eBook 1 - Plugging In: 9 Best Practices for Becoming a Successful Social Brand


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This eBook presents nine best practices for launching your brand into social media. We hope you find it a valuable reference tool as you start to make your organization social. www.brandwatch.com

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eBook 1 - Plugging In: 9 Best Practices for Becoming a Successful Social Brand

  1. 1. Brandwatch ebook 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8eBooksDesigned to help you get the most out of social media, plugging inwhatever your goals might be.Today, the social web is transforming how the 9 best practices for becoming a successful social brandworld communicates and shares information.Brands that understand and use social media ina targeted, productive manner are realizing truecompetitive advantage.9 Best Practices for Becoming a SuccessfulSocial Brand covers all the essentials neededto get your brand ready for social media. 9 best practices for becoming a successful NEW social brand 1 www.brandwatch.com
  2. 2. contents/Welcome to the first of our series of eBooks designed to help you get the most out ofsocial media, whatever your goals might be.In the following book we’re going to cover all the essentials needed to get your brandready for social media:Foreword: The Social Media Imperative for Brands And how are leading brands responding?Best Practice: #1: Make Being Social an Enterprise-Wide Revolution #2: Establish Social Media Goals Before Jumping into the Fray #3: Listen Well #4: Monitor Broadly but with Focus #5: Broaden Your Internal Audience #6: Engage and Respond to Add Value #7: Customize Social Media Monitoring by Discipline #8: Measure What You Have Heard #9: Continuously Improve through MeasurementWe hope you find this eBook a valuable resource as you start to take on the excitingnew world of the social web!Thanks,The Brandwatch Teamplugging in/ contents 2 www.brandwatch.com
  3. 3. foreword/the social media imperative for brandsToday, the social web is transforming how the world communicates and sharesinformation. Brands that understand and use social media in a targeted, productivemanner are realizing true competitive advantage. In fact, brand companies withleading social media programs grew 18% from 2009 to 2010 while social media quotelaggards declined by 6% – in terms of revenue, margin, and gross profit1. Considerthese recent statistics regarding the use of social media by YOUR customers,prospects, and brand influencers:• As of June 2011, 59% of US adult Internet users access at least one social media site.2 “With digital technology, it’s now• 30% of active Internet users worldwide became a fan of a brand through social possible to have a one-on-one media in 2010, and 72% of them said they thought more positively of the brand relationship with every consumer as a result.3 in the world.• 53% of people on Twitter recommend companies and/or products in their Tweets, and 48% of them actually purchase the products they are intent on buying.4 The more intimate the relationship,• 81% of social media users said they’d received advice from friends and followers the more indispensable it becomes. relating to a product purchase.5 We want to be the company• 55 million mobile users in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the U.K. accessed that creates those indispensable social networking sites or blogs via their mobile devices in September 2011.6 relationships with our brands, and• More than 72 million Americans accessed social networking sites or blogs on digital technology enables this”.8 their mobile device in August 2011.7 Robert McDonald President and CEO of PGplugging in/ foreword 3 www.brandwatch.com
  4. 4. foreword/how are leading brands responding?More and more brands recognize the need to “join the conversation” over socialmedia and are establishing their presence on social media sites. A recent study bythe University of Massachusetts found that 62% of the Fortune 500 has a substantialnumber of followers on Twitter, while 58% of them maintain Facebook pages. The Inc.500, which represents the fastest-growing private companies in the US, is even moreinvolved. 71% of Inc. 500 companies are on Twitter, and Inc. 500 companies haveestablished twice as many corporate blogs as the Fortune 500.9It isn’t just Facebook, Twitter, and corporate blogs that leading companies leverage.They recognize that their social communities exist in a broad range of socialnetworking sites and forums and are following them to stay in touch, relevant, andtop of mind. In fact, a 2010 study by Altimeter Group found that the average largeenterprise has 178 official social accounts.10 178! The number sounds astoundinguntil you reflect upon the vast array of social media channels that online communities factuse. Of 10 social marketing tools studied in an Etailing 2009 survey, 5 were already in use by at least half of the companies surveyed.11plugging in/ foreword 4 www.brandwatch.com
  5. 5. /cont...Here is just a sampling:• Networks – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Google+• News sites – BBC, Fox, CNN• Media-sharing sites – Flickr, YouTube, Vimeo• Niche forums – gaming, parenting, cars, movies, etc.• Technology and product user groupsIt’s easy to see why brands have jumped into social media in a big way. Given thevariety of social networks and platforms, there are sources relevant to nearly everypart of the enterprise.This eBook presents nine best practices for launching your brand into social media.We hope you find it a valuable reference tool as you start to make your organizationsocial.plugging in/ foreword 5 www.brandwatch.com
  6. 6. best practice #1/ make being socialan enterprise-wide revolutionPeople often mistakenly view social media for brands as merely another marketingchannel. Yet, social media interactions often involve people from a variety ofdisciplines, such as customer service, new product development, marketing, PR, etc.Take PG for example. Well known for its stellar brand management practices,PG strongly reinforces that reputation through social media. PG’s CEO RobertMcDonald explained in an interview with McKinsey that PG truly integrates socialmedia across all parts of the organization. The company scans the universe of social statsmedia comments, categorizes them by brand, then puts them on the screen of therelevant individual. According to McDonald, “This allows for real-time reaction towhat’s going on in the marketplace, because we know that if something happens ina blog and you don’t react immediately—or, worse, you don’t know about it—it couldspin out of control by the time you get involved.”12 60% of 18- to 34-year-olds say theyImagine having an automated system for transforming tweets about customer issues want to give product improvement recommendations over social media.13into trouble tickets that customer service can act upon within minutes, or funnelingcool product enhancement ideas from user group forums directly to your new product 45% of all companies now usedevelopment teams, or even gaining word of a competitor’s looming crisis and social media assets for productpreparing your sales teams to swoop in to attract their customers. development.14The Bottom Line: Being social across the enterprise makes your brand and 93% of CMOs plan on leveragingcompany more agile and adaptable as it attempts to keep pace with the demands of user-generated content to inform their 6 product and service decisions.15today’s social consumers and communities.plugging in/ best practice #1 6 www.brandwatch.com
  7. 7. best practice #2/ establish socialmedia goals before jumping into the frayStarting a social media program can be easy, but success requires discipline from the commentoutset. You must set goals and focus your efforts around those goals. Otherwise, yourisk weakening your brand by stretching your social media team too thin, sending thewrong messages, improperly responding to inquiries and postings, and potentiallyirritating the very communities you hope to benefit from.Know your purpose. Are you seeking to achieve one of the following? Make your target audience want you.• Gain mindshare for a specific product or service• Improve customer service Customers value brands that relate• Build brand equity well to them and help to solve their• Gather market intelligence problems consistently. So regardless• Find new customer leads of your goals, you must always guide• Increase social mentions your social media efforts with actions that improve the lives of your target community members.Having a clear purpose enables you to identify your target audience and begin tolisten for them over social media. This will uncover who they are and what motivates Keep in mind that 70% of consumerthem to be social about your brand or industry. When you understand these two loyalty and spending decisions arethings, you can quickly uncover the social media destinations where they gather and based on emotional factors, whichthe most effective ways for interacting with them. means your social media efforts need to connect with community members in a way that has them saying, “Wow, these folks are very helpful.”16plugging in/ best practice #2 7 www.brandwatch.com
  8. 8. best practice #3/listen wellListening represents the single most important thing a brand can do in the socialmedia world. You simply cannot succeed in social media without a comprehensiveand structured listening process. It helps you understand how and what your mostimportant audiences think about you – and why they feel that way.Of course, what you listen for depends on the objectives you set for yourself. Clearobjectives will help you focus on what you need to hear and how to appropriatelyrespond. They will also help you down the line when you need to measure results andprovide upper management with the “so what” impact statements and data of yoursocial media success. quoteSocial media monitoring tools enable you to know who is saying what about you,where and when they say it, and why they say it. This allows you to form the optimalstrategy for when and where to reach out to your targeted communities withmessages and actions intended to win them over.Leading social media monitoring and analysis tools can benefit almost every area of “Listening, learning and adapting isyour business. You can use the information they gather to discover findings around where the real value of social media willmarket research, campaign-monitoring, customer service, crisis management, and show its true colors. Listening leads tomultiple other disciplines. a more informed business.”17 Brian Solis Principal Analyst, Altimeter Groupplugging in/ best practice #3 8 www.brandwatch.com
  9. 9. best practice #4/monitor broadly but with focusAs the saying goes, you don’t know what you don’t know – and this has never beentruer than in the fast-changing world of social media. Conversations about your brandcan take place almost anywhere, so make no assumptions about where you will findthe most crucial ones.As you start out with your listening process, it is best to do so broadly across all kindsof social media first. Then, after you’ve obtained a solid grounding in the “who, what,when, where, why, and how” behind the conversations about your brand, you cannarrow your focus on the key sources you’ve found. tip Types of keywords to monitor:Homing in on the social media sites that matter to you most is vital as your monitoringbecomes an ongoing process. It can be easy to suffer from information overload, so • About your own brand:make sure you prioritize properly so that your team’s time is well spent. Once you get brand names, services, products,comfortable with your results and the process for acting upon them, you can then events, campaigns, etc. • About your competitors:expand your search terms. Their keywords and brand names as well as special campaigns orRemember, the terms that you monitor should not only reflect your brand, they should events that affect their business.reflect the areas of your business that relate to your high-level social media objectives • Industry terms and trends:and goals. For example, if your social media goal is to improve customer service, These will help you to keep athen monitor keyword terms related to both customer service and your brand name(s) pulse on the broader industrytogether. Equally, if your goal is to better understand your consumers, consider on behalf of your organization and to identify key influencers whomlooking at wider terms related to your typical customer – perhaps around their you should engage.interests and brand preferences in other sectors.plugging in/ best practice #4 9 www.brandwatch.com
  10. 10. best practice #5/broaden your internal audienceGone are the days when most brands monitor social media strictly for marketingcommunications and PR purposes. With the majority of brands bringing multipledepartments into the fold, social media teams now commonly include managers,directors, and VPs from such areas of the enterprise as customer service, marketresearch, sales operations, field marketing, and product development.You should assign owners from each functional area of your organization that islikely to be called upon to assist in social media efforts. Using an enterprise-levelsocial media monitoring tool, you can unify disparate team members by establishingcollaborative workflows and processes within the tool. This streamlines your responsetime to “social situations” and makes a tremendous difference to the customers andprospects who engage your brand over social media.While owners from each functional area control the workflow and messages that goout, you can use a social media monitoring tool to deploy an enterprise-wide processfor the ways in which information is gleaned, tagged, escalated, tracked, handled andreported in a timely manner to the people who need to know.Each area’s Outbound messages should stick to your company’s guidelines for toneand branding. But keep in mind that stiff-sounding, patented responses do not goover well with social media audiences. They want authenticity. Bring together differentdisciplines and develop a social media policy that guides you in dealing with variousscenarios. Adhering to the social media policy, each team member can still use his/her own voice while responding in a manner that is consistent with your brand values.plugging in/ best practice #5 10 www.brandwatch.com
  11. 11. best practice #6/engage and respond to add valueUnlike the consumers in social media forums, brands have much less leeway tooperate. For one thing, brands are not always welcome participants. Many consumersof both B2B and B2C products and services don’t like the feeling of being watchedby a company, so you need to put them at ease with the best behavior possible. commentHere’s a list of best practices for engagement:1. Be transparent. This helps community members see your brand as something more than a company logo or product. If you tell them your motivation for helping them, many will approve of you as a person who is accepting a degree of brand accountability. A frequent business traveler2. Add value. People use social media to learn or solve problems, so help them do commented over social media so if you can. If you cannot, get out of the way and don’t hurt your brand reputation that he was disappointed by his by wasting their time. stay at the Four Seasons Hotel in Palo Alto, California.3. Be realistic. Don’t have a PR person answering customer service or product development inquiries. Better to wait for the right person to respond. Within an hour, Four Seasons customer4. Inform and educate without selling. Make sure the content you share really service contacted the traveler and helps answer questions versus promoting your product/service. provided him with an apology and5. Never lie. If unsure, check and double-check your facts before posting anything to special discounts for future stays. a social media site. Remember that your gaffs will live on in perpetuity. He instantly became transformed from an online detractor to a big fan of the brand.18plugging in/ best practice #6 11 www.brandwatch.com
  12. 12. /cont...6. Adhere to a social media policy. Avoid rogue posts and always ask yourself if the item you are about to share completely complies with your policy.7. Converse. Once you participate, be ready to field responses to your postings. Social media participants despise having their comments and feedback ignored.8. Participate in others’ forums. Assuming you have established your own online forum, show that you respect others’ opinions by participating in some of their forums.9. Sustain your social media effort. Nothing says “we don’t care” about the community more than an on-and-off presence in social media.plugging in/ best practice #6 12 www.brandwatch.com
  13. 13. best practice #7/ customize socialmedia monitoring by disciplineAdvanced social media monitoring tools enable customized dashboard views perdepartment, making your social media efforts more effective while increasing useradoption. After all, product research teams have vastly different priorities from PRteams, just as customer service managers need data in formats that do not resemblemarketing campaign data.Customized dashboard views make work easier and more intuitive for users acrossthe enterprise. Let’s take a look.By Topic (by weeks): 120 Customer Service 100 Online Banking 80 Security/Fraud 60 Changes/Fees 40 Interest Rates 20 Branch 0 16 Jan 23 Jan 30 Jan 6 Feb 13 Feb • Branch • Interest Rates • Charges/Fees • Security/Fraud • Online Banking • Customer Serviceplugging in/ best practice #7 13 www.brandwatch.com
  14. 14. /cont...By Country: 2000 1500 1000 500 0 Japan France Brazil Canada GermanyAs you can see above, this social media team segmented their data by country.Following are some of the most common segmentations that leading socialbrands implement:• By mention-type: complaint, referral, sales lead, customer inquiry, review, etc.• By author-type: past/present or prospective customer, advocate, detractor, influencer, etc.• By topic: customer service, product/service by name, product feature, etc.• By sentiment: positive, negative, neutral continent, country, state, etc.plugging in/ best practice #7 14 www.brandwatch.com
  15. 15. /cont...Once your dataset is segmented in these ways, you can start to find patterns andglean powerful insights and answer questions that affect your organization’s growthand prospects for the future, such as: Which part of your brand is most complainedabout? On what basis do people refer or recommend your products or services? Inwhich country do you have the best reputation for customer service?The insights gained from listening can give the social media team a “seat at the table”when it comes to corporate strategy for brand companies.plugging in/ best practice #7 15 www.brandwatch.com
  16. 16. best practice #8/measure what you have heardA common knock against some social media programs has been a lack of soundmeasurements of progress. Anecdotes are great, but you need to know where yourbrand discussions are going and how they are doing along the path to Shangri-La.When it comes to your brand, you can easily track both brand sentiment and brandreach. Social media monitoring tools incorporate sentiment-gauging functionality sothat you can parse the favorable comments from the negative ones. First establish abaseline of sentiment as soon as you can, and then measure weekly or monthly tosee the delta in both negative and positive sentiment. You can do this for your brandin general or for specific product names, individual campaigns, and even your own quotecompany’s executives.Measuring brand reach can be real simple at first. Track your growth in Twitterfollowers, Facebook friends, and other metrics of community members engaging withor about you (e.g. volume of third-party recommendations and number of people whore-tweet your tweets). “Those who hold the keys to the kingdom want to know the ROI [of social media]. They want to know how you’re going to measure this new-fangled thing.”19 Larry Chase Best-selling authorplugging in/ best practice #8 16 www.brandwatch.com
  17. 17. /cont...Having a goal of improving product development is great, but ask yourself, “Whatare the smaller measures that will get me there?” For example, you can measurethe volume growth in feature requests from user communities, the number of socialproduct feature ideas your product development teams actually adopted and howsuccessful these were, or the number of new engineers you recruited through socialmedia sites. By drilling down to this level of data, you will be able to backup whateveryone intuitively knows – that being engaged with your communities through socialmedia really pays.plugging in/ best practice #8 17 www.brandwatch.com
  18. 18. best practice #9/ continuouslyimprove through measurementThe ability to measure allows for continuous improvement. You will quickly see whichefforts are meeting your expectations and which are not. Then, as you gain comfortwith the basics, you can expand the universe of keywords and terms that you monitor.The likely result will be one or more important discoveries in areas your socialmedia teams never considered. Perhaps your entire industry is shifting. Maybe newcompetitors are creeping into your territory. Whatever it is, finding out as early aspossible will help reap the rewards of becoming social media-savvy.You should also measure the influence of different channels over time. Audiences canshift social venues fast and frequently, or they can gravitate toward certain channelsfor certain needs. You will want to understand these behaviors so that you areprepared to listen and engage your community based on the different scenarios facingyour brand in the future.Adhering to a continuous social cycle that starts with listening and eventually leadsto adaptation makes a company agile through social media. Like never before,your social media teams will build awareness of what your customers, prospects,and influencers are doing and saying at all times. By being so “plugged in,” you willnaturally make your entire organization more responsive and higher performing.plugging in/ best practice #9 18 www.brandwatch.com
  19. 19. /endWe hope you’ve gleaned some useful insights into the realm of social mediaand the ways in which social media monitoring tools can help you undertakeyour first social steps.By following the best practices we outlined in this eBook, you’ll be well on yourway to adopting a social media strategy that quickly becomes a win-winproposition for you, your customers, and your prospects.about brandwatch/ thank youBrandwatch is one of the world’s leading social media monitoring tools, with officesin the UK, US, Germany and Brazil.Innovative brands and agencies all over the world use Brandwatch for:Research – Understanding the marketSales – Identifying leads to see how brandwatch can helpCustomer Service – Responding and engaging quickly give your business the edge in socialMarketing – Targeting new networksReputation Management – Limiting negativity and building on positivity media, visit the website and book a live demo with our team.Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 License brandwatch.com/demoPlease feel free to copy, share and reference this e-book. All we ask is that you acknowledgeBrandwatch as the source and link to http://www.brandwatch.com when citing the publication.plugged in/ end 19 www.brandwatch.com
  20. 20. references/1. Altimeter Group, New study: Deep brand engagement correlates with financial 10. Altimeter Group, Survey for Social Media Program Managers, Q1-Q2 2011. Accessed performance, July 20, 2009 online December 4, 2011 from the following source: http://www.web-strategist.com/ blog/2011/07/29/number-of-corporate-social-media-accounts-hard-to-manage-risk-of-2. Pew Research Center, Social networking sites and our lives, June 16, 2011 social-media-help-desk/3. Universal McCann, The Socialization of Brands, Social Media Tracker 2010, October 11. Bazaarvoice, Social Commerce Statistics, Accessed online from the following source 2010. Accessed online November 26, 2011 from the following source: http:// December 4, 2011: http://www.bazaarvoice.com/resources/stats socialcommercetoday.com/social-media-stats-global-for-branding-social-networks-not- websites-rule/ 12. McKinsey Company, McKinsey Quarterly: Inside PG’s digital revolution, November 20114. ROI Research, ROI Research for Performance, June 2010. Accessed online November 26, 13. The Nielsen Company, How Social Media Impacts Brand Marketing, October 14, 2011. 2011 from the following source: http://www.bazaarvoice.com/resources/stats Accessed online from the following source December 4, 2011: http://blog.nielsen.com/ nielsenwire/consumer/how-social-media-impacts-brand-marketing/5. ClickZ, Reach Your Customers While Social Media Peaks, January 28, 2010. Accessed online December 4, 2011 from the following source: http://www.clickz.com/clickz/ 14. Business 2 Community citing Forrester Research, Social Media Online Courses – Where column/1699974/reach-your-customers-while-social-media-peaks Are They?, February 8, 2011. Accessed online December 4, 2011 from the following source: http://www.business2community.com/social-media/social-media-online-courses-6. PCWorld citing comScore study, Social Networking Use Among Mobile Users Grows %E2%80%93-where-are-they-014117 in Europe, November 21, 2011. Accessed online December 4, 2011 from the following source: http://www.pcworld.com/article/244399/social_networking_use_among_mobile_ 15. Bazaarvoice, What’s the real value of the customer voice?, January 26, 2011 users_grows_in_europe.html 16. Loyalty 360, Engagement is the Journey, Loyalty is the Destination, November 8, 20117. comScore press release, Social Networking On-The-Go: U.S. Mobile Social Media Audience Grows 37Percent in the Past Year, October 20, 2011. Accessed online from 17. BrianSolis.com blog, The End of Social Media 1.0, August 29, 2011. Accessed online from the following source December 4, 2011: http://www.comscore.com/Press_Events/Press_ the following source December 4, 2011: http://www.briansolis.com/2011/08/the-end-of- Releases/2011/10/Social_Networking_On-The-Go_U.S._Mobile_Social_Media_Audience_ social-media-1-0/ Grows_37_Percent_in_the_Past_Year 18. Mashable, 9 Ways Top Brands Use Social Media for Better Customer Service, October8. McKinsey Company, McKinsey Quarterly: Inside PG’s digital revolution, November 2011 28, 2011. Accessed online from the following source December 4, 2011: http://mashable. com/2011/10/28/social-customer-service-brands/9. University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research, The 2011 Fortune 500 and Social Media Adoption: Have America’s Largest Companies Reached a Social 19. Chase Online Marketing Strategies, 10 Things to Know About Measuring Social Media, Media Plateau? November 2011. 2011. Accessed online from the following source December 4, 2011: http://www.wdfm. com/marketing-tips/jim-sterne-social-media.phpplugging in/ references www.brandwatch.com