoroughly enjoyable movie, but I couldn’t help but draw parallels to working in social, or engagement, marketing and being an ass-kicker with a smart set of rules like Michael Cera.  In fact, I thought his rules for surviving Zombieland could easily be applied to engagement marketing.  Think I’m crazy?  Let me break it down for you:

 

Rule One:  Cardio. Just like the need to outrun the undead, effective engagement marketing plans need to stay lean and fit.  It’s not a once a week deal, it’s every day, consistent practice that allows you to win.

 

Rule Two:  Beware of Bathrooms. Okay, well maybe not quite so applicable, but probably worthwhile to note not to select your engagement marketing partner from a number on the bathroom wall.

 

Rule Three:  Seatbelts. Safety first is always the best policy.  Be sure your engagement marketing plan includes consideration for handling tense or potentially harmful situations effectively.

 

Rule Four:  DoubleTap. Hit ‘em twice – drive your message but also be sure to deliver value and give them that extra shot of information.

 

Rule Five:  No attachments. Don’t get roped into long-term contracts for engagement marketing support until you’re absolutely sure this is not something you can manage internally.  It’s always best to have someone on the inside manage the job.

 

Rule Six:  Travel in a Group. The whole point of engagement marketing is ENGAGING!  So be sure you’re traveling with partners, customers, employees and any other people critical to have on board.

 

Rule Seven:  Keep Dumb Dumbs Close at Hand. In this case, so you can educate them – on your brand, on your products and on topics that add value to their conversations.  There is a lot of misinformation out there, so keep an eye on it and correct it quickly and politely.

 

Rule Eight:  Get a Kick Ass Partner. There are a million “social media experts” appearing on the scene, but there are a handful of really kick ass people that can help you out.  Find them.  When you meet with them they should talk about engagement with your audiences and creating a strategy.  They should not just show you a series of Facebook pages they’ve created.

 

Rule Nine: Guns are for hunting, not Zombie Killing. Keep tools in your arsenal that are always ready and easy for your team to use, repeatedly without much effort.  Using tools that require “reloading” or are time consuming don’t fit well into the lives of those social types that need to be continually moving.

 

Rule Ten:  Be Quiet. Too many people jump into shouting out their messages into the wide digital west too quickly – not knowing what angry monster could be stirred.  Don’t be those people.  Listen first.  Know who is in the room before you start the conversation so you know you’re saying the right thing.

 

See?! Surviving Zombieland is not so different than surviving in the engagement marketing world.   A parting word to the wise:  beware of blood thirsty so-called “social media experts” trying to infect you.  They’re out there…

 

 

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.

 

SquareSpace: Making it Hip to be Square

Oct/Wed | Category: theTools | 

Despite it’s “Square” name, SquareSpace is anything but!  When we embarked on the adventure of starting the Social Method, we had a few options for creating a site and most of them were basically free as we really wanted to focus on a blog – WordPress, Blogger, TypePad.  However, these choices only offer limited options in terms of customizing unless you can create your own Custom Style Sheet (CSS).  We’re good, but we’re not that good.  So, our options were to suffer with a standard design or pay someone to create one for us.  We’ve got lots of great contacts that could rock the creative on a CSS for the Social Method, but then we heard about SquareSpace.

So we headed on over to SquareSpace.com to check it out and saw this:

 

Squarespace Tour Video from Squarespace on Vimeo.

 

 

Well hello lovah!  We were intrigued and with free 14 day trial, there wasn’t much to lose.  We signed up and began watching their great instructional videos about customizing your page.  Then we picked a starting theme and off we went!  It took some time and a lot of playing with options to get to where we wanted – in fact, we continue to tinker with it all the time. However, each day we discover more facets of the site we love – file sharing and storage capabilities, excellent integration with Google analytics.  The best part?  They have step-by-step instructions to do it all!

 

So, with SquareSpace, for a mere $30 per month and a little elbow grease, you get a brand appropriate, custom website that we think competes with those that are professionally developed for thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars.  Yeah, now that is definitely hip.

 

Facebook Tagging: Newest B-to-B Engagement Tool

Oct/Sat | Category: theTricks | 

It was just earlier this week that Facebook announced their new tagging tool for easily tagging your friends in updates.  Immediately we hopped on to try it out since we had grown accustomed to this on Twitter.  It was pretty cool and we like how the name appears when you begin typing “@” and then you can select and have it autofill.  Very cool.

However, it was a discovery we made today that had us realizing the true potential of this new tool.  Prior to this feature, a brand page could never comment on a user page or on another brand page.  You might think that’s not such a big deal, but then think about all the companies you partner with – suppliers, vendors, clients, non-profits.  Now, imagine being able to leave a note of thanks on their page.  Or tag them in a note about an upcoming event you are working on together.  Now you not only reach your audience – you also reach theirs.

This is where we start getting really excited because it goes back to being about a RELATIONSHIP.  Tagging people or other pages helps them know you are talking about them and helps you broaden your reach to their audience and as they reciprocate, the same happens for them.  It’s about synergy and harnessing the true power of partnerships – and that is AWESOME.

So, here are a few things you need to know to start doing this on your own:

  1. To tag as a brand, you have to be able to post as a brand which means you have to be an administrator for that page.
  2. If you want to tag a person, group or brand page, you must personally be a friend or fan of that page.
  3. To do the actual tagging, read the instructions on the Facebook blog and that will help you get started – it’s pretty easy though.

Now, start thinking about the companies you work with and want to build a stronger relationship with and get posting.  We are still just learning the potential with this feature, but so far we’re big fans!

 

 

 

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.