Tagged by: Web 2.0

10 Fundamentals of Social Media Marketing

There are many guides, best practices and tips for social media marketing out there. This is a different list. These are 10 principles that are fundamental for organizations that are building a social media plan. The goal is to help you establish a mindset that will help you come up with a strategy. I learned these principles after more than a decade of working on social media and community strategies for startups to Fortune 50 organizations..

To start on a light note, let me share an extended version of an entertaining way to explain social media 101

Social Media Explained

– CLICK IMAGE FOR A LARGER VERSION – 

OK, now let’s get to the important stuff. For each principle I provide a summary and a link to an older post where you can read more on the topic.

The 10 fundamental principles for social media marketing

1. Social Media is not a strategy. Social media is interaction, it’s a channel, a tool that can be used for many things – like email, or video conferencing technology or a CRM system or in-person meetings. Social is most effective when integrated with other parts of the business to support a business strategy. Read more.

2. Social strategists are coaches. A mature social team crafts the strategy, provides a technology foundation, guidelines and coaching to enable multiple groups in the organization to be active in social media. If the social media is the only one participating in the conversation, you are doing something wrong. Read more.

3. Social Media is changing fast. My 14 year old daughter has no idea what Foursquare is. Her group use Instagram and Vine more than Facebook and Email. AOL is history. Be aware of social network and style preferences for each of your target audiences. Prepare to be adaptive. More stats.

4. Social media marketing will go away. Soon. Why? Because everything will be social or will have an aspect of social. Every well-rounded marketer must have social media skills and experience. Just like every well rounded marketer requires knowledge of SEO, web technologies or digital marketing. It’s just marketing.

5. There is no social media ROI. The exact value of a Facebook like or a Twitter follower is zero. At least until you come up with an integrated plan to engage fans and create value, they are worthless. If you are measuring ROI for social media activities you are doing something wrong. You must measure the contribution of social media tools and tactics to greater company strategies. Like customer acquisition, branding, support and customer feedback. Read more.

6. Correlation is not Causation. When measuring Social Media effectiveness it is easy to say things like ‘people who follow us on Twitter buy 40% more and buy 3x more often’. We are inclined to believe customers buy more because they follow us on twitter, while the opposite is more likely to be true: customers who like us, are loyal and buy more are likely to follow us on twitter. Correlation does not create value. Read more.

7. Don’t oversell social media. Ads on Facebook or Linked in is not Social Marketing, it is just Advertising. Publishing discount coupons on twitter and other social channels is just taking advantage of an audience to run promotions. Measure value holistically and take into account all costs (including effort, focus and cost of opportunity). Read more.

8. Most communities fail and die. It is alluring to ‘own’ our community of customers and advocates. The reality is that it is very hard to create a community. A better strategy is to fish where the fish are and participate in existing communities. We talk a lot about social media success, we need to talk more about our failures and learn from them. Read more.

9. Becoming a social business is not about adopting social tools, and launching a social campaign. It is about changing your culture to be more customer centric and putting the customer at the center of the business. Read more.

10. Social is just one of five key factors that are changing our world along with mobile, sensors, data and context. Read more about the Age of Context in this post.

If you are building a social strategy for a company, let me suggest this presentation by Warren Lee of Adobe. It provides a useful framework for organizing a team, integrating it with other areas in marketing and specific KPIs that is well aligned (is a good example even) with point #5 above.

Please share your thoughts in the comments below

 

There are many guides, best practices and tips for social media marketing out there. This is a different list. These are...

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The Conversation Company – Embracing Social Customer Engagement

Social media strategy? Yes, we have one. We are advertising on Facebook and we hired a social media manager to tweet our promotions and publish stuff on Facebook. Sorry, that’s not a strategy. Since 2009, I have been promoting the idea that social media is not a strategy. In fact, Facebook is not a social media company, it is an advertising company.

This is why I immediately connected with The Conversation Company, Boost your business through culture, people and social media by Steven Van Belleghem. TheConversationCompany

Here is my favorite quote, from the prologue by Joseph Jaffe “You are only as smart as your actions. And yes, your results: the impact you make on your business, your brand and your earnings”. This is an important guiding principle for all social media marketers and really for all marketers. It’s not about the followers or the ‘cool’ marketing campaign that uses the latest social media gizmo. It is about creating positive impact for the business.

In this book, Steven gets is right: social media is only a tool for customer conversations. A channel for engagement, just like email. The hard part is not using social media tools (there is too much focus on social networking sites such as Twitter or Facebook). The hard part (the meaningful part) is changing the company culture to make the entire organization customer centric. “The challenge is for companies to become more human”

This sounds very cool, high-level strategy speak. Similar to mission statements published by many companies stating customer is at the center of the business, yet nothing happens. To make this vision actionable, the author provides very clear and specific guidance such as: “To be effective at using social media for customer service, you must first embrace customer service and stop looking at it as a cost center.  Instead consider it can work as a conversation starter.”

“The focus must be placed in conversations between people. Because they influence opinions. Online and offline. Customer conversations form the basis of growth for a company.” Over a decade ago, the Cluetrain Manifesto established that markets are conversations. Steven has taken this idea and wrote a book to guide you how to make it a reality inside an organization.

The book provides a very complete 3-step roadmap for implementing a customer conversation strategy including best practices and real-world examples . For example, one of the first steps the author recommends: encouraging customers to have a conversation about their experience with your company – to capture their testimonials and amplify their voice.

Steven goes on to say the traditional 4 ‘P’s of marketing should be replaced (or augmented) by the four ‘C’s: Customer Experience, Conversation, Content and Collaboration. These are four key areas of customer engagement. I would suggest adding one more: Context (relevance) which implies also the creation of Value for customers.

Social Businesses engage in conversations. This means they embrace every customer contact as an opportunity to engage with customers, learn from them and add value. Customer engagement (conversation) experts are not social media tool managers. They are change agents tasked with making the customer the center for the company.

Re-inventing the business into a conversation company is hard, it requires making deeper changes than executing on a tactical social media marketing plan. The transformation starts with company values and impacts all aspects of the company.

Sounds like a job far beyond the scope of a marketing department? Not really. Today, Marketing is at the core of the business. The opportunity is for marketers to step up and drive the strategy, play a much larger role in the organization. This is the new role of marketing. This book is a good first step. I can certainly recommend it to anyone looking for ideas to maximize the value of social media.

Social media strategy? Yes, we have one. We are advertising on Facebook and we hired a social media manager to tweet our...

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Joining Bazaarvoice

BV Logo

It’s been almost three months since I joined Bazaarvoice as Sr. Director for Product Marketing. It has been a very rewarding and fun experience. But let me start from the beginning:

I worked for Vignette in a similar role for about a year and a half. Then the company was acquired by Open Text and I was offered a position to run strategic communications, which I did for a few months. My team included PR, AR, social media and a new CXO/executive relationship program.

This was a very exciting position from the perspective that it was all about influencer marketing. However, I had significant differences of opinion with the senior management team in terms of strategy, company culture and marketing position. Once I started working on that position I felt like I was an evangelist for a religion I did not believe in. Almost at the same time, Bazaarvoice presented me with a unique opportunity.

My Social Media background

For the last almost 10 years I have been working with social media and online communities. At Motorola we created the first mobile developer communities back in 2001 for the earliest smart phones. Developers have relied on peer-based online and offline communities for learning and support. Then I had the unique opportunity to lead Microsoft’s community strategy starting in the developer division and as the driver for the Broad Customer Connection initiative company-wide. Looking back, we did some pretty amazing stuff back then that would still be considered leading edge today.

During my time at Vignette, I helped the company transition from Enterprise-content management to a vendor that uniquely understood how to manage both enterprise content and social media content. The Vignette social media strategy was looking good until the acquisition.

Four Areas of Social Media

I see four discrete aspects of social media as they relate to how companies interact with it.

  1. First there is the Social Web made mainly of social networking sites: Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Flickr, eVite, eBay, Slideshare – etc. There are many case studies about how companies are using these tools to connect, listen, respond, interact with customers. I have a pretty cool story I will share in a future blog post.
  2. Peer support communities proved their value many years ago. This includes developer communities, support forums, NIkeID and others that are mainly knowledge based or break-fix.
  3. Social media in the enterprise, better known as Enterprise 2.0 took the concepts of social media and Web 2.0 into employee Facebook-like applications converging with collaboration and knowledge management. SharePoint and Salesforce Chatter have a good chance of dominating this market.
  4. Standalone marketing community sites. Often times these appear as complements to brand sites, as promotional micro sites or as standalone sites that aim to capture a conversation, increase engagement and somehow magically produce business results. I feel like this is the least mature aspect of social media. This is the space where I will focus the rest of this post.

Build it and They Will Come

The initial idea was great. Essentially marketers love the idea of being the center of attention, of hosting the conversations around their brand and their market. If your business is selling guitars online it would be very compelling to be the Facebook of musicians and host the space where they would gather and chat about stuff, giving you “permission” (in Seth Godin’s terms) to market to them and turn them into buyers.

The problem: Facebook won. Music aficionados are on Facebook. They are probably also fans of organic food, classic rock, the Gap, etc. But they don’t think about these brands when they want to discuss topics related to these markets (food, music, clothing) because their conversation is happening on the social web, where their friends are today. In Jeremiah Owyang’s words “fish where the fish are”. 

Think about it from your perspective: how many things are you passionate about, how many brands you like. Do you maintain a profile in each of these brand’s communities? Are you active there? Or do you do all your social webbing on Facebook and twitter?

The idea sounds great but it’s a myriad. I recently blogged about this in what I think is a controversial post that includes some informal research about the failure of online marketing communities.

Where’s the beef?

For the last two years companies have been hiring social media experts. Many of them are good communicators, experts in the use of social media tools but lack the track record of driving real business results. Companies realized they needed to do something in social media and given their lack of experience CMOs had to trust social media experts and give them free reign to do whatever they wanted. They wanted a social media strategy.

Last year companies started asking themselves, after doing this for a few months, Where is the ROI? How much should we invest next year in social media? How do we know what tools to use? Facebook fans don’t make payroll. Business week published an article “Beware of Social Media Snake Oil” based on ideas from David Armano. A year ago, my presentation at Web 2.0 focused on the lack of measurement and idea that you don’t need a social media strategy because social media is a tool that should support business objectives.

Some stats: (about a year old) . eMarketer found 84% of marketers don’t measure social media ROI at all. A survey I did with the Marketing Leadership Roundtable shows only 12% of Web 2.0 initiatives are rated as effective. The Marketing Sherpa Social Media benchmark shows social media has been most effective at influencing brand reputation and awareness, improving search engine rankings and increasing traffic. 

Social Media has produced soft benefits: awareness, participation, customer feedback. There is no question Social Media is a great tool to interact with customers, listen, broadcast and solicit feedback. What about making real money?

Enter Social Commerce

Social commerce is the practice of leveraging customer interactions to drive real business value. It started by taking customer’s opinions to help other customers make decisions on what to buy: ratings & reviews. Today, ratings and reviews are one of the primary drivers of eCommerce sales. Think about the last time you bought something on Amazon. As soon as I land on a product page I scroll down past all the traditional marketing content to land directly on ratings and reviews.

Now social commerce leverages not only opinions – also knowledge (questions and answers), experiences (stories), the Social Web, mobile shopping and a number of innovative tools. The direct correlation to business results is proven: higher sales, lower costs, reduced returns. For more stats see www.bazaarvoice.com/stats . Furthermore, social commerce can help companies breathe customer oxygen to understand the voice of the customer and derive insights that transform every aspect of the organization.

The secret is in what I call contextually relevant community. It is about using social media in a way that is relevant to the user based on their intent (what they are trying to accomplish) and their desired experience (i.e. the websites where they go to accomplish this). Social Commerce makes relevant, trusted advice, opinions, knowledge and experiences available to people as they look for products, decide what to buy, or learn how to use a product.

The conversation is not about what you had for lunch last week or the pictures of your dog: it is about the relationship that exists between you and the brand: the products you like, the people that enjoy products like you , your knowledge about these products, experiences you have had with them. It is contextually relevant to the brand as well.

Why Bazaarvoice

Leaving a global, public company with hundreds of millions of dollars in sales, in a job where I was innovating how to work with influencers and had three directors reporting to me to a small startup in Austin was a difficult decision. There were tradeoffs and risks.

Today I am 100% confident I made the right decision. There is energy and passion at this company. I work with really bright people. Our executives are smart. Brett, CEO inspires me. I enjoy every day at work. My wife told me after two weeks I am a different person at home. She loves Bazaarvoice too.

It’s good to be part of a successful company. Today, Bazaarvoice serves over 600 of the leading brands globally, including over 50 of the top 100 retailers in the U.S. We are hiring as fast as we can. There are probably 80 open positions on our website today. We have close to 10 full-time recruiters. Our ability to grow is only limited by our ability to hire top-notch people.

If you have heard about Bazaarvoice you probably heard about the culture. Our CEO has made it a priority. Proof? The vacation policy is entirely based on trust: “take as much as you need”. Many employees enjoy the weekly massages, guitar hero in the game room, free snacks, etc. Others enjoy the wacky sense of humor. Austin Business Journal named Bazaarvoice the number one place to work in Austin. All the pampering reminds me of the dot com days, except that this company is a real business that is growing on solid footing based on delivering real value to our clients.

Steve Joined Bazaarvoice a few days after I did. We have similar views.

At Bazaarvoice I can employ my experience in product marketing, my passion for customer centricity  my background in web technologies and  e-commerce and my 9+ years of experience working with social media. It’s a pretty good fit.

In these first three months, my team has delivered tremendous value for the organization. We are making a difference. I feel very proud of what we have done. I feel super excited about where we are going. Fasten your seatbelts. It will be a fun ride.

Hey, if you have read so far – thank you. This is a long post. I owe you one. Leave a comment. Say Hi. My promise is to blog more often. Here and on bazaarblog.com

Gerardo.

It’s been almost three months since I joined Bazaarvoice as Sr. Director for Product Marketing. It has been a very rewar...

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The question no one is asking

Can you Build a Community?

I have had the privilege of working with online communities for over 10 years. In the technology world, online communities -mainly forums- are a fundamental part of how people learn, share and help each other with technical questions.

As companies evolve their thinking about how how to leverage social media, CMOs are realizing social media is not a strategy, but a tool to support a strategy. This was one of the central points for my Web 2.0 presentation almost a year ago. The freedom that social media strategists enjoyed to experiment (and spend) without any ROI measurment is coming to an end. As Mike Svatel told me yesterday, pageviews don’t make payroll.

I have had the privilege of working with online communities for over 10 years. In the technology world, online communiti...

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Web and Social Media Trends for 2010

With only a few weeks left in the year, this is a good time to think about what are the top trends that will impact the Web, social media and customer engagement.I have posted this on the Corporate Social Media strategist group on Linked In, but would appreciate any comments on my blog.

These are the trends I think will be important in 2010:

1. Content is set free and is continuously evolving. What started with RSS feeds continues to accelerate. Content will increasingly be syndicated, aggregated, tagged, rated, mashed-up, re-published, filtered and transformed. Technologies like REST APIs and open ID are enabling this trend.

2. Browsers are dead. Well, not really, but a browser-PC combination is no longer the main way people experience and interact with Web content. Mobile devices, car systems and other internet-enabled devices will continue to grow in importance.

3. Social media maturity. Organizations starts to see social media as a tool that supports a strategy, a new way to engage customers, employees and partners,  one that is fundamental to any  business and that becomes an integral part of your job. Twitter plateaus, new tools emerge but there is more consolidation.

4. Semantic Web. With so much content available online, tools that help find relevant content become more important: tagging, rating, filtering, recommendations, folksonomies, semantics. The focus needs to be on simplicity.

5. Key challenges need to be solved. Openess will result in a new focus on privacy and  giving people control of what and how their information is shared. New technologies introduce new security concerns: viruses, spoofing and hacking in social networks, authentication across multiple sites (passport was not a bad idea, after all), tiny URLs make it impossible to know where you are going before you get there. At the individual level trust and authority become more important, creating an opportunity for reputation management systems, badges, and federated identity.

This is just a starting point, and of course these things won’t happen in 2010 only: they have already started and will go on for some time.

What do you think? What am i missing? I look forward to your comments…

Thanks,

Gerardo

With only a few weeks left in the year, this is a good time to think about what are the top trends that will impact the...

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Social Media in the Enterprise – my Web 2.0 presentation

 Last week (this was in 2009) at Web 2.0 I presented a session titled The Social Media Trilogy: Three Vital Components for Building a Successful Online Strategy.

The room was designed for 250 held well over 350 and some people were turned away. It looks like this is a topic of interest for most organizations, probably because of the immaturity of this model, which is one of the topics in the presentation. I posted my deck on slideshare.

I am writing a white paper that expands on the presentation and provides a bit more detail as well as social media guidelines and other resources. To get both the white paper and a PDF of the slides please register at www.vignette.com/citizen NOTE: This offer is long gone, sorry.

 Last week (this was in 2009) at Web 2.0 I presented a session titled The Social Media Trilogy: Three Vital Components f...

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