Archive for the ‘Social media monitoring’ Category.

The power of customer advocacy in a social media crisis

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Image by PhotoGraham via Flickr

Every brand with a Facebook page is at risk of a social media crisis. It could arise from any number of scenarios - from ostensibly innocuous customer complaints to a huge backlash against your perceived values. A brand’s Facebook wall is now often the first stop for anyone wanting to make their fury known, and if word of that fury spreads you may find yourself on the receiving-end of a seemingly endless barrage of complaints.

Knowing how and when to respond is essential and we would always recommend a detailed crisis management plan and escalation policy as a top priority to any company using social media. It is not always appropriate for you to respond to comments online and a good crisis management plan will clearly lay out when you should respond (and how) and when you shouldn’t.

However, in addition to what you do and how your brand responds, the best brands in social media often don’t have to respond at all. Their advocates do it for them. There are always some issues and queries that you will need to respond to (specific details of their account, complaints about your service) but in many cases having other customers to respond instead of you (or as well as you) can be even more powerful.

There can be a temptation to think that only the most lauded brands such as Apple or Gucci have strong advocates, but this is not true. Every brand has advocates, people who are loyal to your brand, products, people or services and will go out of their way to tell others about this. Identifying your advocates is one task, you then need to cultivate and build relationships with them online.

Here are three tips of how you can build relationships with advocates online:

1. Involve them in your product development processes

When we work with advocates for brands, the thing they most often discuss is ideas for the brand. Things they know don’t always work in the product. Ways the product could be improved. Things they have seen that competitors and substitutes do. Advocates are often the people who have the deepest knowledge of your product and want to talk to you about it. If you make it easy for them to do this and give them access to real decision makers at your brand you will build huge social credibility with them.

2. Let them try new products first

Advocates want to try your products and will tell others about them. Whilst giving out endless freebies is not a sustainable or sensible policy, giving samples of products (especially new products) to those who advocate your brand makes sense. They will give you instant and honest feedback, will feel rewarded by getting access to product before anybody else, and will help you to spread the message about your product before its launched.

3. Get to know them

Finally, but most importantly, you need to get to know your advocates. Spend time talking to them and getting to know them so that you can have a conversation with them on a human level. On a Facebook page that we run for pet owners we know the names of our advocates dogs, we chat to them about what their dogs have done at the weekend and know when it is their birthdays. Why? Because we’re genuinely interested in them as people and as dog owners and want to get to know them. If you are to make the most of your advocates you have to be genuinely interested in them and in their lives. This kind of honesty will be clear to them and will mean that you can have a real interaction with them on a human level.

Social media analytics. An interview with Socialbakers

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Socialbakers.com describes itself  as “the world’s fastest growing social media and digital analytics company” and claim “over 250,000 marketers as customers across all continents in over 60 countries”. We caught up with Katrina Wong, their VP of marketing to find out more about social media analytics and the future direction of one of the first companies in the world to have initial access to Facebook data.

FreshNetworks: So why do you think social media metrics are important for brands and businesses?

Katrina Wong:  Social media has completely revolutionised marketing. If you think back to the days before Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc., the information and feedback  a business got from its audience was via traditional market research and surveys. These were slow, costly processes. Now so much information about your target audience is available extremely fast and at your fingertips. You can get so much data and insight about your customers without much effort or work. That is super powerful.

FN: What does Socialbakers measure?

KW: We naturally look at the number of fans, number of followers, etc., but what we’re really focusing on is engagement - it’s so important to look deeper than at just the number of people on your page. It’s about what people are saying, how often are they saying it and drilling further into that.   It’s about how often people are visiting your page, how long are they staying there, how often are they saying things about your brand. It’s about the level and quality of feedback rather than being just about numbers; that’s how I think about the engagement metrics Socialbakers provides.

FN: What do you think are the most important metrics to look at in terms of engagement?

KW: I think its really important to look at a mixture of fan numbers, likes, and comments on Facebook and be able to see that on a daily or even hourly basis. Are they liking AND commenting? Are they just fans who don’t interact? It’s important to look at the relationship between these 3 metrics.

FM: Without using the tool what do you think are the best ways to measure social media?

KW: That’s really the hard part.  Facebook and the other social media platforms hold so much data and without a tool like Socialbakers, you’re really left to your own devices. You could just look at the data yourself, you can spend days on end manually counting likes, comments, retweets or whatever. You can do it, but if you want to be efficient, I’d seriously suggest using a tool or a platform like ours.

FN: Can you tell us a little bit about how Socialbakers works?

KW: We have two products. The first product we built was for analytics. This allows you to access, sort and export data very easily. One huge advantage for Socialbakers is that not only can you access the data for your company’s social media channels, you can access the data of your competitors and literally compare like with like, right there on the screen or in a printed report. Being able to monitor your competitors is powerful for a business that wants to stay ahead.  Competitive insight is unique to Socialbakers.

The second product - what we call our Engagement Builder -  is for social media campaign management. On one hand, you can manage your communication from one place - like scheduling updates - and assign responsibilities to your team members. On the other hand, you can create customisable Facebook applications for your page to engage your audience.

FN: Obviously you cover Facebook but what other platforms do you cover too?

KW: Google plus, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube. With regards to Twitter, we can show the number of followers.  We are looking at doing what we did for Facebook and adding that to our Twitter product — we’re working on this at the moment. We’re looking at country data, other location data, popularity on Twitter, etc.

We’re looking into how we can mine data from individual accounts as an aggregate for Twitter too. We’re hoping to replicate what we’ve done for Facebook on Twitter, as well as for all of the other social media platforms.

FN: Who do you see your main competitors to be?

KW: We get asked that a lot! We’re the only company to build a solution that interfaces with all the publicly available Facebook data rather than just interfacing with a subset of data. When I think about that, there’s no other company that does that.

FN: How far back does the data go in Socialbakers?

KW: The data goes back a few years, basically as long as we’ve been monitoring and we were monitoring very early on with Facebook.

FN: Aside from the platform developments you’ve already mentioned, what does the future hold for Socialbakers?

KW: From a product perspective, we have such a close relationship with Facebook that whenever they bring out something new, we’ll be able to develop something for it and usually the first to launch. Sometimes we’re one of four companies that they work with them in this way, so we’re definitely one of the first to know about something new.  We’re lucky we have history with them and this puts us in a really great position when it comes to Facebook and leading social media analytics.

Social media and the 2011 Rugby World Cup

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The world of social media has changed dramatically in the four years since the last world cup - back then, MySpace was the largest social network in North America with more than 110 million active monthly users,  Facebook had a mere 50 million active users and Twitter hadn’t even launched.

Move forward to the 2011 Rugby World Cup kicked off and while New Zealand are again the heavy favourites, as was the case four years ago, things are very different in the world of social media.

At the last count, Facebook had over 750 million active users, which, as I saw in an interesting infographic, would make it the third largest country in the world. Twitter has reached 100 million active users (although there are approx. 200 million registered accounts) and MySpace, which at its peak had 125 million active users, now has around 63 million.

Social media stats about the rugby world cup discussion so far:

Image and data source: Ubervu

Since the start of the rugby world cup last Friday there have been almost 32,000 mentions of “RWC” or “Rugby World Cup” on social media sites - unsurprising 71% of these from men. The potential total impressions has been almost 24m to date.

The majority of these (almost 24,000) featured on Twitter, with Facebook discussion coming in second. It’s important to keep in mind though that this is only the content from Facebook that people have made publicly available.

Different Twitter policies for teams at the rugby world cup 2011:

Graham Henry, the New Zealand head coach, has decided to take a simple approach to preventing players from causing gaffes on Twitter by banning them from using the platform for the duration of the tournament:

“We haven’t had a policy up till now,” he said. “We’ve just asked them to make good decisions about that and, in the All Blacks camp, most of the time, they’ve made good decisions. But, at Rugby World Cup time, zilch.”

Meanwhile, the England team has not been banned from using Twitter, but they have been given some simple guidelines, and told to “think before they tweet”. Toby Flood, the England player was asked about the instructions given to the team and said:

“You just use your common sense. Don’t write anything that will become controversial or daft, and I think that’s the safest way to be.”

Of course, while sports stars and celebrities have much higher followings than the average person, the principles are the same for everyone. Back in January, O2 who sponsor a number of international rugby teams, including England, wrote a tongue-in-cheek piece on the O2 blog titled ‘5 Twitter Commandments for famous rugby players’.

And what about the numerous, non-celebrity social media users and what they discuss on social media during the rugby world cup?

The message for everyone should be the same – you are accountable for your actions, or in this case Tweets or comments on social media. The chances are that your boss will be following you, as well as some of your clients, so like the England rugby team have been warned, always “think before you tweet”.

A guide to measuring Twitter (using the API)

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There are lots of tools emerging that appear to give us wonderful statistics and data about Twitter, but it’s hard to know which data we actually want and how we want to receive it.

As Twitter’s API has been undergoing a few changes recently, we thought it would be useful to give you an overview of the information that you can still get from the platform itself, as well as providing some guidance on the best way to measure the data.

The four main data types on Twitter are:

  • User data - relates to the user who posted the message.
  • Friend and follower data - relates to the relationship a user has to other users.
  • Tweet data - all the details and content relating to a particular tweet.
  • Places and Geographic data - the geographic and location based aspects relating to a person or tweet.

There are also four main measurements that we can use to measure this data in order to understand the impact of the activity on Twitter:

  • Impressions - aggregated users exposed to messages.
  • Reach - number of unique users exposed to a message.
  • Frequency - number of times each unique user reached is exposed to a message.
  • Relevancy - reach to specific demographics.

When it comes to the ROI of these messages, it’s important to think about how they compare to your other channels in terms of reach and impressions.

Take a look at the presentation below - we hope it helps to reveal some of the Twitter data you can access through the API and ways in which you might go about measuring it.

View more presentations from FreshNetworks

Traackr, social media influence and value for brands

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Influencer identification and tracking tool Traackr didn’t feature in our social media influencers report so we thought it would be a good idea to have a chat with Traackr’s CEO and Co-founder, Pierre-Loïc Assayag, about the tool and, more generally, the value of social media influencers to brands and businesses…

So Pierre, to kick things off, what do you feel is the most accurate definition of an influencer?

All of us are influencers and have been for a long time. What’s different is how we define influence in this new online information age.

For me, an influencer is a person who has a disproportionate influence on others - the influence they exert on others is greater than the influence others have on them. Influencers cause a voluntary change to someones behaviour.

There is no “trick” to influence and the best influencers are open and upfront in the way they engage their audience; if brands don’t interact with influencers in the same way they will fail to engage.

Do you think influencers are valuable to brands and businesses?

In short - yes. Our client, Honda UK , used our tool to identify and engage with influencers to launch their first hybrid car, the Honda Insight.

Honda originally set out to engage with influential people in the motor industry space. However, Traackr helped them discover that only half their influencers existed in the motor industry space; the other half where people who were interested in environmental issues surrounding cars and hybrid vehicles.

At first Honda engaged with both sets of influencers in the same way - by treating them like journalists and focusing on the PR side of things. They were offered free rides, VIP treatment etc. While this worked for the motor enthusiasts,  this did not appeal to the environmental influencers. So Honda reached out to these people and appealed to their interest in the environmental impact of cars in general not the launch of the Honda Insight per se.  Honda gave their environmental influencers direct access to their research team in order to discuss long-term environmental plans for Honda.

By learning to talk to different influencers in different ways, Honda managed to develop a long term relationship with their influencers. What’s more, Traackr’s reports showed that mentions of ‘Honda Insight’ among the top influencers increased by 300% and estimated coverage increased by 675% as a result of Honda’s influencer engagement.

But why is this story valuable to brands? Brands need to play inside an influencer’s story and must show flexibility with their marketing efforts in order to succeed with influencer engagement. From a brand and business perspective influencers are much more valuable than just for marketing and PR: influencer discovery can be used in recruiting/HR, Politics, research, etc…

What do you think is the most accurate way of identifying influencers?

There’s no tool out there  (including us) that can identify the top influencers with 100% accuracy. Influence is such a rich concept that I don’t believe we’ll be able to truly do is with 100% technology and 0% human input. Influencer identification is always going to be a mix between a skilled user, a meaningful, relevant search string and good technology.

With that caveat, Traackr’s influencer platform allows you to locate, qualify and track online influencers within any market, conversation or topic in real-time.  The tool covers all platforms (ie, blogs, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Digg etc) and our authority score (our measure of influence) identifies individuals wherever they publish online and ranks their influence in a specific conversation based on our proprietary scoring engine.

Traackr uses 3 scores to measure influence:

  • Reach -   We measure the size of an audience across various data points and platforms. Influence is fluid and so we measure continuously over time as someone that got 7,000 hits to their blog 1 year ago may only get 7 today.
  • Resonance - this looks at the number link backs, retweets, comments etc. The tool looks for signs that a person can engage users around their content. We also include things like ratings and reviews on Amazon, Facebook likes, and YouTube comments and favourites.
  • Relevance - I love my brother very much and he does influence my life but not when it comes to financial advice!! Influence is highly contextual and identifying influencers that are relevant to your needs, market, sector, focus or whatever is vital for success. We use keywords and search strings to help measure relevance over time.

We’re going to be adding in 2 new scoring systems during Q2 of 2010. One will be based called “Relationships” and will be based on the social graph - it basically looks at who your connections are, how tightly you connected to them or whether your connections are influencers themselves. We’ll also be looking at a “Reputation” score and how people are percieved online by other people.

So why do you believe that Traackr is an effective tool for identifying influencers?

Traackr has been built solely to identify influencers. And our algorithms and measurements are so much more than just a popularity contest - context and relevance are quintessential to everything about Traackr.

The other difference is that we track a person not a platform. We follow the breadcrumb of a user across platform different platform types. Even if a person uses different names on different platform our search engine has been programmed to not only look at user name but also real name, keywords, location etc. However if a person is trying to keep certain channels separate or anonymous, Traackr won’t force the channel reconciliation as it’s usually a sign that the person doesn’t want brands to reach out to them on their personal channels.

We also use human validation if we find 2 channels that may or may not be from the same person. This process has been conducted internally at Traackr so far and will be opened to our user base in our next release next week.