Demystifying Social Media: Navigating All that Noise


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  • Although for the purposes of this talk, you’re probably thinking Facebook, Twitter, blogs, Foursquare, all that good stuff. That’s cool. We’ll get there.
  • It’s for this reason that you hear so much about «transparency» when people get on the pulpit about social media. And it kind of freaks companies out: they’re like, what does it mean to be transparent? How open do I need to be?
  • No one needs you to be balls-out, 100% transparent. They know that at the end of the day you’re a company; they’ll play by the rules if you’re reasonable and play by theirs too. Depending on how your relationship evolves, the degree to which you are open and collaborative with each other also evolves.

    Really, all people want is proof you care about your relationship with them. They want you to be truthful, responsive and respectful of their intelligence.
  • A diversity of perspectives yields faster and better solutions than a committee of experts in the field. We call our clients Seekers, and because they’re large companies entrusting us with the secrets of their tomorrows, we keep their identities private and hide detailed elements of their problems behind an NDA field. We can’t be too open. But we also think our user base, a global collective of people called Solvers, understand this. Before we launched hypios in beta last year...

    We trust solvers. They not only provide custom fit solutions to our seekers, they often show them where the solution is if it already exists, and ask tough questions that sometimes force both seekers and ourselves to rethink our approach.

    If they were not invested in our success we would be dead in the water.
  • When you’re only paying lip service to relationship, social technology amplifies this. Some months ago, Nestlé started a facebook page. It plugged along quietly until Greenpeace released this.
    When people are sufficiently riled up, they go to the most accessible place where they can maximise contact with you while making the most noise possible.
    Naturally, they opted for Nestlé’s Facebook.
  • Nestlé’s number of Facebook fans exploded practically overnight. People started posting with altered versions of the company logo instead of their profile pictures
  • You can tell a lot about how a company feels about its community based on how it mitigates a crisis...

    For weeks after this, the page was violently deluged with commentary - not just about palm oil but about Nestlé’s historical contributions to destroying global happiness in general. Nestlé backtracked, promising to clean up its act by 2015. Incensed users didn’t think that was good enough.
  • A month later, after long silence on its part and no sign of users abating, Nestlé released an open statement dedicated primarily to Greenpeace, promising to do what it can to fight destruction of tropical rainforests and become more eco-sustainable.

    It also suspended all purchases from Sinar Mas, a primary deforestation culprit and palm oil provider, immediately.
  • This is what Nestlé’s Facebook page looks like today. It pretty much just shut off the user input faucet. Nestlé learned the hard way that it wasn’t ready to be as open as its Facebook page had been.
  • But, as the case with Nestlé’s shown us, they might give you a huge run for your money.
  • Charlene Li of Altimeter Group came up with this notion called Sandbox Covenants. All companies have a sandbox: lines that shouldn’t be crossed, with clear consequences for if they do get crossed.

    Users also have sandboxes. Think of them as the mental boundary for what they consider appropriate from your brand. As your relationship develops and grows more collaborative, the sandbox naturally expands over time.
  • Incentive. Picnic ad:

    Shifty: We’re naturally suspicious of people that tell half-truths, or avoid questions. If there’s no simple answer, sometimes it’s okay to say, I’ll get back to you, or We’re trying to make this work; it’s a complicated situation but stick around, we are trying.

    PR talk: When people get mad and mob you, the way they did with Nestlé, you have to consider they wouldn’t bother to scream in your face if they weren’t looking for the opportunity to trust you again. Honor that.
  • Same rules in any good relationship. And then we all move on.
  • Those that managed to successfully take a «traditional» brand digital all say the same thing: they didn’t just chase after a shiny bell or whistle; they followed their DNA.

    Consistency: Don’t stick yourself somewhere you won’t want to be for awhile, because it takes time to realise the value of social efforts. And because of how fast things are moving now, users don’t want to waste time investing in things that look half-finished or like they’ll disappear tomorrow. You should feel like you’re here to stay, like you should’ve always been here.

    A good example of this DNA idea is the BBC, which is doing a lot of interesting things in the digital space right now: interactive storybooks that live online, livemaps that show where crime occurs in your area, quiz games you can play on your phone while watching EastEnders, all kinds of stuff. Here’s a taste of its new web series, Henry 8.0.

    But let’s expand this idea to more engagement-intensive platforms.
  • 12-hour TV miniseries America, The Story of Us, labeled as an "event that tells the extraordinary story of how America was invented."
    Foursquare users that check in at locations of historical merit can unlock the limited-edition History Channel badge and learn illustrative tidbits about the area.
    "users in Los Angeles who check in at the Cinerama Dome will find out it opened in 1963 with the premiere of ‘It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World’ and that it’s the world’s only concrete geodesic dome.”
  • A cute little effort for people that really dig $350 tennis shoes. To promote its new line of luxury trainers, Jimmy Choo made its first-ever social media foray. Over the next few weeks, CatchAChoo is using Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare to announce its presence at fashionable hotspots around London — just for a few minutes. The first person to run in and approach CatchAChoo before s/he leaves gets a pair of the trainers s/he is holding in their size.

    I get the sense people are trying to get a grip on why Twitter is useful, so let’s get into that.
  • In 2009, Twitter worked directly with MTV to create real-time data visualisations of topics pertaining to the Video Music Awards - while it aired. Notably, this was the year Kanye West leaped onstage, right after Taylor Swift got her Best Video award, and said it should’ve gone to Beyoncé. Kanye buzz exploded (evident in this chart here), and sentiment could be read in real-time through users’ tweets.

    A data visualisation of how discussion looked when the incident happened:

  • France is behind one season for Desperate Housewives. This is incredibly annoying. On the day a new episode airs in the States, I search the Desperate Housewives hashtag on Twitter to see the chatter flying around. It’s like a different kind of drama: Katherine should die! Katherine is misunderstood! Oh my god, Katherine stabbed herself and blamed Mike!

    I really hate networking cocktails because it’s hard to see if a person is honest, likeable or worth collaborating with; you have no context, just their sales pitch and a weak mojito. Watching what they post on Twitter builds trust and gives you a working glimpse of their personality and values. I’ve become so comfortable with what I know of some of the people on there that I think nothing of sharing business with them, reaching out for help or even just giving them a ping when I’m in town. They are my friends.
  • CRM: There was a time, not long ago, on Twitter when users were pleasantly surprised to find a company they griped about, or praised, was listening and wanted to respond to them. Today, it is practically expected; tomorrow, more so. GoDaddy story

    Service providers are rarely forthcoming about the best ways to reach them. Once you’ve run the customer support hamster wheel to no avail, and turned to Twitter as a last resort, it is frustrating to hear radio silence from the brand. There is almost the sense they are willfully ignoring you.

  • I like this Air Force flowchart for responding to web commentary; it’s comprehensive without overwhelming. This is to reemphasise that, even while they enjoy their departmental autonomy, your social representatives should still be appropriately equipped to manage unexpected situations.

    It’s when the road map is vague that there are problems. People panic and improvise. Remember Nestlé.

  • Here’s the existential part of the presentation. There is no slipping gingerly into social engagement, particularly when technology is as fast-moving as it is today. So before you take the leap, find out who you are.

    Two things to help with that: this here is the Community Maturity Model, dev’d by The Community Roundtable. It shows how various elements of a company’s workflow move slowly from a traditional hierarchical model to a network model, where structures are formed mostly collaboratively. You cannot race from 1-4; consider where you are, and pace yourself. It’s okay to start small if you know where you’re headed.
  • Going back to the DNA thing I was talking about earlier, this is a really useful exercise for finding the right voice, leveraging what you’re known for and continuing your brand’s personal story on social networks. [slide]

    But whether or not you do the exercise, it is crucial to make it a practice to

  • Change: Users will keep your standards high. They’ll be vocal when you stagnate and when you start to wander off-base. It’s scary, but it’s good.

    Users are useful. They bug-test, help you refine your marketing focus, are willing to contribute to case studies, and, at their most intense, know more about your brand than you do. Really, you could not ask for better product management and innovation partners.
  • Trust your users. Whenever you start feeling prickly about how much you can trust your customers, remember this.

  • Demystifying Social Media: Navigating All that Noise

    1. 1. Demystifying Social Media Navigating All that Noise, with Angela Natividad May 6, 2010 Image: webtreats
    2. 2. Q: What is social media, really? ✤ Anything that facilitates and sustains engagement between two or more people. ✤ It’s not the form you want to focus on, it’s what it cultivates: relationships.
    3. 3. Relationships require trust. ✤ ...which means there’s vulnerability on both sides. You have to be open to nurture a relationship.
    4. 4. Don’t let openness scare you. It happens in degrees, like all human relationships. Mom Lover Tyrannical boss Friends
    5. 5. Show users you trust them, and treat them well. ✤ This is Xavier Gréhant, hypios’ first solver. ✤ He solved hypios’ first problem, proving the viability of our model ... to us.
    6. 6. The Nestlé/Greenpeace Debacle The video that started the trouble
    7. 7. Image credit: Vanksen
    8. 8. Be preemptive. ✤ Every social technology you engage is a wide-open door. Don’t throw them open without a strategy for engaging who comes through it. ✤ A proper strategy has a goal. Goals provide direction and structure - without which you’re at the mercy of users. They’re also benchmarks for measurement. ✤ Prepare to fail, because it’s going to happen. (Probably a lot.) ✤ Have a clear workflow in place for what to do if the worst thing that could happen, happens. You’ll need to act swiftly and with care.
    9. 9. Define the sandbox. Charlene Li’s Sandbox Covenants ✤ What are the lines you should not cross? ✤ What happens if they get crossed? ✤ Make lines clear to users (in a nice way). ✤ Respect their lines too.
    10. 10. It is human to have a comfort zone. ✤ Setting rules of engagement doesn’t mean users will freak out. Rules are good, they mark the starting point of your collaborative relationship. ✤ Make sure the rules are clear, not a wrist-slap that appears all of a sudden. ✤ If something goes wrong, resist the urge to be combative or resistant; listen and address. You don’t have to reveal state secrets, but do not: ✤ Lie. ✤ Make people feel like they did something stupid or wrong by confronting you. ✤ Act shifty. ✤ Use PR talk or legalese. It’s condescending. Would you pull that with your angry husband or wife?
    11. 11. If you screw up? ✤ Don’t backtrack. ✤ Acknowledge what went wrong humbly, in a language people get, and on the appropriate medium. ✤ Just. Say. Sorry. Full stop. ✤ Make it right.
    12. 12. Follow your DNA ✤ Be a good listener. Where do users congregate? What do they care about? How do they speak? Who are you to them? ✤ Commit to be consistent. ✤ Chose a medium that: ✤ Meets your goals ✤ Satisfies requirements for openness ✤ Lets you engage users naturally ✤ Is a logical extension of who your brand is Image: alvy
    13. 13. The BBC: a history of storytelling ✤ Company launched in 1927: radio broadcasting ✤ Penetrated TV in ’36, helping shape that industry for future networks ✤ Today: heavy experimentation in digital media The goal of Henry 8.0: to expand BBC’s history of quality scripted content to the storytelling channel of today. Henry 8.0: The Book of Faces
    14. 14. IKEA: leveraging Facebook IKEA wanted to build buzz for a store opening in Malmö. Instead of starting a static Facebook page and launching a hopeful Twitter profile, it considered the most expedient way to demonstrate the contagious nature of good value, using social tools and tendencies. Here’s what it came up with.
    15. 15. The History Channel and Foursquare ✤ Promotion for America: The Story of Us ✤ Check-ins at places of historical merit unlocked trivia and a limited-edition Statue of Liberty badge! ✤ True to brand’s commitment to spur a passion for the past that doesn’t feel dated.
    16. 16. @CatchaChoo ✤ Use socnets to chase @CatchaChoo around London! ✤ Flag him/her down before s/he departs for a pair of Jimmy Choo tennis shoes!
    17. 17. Twitter and the 2009 VMAs ‘‘Imma let you finish...!’’
    18. 18. Twitter gets more media-serious ✤ Twitter’s Chloe Sladden: when tweets heated up during the VMAs, MTV called them every few minutes for updates. In those moments, Twitter was worth more to them than Nielsen. ✤ Twitter launched Twitter Media, catered to web/TV networks that want to use the site to add an engaging element to broadcasting while tracking live sentiment.
    19. 19. Why do people use Twitter? ✤ Discovery ✤ Not like Facebook, where you collect people you know but aren’t necessarily interested in their political or personal opinions. ✤ Debate ✤ Everything from TV shows to political events gets livetweeted by the most enthusiastic viewers. They converse and argue in real-time, wherever they are on the globe. It enriches the experience of the event and lends broader perspective. ✤ Development of relationships ✤ Wanna get to know somebody? Follow them for a few weeks.
    20. 20. How can Twitter be useful to you? ✤ Promotions ✤ Trend- and sentiment-tracking ✤ Effective listening ✤ Who cares about you? How do they experience your brand in real-time? What are the recurring problems or favourite features? ✤ Customer relationship management ✤ Cultivate go-to social pros in departments, then deploy. Encourage them to reach out to users with need relevant to their expertise ... and be human. These experiences are the features of a company’s true face. ✤ Track their progress and social development; provide clear direction and guidelines.
    21. 21. Adobe on Twitter Just a glimpse of who’s on Twitter at Adobe. Full list.
    22. 22. Equip your soldiers well!
    23. 23. Before the dive, get to know yourself
    24. 24. Your Brand DNA: An Exercise ...formulated by Rishad Tobaccowala of Publicis Groupe Media Pick three words Brand identity lies in the that define your themes that recur between your company’s perspective, brand’s... and your users’ perspective, Niche Keep the list, then have a of the brand. 1. __________ 2. __________ select group of your most Narrow each set of words 3. __________ dedicated users do it too. down to three again, and if you can, try narrowing down Voice 1. __________ to one per category. 2. __________ 3. __________ Consider what steps to take Story between your current 1. __________ identity and the identity you 2. __________ want. 3. __________
    25. 25. Listen to users. ✤ If you do not listen, you cannot support them. If you cannot support them, you will not be able to innovate. Not efficiently, anyway. Image: Samjhana Moon
    26. 26. In Sum ✤ Listen. ✤ Cultivate trust and mutual respect, not suspicion and hostility. ✤ Be preemptive: don't leap onto a medium without a clear idea of what you want to do. If something crazy happens, have a process in place that enables your team to act swiftly. ✤ Plan to change. Opening up means being held accountable for the weaknesses brought to your attention. ✤ Develop social reps in your company, using clear rules of engagement. They should feel enough autonomy to execute decisions based on training, make constructive mistakes and be human with users. ✤ Be consistent and reliable. ✤ Know how to say sorry, and don’t punish people for wanting to engage with you. Healthy relationships thrive on empathy. ✤ Follow your DNA, and give users space to collaborate on its evolution. ✤ Remember it’s you coming into their space, not vice-versa. Be aware that you’re inviting yourself into a conversation they’ve probably been having for years without you.
    27. 27. Worth considering You are the steward of something users pay, and thus work, to have in their lives - in terms of time/money spent, or reputation invested. If anybody deserves to be nervous about who’s handling the future of that product, it’s them.
    28. 28. Contact me! I am nice. Angela Natividad, VP Marketing, ✤ On Twitter: @luckthelady (personal); @hypios (corporate) ✤ Via email: ✤ hypios’ Thinking blog: