Archive for the ‘Word of Mouth’ Category.

Why we’ll all be talking about the value of social media in 2011

337/365: The Big Money
Image by DavidDMuir via Flickr

The debate and discussions about measuring social media, and those about social media ROI, often focus more on what can be measured than on the value that social media is creating for a brand. Over the last few years as brands have been experimenting with social media this is not unexpected. When we go through periods of innovation and experimentation we always tend to explore and discover the new tools we are using. But as social media has become more mainstream for brands, both as part of the marketing mix and more broadly across the business, we need to move from discussing the things we can measure to the things we should measure. From measurements to the actual value that social is adding to a brand.

Measuring and then evaluating the value that social is adding to a brand will be different from brand to brand. They are using social in different ways, across different parts of their business and are used to measuring value in different ways. There is not one solution, a panacea for all our social media measurement ills. Things are more complicated than that. However, this does not mean that we cannot measure the value we are having when we use social media. And as social media has moved from innovation and experimentation to more mainstream we need to take a more mainstream approach to value. And we need to talk about what we are measuring and the value social is creating.

There are many things that are not examples ‘value’ from social media - a large number of followers on Twitter or Likes on Facebook for example, or a large number of visits to an online community. Such things, whilst easy to measure, are not, in themselves, examples of business value. It is relatively easy to get more Likes of your brand on Facebook (running Facebook advertising being one obvious example), and this may open up more people you can broadcast your messaging to via their wall, but business value comes not from having Likes, but from what these people do for you. Brands and social media agencies need to talk more about this, about what their social media is doing for them and the value it is adding.

Now that social is a mainstream part of business, value should be expressed in more mainstream terms. We should be talking about things such as a lowered cost of new customer acquisition, and increased lifetime value of customer, a reduction in average customer serving costs, increased customer satisfaction, or greater brand awareness. We should be talking about actual value to the business rather than social media measurements. We should be talking about why we started using social in the first place and the impact it is having across the business

There are many things we can and should measure, but in 2011 the conversation will be about the value social is adding to a brand. Brands should be talking internally in these terms and they should expect any social media agency that works with them to be talking in these terms too.

This post is part of an informal series: Social Media in 2011.

What we can learn from Vodafone’s #mademesmile Twitter campaign

Vodafone homepage

Vodafone homepage

Vodafone has been running a great campaign in the UK for Christmas called ‘The 12 Days of Smiles’ - 12 days of offers associated with the 12 days of Christmas. Last week (and over this weekend) they launched a social media element to this campaign on Twitter and on their website homepage.

The idea was simple:

  • Tweet something that made you smile today
  • Add the hadhtag #mademesmile
  • All tweets with this hashtag would be streamed live on the Vodafone homepage

The outcome was a homepage over the weekend riddled with thoughts on how much tax Vodafone should be paying, and various other less-than-ideal things. You can see two such tweets in this screengrab from the Vodafone homepage.

That this happened is not a surprise. There are many cases of similar things happening - brand live streams tweets with a certain hashtag to their homepage, and hashtag gets taken over by people wanting to say other things about the brand (Skittles and the Conservative Party in the UK being relevant other examples). It is a surprise that Vodafone opted for this and reminds us all that when we are coming up with social media campaigns, we need to balance the creative idea with the business objectives and the business and brand risks.

Now, I don’t think that this is actually going to do a huge amount of damage to the brand, but it is a shame. A shame that they didn’t think about it thoroughly and use this valuable homepage real-estate in a better way. Also it suggests a lack of a clear strategy and consistently applied strategy of why they are using social media. A clear view of what benefits any campaign of tactic should bring to the brand. Only this helps you to evaluate creative ideas and make sure the things that we are doing make sense and add value to the business.

You can read more about this campaign here:

  • Tax protest turns Vodafone’s smile upside down
  • Vodafone’s hashtag hash

Facebook profile pictures, the NSPCC and charities in social media

DangerMouse and Penfold
Image by dullhunk via Flickr

This weekend friend after friend of mine on Facebook changed their profile picture. One changed it to a Smurf, another to He Man and another still to Bart Simpson. In total probably 25 of my 171 Facebook friends had a cartoon character as a profile picture by the time I had lunch on Saturday. And it wasn’t just my friends entering this craze - all over Facebook, profile pictures had been changed. Any why? Well that’s the pivotal question. If you were lucky enough to have a friend who had also added a status update that read:

Everyone please change your profile pic to your favourite childhood cartoon character until Monday 6th December in support of the NSPCC charity.

As the NSPCC announced on Twitter this morning, the cartoon profile craze was not initiated by it but rather grew organically, virally even perhaps.

Although the NSPCC did not originate the childhood cartoon Facebook campaign, we welcome the attention it has brought to the work we do :)

That the NSPCC did not create this campaign did not come as a surprise, mainly because however successful it might have been, the ‘campaign’ showed clear signs of not being strategically-led. OF not working as hard as it might for the organisation. Why? Well the idea is a good one - make people reminisce about their own happy childhood to raise awareness of those children less fortunate, the work of the NSPCC to help them and, presumably, to provoke an action (supporting or even giving to them). The problem was the cartoon profiles did not do this. Not only was there, in many cases, no reason given for the change in to a cartoon, there was also no call to action to support or even to donate to the NSPCC. In fact, I suspect the campaign also failed to raise significant discussions about the work of the NSPCC and of child protection in the UK. My suspicion is that most people would actually be more likely to talk about the cartoon than child abuse.

There have been many similar ‘campaigns’ in social media and social networks - changing profile pictures or annotating them in some way, or even passing messages in your status updates (such as the ‘I like it on…’ breast cancer awareness status campaign). The problem with many of these is that it is often not clear what the change is in aid of, and there is rarely a clear call to action or next step. Both are critical if you are to successfully get benefit from campaigns in social media. Tell people who you are and give them something to do next - if you engage them with something fun then give them something to do next, somewhere to find more information, learn or engage further.

Charities, on the whole, show some of the most innovative use of social media. Even with simple status-based tactics. From simple Twitter status takeovers (passing a clear message with a link through to donate to a charity you are supporting) to micro-donating on Facebook as we have seen with charities such as Breast Cancer Care in the UK.

The  cartoon profiles this weekend were not started by NSPCC, they probably did raise some awareness of the charity and of the issues related to child abuse. But they could have done so much more. Social media can be a great media through which to raise awareness or to get a message out. But it is important to give people a way to find out more, a way to keep them in the experience with the organisation and to engage more deeply. It is important to let people know why their status or profile picture is changing and to truly educate them not just about cartoons, but about the real issues that you want to raise. If a ‘campaign’ is going to go viral, then make sure your message and call to action goes viral with it.

(Note - I didn’t change my own profile picture. If I had, it would probably have been to Penfold from Dangermouse)

Social media influencers 2010 – download the final report

Picture1

image courtesy of shutterstock

Following on from the success of our social media monitoring tools review earlier this year, we’ve been testing  nine of the leading social media monitoring tools in order to assess how effective they are at identifying influencers.

We’ve tested Attensity 360, Brandwatch, Radian6, Alterian, Scoutlabs, Sysomos, Synthesio, PeerIndex and Social Radar using the subject  of  “organic baby food” as the test topic for our report.

We felt it would be interesting to see how well each of the tools could help identify influencers for this much-discussed topic. Will the tools pick out key “mummy bloggers” and frequently visited forum posts in parenting sites such as Mumsnet and BabyCentre?

Download our social media influencers report 2010 to find out

We’d like to thank all the tool providers for enabling us to carry out this report. We’d also like to  give a special mention the following people for their comments and opinions about influencers, which have been included in the report: Chris Brogan, Jay Baer, Murray Newlands, Louise Parker and Kelly Pennock.

How do social media monitoring tools find influencers?

0Social media monitoring tools identify influencers through a series of algorithms. Each tool uses different parameters and metrics to help identify influencers online.

The different tools look at influencer in different ways. Some can help you find an influential person or influential people; some help you find a site of influence.

Not dissimilar to Google, most of the tools don’t openly talk about the algorithms they use to calculate influence, but the majority  do take into a account a number of factors that aren’t just based around popularity.

Most of the tools we tested, including  Sysomos and  Alterian SM2, use metrics that are dictated by social media channel or platform  - eg, the tools use “number of views” to find YouTube influencers, or “number of followers” for Twitter. Rather interestingly, Attensity 360 uses information from another influence identifier,  Klout, to identify Twitter influencers.

Some tools, like Social Radar,  determine influence based on the number of posts about a topic and the number of backlinks (the number of incoming links for external sites that link to a web page or website).

Other tools, like Brandwatch, not only look at the number of inbound links but also take into account the age of the site, the PageRank and traffic to the site.

As well as using some of the more standard metrics seen throughout the tools, some of the tool providers have also developed their own terminology and measurements to help brands find influencers.

Scoutlabs use an algorithm to determine what they call “importance”. This includes their own editorial opinion about a comment or post, as well as its relevance to the topic that is being searched for.

Meanwhile, Attensity 360 uses “impact” to define influencers. Impact is a proprietary metric created by Attensity to provide “a more accurate estimate of the impact/influence of coverage related to a specific topic”. Attensity also offer users the chance to add “user defined metrics” to their search, allowing clients to customize metrics to the needs of their businesses.

It is this ability to sort and customize influencer data for individual business requirements that makes the tools valuable.  Synthesio, Radian6 and Sysomos are the most flexible when it comes to to drilling down into information about influence as users can sort and interact with the data using a variety of metrics.

As the tools all identify influencers and then segment data in different ways, it is important to carry out your own research into the tools before you use them. Research the tools before investing time and money in using them. Talk to the tool providers about your objectives so that you can really find the right fit for your brand and your social media strategy.

The final version of our social media influencers report 2010 will include detailed information about how each tool identifies influencers.

The report will be released online on 3rd December following on from the launch of the report at our breakfast seminar on 2nd December. You can sign up for the event by clicking on the button below:

You can register for the event by clicking on the button below:

Register for How to target social media influencers in London, United Kingdom  on Eventbrite