Wednesday, April 15, 2009

April 15: Weekly Content/Social Marketing Links

As I mentioned in our first Weekly Content/Social Marketing Links post, I've asked the Powered marketing, business development and product teams to pick one news article, blog post or research report a week that "speaks" to them. With that article, they need to come to our weekly staff meeting prepared to give a 120 second update on what the article was about and why they found it useful.

My goal is to share this content on a weekly basis. Here's what our third week netted:

DP Rabalais (marketing):
I’ve decided that since I like to travel and have an upcoming vacation on my mind, that I’d stick with that industry for the entire month of April. Today’s article is titled, Travel Brands Lacking in Social Media Activity – it is the result of a an article written by Peter Kim titled A List of Social Media Marketing Examples.

Both articles take a look at brands that are using social marketing and to what degree: the Peter Kim article could be of interest to Sales since it outlines the Social activities of over 300 brands.

Jay MacIntosh (business development):
I’m sharing the highest of highlights from Web 2.0 (i.e. phrases I highlighted from my written notes):
  • Session titled “Why Social Media Marketing Fails” led by Owyang, Charlene Li and Peter Kim. For a thorough review go here.  That said, here are the sound bites that stood out for me: “Don’t think of SM as a campaign, it’s about building relationships…what kind of relationship do I have today, what kind of relationship do I want to build?” “Understand your purpose with metrics…either activity which is analytics or biz metrics which are outcomes” “One large financial services firm decided they weren’t going to allow employees to engage in conversations with customers, therefore, Charlene’s recommendation was don’t do community/social.” “The most common reason for not doing community/social is executives don’t trust employees to engage in customer conversations!” “Does SM matter today? No. Will it? Yes, it will matter a whole lot because humans are and always will be social beings…we’re just having trouble adapting to these new tools/technologies.”
  • Session on measurement. “½ -2 % of people in social networking sites are “answer people” which you gotta have if you want discussions taking place on your community. Find ways to identify, recognize and encourage these people.” “Social media is about collective action…and why does this matter for businesses? Businesses are effectively conversations and measuring conversations is about measuring the context in which the conversations arise.” “If discussion is important to your community make sure you design it for at least audiences 1) the ½-2 % answer people and 2) everyone else. And make sure you validate people’s roles in the community because they value it (i.e. validation).”
  • Session on Ford’s use of content in SM. “Ford wanted to make storytelling for the consumer easy and they did this by enabling them with content to help them tell stories…Monty used the term “democratize the content” “Overall approach to SM at Ford is that it’s not a campaign, it’s about ongoing engagement.” “When asked how measure the ROI…sometimes answer with the question of how do you measure the ROI of phones, email, wearing pants to the office…hard to measure but he guarantees that all have a positive impact on your business!” “Fords vision for SM is to be one of the world’s leading social brands.” “We use the Sharepoint platform from Microsoft for our technology.”
  • Guy from Digg discussing how publishers can integrate with social networks. “Some interesting stats on Facebook…the average user has 120 friends. Of those approx 1/3 will see a Newsfeed item with anywhere from 0.8 – 2 clicking through to the item of interest. TechCrunch experienced a 100% growth in registrations when they implemented Facebook connect. Others like Telegraph, The Onion, Time, etc. saw registrations rise at least 30% with Facebook Connect.”
  • John Maeda the president of Rhode Island School of Design. “Electrons travel at lightspeed…people don’t”
  • Head of Microsoft Business Software unit. “Sharepoint is a social computing platform for within the enterprise…”
  • CTO of Bluestatedigital (the tech company behind the Obama social campaign). “ They sent 71B emails, had 200k offline events planned via the site, 14.5M YouTube viewing HOURS, $770M raised of which 65% occurred online.” “They accomplished this by driving ACTION. Email was the thing that had the biggest impact in terms of opt-ins and donations. The way to get advocacy is to create ownership. For example, as opposed to just having donors ask others to donate, they allowed individuals to create a personal fundraising page with goal, personal commentary, etc. along with tools to then easily contact friends and family to “support” their cause.” “Email is still king…1) There’s not too much email, just too much unwanted email 2) Nobody reads newsletters (give soundbites with links to more) 3) Give more than you ask 4) Your list isn’t an ATM machine, but if you deliver good/relevant content it can be very effective.” “70% of all actions on the site came from 10% of the members. Segment user/member types by pyramid and develop ways to get people to move up the pyramid.” “#1 fundraiser for the campaign was Sarah Palin’s speech at the Republican convention. Within a 24 hour period they had anticipated how their users would react to her and via the site and email rallied people with content and calls-to-action which generated $11M” “Measure everything and test what works good, better, best…for example they had a few different email concepts on one topic…the good email achieved a 30% open rate the lesser had an open rate of 15%. Try and test different content and see what works!” “Biggest unexpected lesson learned is that it’s important not to underestimate what people will do if you provide them with info and tools.”
Doug Wick: (business development):
This is a great article by Chris Kenton (originally published in the CMO Council’s “Marketing Magnified”) that describes at a strategic level the drivers behind marketing measurability, and settles on the biggest impact social marketing has – the effect on intangible assets like goodwill and brand equity. This article shows that path that connects the value of social marketing to the executive suite.  

Bill Fanning: (business development):

This article was written by Adam Weinroth, product manager at Pluck, last week.  The title is “How to craft a social media plan that connects.”  The article emphasizes the fact that there is no “one size fits all” social media plan for all brands.  To demonstrate the point, he outlines 5 tips for strengthening online growth through social media and references examples for each.  The high level points and examples are (check out the article for the details).

1.       Know your audience

a.       Scotts

2.       Get real

a.       Kodak

                                                                i.      A Thousand Words

                                                               ii.      Plugged In

3.       Provide relevant content

a.       Whole Foods

4.       Drive community back to you

a.       Dunkin’ Donuts

5.       Leverage social syndication

a.       eHow 

It’s important to note that before you begin thinking about the technology and content needed to connect with a particular segment, you must first understand why you want to connect with them.  Are you trying to drive customer acquisition, build brand loyalty, listen to the community or some combination of the three?  Answering these questions first will start you on the right path to building a comprehensive strategy that not only addresses how to connect with your segment (as outlined above) but also how to achieve your business / marketing objectives once you have them engaged (intelligent merchandising or driving specific calls to action etc.) and how to measure the success of the program in order to continually optimize effectiveness.  This is the difference between a Social Media Plan and a Social Marketing Strategy.

Beth Lopez (marketing):
On vacation this week. 

Don Sedota (product management):
This is another product management related article but I thought it was timely given PM’s recent effort to make product strategy a more collaborative effort and to enhance the level of documentation available per product releases. The article, entitled How to Turn Sales Engineers into Your Biggest Fans, is geared towards the information flow between PM and Sales but the article can easily be applied to AM, Content, Ops, Tech Services, etc. as well.

The author offers the following (selected) advice for PMs in making key business groups more a part of product strategy and release processes and enabling them to do their jobs better:
  • Transparency (builds trust)
    o Clear feature selection process for each release
    o Provide the “why” behind features
    o Share the roadmap
    o Solicit customer/prospect input and involve business groups in product direction
  • Formal Process (sets expectations and provides consistency)
    o Involve key business groups in release cycle
    o Clear and transparent enhancement request process
  • Transference
    o Provide sufficient documentation so that business groups can be self-sufficient in certain situations
    o Provide performance data via efficacy reports, case studies, etc.
    o Competitive data
    o Training
It will obviously take a while before we are hitting on all cylinders for all of this, but I’m excited that we’ve recently started improvement initiatives across many of these facets and that we seem to be heading in the right direction.

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