Monday, September 17, 2012 | Leave a Comment
In addition to Greenough’s social media listening platform, I love playing with tools, widgets and apps out there to test out hypotheses and satisfy my pangs of curiosity. One tool I’m a fan of is a free Twitter analytics service called Topsy. Yesterday, I was playing with keywords and testing different “rivalries” to see how they played out on Twitter. Purely to satisfy my own whim, I compared the number of times Twitter users mentioned the words “Twitter,” “Facebook” and “LinkedIn” during the past month.
A couple of noteworthy observations and patterns that piqued my interest:
- At only one point during the entire month does Facebook fall out of first place as the more-frequently-mentioned social network among Twitter users (on August 18).
- Unlike a lot of closely-related topics (e.g. Democrats and Republicans), Facebook and Twitter generally don’t follow the same patterns of ups and downs.
- Mentions of Twitter declined sharply on Fridays, while mentions of Facebook tended to trend downward on Saturdays.
- LinkedIn is mentioned significantly less than Facebook or Twitter.
One might think that Twitter (the topic) would be discussed more among Twitter users than Facebook (the topic), but that’s not the case. How come? I couldn’t leave well enough alone, so I did some digging and musing to try to identify some possible contributing factors.
Potential reasons why Facebook may have edged out Twitter in mentions:
- When someone talks about Twitter, often they’ll just talk about tweets without saying where they were tweeted (for humans, Twitter’s the only place you can tweet); With Facebook, you use regular verbs that still require you to include the word “Facebook.” E.g. We liked the page on Facebook; He posted the photo on Facebook; I updated my status on Facebook.
- There are more aspects of Facebook to master, meaning that there are more tips, tricks, questions, etc. floating around out there.
- Facebook has more users than Twitter, so it stands to reason that it’d have more mentions, even within the Twitter channel. Facebook is not as open as Twitter and information doesn’t flow as freely, so Twitter is an easier channel through which to seek information or search for like-minded users.
- Facebook is just in the news more than Twitter – IPO, privacy issues.
- Promoting Facebook contests/giveaways
LinkedIn is no small potatoes in the social realm, so why is it barely a blip on the radar when tracking mentions on Twitter? I have a few guesses, but what do YOU think? Share your thoughts in the comment section on this or on any of the other observations that beg for further explanation.
– Anne Norris is a senior consultant, digital and social media. Follow Anne on Twitter: @anne_norris
Thursday, May 3, 2012 | Leave a Comment
Surveying your customers in order to gauge their satisfaction with your products or services is nothing new—and applying that same principle to a PR, marketing and communications agency such as ours makes perfect sense. And we’ve been measuring client satisfaction for 11 years.
The results, as you might expect, help us assess our strengths and weaknesses, and they form a strong foundation for determining the agency’s to-dos, whether that’s to build on our ability to drive new sales for our customers or polish our storytelling capabilities.
Instead of purely bragging about our results, however, which you can see a select sampling of here, we challenge you to assess your own PR/marketing/communications agency on the following criteria:
1) Is your agency an extension of your own team? By this I mean does your agency work efficiently and effectively with your staff? Do the two teams have a solid rapport and bullet-proof communication? Does your agency enhance your own capabilities (versus creating redundancy) and complement your existing skillset (versus replicating key abilities)? If it didn’t violate any contracts or policies, would you hire the staff at your agency as employees? Do they have the same (or complementary) core values, work ethic, personal style (and even sense of humor) as your strongest team members?
2) Does your agency demonstrate a passion for your business? Let’s face it—it’s difficult for anyone to know your business as well as you do—but a good agency can come damn close—and should. Your perfect agency should demonstrate complete immersion in your industry, including knowing your competitors, understanding the key issues and having a familiarty with the major players, trends and developments. We’re not talking about a quick refresh before your next in-person visit or conference call—we’re referring to a deep and ongoing knowledge of all your strengths, weakenesses and paint points—internal and external. In a word, your agency should be a subject matter expert in your company and your industry.
3) Does your agency work proactively on your behalf? Someone once said you can’t teach people to be proactive—they either are or aren’t. In my opinion, the best employees are wired to take charge and think ahead—they try to solve problems ahead of the curve. The flip side, naturally, is less desirable—the reactive (versus proactive) employee waits for your orders before they move. Seems pretty clear which type makes a better partner, don’t you think?
4) Last but not least, and perhaps most importantly, does your agency help drive new sales? Is your agency connecting you to qualified leads? Yes, a large part of PR, marketing and comuinications work involves building a brand, whether that’s through thought leadership (contributed articles), social media (Facebook likes) and/or media coverage (Wall Street Journal). But is your agency working from a strategic point of view, directing, managing and integrating all the efforts, from content creation and media outreach to social media, ongoing measurement and reliable follow-up, in order to drive new business into your hopper? At the end of the day, just answering that one simple question may be the truth you need.
Barbara Call is director of content at Greenough. Follow her on Twitter @BarbaraCall1
Thursday, May 3, 2012 | Leave a Comment
How many of our Twitter followers are real buyers? What percentage of our tweets do followers actually see? Are those new Facebook likes really valuable over time? Certainly you’ve posed similar questions to your marketing team or agency.
Getting answers to questions like these is challenging work—and well worth the effort. But even with access to so much data, we can still tell very little about customers and prospects by observing their relatively passive social network participation. To really understand behavior, we must rely on a concept that is both so simple yet so poorly applied in social marketing that it borders on stupidity: stimulus and response.
Most classically-trained marketers understand the concept of introducing an offer (stimulus) and waiting for a response. And over the years we’ve learned to not just measure uptake, but also to understand more about why and when a prospect actually becomes a real marketing-qualified lead. Significant investment is made in refining this process, but I hear too many stories about this discipline not finding its way into social engagement.
Before I go into five discipline-building tips, I must offer one strong caveat: I’m not saying that you should simply treat social networks like any other channel – these are venues for strategic brand storytelling, not lead gen repurposing. So, with that said, I offer five steps for bringing stimulus/response into your social marketing strategy:
- Listen first. Take the time to understand your audience before engaging them – it’s okay to listen for a while. Don’t even think about promotion until you’re sure you understand the community’s vibe.
- Earn your way in. Don’t think offer first. That will probably deliver new followers, friends, members and circle joiners who are undoubtedly there for the wrong reasons. Share, help and tell stories before you even think of asking for something.
- Tailor, don’t generalize. Why not segment your followers, friends, members, etc., for more targeted, relevant campaigns. Sure, it takes more time, but you’d be surprised at how much more lift you get when you really understand what makes different segments unique. Generalize and you’ll just be another marketer to your audience.
- Stimulate in bites, not batches. A campaign within social networks needn’t always be a fully-integrated, highly-structured program that relies on aggregated metrics alone. This is especially true in B2B marketing where five well-nurtured social contacts could actually make a salesperson’s quarter. Try to understand a few prospects better through bites of engagement and tailored offers and see what that yields.
- Study responses by hand. If you’ve listened, earned your way in, tailored your campaign and taken the extra effort to engage in bites, you likely have a good idea of who’s who in your strategically-expanding social ecosystem. Look at who they are, study commonalities and refine your content strategy to match your ideal prospects. Don’t simply generalize anymore.
We love data at Greenough. We pore over it daily, but we also understand that social marketing isn’t driven by data alone. Yes, stimulus and response works well with highly-structured data analysis, and you should have a plan for that too, but don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty and use it like a conversation instead of simply a scientific probe.
Scott Bauman is executive vice president at Greenough.
Thursday, March 15, 2012 | Leave a Comment
According to a recent Pew Internet and American Life Project survey, approximately 66 percent of adult Internet users say that they utilize social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. And the evidence is everywhere. People are tweeting and posting from the sidelines of NFL games, NASCAR racecars, red carpet events, the bathroom (ew) and even delivery rooms. So it doesn’t come as a surprise that our social media addiction carries over into the courtroom.
I recently read Steve Eder’s Jury Files: The Temptation of Twitter on the Wall Street Journal Law Blog. Eder refers to a new study in the Duke Law & Technology Review where, he writes, “one juror responded to an information survey by saying ‘nothing’ could prevent her from communicating through social media during a trial.”
It is with darn good reason that courts are concerned about what trial participants (primarily jurors) might say on social media. Insider information could leak before details can be made public and biases (or even perceived biases) could be formed based on a tweet or post. Even benign social media updates could raise serious questions about whether the juror is discussing the case elsewhere and could call into question a juror’s judgment/ability to follow instructions.
Late last year, a Florida juror sent a friend request to the defendant of the trial he was involved in and he was dismissed from the jury. Sounds like a clever way to get dismissed the next time you’re called for jury duty, doesn’t it? Well this juror didn’t quit while he was ‘ahead.’ He posted this comment on his Facebook page in response: “Score…I got dismissed!! Apparently they frown upon sending a friend request to the defendant… ha ha.”
But the story doesn’t end there: His friend request, coupled with this remark, got the fool charged with criminal contempt of court and a three-day jail sentence.
While the potential impact of a juror accessing social media is huge, these seemingly small threats toward justice are difficult to detect. In a survey conducted by the Federal Judicial Center late last year, 79 percent of judges who responded said they had “no way of knowing whether jurors had violated a social-media ban.” Well, if judges don’t keep a firm handle on social media behavior during trials, you better believe that attorneys will be watching social networks like hawks, looking for even the slightest juror indiscretion that could open the floodgates to a mistrial, throwing out a conviction or an acquittal.
Before you think me hyperbolic, consider this: In 2010, the Arkansas Supreme Court reversed a death sentence in a murder trial because a juror was tweeting about the case during deliberations. In fact, the juror leaked the trial’s verdict before it was officially announced. Someone with the defense spotted the objectionable tweets.
At some point in the future, jurors may even be required to disclose their Twitter handle, Facebook page and other social media accounts as part of a “social dossier.” Until courts come up with a way to effectively manage the outbound (and inbound) streams of communication, lawyers are doing themselves a great disservice if they’re not deeply immersed in social media monitoring and staying on top of social media trends and developments.
Here at Greenough we recognize that lawyers want to be lawyers, not experts in social media monitoring, and that’s where we can help. Working together, we can ensure that no social media funny business will jeopardize the fate of a defendant…or the future of our legal system.
Anne Norris is a senior consultant, social media, at Greenough. Twitter: @anne_norris.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010 | 1 Comment
There are those who will argue the trade show is dead, and while I've witnessed some decline of the industry event over the past few years, let's assume for a moment that the trade show is still an unquestioned staple of B2B marketing. Bear with me now…
A typical story might go like this: Mike Marketer picks four or five important shows to attend every year. How does he know they're important? Easy. Everybody who's anybody in the industry sector is there, and, of course, it's teeming with prospective customers who might be in need of the innovative, best-in-class solution from Mike’s company, TechTitan. There are usually a few current customers at the events, as well to whom the TechTitan event team might want to show a little love. Mike's usually part of that team, as are a few of TechTitan's product geniuses and sales wizards.
Mike starts planning months in advance. There are booth graphics and slogans to design; he usually picks an event or two to pour extra money into so TechTitan can grab a speaking slot for thought leadership; and then there's the question of getting everyone interested. Usually this involves spending a little extra for give-aways, preferably the latest i_____ (insert Apple product name here).
Visibility, a thought leadership platform, conversations with prospects, and new leads for sales are the reward for Mike's time, energy, and budget if all goes well at the event.
What if jumping into social media weren't really all that different from including an event in your marketing program? We hear a lot that companies don't see the value or don't have time. Often, they don't really know how either, or they want to just jump right in because how hard can it really be to write 140 characters? It may seem like a far-fetched comparison, but social media might not be all that different from the old staple of marketing – events.
A couple lessons about social from events:
1. Go because your target market is there
This was the first reason I started thinking about the comparison. In researching social media for a client, I was surprised to see how many people were saying "I need an innovative, best-in-class solution," or "Does anyone know about TechTitan? Do you like their products?" Okay, no, they weren't saying that exactly, but they were asking for solutions and product advice. It makes sense to show up at the shows where your customers and prospects are showing up. If they're showing up on Twitter or Facebook or LinkedIn, why shouldn't you show up there? (If they're not, then by all means, stay away from social media.)
2. Give something away
You can't actually hand someone an iPrize through Twitter (though you can certainly raffle one off), but just like at events, people love free stuff. Give them help! Give them information they can use! Share your network! If you do, they'll come visit your booth social media profile again. They might even bring their friends back to visit.
3. Please don't show up and start screaming. It's not very becoming.
At an event, if you want a captive audience to listen to your presentation, you can get it in one of a few ways. One, you're pretty darn smart and cool, so event coordinators want you to speak. Two, you pay up for a speaking slot or to host your own side-ring event. Or, three (which is becoming increasingly rare), you're articulate and have an out-of-this world idea and you earn your speaking slot.
You don't just walk out onto the event floor and start yelling about how awesome your company is and expect a crowd to emerge from the woodwork.
Along the lines of giving something away, in social media, you can't expect people to just spontaneously converge into an audience. While you can't buy your followers/fans/connections (at least just yet), you still need to be so cool people want to hear you (think Steve Jobs) or willing to invest (a lot of time and effort) or you're articulate and share great ideas. Usually, reality requires a combination of the latter two, just as Mike Marketer probably sponsors some shows and tries to earn speaking slots at others. And of course, being cool never hurts.
4. You need a plan
Mike from TechTitan puts a lot of planning effort into his events. Social media requires the same. What's the personality of your booth/profile? Who's on the team at the show/online? Ideally you've got a cross-section of people. Which shows/channels are best for reaching customers? For reaching analysts? What give-aways/content types really get prospects excited?
I'll stop here to avoid continuing the argument too far. Yes, it's somewhat of an apples-to-oranges comparison, but my hope is that it will help raise a few questions about why we're sometimes so quick to write off social media as not applicable for B2B marketing, in particular in the tech sector. And, while I do strongly believe that social media should not be solely a marketing initiative, that's often where it will gain foothold first. Any other ways one of the oldest tools of the trade and one of the newest may not be so different?
Contributed by Catharine Morgan. Follow her @c_morgan.