Archive for the ‘Social Media Marketing’ Category

Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to present  my views on social media analytics at Business Insider’s Social Media Analytics conference (you can view the slides from my presentation here).  The lessons I presented were based on my own experience, both based on my work at SAP but also on discussions with my peers in the industry.  They were centered around  the following three key takeaways:

1. Differentiate, but be consistent

Although this sounds like an oxymoron, defining a consistent social media analytics framework can help create a common vocabulary and allow you to learn by being able to consistently compare across your various campaigns.  There are three key dimensions as shown on the chart above:

  • Use case: It starts with understanding what you are trying to accomplish, and then driving your strategy and results based on those objectives.  Are you trying to build awareness with an audience not necessarily familiar with your brand and offerings, or are you trying to generate demand running a social media campaign?  These are two very different things and the way you measure success needs to vary based on these objectives.

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In this post I wrote last May, I highlighted how leveraging the ‘initiated’ (aka subject matter experts or champions) is a key ingredient for success in social media.  Now I want to detail how to leverage these colleagues in your various social media programs within your companies.

Altimeter Social Strategist Organizational ModelsAlmost one year ago, the Altimeter Group published this report, titled: The Career Path of the Corporate Social Strategist.  In it, they outlined the most commonly used social media organizational models in corporations.  As you can see on the image on the left, for more than 80% of the companies of the 140 social strategists interviewed, the social strategist has to rely on an extended group of colleagues to drive most of the change in the organization, since they are not under her direct control.  NOTE: Based on my interactions with my peers at other companies, I believe this figure is under-represented in the survey, and I only expect it to significantly increase as we mature (does anyone remember the dedicated email marketing teams of the early 2000s?)

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There are countless articles and blog posts comparing how social media is more akin to a marathon and not a sprint, but I only partially agree with this premise.

While, I believe these three key salient points are spot on…

  • Plan: Just like you would never run a marathon without proper planning (up to a year in advance), you should never kick-off any social media activity before you have identified your overall objectives and target audience.  You know when this not happening, when the first question is: ‘How do I set-up my Twitter handle?’ followed by the answer to your ‘why’ question by ‘because I need to get [pick your number] followers’.
  • Practice: Most experienced runners will tell you that they will start off by practicing brisk walks before they even start to run when preparing for a marathon.  I would argue that when it comes to social media, we are not even able to crawl yet.  Next time you get the question above, ask the person to engage in an existing external community first (whether it is a blog, LinkedIn group, etc.), or even better yet, an internal community if you happen to have those in your company.
  • Prepare for the long-haul: As any experienced runner will tell you, pacing yourself, especially during the first half of a marathon is key, both mentally and physically.  Similarly, when you are starting off with social media, you need to be mentally prepared and focused on a few activities and succeed with those before attempting to do more.  This will not only help you learn and showcase your accomplishments (which could be handy when you have to go to your manager asking for more budget), but will also teach you the discipline to be patient and consistent.

…I also believe there are at least two very fundamental differences, and hence the title of this post…

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Does this scenario sound familiar to you?

  • You participated in a Twitter discussion or event, using a hashtag
  • Because there was so much great content in the discussion, you planned to go back to it later to use it as a basis for your next blog.
  • You go to search.twitter.com, put in the hashtag and the search comes up blank.

If this rings true to you, here some simple steps to archive your Tweets and quickly create blogs with them.

1. Why are all your Tweets gone?

Sara Perez already said it so well in her own blog on ReadWriteWeb, that I am quoting:

“Did you know that your tweets have an expiration date on them? While they never really disappear from your own Twitter stream, they become unsearchable in only a matter of days. At first, Twitter held onto your tweets for around a month, but as the service grew more popular, this “date limit” has dramatically shortened. According to Twitter’s search documentation, the current date limit on the search index is “around 1.5 weeks but is dynamic and subject to shrink as the number of tweets per day continues to grow.”

2. Is there anything I can do?

Read the full blog here to get the answer.

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Last month I wrote this post sharing my views on how to achieve success in social media and one of the four key ingredients I had identified was the need to secure executive support.  I then saw this study that examined the social behaviors of the Fortune 100 CMOs. While the overall results did not appear too surprising, with only 15 out of the total 143 CMOs and Chief Communications Officers having active Twitter accounts, some of the companies on the list did surprise me.

I then decided to cross-reference these results with those of a 2009 Altimeter Group study that evaluated the overall ‘social’ score of the world’s top 100 brands, and this confirmed my suspicions.  Besides the fact that 8 of the 20 companies in the Fortune100 CMO study did not appear at all in the Altimeter Group study, the correlation of leadership in social business and whether your CMO is active on Twitter between the remaining 12 is quite low.  The most glaring outlier was Microsoft which ranked fifth (out of 100) in the Altimeter Group study, although their CMO appears to be dead last in the Fortune100 study.

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As a social media professional at SAP, I get many questions from colleagues who are new to social media and would like to add social media to their marketing mix. The learning curve on social media is still steep for most people, and in this blog, I have aggregated the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.

Many of my consulting engagements start with the sentence “My team wants to have a Twitter handle” or “I need to increase the number of fans for our Facebook page“.

 To that, there is only one answer: “Why”? And ,”Let’s take a step back”.

Before you get engaged in any kind of social media project, please ask yourself the following questions:

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Groupon LinkedIn facebook Twitter RenRenLinkedIn started the latest round of Social Media IPO mania with a now $7.11B valuation, followed quickly by Groupon’s SEC announcement of its intent to raise $750M for their IPO.  2011 is the “Chinese Year of the Bull” with RenRen, Kaixin001, and several other social-media knockoff companies following suit. Twitter’s much anticipated IPO and the recent estimate of Facebook’s IPO to exceed $100B will occupy our attentions for months.  With the addition of several other technology companies (Pandora, Zillow, Avaya), will we be caught up in a buying frenzy or is this ultimately good for the sluggish economy? Will this be the “Great Social Media Bubble” or economic salvation?

Bubble History

First, a quick “bubble” history lesson (and we will keep the complex economic theory to a minimum, thank you).    In general, bubbles occur when high volumes of trade occur at values of an inflated nature.  The bubble rapidly inflates by the high volumes of trade, but is unable to sustain itself and collapses, also known as “boom and bust.” Bubbles are not a newly crafted phenomenon.  The term was coined from the South Sea Bubble in 1720, from the overvaluation and speculation of the South Sea Company. Most of us now know of Tulip Mania from the 1630s, where a single bulb was valued at roughly $37,000.  There has been a major bubble each century, with at least 3 major ones in the 20th century (ending with Dot-Com) and at least one major one (Real Estate) in this new century.  While there is great debate on how to predict bubbles, they – like visiting in-laws – can appear without warning, have damaging long term effects, and have the ability to baffle even rational, intelligent people.

Bubble, Bubble, Toil and Trouble

Are we setting ourselves up for another bubble or is this ultimately good for our economy?  There is little doubt that values of these companies are mathematically inflated, with LinkedIn trading as high as 31-times its annual sales.  Groupon’s intent to raise $750M comes under speculation (read Forrester Research Sucharita Mulpuru’s fantastic article) as the company still can’t reach profitability with its $644M in revenue in Q1.  RenRen was just recently stalled as they were given a Hold rating by underwriters Deutsche Bank, who helped lead their IPO to $14 and are now down to just under $9.  The others will rush to market prior to Facebook’s much anticipated 2012 IPO.

WWRHD: What Would Reid Hoffman Do?

A big piece of this is what do newly printed billionaires do with their money?  If you believe that Reid Hoffman (founder of LinkedIn and now valued around $1.5B) will reinvest his newly minted money back into LinkedIn, new ventures and ultimately back into the economy, you probably fall into Jean-Baptiste Say’s camp, who said that buying power would only increase with more production. Namely, the way out of economic hardship is by reinvestment – that it is irrational to hoard it.  If you think Reid will stockpile his new found gains and wait until economic conditions favor it, you probably fall into John Maynard Keynes’ camp in which saving will ultimately lead to the bubble bursting. Lack of reinvestment – due to a myriad of reasons (unstable economy, for example) – keeps the bubble from sustaining itself and lends to its collapse.

Now what?

With a new CNN poll suggesting that 48% of Americans believe an economic depression – not just a recession – will occur within the next 12 months, do we care? 44% of Americans in that same poll stated that they will NEVER buy stocks again, leaving the decisions up to the remaining 56% of us. What is great about bubble is they are totally unpredictable. What is not unpredictable, is that the economy and how to ultimately handle these future IPOs will be much debated for the 2012 election cycle. Until we figure this out . . . Reid, if you are reading this, I have this great idea for start-up. Call me!

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