Cisco Social Media Playbook


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This is our story of how we operate in social media. We strive to be open and transparent in our communications. We aim to serve our customers and inspire new ones. Social media helps us do that and more. And we are learning and adjusting along the way. We hope you enjoy this playbook and can use it to help your company leverage social media to help transform your business.

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Cisco Social Media Playbook

  1. 1. July 2013 Cisco Social Media Playbook This is our story of how we operate in social media. We strive to be open and transparent in our communications. We aim to serve our customers and inspire new ones. Social media helps us do that and more. And we are learning and adjusting along the way. We hope you enjoy this playbook and can use it to help your company leverage social media to help transform your business.
  2. 2. 2 Social media has changed dramatically since 2005, when we first became active in the social space. How customers interact online has evolved as well. Today’s social web is critical to how customers engage with brands, and it has also transformed the purchasing process. Savvy buyers now use social media to gather information, connect with their peers and share their experiences — on their own and in their own words. This evolution gives us new opportunities to build and nurture online relationships with our customers, partners, influencers and supporters so that we can uncover and build loyalty and advocacy. Change Is the Only Constant suggest that social channels are strong influencers during the decision process. 88% will use support forums and technical discussion groups to inform the purchase decision. 60% Customer Decision Journey Consider Become aware of offering Advocate Bond with Brand Buy Experience Evaluate The Loyalty Loop 1 1 1
  3. 3. 3 This playbook describes how we approach social media. Our philosophy is to be S.O.C.I.A.L.: Scalable, Open, Consistent, Intuitive, Active and Limitless. Our Digital and Social Framework helps us to be S.O.C.I.A.L. This framework centers around 5 pillars: Enablement, Intelligence, Engagement, Measurement and Advocacy. Our Social Approach: Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts Enablement: The Foundation We believe in enabling and encouraging our employees to participate in social media as Cisco social media business account managers or as themselves. Our Social Media Training and Certification program introduces individual contributors and Cisco leaders to our social media policy. It also highlights best practices to help them get started with social media. Our social media policy is a foundational component of the first level of our training program. We’ve integrated this policy into our Code of Business Conduct (COBC) and New Hire processes. We expect all employees to be familiar with our policy before engaging in social media. Our multitrack, multilevel program advances social capabilities in a fun way that uses gamification, management and peer recognition, and educational credits. Short on-demand courses, online chats and a closed community round out our employee-facing program. Executive courseware and reverse mentoring make up our executive track. Our
  4. 4. 4 Did you know…? of customer tweets to companies are being ignored.2 of brands ignore complaints on Twitter.3 of people who complained on Twitter loved the response from those companies that did make the effort.3 of companies do not track their social media responses at all, and 55% ignore all customer feedback on Twitter and Facebook, largely because they have no process in place to respond.4 We are big fans of listening. Listening can deliver great value during the strategic planning process as well as in tactical operations. It can help us: Capture industry trends Identify emerging trends Gain competitive insights Discover product issues Receive product feedback Intelligence: Social Listening ABCs and 123s Manage crisis and mitigate risk Listen for sales leads Uncover fans, influencers and advocates Increase message penetration 56% 70% 83% 39% reverse mentoring program connects senior leaders with qualified, socially savvy employees who provide one-on-one social media coaching sessions to executives. We also offer a modified version of our training program for Cisco customers and partners. This program is available on demand or in one-on-one session format at
  5. 5. 5 We implemented a Social Media Listening Center (SMLC) to visualize conversations that are relevant to us. Our listening center started out as a single-screen display outside of our CMO’s office. Now, it is a multiscreen experience that enables customized visualizations in real time. The primary location of SMLC is the home of our Digital and Social Media Marketing team in San Jose. Customers visiting our San Jose campus can also tour a modified version in Cisco’s Executive Briefing Center (EBC). But listening alone is not enough. We have a process in place to turn listening into business value: ABCs — We separate the social media noise from Action- Based Conversations. We classify these action-based conversations into different categories, such as support, question, lead, idea, ambush, criticism and buzz. 123s — We prioritize our ABCs into 3 levels. Priority 1 conversations typically have a 24-hour response time, and priority 2 conversations have a 72-hour response time. Priority 3 conversations fall in the discretionary response category. To successfully convert listening into business value, we need a large network of people who can listen to, route and engage in conversations at the right time and in the right place. This network includes people from a variety of functions, e.g., social media listening managers, social media engagement managers, subject matter experts (SMEs), product managers, customer support engineers, crisis team members, and so on. Step 1: Step 2: ACTION-BASED CONVERSATIONSSOCIAL MEDIA NOISE PRIORITY
  6. 6. 6 Many of us put time and effort into acquiring new followers and building our social media audience. Now it’s time to look at the quality of our social conversations. We outline the process of engagement on the following levels: Why - The Objectives: Our objectives reflect our business goals. We break down long-term business goals into short-term milestones. Then we decide which aspect(s) of the customer journey we want to address at each milestone. This helps us stay on track, show progress and quickly adjust our tactics as needed. Who - The People: Social media managers, of course. But did you know…? Engagement: The 5 W’s 41% 77% What Content and Conversations Why Objectives When Frequency and Time Where Destination Who People of people believe company employees are the most credible specialist sources of information.5 of buyers say they are more likely to buy from a company whose CEO uses social media. 94% said C-suite social media participation enhances a brand image. And 82% of employees say they trust a company more when the CEO and leadership team communicate via social media.6
  7. 7. 7 These statistics support our philosophy to engage our subject matter experts (SMEs) and other passionate people in the company whose main job may not be related to social media. To encourage company–wide participation in social media, we have created the Cisco Social Ambassador program to identify, activate, nurture and celebrate employees for their participation. The benefits of this program include, but are not limited to: Scaling social media Gathering and acting upon unfiltered insights Contributing to the sales process Identifying a potential crisis Here are some examples of what can happen when a team of people partners for success: Accelerated Action Time Cisco’s Contact Center reduces routing time for leads from 5 days to 1 with social tagging while reaching over 1.7 million contacts. Giving our brand an authentic voice Providing employees with the opportunity to learn new skills Building relationships with executives in an unconventional way (e.g., executive reverse mentoring) Perception Gap Consumers’ ranking: The reasons they interact with companies via social sites (61%) Discount (55%) Purchase (53%) Reviews and product rankings (53%) General information (52%) Exclusive information (51%) Learn about new products (49%) Submit opinion on current products/services (37%) Customer service (34%) Event participation (33%) Feel connected (30%) Submit ideas for new products/services (22%) Be part of a community Learn about new product (73%) General information (71%) Submit opinion on current products/services (69%) Exclusive information (68%) Reviews and product rankings (67%) Feel connected (64%) Customer service (63%) Submit ideas for new products/services (63%) Be part of a community (61%) Event participation (61%) Purchase (60%) Discount (60%) Businesses’ ranking: Why they think consumers follow them via social sites Note: Consumer: N=1056; Business: Learn N=333, General info N=336, Submit opinion N=334, Exclusive info N=333, Reviews/rankings N=333, Feel connected N=331, Customer service N=331, Submit ideas N=332, Community N=329, Event N=332, Purchase N=334, Discounts N=331. Source: IBM Institute for Business Value analysis. CRM Study 2011
  8. 8. 8 Increased Word of Mouth Cisco employees (#CiscoEmp) drive 33% of 88 million total brand campaign social reach. 100,000,000 50,000,000 Week 1 Week 2 First-Degree Employee Reach Total Reach About 1 Month About 2.5 Months about 3.5 Months 0 Highlighted SMEs Cisco architects and distinguished engineers build community through blogging and sharing perspectives on what’s ahead. In less than a year, numbers of bloggers and page views more than quadrupled, with increased engagement from readers.
  9. 9. 9 What - The Content and Conversations Great Storytelling is key to effective social media content. The billion- dollar question: What’s the story to tell? According to Discovery Education, there are 5 parts to a story: setting, characters, sequence, climax and resolution.7 What makes a story great? In a nutshell, great stories make people want to comment, share, retell or take the next step in their journey. A story can come to life through its content and related conversations. Content Content can be simple (e.g., tweets, status updates, images, infograms, polls) or complex (e.g., blogs, videos, infographics). It can stand alone or be embedded into another piece. It can be real time or planned. Real-time content is becoming popular due to its freshness, relevance and, thus, its ability to quickly provoke action. These are some content best practices — whether we do it in real time or as planned: It is relevant It is original It is simple to understand and retell It is easy to share It builds on feelings and values It often ties into a bigger story It gives your audience an opportunity to create or add to the story It is accessible through different vehicles (e.g., social, mobile, digital, offline) It is appropriate for your distribution channel and audience Be timely Be relevant Keep it simple Create once; repurpose for many uses Reuse older popular content
  10. 10. 10 Connect multiple content pieces to drive additional content discovery Use images — an image can convey a thousand words Use video — Web pages with video are twice as likely to appear on the first page of Google search results as pages that use text only 8 Make it easy to share Make it mobile friendly (or at least have a mobile-friendly version) Use active words Just ask Make it easy to respond Use clear, simple language (e.g., “retweet”) and limit jargon (e.g., “RT”) Be ready to respond CTAs are awesome for videos, too. We love using CTAs as clickable overlays as early as 30 seconds into a video to entice our viewers to learn more. We use CTAs again later and at the end of the video as well to enable our audience to take the next step in their journey. Content can generate conversations by itself or through a call to action (CTA). CTAs help our users continue their journey. Research shows that tweets that include the “please retweet” CTA get 4 times more retweets.9 Facebook also noted increased engagement on posts using CTAs. Here are some tips for social CTAs that many people have found successful10 : RT
  11. 11. 11 From Content to Conversations Conversations can flow between the brand and the community as well as between community members. The latter is super important. We want to enable and encourage conversations within the community. It’s not about us; it’s about THEM. It’s all about the audience. It’s THEIR community. We’re just enabling it. Members of healthy communities feel inspired to tell their own story, one another’s stories and even our story. This helps foster relationships, build loyalty and encourage advocacy. Some tips to get started: Use the “Would I want my mother to see this?” test: Do online what you would do offline; do not do online what you would not do offline. Be an artist: Balance conversations among brand, industry/other business and fun/casual topics. Be relevant: Put yourself in your audience’s shoes; discuss topics THEY care about. Be a student: Experiment, ask questions, learn when community members are most active online, and get to know them outside of their “community life.” Be a facilitator: Include community members in the solution and make it easy for them to spread the word, participate with you, and ultimately participate on your behalf. While what we say is important, how we say it is just as important. We should be human, honest and authentic.
  12. 12. 12 See some examples that have followed these principles and yielded high engagement: Say It with Images Simple visuals connecting events and businesses help to keep your brand top-of-mind and increase word of mouth (WOM). Connect Relevant Content Embedding video into our blog posts increases engagement on average 5 times and entices the reader to discover additional content. Break It Down Technologists explain complex topics using a whiteboard in Engineers Unplugged, a weekly <10-minute video series. Is amplification the same as conversation? No, amplification is one-way communication. It is effective in spreading the word. But amplification doesn’t have to be boring. Take a look at some fun amplification examples from our employees on the Internet of Everything (#IoE) and #Womensday:
  13. 13. 13 When we engage regularly, we can build trust and online relationships. We can also uncover and nurture loyalty and advocacy. campaign press release launch interest time campaign interest time content/services ongoing social activity When - The Frequency and Time Always. Social media gives us a way to engage in “always on” communication. When we limit social media to individual programs, we create transactional conversations that may prevent us from creating true relationships for the brand. Since we should always be “on,” are there optimal days or times to post content? It depends. The best way to determine the day(s) or time(s) to post is to experiment, monitor and analyze the results. There are many things that will influence when people read our messages. For example, public sector employees may not be able to check social media at work, so our messages may not reach them until they are at home. We must also consider channel-specific user behaviors. On a high level, here are some observations about Facebook and Twitter:
  14. 14. 14 Where - The Destination Social media participation can take place on channels that: To determine how many channels to participate in and where to participate, we must consider time and resources with a long-term view — not just for a month or two. 50% 90% 17% of Facebook users that will interact with our content will do so within the first hour after we post it.11 of Facebook users that will interact with our content will do so within the first 9 hours after posting.11 of Twitter engagement for brands is higher on weekends than on weekdays.12 We own (e.g., Cisco blogs) Cisco Blogs We observe (e.g., non-Cisco LinkedIn group) We manage (e.g., Cisco Facebook page)
  15. 15. 15 Go SO-MO-GLO-LO That’s a mouthful. Go SO-cial, MO-bile, GLO-bal and LO-cal. Mobile: Social media nicely lends itself to mobile experiences, whether via mobile applications or mobile sites. “By 2017, global mobile data traffic will reach 11.2 exabytes per month, growing 13-fold from 2012 to 2017,” and mobile video will make up 66% of all mobile data traffic.13 The more people can share from their mobile devices and apps, the further we can spread the word and the more engagement we can create. Global: Social media transcends nations, cultures and communities... Local: With the ability to keep a local view through geo-targeting and local social networking sites and tools. Integrate We have found great value in integrating social media channels with other social channels, mobile experiences and other digital and traditional channels. An integrated experience can help our audience discover new content and easily progress in their journey. It also enables us to get to know them on a deeper, more holistic level. Customize Since we participate on multiple channels, we can benefit from tailoring our content and conversations not only to a particular audience, but also to specific distribution vehicles. Check out some examples on the next page. MOMOBILE SOSOCIAL GLOGLOBAL LOLOCAL
  16. 16. 16 Integrating Social Media The brand campaign integrates social media into its landing page via social sharing, social content and assets, and social calls to action, driving users to different parts of the Internet of Everything (#IoE) story. Promote Insights in Channel-Appropriate Packaging The Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) serves as the foundational content for many engagement opportunities — from interactive mobile experiences, online events, humorous video and Twitter chats to channel-specific content — with results far exceeding expectations.
  17. 17. 17 Measurement: 6 “Starter” Metrics Ongoing listening and measurement are integral to a successful social business strategy. We identify measurable goals and metrics based on our business goals, and then we measure frequently and consistently to understand our strategy and execution effectiveness. Here are 6 “starter” social media metrics that we measure: Volume: Conversation volume offers an indicator of interest Reach: Measures the spread and impressions from our posts to various social media channels Engagement: Helps determine how people are participating in conversations and what actions they may be taking to help spread our message Influence: Measures not only total number of followers, but also the quality of their posts Share of Voice: The percentage of total conversations about us or our products Sentiment: The tone or emotion that underlines what customers are saying about us or a topic. Sentiment analysis also measures conversations to help us understand the overall feeling about our brand These starter metrics can help inform our strategy and execution. Over time, they give us the ability to craft a good story of our progress and accomplishments, and highlight areas we can improve on. These are also metrics that we can build on to tie our social efforts back to revenue and/or cost saving. 1 2 3 4 5 6 1
  18. 18. 18 These are passionate people with no agenda who have made the leap from having an opinion about our brand (“Do I like this brand? Does it represent me?”) to actively advocating our brand in the social sphere (“Should I make this brand a part of my identity?”). Social media can help uncover, build and nurture relationships with these individuals. Knowing our detractors can be just as powerful as knowing our advocates. Monitoring and engaging with our detractors, as appropriate, can help turn negative sentiment into neutral and maybe even into positive sentiment over time. A Few Words of Caution We never know what will happen next, so it’s important to be prepared. Managing social reputation on an ongoing basis and having an up-to-date crisis plan are “musts.” Advocates are people who proactively defend, promote or participate in the public conversation about our brand, product, service or cause. Some advocates may even tattoo their favorite brand’s logo on their arm (We’re not kidding!). Advocacy: A Special Bond
  19. 19. 19 Reputation Management: Perception = Reality? It depends. It is in our best interest to always monitor what people say about us and know when and how to respond. Social media gives us access to instant feedback. This feedback — whether it comes to us via blog post replies, comments elsewhere in forums, or updates through social platforms — constitutes engagement. We can use it to affect change in public perception. If we do this right, then our customers will likely see us as caring and more service oriented. Real-time marketing occurs when a brand gives an appropriate response to a particular customer, at a particular time. This type of marketing is becoming increasingly influential in reputation management. A well- executed real-time content campaign can increase our social share of voice and reputation. On the flipside, engaging in real-time content marketing without the benefit of proper social listening can have a negative effect on our reputation. online reputation existing or potential customers company actions and reactions media outlets, analysts and investors industry influencers social and other communication channels competitors and peers
  20. 20. 20 Crisis Management: Turning “Oh no!” into “It’s OK!” We have a well-established crisis management process — composed of a cross-functional team of employees from Human Resources, Workplace Resources, Information Technology, Legal, Corporate Communications, Marketing and other functions — to assess and respond to events at a local, regional or global level. Our Crisis Communication team provides consistent and timely information to key stakeholders and audiences. This team addresses any crisis that affects our employees, business, customers and partners, community or shareholders. Representatives from each region help ensure that we use consistent language globally to protect Cisco’s reputation. Our regular listening practice also helps this team identify and manage potential issues. When a crisis situation emerges, it is best to use a response tree to determine if we should respond and whether we should respond publicly or privately. We also decide if we can or should respond immediately or later, when we understand the source, nature and possible implications of the situation at hand. We find responses that work best are objective, use facts and educate with compassion. In any situation, we must remember not to panic, take it personally or attack others. This is how we play. Thanks for reading the Cisco Social Media Playbook. THE END
  21. 21. 21 Sources 1. Adapted from Ant’s Eye View, PwC and McKinsey 2. retailers_b23362 3. september-2012/ 4. media_b22814 5. Michel Brito, Edelman Digital, Smart Business, Social Business. 6. eMarketer via 7. 8. Forrester Research 9. Data-Proves-Social-CTAs-Lead-to-More-Comments-Likes- Shares-INFOGRAPHIC.aspx 10. research/ 11. 12. your-best-time-to-increase-twitter-engagement 13. solution.html#~forecast © 2013 Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information. Cisco Systems, Inc. Americas Headquarters, San Jose, CA Cisco has more than 200 offices worldwide. Addresses, phone numbers, and fax numbers are listed on the Cisco Website at