The guide to social media marketing and buisness intel.pdf
The Complete Guide To Social-mediaMarketing And Business Intelligence Please send comments and questions to: Socialbusiness@ciowhitepapers.com
Table of ContentsIntroduction.............................................................................3The 5 Pillars Of Social Media and Business IntelligenceIntegration................................................................................9The 7 Key Reasons You Need Social Media And EnterpriseMarketing ..............................................................................228 Key Social Media Metrics and Their Actionable Responses...............................................................................................28The Nine Step Enterprise And Social Media Marketing WorkFlow.......................................................................................33Test The Social Media/Enterprise Marketing Waters For Free...............................................................................................38Available Solutions And 17 Essential Questions To Ask APotential Vendor.....................................................................56Linking Enterprise Marketing To Internal Business Processes...............................................................................................647 Social Media Metrics That Drive Industry Development..72Risks and Opportunities in Social Media and EnterpriseMarketing...............................................................................76Predictions For 2011-2012....................................................95Conclusion:..........................................................................116
Introduction After a decade of stable functioning , growth and innovationsocial media and more importantly the platform (Internet) uponwhich social media occurs, has proven itself to be not only a culturalfacilitator, but also a very real business tool. Social networks powerfully differentiate themselves from previous internet marketing channels in that on a daily basis, they are gathering, parsing and sorting the commercially valuable demographic data of the end user. While the currently used title for the present state ofInternet evolution is Social Media, the phrase is restrictive becauseit fails to acknowledge the wide range of services, communicationsand evolutions that are concurrently taking place throughoutcyberspace. While the phrase is descriptive, it is better to think of itas one of many views of the internet. It is important to recognizesocial media as a subset of a larger whole where the component partsand various platforms protocols and devices are all different ways to
see the same distributed information , communications andmanufacturing network. What has generated a lot of the attention on the phrase socialmedia is its potential to bring larger customer bases to smallerorganizations that produce for increasingly niche markets, to maketarget customer metrics more granular and to enable theempowerment of the end user and client, giving them a sense ofgovernance over how the products that serve them are created. Thisis because social networks bring the following functionality to thetable: 1) Collection of userdemographic data. Even at thisrelatively early stage, age,location and education levelsare visible on the morepopular platforms. As socialnetworks and internetapplications grow morecomplex, extended and moreniche specific data will start to be accumulated and distributable tocompanies who could use this data to learn more about theircustomers and create more effective, timely and authenticpromotions.
2) The ability of user<->user interactions to create evangelistic communities. Face to face promotion of a product from satisfied customer to potential customer is some of the most effective marketing available today. At the same time it also provides a reliable source of research for people considering a particular purchase. When amplified by the scope and processing speed of the internet, companies are fooling themselves if they think that they can continue on with the same communication methods they are using today. The potential benefits of initiating an evangelical wave are enormous in terms of generating loyalty, audience reach and sales. The trick and area of development that needs to be mastered is how to generate these waves in such a way that is reliable and measurable. 3) The fact that as a socially interactive medium, the internetserves as a powerful link between internal corporate processes andthe client/consumer who is also the end user of a social network. Theappearance of this pathway between functions in the business cycleis just beginning to define itself, but it is already clear that there are afew gaps that will result in extensive opportunities for companiesthat can facilitate efficient flow and interpretation of data along theseroads while demonstrating tangible, not ethereal, ROI. 4) The pulse of ongoing dialog within Social networks/media
can be tapped to reveal community and consumer sentiment to adegree that traditional poll/focus group measurements cannot,particularly with regards to authenticity, the proximity to how aclient or customer feels outside of a controlled environment. Inaddition, this consumer feedback is digitally inputted and easilyparse able in a way that is suitable for Business Intelligence andoperations processes to consume and turn into ongoing optimization. Of course, there is a lot of hype about social media, and thisoverabundance of exuberance has resulted in many peopleoverlooking the actual tangible benefits of the phenomenon in termsof its ability to, at the end of the day, make more money. Socialmedia by itself, does not generate cash. This has probably beenoverstated by now to the point that the internet consulting space isoverflowing with people practically advertising their ability to notmake money on the web, as though this is an unproductive behavior.They instead talk about social capital, social authority, mind shareand all manner of methods to gain high social ranking, it is socialmedia after all. The problem here is that this has or will eventuallylead to a jaded view of these ongoing developments that will eitherdrive immediate monetization of social media efforts or a completediscounting of this new infrastructure as a meaningless trend thatwill be an ironic memory is less than ten years.
The problem with either outcome is that there is then a failureto examine where the interactive and social internet fits into thebusiness cycle between product creation, business strategy, publicrelations, marketing and business intelligence. The appearance of asocial internet has revealed a path between all of these previously disparate areas. While one or two have been connected before, today the development of a pathway (indeed,pathways) between all of them is now plausible. There are still areas that need to be filled by various companies and organizations, butit is now clear to those looking with a more historical perspective,beyond cynicism or hype, that such a business flow exists and iscurrently under development, creating efficiencies and providingvaluable insight. In this white paper well take a look at the various componentsof this chain, as well as the areas that need further development inorder for companies of all kinds to either contribute to or benefitfrom this technological evolution.
Also Download TheFree Social MediaStrategy Guide: 100Pages Of EssentialTips And Insights ForWinning, Retainingand Converting NewCustomers Via theSocial Internet.
The 5 Pillars Of Social Media and Business Intelligence IntegrationDefinition: Social Media Management Systems are a group ofapplications or methods used to manage and track work flow in adistributed social media environment. They can be manual orcomputer-based and enable the manager to listen, aggregate, publish,and manage multiple social media channels from one tool.How it works: In the most basic sense, there are three simplefeatures, 1) connect with social media channels like Facebook, Twitterand Youtube. 2) Allow the manager to quickly publish from one location toeach of those channels, some provide ability to customize to eachchannel as well as schedule all or certain messages. 3) Aggregate and Manage social data. The system allows themanager to see an aggregated view of what’s happening (from viewsto comments) and will offer some form of analytics and conversionmetrics to varying levels of depth and complexity.
Each of these basic functions can be expanded upon toincredible levels of detail. Social media as a platform has provenitself and is now a part of any marketing mix. At the same time,marketing has come to incorporate many of the features of businessintelligence and in many cases connected to internal businessprocesses. Overall, this development has been concurrent and convergent. That is, all these technologies have been evolving on their own unique paths for the last decade while at the same time looking across the bow at other parallel fields development and converging with them to the extent that theyprovide value. There is now a great degree of inter-relatedness and itis up to the organization to decide which mix is appropriate to theirbusiness.Those components are:
1) Social media 2) Marketing Strategy 3) Business Intelligence 4) CRM managing and nurturing a company’s interactions withclients and sales prospects 5) Internal Business Processes Each of these components relates to one or more of the others ina functional way that, if done correctly, adds value and efficienciesto to company, its products/services and operations. Lets quickly define each of these terms in order to be clear andalso to see how they are different from each other. Social Media - This is how individuals and companies usewebsites whos primary source of content is the end user. Because ofthis, gaining credibility is a matter of supplying not only goodcontent, but good social interaction. It is, after all, social media. Acommon starting mistake during the last two years has been to viewsocial media as a platform for email blasts and campaigns ratherthan as a process of communication. As understanding evolves, wewill come to recognize that this medium is its own beast with itsown properties. While it is certainly possible to attend to customerneeds and issues via social media, it is not wise to do so. The datainteractions and access rights are all determined by the host of theservice, not by you. Social media should be considered more of abroadcast and participation, and even lead generation media.
Social media relates to other business components in that it informsthem with a real time immediacy that has been previouslyunavailable. This has huge potential for a new set of marketingmetrics, and we are now in the phase of developing thisinfrastructure. The internet is now brimming with companies willingto parse through, store and interpret your social media interactions.Each of them with a different level of granularity, reliability andcost. CRM - CRM focuses on service, retention, sales and leadgeneration. This is the component that addresses the customer on amore one to one level and speaks more specifically on customerrelated issues such as terms of service, pricing, email lists and theactual sale. It differs from the social media component in that it isless promotional and participatory and more actionable. It is themechanism through which deals are closed and customers receivehard goods. Social media informs CRM as to what actions need to betaken and CRM uses social media as a way to broadcast participationand messages that pertain to both current and potential customers.By making social media a CRM component, potential customers canhave a first hand look at the company they will be dealing withshould they decide to make a purchase. Marketing strategy - The methods and tactics used to gain theattention that leads to sales. Both social media and CRM efforts needto rely on a comprehensive approach to the customer that is built on
the companies mission statement and long term goals. Without this,the flood of information from a constant stream of services comingonline will overwhelm the marketing approach and reduce it to littlemore than a scramble to answer everyone, one-to-one, in real time.Marketing to an audience that has this one-to-one potential does notobligate you to speak to everyone. Having these tools requires you tochoose your battles for maximum return. In the same way that ashort tempered employee can embarrass his whole organization withone rude tweet, a well trained staff can create large positive waves ofgood will simply by focusing attention on a situation and audiencethat has high and positive visibility. Locating these spots on the web,these communities and times of day is the function of marketingstrategy. Both social media and CRM interactions help to inform this
Business Intelligence - The ability to dig into data that has beenacquired through disparate channels and business activities and thenidentify trends, opportunities and areas where efficiency can beimproved. As stated above, social media and CRM are used to inform thelong term marketing strategy. The problem is the huge volume ofdata coming from both channels. This is where business intelligencecomes in. BI compiles, parses and interprets this data into reportsand forms that are consumable by marketers and strategists. What business intelligence cannot do is change the quality ofthe data coming in. There does need to be a starting point so that anorganization feels comfortable that incoming information is useableby the company, that it comes from the target audience. Locatingthese sources of useful data is one of the services offered by variousconsulting companies or dedicated marketing staff. In addition,effective business intelligence requires a staff or consultant whoknows what to look for and how to find it, a person who knows howto read data in a way that provides business value. The majority of social media marketing and enterprise
marketing companies providing service today are in this space. Thatis, collecting data from your interactions and then interpreting it.They either do this for you, provide tools to that end or, asconsultants, provide the strategy, recommendations and support foryou to implement. Such companies define themselves, and their coststructure based on how comprehensive the data collection is as wellas how deep the data analysis goes. Because this is a newly evolvingarea, there are many companies that struggle to define what it is thatthey do and how to integrate their offerings into your businessprocess. Simple free services count how many Twitter followers youhave or how many times someone mentions your name, leaving it up to you to interpret the data. Other companies collect data from Twitter, Facebook and Youtube (Or another collection of sites) and provide some interpretation for a monthly fee. Still other companies do above, with a more robust database implementation a deeper view, plus historical analysis
Finally, companies like SAP, Oracle and IBM provide themeans to process huge amounts of information and highly complexanalysis. At the low end, there is no marketing and branding consultingincluded. At the middle tier, such consulting is offered for additionalcost and beyond this, various companies are balanced in differentways. Some are more focused on the technology and some are morefocused on the branding/marketing/public relations aspect. At the high end, it is assumed that you are paying big bucks fora high end technology solution and that you can accept the cost orhave your own resources to handle marketing communicationseparately. Internal Business Process and Strategy - How the company,organization, blogger operates day to day in order to reach targets.Internal processes can be informed by Business intelligence. Finally, there are the internal business processes. What acompany does on any given day is a combination of its long termstrategy mixed in with the feedback it gets from competitors,customers and industry dynamics. Information from each of thesecan be had from online activity, research and dialogs. Like marketingstrategy, Internal processes dont communicate directly with the enduser, they act on data compiled from business intelligence.
There is another sector of social media that connects staff inlarge companys in their own closed social media network, whichcan then be tied to outside communication channels, but it is stilleffectively an internal communication process. In effect, all five parts can be represented by a simple drawingof a car. Business Intelligence is the body of a car through whichdata is processed and interpreted, it passes two axles ofcommunication channels that connect internal activity with outwardfacing activity. The dynamic of all this information broadcasting,collecting interpretation and adjustment is what drives the car, yourbusiness, forward. Failure of any component leads to stagnation, abreakdown in business intelligence leads to a stopped vehicle, thatgets passed by other cars (businesses) and an ineffective tire (One ofthe components, Social Media, Marketing ,CRM, InternalProcesses), Leads to a car (Business) going in circles. What you pay for when you pay for any of these services is afaster, better running and more efficient vehicle. You can buy a carcomplete or your can assemble your own, the choice is yours. If you buy a complete vehicle, with the best tires and engineblock, youll pay a lot of money. You can assemble a best-of-breed car, save some money and dothe basic assembly yourself
You can build your own from scratch, save a ton of money andhave a very flexible and modifiable vehicle, but youll need top ofthe line mechanics (engineers) to build and maintain it for you. Ifyou can do this, youll then likely have a platform that can be resoldto other people, and this is precisely what many companies do, theyoffer their own framework, one that has worked for them, to othercustomers. Having this understanding, you now have to evaluate yourneeds, go out on the lot and buy a car. You may want to just jumpright in, get a pre-fabricated vehicle and start doing business, butthere could be some issues here: a) Support issues b) Your dependency on the service provider c) How easily data can be ported to another system. The number of options out there is amazing. Here are someexamples: The body: The business intelligence unit goes from the basic,a very low cost Mysql database that you will have to do the scriptingon to get the data out of. Various single tires: business components that offer themarketing, internal process consulting, business strategy or social
media consulting individually. You assemble them togetherVarious combinations of these tires (components),examples: a) Marketing plus social media b) Social media and CRM linkage c) Business strategy and marketing communication d) Business intelligence connecting one or all of the tires e) Internal processes with business intelligence Theoretically, with 5 parts there should be be 5*4*3*2*1 possibilities resulting in at least one company for each combination of collection of combinations. Obviously, the comprehensiveness and quality of the solutions will drive the costs that a given service provider quotes you, but at least now you have a picture of the myriad choices that face you, both as a customer and asa potential service provider.
Given the above, you most definitely see that knowing yourneeds and objectives, while it has always been critical, is now evenmore essential. There is simply too much to choose from formeandering experimentation to be a possibility and these tools reallyare necessary.For each mix, there is likely now a company that specializes in thatblend. Because given blends are more suited to specific industries,some companies will feel comfortable serving clients in a givenindustry, as opposed to a particular kind of product. This depends onthe scope of the service provider along with how successful they arein retaining business for their defined niche.
Also Download TheFree Social MediaStrategy Guide: 100Pages Of EssentialTips And Insights ForWinning, Retainingand Converting NewCustomers Via theSocial Internet.
The 7 Key Reasons You Need Social Media And Enterprise Marketing Before we answer this question, it is about time that weabandoned the trendy, yet deceptive phrase Social MediaMarketing. Social media is part of the business ecosystem, notseparate or autonomous. The question is less of implementation andhas more to do with integration into existing business processes.Beyond that, it has the power to change business in fundamentalways. It is this last point that leads many to think that social media isa) Newb) Its own autonomous entity. First of all, social media is simply the current iteration of theInternet, with user generated content, semantic storage, APIs and farimproved parse ability via XML/JSON and the community of usersas an asset. It is important to both forget and remember the phrase social
media at the same time. Forget it because you need to remember thatyou are talking about the scope of the entire Internet, not just Twitter.Remember the term, because on top of this Internet is being built anew cultural infrastructure that is more responsive to certainbehaviors than others. Because this new social internet is becomingso interlinked with the business process, a better term would beEnterprise Social Marketing. Knowing these two things alone may be enough to convinceyou that you cant continue doing business as you are right now. NewInternet technologies have rapidly matured and can providesignificant value, efficiencies and insight. More compelling is thatthese tools are giving competitors a cost, authenticity and reachadvantage. To be clear, though, lets list the reasons you need toimplement an Enterprise Social Marketing solution. Cost/The Recession - This recession has been, and still is, sodeep that fundamental changes in business thinking will have tooccur. Without going to heavy into cause and effect, it is generallyagreed that housing had something to do with the downturn. Thiswould seemingly not affect an unrelated IT industry, but thedevastation wrought by overvaluation has changed business thinkingin general to the point that sexy is being replaced with ROI and RealIntrinsic Value. Customers and clients of all kinds will ask about ROI and lessabout design, UI and innovation. Markets, businesses and buyers are
going right back to basic principles and they need to save money. Itsnot just a tighten the belt game though, its business and in businessone must still compete, innovate productively, create efficiencies andinspire. Enterprise marketing and its social media tools have the abilityto accomplish these tasks for less money if implemented correctly,and there will be some companies that do. Other organizations willbecome lost in the myriad choices on offer today (and the myriadmore to come), get confused and waste their hard to earn cash. The efficiencies created by integrated marketing with socialmedia are real, as are the risks. Because some of your competitorswill get it right and save money that can be used to develop theirbrand, products and businesses, you also have no choice but to begindefining your approach. If you dont, theyll bury you in cost savingsalone, much less the other benefits described below. Flexibility - Unlike traditional media, Internet marketingpossesses a wide variety of channels to utilize. Video, Banner ads,Injection into communities, Bulletin boards and many others. Everyyear a new platform and method to advertise on that platform iscreated. Analytics - Rather than simply tracking changes in sales after agiven campaign, marketers can track activity by site, channel, media,method, message and a wide variety of other metrics. Coupled with
real time response capabilities, marketing efforts can adapt and profitfrom knowledge much faster than before. Targeting - Platforms like Facebook allow ad targeting tooccur by age,sex,education,location and a whole host of otherdemographics. There is simply no way that traditional media canaccomplish this and even if it could, the cost would be enormous.Online, this cost is much less and direct to the people whos attentionyou need. Beyond that, public reaction to outgoing messages can bemonitored and measured. Value Creation - Enterprise marketing actually addssomething of significant value to the business as an entity. As itevolves, it will continue to achieve greater integration with acompanies business processes. Think of it this way, a company thathas a solid and well integrated enterprise marketing platform willsell for more than one that doesnt. Responsiveness - The turn around time on customer and community feedback can range from one-to-one to days, weeks or months, depending on the companies strategy. The more immediate response is particularly powerful when gauging a marketing effort and
making adjustments based on historical trends and incoming data.Put simply, the wait time between strategy adjustments issignificantly reduced. This allows for quicker synchronization withthe sentiment of your target market. Increasing granularity - Every year enterprise marketingplatforms and their upgrades are able to produce a better definedpicture of trends, motivations and statistics. Armed with thisknowledge, marketers can not only address their audiences with aclearer message, they can transfer this understanding to productdevelopment. Authenticity - Better knowledge of your audience, due toincreased granularity, targeting and responsiveness means that youdont have to pretend to know your audience, you will actually havehard data to back up your assumptions about them. This translatesinto great branding because real identification with the customercommonly translates into loyalty and evangelism. Even one of these factors could create a sea change inmarketing, but what is happening is that in addition to 7 significantadvantages, we are also seeing increased communication andintegration between business components. Coupled with economicpressures that put a massive focus on value and ROI, we can be saidto be experiencing a revolution in business practices.
Employing Enterprise marketing is less a matter of deciding touse a given set of tools and more of acknowledging that it is part ofthe new business climate. The choice you have available to you isnot whether to choose a given tool or even how to use it. The firstdecision is how aware you want to be of these changes and whetheryou want to navigate them or become the victim of those of yourcompetitors who have. Of course, the gravity of the situation really depends on thenature of your business as well as your future goals. If you are OKwith selling lemonade on your street only and dont plan to developsystems to expand and scale out, its unlikely recent technology andmedia changes will affect you. Also Download The Free Social Media Strategy Guide: 100 Pages Of Essential Tips And Insights For Winning, Retaining and Converting New Customers Via the Social Internet.
8 Key Social Media Metrics and Their Actionable Responses1) Monitor the opinions of a target demographic and online locationswhere a positive opinion is expressed. Natural language processingand filters can determine the key points of satisfaction as well as thevarious product use cases that lead to a pleased customerOnline locations where negative sentiment predominates can also beidentified and a more aggressive problem resolution effort can be
undertaken there. This can result in pre-empting a viral explosion ofill will toward your organization. Action: Collect the differentiators that emerge from positive sentiment, the things your customers like most about your product and work to develop products and services more along those lines. For negative sentiment, directly address and resolve valid concerns and the individuals who have the most influence. 2) Identify cases where negative sentiment is turning into a PR crisis. Action: Effective social media monitoring will be able to identify key influencers before too much damage is done. This will allow you to approach them with solutions long before the horses have bolted from the barn.
3) Identify individuals, blogs and web applications that hold themost influence over your brand. Action: Web community efforts in the areas identified as having the most influence. Speak to them on the terms identified by your monitoring as important to them.4) Keeping real-time tabs on the development of opinion andsentiment, particularly in relation to new products and services asthey are released. Action: Not having to wait for consumer feedback means that updates, customer service and future development will be more immediately accessible. This shorter wait time between release and feedback leads to quicker issue resolution and new product development. 5) Measure how your brand, advertising efforts, products and services play out in relation to time of day, and geo-location. 6)
Action: Adjust and modify products and services to specific geographies. Release your messages and ad campaigns at the time of day when most of your target customers are receptive.6) Determine which media types and platform protocols (Video,Short message, podcast etc) have the greatest success rate. Action: Focus your efforts on the media and channels that deliver the most ROI. Modify efforts in media and channels that under deliver. For example, you may learn that your video campaign, while entertaining, doesnt generate qualified leads. You may then have to focus on providing product specific and industry related video content.7) Monitor competitors. Action: Examine and emulate their success factors in areas that you can. Learn more about the sentiment of customers you would like to acquire from your competition.
8) Research the industry. Action: Learning about the industry in general is made possible by internet content that is more parse able along with natural language processing. This allows you to rapidly identify areas of growth, gaps and places where the market is saturated.
The Nine Step Enterprise And Social Media Marketing Work FlowCreate a communications strategy - – Define message – Before a social media and/or interactive internet marketing campaign is begun, it is necessary to define exactly what kind of message is needed. Some messages may be very simple and, like traditional media, occur redundantly over pre-scheduled times. More advanced message can span a period of months and involve more detailed content, interaction and media. Many companies struggle with the concept that Internet marketing is much more than advertising, it has a wide range of tools available to it and can become much more immersive than
ads that blast out to recipients. Optimized social media marketing consists of a means by which data is being collected from the target audience at the very same time that it is being communicated with.– Define tools, media and channels – Once a communication strategy is defined, the required tools to make this vision will start to make themselves apparent. At this point, the company doing promotional work can map out the actual resources that will be required. Depending on the complexity of the effort, this is the point at which an enterprise marketing solution can be explored. Resources that may be required include, video shooting and editing, coding/scripting, design, Ajax, Flash, copy writing and analytics.– Refine message to match tools, media and channels – Once the tool set is collected or hired out, youll find that the message will have to be shaped to fit into the container defined by the platform being targeted. That is, if Youtube only allows 10 minute videos, youre idea of a 30 minute infomercial or seminar may be adjusted to a series of shorter lessons or tutorials, particularly when factoring the possibility that your audience may have a shorter attention span. Messaging will also have to be adjusted in the event that youd like a single message from one platform to reach a variety of sites. In this case, creating a media that meets the lowest common technical denominator is required.
– Define schedule – Your message may or may depend on redundancy, serialization (A regular schedule), Community response or the times of day that most of your target audience is online. This needs to be defined and measured for affordability in terms of the media that will have to be produced. Broadcast – Once prepared for content and format andschedule, the message can be broadcasted. If the above steps areprepared correctly and a service/platform for sending information isintelligently selected, this should be a simple step. Otherwise, youcan find yourself submitting things manually and consumingvaluable time that should be devoted to analysis and modification. Collect Data – Data collection can be as simple as visiting yoursocial network accounts and checking for responses, or as complexas gathering this data via a third party service provider. Informationcollected this way can be interpreted by their interface or sent toyour own business intelligence system. Analyze data – In terms of marketing – The data returned is then examined for trends and insights into the market and the response to your communication efforts. Many products immediately produce graphs that illustrate the basics, like click-throughs, source and number of times a given
message has been resent. Beyond this, services vary as to how much detail and tracking is included with the service. - In terms of business processes – Analyzing the same datafrom this perspective can reveal redundancies, inefficiencies, wasteand un-utilized features/services that can eventually be phased out asa cost savings measure. Modify processes and marketing strategies -Communications responses and customer feed back can then bestudied for how it applies to product design and other processes thatface the customer. Once communications feedback is understood,processes can strategies can be modified, stopped, initiated orexpanded upon. Rinse and Repeat – Once an updated or new strategy iscreated, it is again broadcasted thus repeating the cycle of creation,broadcast and improvement. Optimally, all business processes arelinked to a more comprehensive communication with the consumerand the vehicle of a business is propelled forward by a closer, moreaccurate and more granular link to the people that they serve. Again, this is not just social media marketing, it is using what isessentially a distributed communications platform and networkeddatabase that is accessible via a wide range of hardware(PC,mobile,gaming device) to deliver more business value, greater
customer satisfaction and involvement. Shifting the focus to the total phenomenon of the Internet ratherthan to a particular web application, format, media type or monikerDu Jour, will help to maintain focus on this force as an evolvingbusiness tool rather than an erratically defined techno-mantra.
Test The Social Media/Enterprise Marketing Waters For Free To get started with Enterprise Marketing, take a look at some ofthe free online tools that can provide insight into activity related toone or more of your internet presences. Below is a table that listssome free sights that provide these metrics. What you need to beaware of is that these applications will only provide a glimpse of thekind of analytics that are available. What you need to ask yourselfwhen using these free services is whether this information andextensions on this information will be useful. Your answer will mostlikely be Yes. Getting referenced, forwarded or retweeted bysomeone can be a big boost to an organization. Automating and scaling messages that spread virally canrepresent huge cost savings and marketing ROI. As sites such asTwitter, Facebook and Youtube continue to add features, they willaccumulate ever vaster amounts of demographic data and alsocontinue to find ways of making this data available to marketers inan ethical transparent manner. The latter is a matter of working outlegal and perception bugs but this is an infrastructure that can bebuilt.
Here are some examples and what they provide http://www.twitalyzer.com/ A nice interactive UI rich set of analytics for your Twitterpresence, allows for integration with Google analytics, it is free butmore complete analytics start at $9.99/month
Trendistic.com lets you type in a key word and returns statistics onhow that keyword is trending. This is great for finding the keywordsin social media that you can use to pull in visitors.
http://www.klout.com/index.php– This application examines your Twitter account and provides a series of metrics, including feedback on how influential you are. This is useful when testing strategies for obtaining recognition as an authority in your area. Also free
Socialmention.com pours over the web and examines your metricsacross the internet. Considering the scope of its search, the amountof information you get from this free service is quite impressive.
Also Download TheFree Social MediaStrategy Guide: 100Pages Of EssentialTips And Insights ForWinning, Retainingand Converting NewCustomers Via theSocial Internet.
Omniture.com (below) has a suite of applications that handle allaspects of marketing, from campaign management, to leadgeneration and email. Some very comprehensive analytics.
Kontagent.com has a great analysis of your Facebook account andcan provide an excellent overview of what kind of metrics areavailable via paid services. Like the other free tools, a quick look attheir output gives a good idea as to the actual business value you willbe getting from a fully engaged campaign on one of all of theseplatforms.
http://trendistic.com/ Analyzes trends in Twitter and provides a stream of tweets on agiven subject. Not only can you see what is trending, you can see thekind of conversation that is taking place around a given topic.
http://www.webtrends.com/products/analytics/facebook.aspx Facebook analytics, providing stats on your applications, adcampaigns and audience demographics. Webtrends also provides anumber of other applications that track a variety of data sourcesother than Facebook. What you may find from companies like this,is that each of the products can be purchased individually. This is
great if you have a focus in a primary area and have determined avalid need by examining free tools first, but if you are not careful,you may end up with the same daily routine that youd have if youwere to use the free web sites. That is, bouncing around from screento screen, trying to aggregate various collections of insight intosomething actionable.Ubervu.com (below) is similar to socialmention.com in that isexamines the internet presence of a site of keyword. It tends to pullfrom sources with an API, so the data may be more reliable, but alsowith a more limited set of sources.
While most of these examples are Twitter specific, the sameservices exist for Youtube, Google, Facebook and any of the othermajor social networks out there. There are too many others tomention, and by the time you read this, some may have shut downwhile others may have started up, thats the nature of the Internet. You should go to Google and search for Twitter analytics ortwitter measurement and see what comes up. Some applications willbe more robust than others, some can take awhile to compile yourstats. This is the price of a free service. In addition, these tools canbe subject to the whims of the platform, their API limits or privacy issues. Take a couple of days to shop through these tools and create a table that lists the service, URL, functionality, stability/speed and finally in a separate column check whether the tool has a potential business use for you. As you learn about whats out there, youll be ableto define your requirements when shopping for a more completesolution. ...And you will need a complete solution, bouncing around
between all of these web interfaces, can be extremely timeconsuming, tedious and will eventually lead to a lack of follow up.To use the car analogy again, it would be like spinning your carstires back at the starting block. Taking the three sites above as an example, many companieswould value knowing the kind of impact their presence has as wellas the clout. These will essentially help you to understand thestrength of your message and its retain ability by potentialcustomers. Heres an example of free tools and the information theyprovide: Tweeteffect, is a great way to gauge the effectiveness of a givenmessage and Trendistic will allow you to gain a sense of directionwhen forming a new message. Together, these three tools have thepotential to help you gauge public perception of your name, measurethe effects of a given broadcast, and compare your messaging withwhat is currently trending. Very valuable information indeed. Thisinformation increases in value as the volume of activity andconsequent quantity of data increases. This quick test case quickly reveals a minimum of what youshould be expecting and asking for when considering giving yourbusiness to a dedicated, more comprehensive and expensive socialmedia/enterprise marketing service provider. Whenever a new
business sector opens up, there is a glut of companies, consultantsand shysters who are more adept at spinning buzzwords thanactually creating value. It is absolutely essential that you find out foryourself what is available for free before you take a strangers wordon what a given service or feature should cost. You shouldnt bepaying for whiz bang graphics, UI and deft programming hackery,but real measurable business value. Things will eventually shake outto the point where the gap between customer knowledge andconsultant hype narrows, but unfortunately, most of us are in theposition of having to decide and implement now. Many of these availabletools also have their ownAPI, so you or your tech-literate colleagues can rollyour own solution if youlike. In the process youlllearn a great deal about howsuch systems work, thevalue they can provide andthe overall landscape of thissector. Be warned thoughthat youll have to deal withAPI limits, scaling issuesfrom the data source, andadditional equipment/staff purchases. In fact, as this art/scienceevolves youll eventually need to open up a dedicated department,
probably sooner than later. Finally, if Twitalizer for example, has itsown API, thats great but remember that Twitalyzer depends on theTwitter API. This means a chain of dependencies. At this point, outsourcing this work to another service providerstarts to make sense. Sure, they are also subject to API limits,privacy concerns and scaling issues, but because of their volume andhistory in the market, theyve been able to forge much more stablerelationships with Twitter, Facebook, Google, Youtube etc, alongwith the fatter data pipe that this kind of relationship includes. Alsokeep in mind that the large social media platforms have something togain by seeing social media enterprise/marketing service providersprove ROI. Smaller, single proprietor outfits generally tend to taxresources and increase exposure to privacy and security issues untilthey reach a certain size. Finally, time spent on rolling your ownsocial media/internet analytics package is time better spent on yourcore business. In effect, an examination of these free services is absolutely inorder for the insight it provides into the emerging art and science ofenterprise marketing. This kind of research arms you with theknowledge necessary to evaluate your needs against what is possiblevia the analysis of internet data. Next well take a look at how you should shop for a paid serviceprovider, what to look for, what to expect and how to use the data
Also Download TheFree Social MediaStrategy Guide: 100Pages Of EssentialTips And Insights ForWinning, Retainingand Converting NewCustomers Via theSocial Internet.
Available Solutions And 17 Essential Questions To Ask A Potential VendorBelow are examples of companies that provide social-mediamarketing and business intelligence services.Click Here To See The Social Business Intelligence MatrixSolutions Available for contract or purchase: If youve taken the suggestion in the previous chapter and had alook around at some of the free offerings, youll be able to see thatthere are certain classes of business value that emerge as well as
certain kinds of requirements that one should look for. As with anyset of products, what is available is on a spectrum along with co-responding price differences. The business value that is provided by even the free accountsshould be visible at this point. Insight into audience behavior, theirconcerns, how your name is playing out, response to a sample ofyour messaging to name a few. Youve probably also run into someof the limitations that these free services provide. Namely, speed,reliability and depth. You may in fact still be waiting for one of moreof the sights you went to to finish crunching your stats. Such is thenature of a free web-based service and one or two such experiencesshould make it clear that this is no way to do business. At this point the choice is to either roll your own or step up and invest in a more reliable product and service. Making your own will be prohibitive for most people, so well look at making a purchase and the research required to do so wisely. The survey of free services you have given you insight intowhat particular feature you can expect, but not necessarily thefundamental characteristics behind a given feature set. So letsclarify.
Below is a list of characteristics that will cost more inproportion to an increase in quality and quantity. What to look for: Granularity - How fine is that data? It is possible to drilldown to a single visitor, tweet, Facebook update or account? Weighthe offering against what you really need right now. Depth - How deep does the data go? How many relationshipscan it traverse. Heavy business intelligence products can go all overthe place, many times analyzing data automatically, findingrelationships that youve never thought of exploring. An SME mayonly need a subset of this depth, so dont get talked into buying morescope than you need. Historical data - Extended use of free online analytics willeventually reveal that historical data is often flushed. These smallerorganizations can hardly afford to keep legacy data on the shelves ifit is recalled only a fraction of the time. Obviously, the more youpay, the more history youll get, and with greater granularity. Thathaving been said, you may have defined your marketing strategy tobe responsive to only a couple of years, or a couple of months.Marketing in a developing country is a perfect example, there simplyisnt enough reliable historical data in many locations.
UI - User interface can be de-emphasized as an obvious anglefor a salesperson to take, but it cannot be discounted as completely useless. Good UI makes powerful insight not only rapidly visible, but rapidly actionable. In a real time environment, this is crucial. The question you should ask yourself when shopping then isnt How jelly like are the buttons? but Howquickly can I get from a set of key data/statistics to generating a newmessage to a given target audience? When comparing products,articulate this question to the sales person and measure the time ittakes to get a response. In fact, this information should not have tobe asked for, the sales literature or sales person should be honing inon and demonstrating on this sales point ASAP. Modularity - Social Media/Enterprise Marketing companiesrun a whole spectrum between what are essentially PR companies tofull blown IT shops with varying combinations of marketing/ITexpertise thrown in. You need to decide which mix suits you best. Asyou approach more IT focused providers, youll need to inquire as tohow separable the components of a given solution are. That is, canthe different parts be combined in different ways to reveal differentinsights? Data can be viewed and processed in an infinite number ofways, how much freedom do you have to isolate views and combine
them in ways that more accurately model your own organization?Again, focus on modularity to the degree that it meets your needs,not to the extent that it meets some abstract concept of perfection. Ability to tie to other business components - Can theseinternet marketing analytics be fed into a large business intelligencecomponent, and with how much ease? This is like attaching the tire to the body of the car. If the data cannot be piped in directly to your business intelligence, it will be up to you to do the interpretation and data re-entry into your database, spreadsheet or other BI warehouse. This would be like racing down the track while physically holding the tire out with your own two hands.For a small company, it might seem like excess to have all such unitstied together, but the price of all these services is coming downrapidly, so make sure you are not harboring assumptions that weremade a year ago. Ability for automation - Can actionable data and statistics bescripted to increase, decrease, stop or start a particular messagingchannel in response to pre-set values? This is quite advanced, but theobvious benefit is that real time response does not have to rely onconstant human interaction. This frees up time for strategizing froma longer perspective. For global organizations, this can be a key
feature, the ability to tune a message for an overseas market whileheadquarters is sound asleep. Response from global markets isaccelerated. Ability to respond - Some analytics services may not evenoffer the ability to respond, but may be focused solely on providingdata and reports. This may be all you need. If so, there is no point inpaying for more. Granularity of response - Can your responses to reportingconsist of one message to all platforms, or different messages todifferent platforms,demographics, geo-locations, devices, etc? Portability of data - Can the data your activity generates betransferred to another platform? You may outgrow your currentservice, or find that you are not using some features that push up thecost, requiring you to downgrade. In either case, youll need a wayfor that data to get from point a to point b, otherwise youll losehistorical information. Ownership of the data - This issue has not come up in a bigway yet, but it is conceivable that if Facebook can claim ownershipof a persons personal data, perhaps a social media/Enterprisemarketing company may claim that while they dont own what issaid about you on some blog, they do have ownership rights of thestats and analysis that their algorithms produce. This is a point worth
considering, particularly if historical data is important to you. If youdecide to cancel their service, you may find that you are only entitledto the raw, un-parsed and un-compiled data, essentially a gargantuanunsorted text file. Something to think about. This is why you shouldthink of data portability not in terms of an exit from the service, butin terms of being able to export data at any time, in a useable format,without the assistance of their staff. Search capabilities – Search is an essential component of anyof these systems. It is what allows you to access the power of theanalytics in its complete form. You need to look for a wide range offiltering capabilities such as time, location, platforms and the abilityto exclude certain items. In effect, search should be as configurableas you need it to be . Spam management – Blogs, messaging systems and forums areall subject to spam and content that is clearly not relevant to yourneeds. Any system you are looking at should be able to filter out thisdata before it enters your database and business intelligence system.
Alert functionality – Rather than wait until you search for it torealize that you are now in a full blown PR crisis, it would be betterto have some configurable alert functionality to that you will bealerted when a particular number has been reached or situation hasoccurred. This is not only a matter of damage control, it is also amatter of being able to capitalize on positive responses from a givenchannel as soon as possible so that you can feed positive momentum. File and reports management – As you continue to use a givensystem, youll quickly have a mass of reports, data and suggestions.What is the storage system for these items and how easy plus quickis it to pull this information? A Demo – Many service providers have a free demo that isavailable for you to use for a limited time or with a limited featureset. See the list below for a directory of companies, their feature setand their demo.
Also Download The Free Social Media Strategy Guide: 100 Pages Of Essential Tips And Insights For Winning, Retaining and Converting New Customers Via the Social Internet. Linking Enterprise Marketing To Internal Business Processes As mentioned and hinted at in previous chapters, onlinemarketing via social media and other internet media is on a collisioncourse with business intelligence. This in only natural because SocialMedia and Enterprise Marketing both need to accumulate and
broadcast a large amount of data. Since business intelligence is essentially the analysis of data inorder to reveal key business insights, the two are naturallycomplimentary, and will over the course of time, becomeinextricably linked in a symbiotic two way flow of informationanalysis and communication. Already, larger companies with well established and morecomplex business intelligence systems are piping communicationsdata and audience feedback into their systems. While this is still inits beginning stages, companies like SAP, Oracle and IBM areadding increasingly comprehensive social media metrics to theirproducts. This is great for very large organizations with large budgets andif you have this kind of money, these solutions are well worth a look.On the other hand given that this area is so rapidly developing, itmight be unwise to invest heavily in a solution tailored to what mayturn out to be an erroneous vision of future internet development.The sector is still very young and it is important to examine thepotential of distributed social interaction as a tool for businessdevelopment first.
Each Social Media Marketing/Enterprise Marketing solutionprovider has a different approach to mapping the data value of onlineinteraction to business processes, and to a different degree of depth.The differences across companies can be driven by the target cost ofthe product or the philosophy of the service provider with regards tohow internet activity should be interpreted and acted upon. Inaddition, the needs of the market have a say in what kind of productsare created. Since many of these products end users are still understandingthe technology, evaluating their needs and deciding on budget, thesweet spot for service providers is still in flux. In addition, thenewness and rapid growth of these technologies makes for aparticularly dynamic market and product selection. Lets take a look at three of the bigger vendors and see howtheir approach to to mapping social media to business intelligencevaries. SAP/Jive - Rather than handling social media on their own.Jive has produced a module for acquiring and feeding social mediadata into SAP business objects. One thing this business arrangementpoints out is that SAP seems to have come to the conclusion that themaintaining an effective internet presence is complex enough towarrant a partnership with another organization rather than the
creation of a new segment of the organization. Using their plug-inarchitecture, customers can use their existing investment in businessintelligence and enhance its capabilities by collecting andinterpreting distributed communications. This is a sensible approachin that expertise is regulated to a separate organization with theagility and flexibility to keep up with the rapid changes in this arena.While this looks to be a highly effective solution, if does requireSAP and the requisite costs and technical skills. Beyond that, such asolution may be overkill for smaller businesses. Also, the modular approach, where satellite companies providesolutions for partner companies only works well if one of thecompanies has a large ecosystem of customers. Otherwise,purchasing a core system and module can run you into big problemsif the company responsible for the core architecture runs intobusiness issues. IBM - IBM is working withSPSS, a company that they own, tofocus on the analytics of internetinteraction data. The supportliterature seems to focus on theanalysis aspect, once interaction datahas been collected. Tools andstrategy are not stressed as part of thesolution.
Since data analysis and public relations are fully unique anddisparate disciplines, it makes sense for companies providing the topend of the spectrum to not even attempt to know about somethingthat requires a completely different set of resources. The assumptionis that companies paying high fees for IT will also be paying forindependently competent communication strategy solutions. The SAP jive approach hints at an integration betweencommunication and analytics, but from a PR solution/Marketingperspective, its a far cry from a fully developed strategy. The gist oftheir emphasis on communication focus is to illustrate that their toolsare useable and understandable by PR/Marketing professionals. SAS - Being more oriented toward statistical analysis thanbusiness processes, SAS is in a position to create their own socialmedia analytics offering rather that to partner with a third party. Theobvious advantage is that SAS knows its own products and as acustomer, you are not reliant on the ability of a large and third partycompany being able to communicate with each other. Perhaps onesignificant disadvantage is that while SAS will be able to crunchnumbers flawlessly, they will most likely be far less adept athandling the softer communication related skill set, or to be able towrite code and architecture to that aspect. A third party module creator, on the other hand may be writingtheir software specifically from a communications facilitationperspective and is likely to have such experts on staff. Comparing
the online resource library of both companies provides a clue. SAShas articles and white papers focused on the statistical analysis andinformation available from social data whereas Jive has quite a fewarticles and white papers on online community building strategies. Oracle - At present, the verdict on Oracles solutions tends tobe that they are taking more of a snap on widget approach thananything comprehensive. Some industry commentators have evenconcluded that this reflects a more conservative wait and seeapproach that may result in them not only falling behind in thissector but also doing a bit of damage to themselves by not showingthe foresight to get more fully engaged in mapping social media tobusiness processes. Each of these solutions certainly has room for improvement andincreased integration between social data and business strategy.There is a huge gap between marketing message creation and dataanalysis but it is a space begging to be filled. The soft arts ofpersonal communication have always been the antithesis of logicmodels, but social media has appeared as a node between the twoextremes, and companies on both sides of the gap are now workinghard to fill that space. Part of this will consist of developingcommunications and messaging that is always in a state that can betracked, parsed, stored and retrieved, while at the same time having
the immediacy of real-time relevance and authenticity. There are two locations in the chain that represent significantgaps, and one area (social media) that is developing rapidly, withmajor players (Twitter, Facebook etc) whos evolving function setswill create interconnections between themselves. This hoped forideal is a complete link between end user/customer and productcreation/business processes on a one to one basis. This is a long way off of course, but ironically, a lot of thisdevelopment will come from the recession driven need to cut costs.It can be argued that without the recession, all ends of this spectrumwould be content to continue to do business using familiar, albeitfinancially wasteful ways. Worse still, they may have continued orreactivated the kind of dot com era ebullience and flash & featurerich bloat and led to many overvalued start ups and their well knownfate.Today, in this climate, forward steps are rarely taken unlessmanagement is still well within reach of displayable ROI. Thischange will result in smarter spending and more sustainable, evenand profitable growth in the long term.
Also Download TheFree Social MediaStrategy Guide: 100Pages Of EssentialTips And Insights ForWinning, Retainingand Converting NewCustomers Via theSocial Internet.
7 Social Media Metrics That Drive Industry DevelopmentTypes of data from the social internet: Consumer trends - Mining review sites and comparing thenumber of comments shown for a given type of products acrossseveral product creators can reveal significant data on howfrequently a product is purchased as compared to similar productsfrom another company. There are already sites that aggregate andcollect comments, like Disqus which also have an API that allowsfor parsing through comments to find keywords and specific types ofcomments.
Consumer opinions - Similar to the above, but for sites thathave a specific consumer orientation as well as specific methods ofinputting and recording consumer data. Ratings - If only interested in numerical values, thisinformation can be taken out and used as a very concise summary ofsentiment. Desires for improvements - Review sites comments canoften have in their comments expressed wished for improvementsthat can be made. This allows marketers to get a more realisticevaluation of what is wanted by the target group. Level of evangelism - Some people recommend a product,while others evangelize it. The converse is also true in cases wherethe product or service is considered to be very poor. Location and density of communities - Those who speakabout a given product may be primarily located at a single web siteor spread out across several. Knowing the distribution pattern of aproduct types consumer will help to identify the areas where greaterinfluence can be projected. Degree of involvement in the product - Some productsmay have several small reviews. Others may have a smaller numberof very detailed information on the product. Both types of
engagement reveal something key about consumer behavior withregards to the product. Actionable steps on this information include, targeting areaswith the greatest social influence, engaging specific users whoprovide valuable feedback, reaching out to bloggers of influencewith promotions and incentives, altering products to suit stated needsand emulating the success factors of highly populated communitiesin order to create one around your product that you can manageyourself. With the social internet in its basic stages, many companies arestill defining their Social Media interaction to be little more thancreating a Facebook page on the product. As the data from online communities becomes more freelyavailable, it can be parsed more easily. As with OpenID, there willemerge standardized formats for inputting interaction data withregard to opinions and ratings. As this happens, the coding ofapplications designed to aggregate and process this information willbecome easier to both write and modularize, again, all to the end ofcreating significant ROI over traditional yet costly and poorlytargeted traditional market research.
Risks and Opportunities in Social Media and Enterprise Marketing The simple graph above shows the established technologies andindustries and where they are situated in relation to areas that needfurther development. Lets look at the developed areas first beforeexamining the gaps and the types of services that are emerging to fillthose needs. Business intelligence lies at one end of the communicationbetween business processes and the customer. There are a widevariety of companies servicing this sector across a spectrum ofbudgets and levels of complexity. While companies like SAP tend toprovide services to Larger organizations, they have also increasinglytargeted SMEs now that a) their primary customer base is now satisfied and b) that operating costs of these products have fallen.
Storage expenses have fallen, specific modules have beenfactored out and simplified and interfaces have become friendlyenough not to require a dedicated internal support staff. This has putlarge service providers in a position to offer low-cost solutions thatdirectly compete with relatively younger companies that target thelower end of the spectrum. While it is a fully realized market,smaller companies have evolved to offer more sophisticatedsolutions than SAP etc, in that they offer similar data analysis, butwith an emphasis toward specific industries. On the opposite end of the spectrum are public relations andmarketing. They rarely promote their services as having any kind oftechnological expertise because they focus on creating themessaging and communication strategies that develop, nurture andeducate the attention of the target audience. As the graphic shows,the emergence of social media in the middle has not only created anew path way, it has made apparent the need for public relations tobecome more aware of how the optimized use of technology canimprove and impact of their efforts by enabling monitoring, scalingand real time adjustments.
Competing service providers in Business Intelligence now havean opportunity to process data that significantly benefits marketingand communications efforts. Social media/internet communications is particularly interestingin that it not only bridges the gap between data analysis andcommunications, it is the most dynamically changing of the three.This area of development is subject to the following forces: a) Technological development Social media is evolving technologically, new sites come onlineevery day, occasionally taking targeted share from mega sites likeFacebook and benefiting from the monetization opportunities of
greater granularity. As this realization continues to dawn, thedevelopment of such sites may head in the direction of targetinginterests and needs, rather than third party application bloat. Facebook, for example, has an untold number of applicationsbut the monetization of them plays out like the lottery. There areperhaps tens of thousands of developers coding and designingaround the clock in a effort to create and promote an application thatwill hit critical mass and monetize exponentially. While this leads tosuccess stories that drive further hopeful development, there issimply too much brute chance and randomness for this to be asustainable business model. There is a reason the phrase socialmedia rock star came about. Ones odds of striking it rich via a thirdparty application are about the same as becoming the next one hitwonder. Nevertheless, given the eternal spring of hope, gold rushinspired development will continue to add to both existing platformsand to the overall infrastructure of the internet. b) Integration between services OpenID, and site specific features allow users of one site toshare that information with the platform of another. This is tendingtoward each site effectively being a different view of the samedistributed database of demographic data. So far, this sharing hasproven to be mutually beneficial in that either site hasnt found aspecific use for the others primary focus. This continued sharing ofaccount information will make it easier to a single person to stayactive on a variety of sites (via one anothers UI), thus making single
person approachable with more frequency by a larger number of welltargeted marketing efforts. c) Cultural differences - Being social, this media will bydefinition have differences depending on the culture of the peoplefrequenting the site, and this is not just country specific. There areclear differences in behavior between any two given subcultures.Various hobbies, political affiliations and educational levels(to namea few) have unique communication protocols that can be facilitatedby unique technologies. It is the job of the social media site to matcha given set of technologies to a particular community in such a waythat the interaction data is usable as a component of targetedmarketing, sales or advertising. Political interests tend to emphasize
the nationality of a given platform, but the fact is that many peoplehave equally compelling ties to company(source of income), family,subculture or even technology, (ex. PC/Mac). d) Social/political controls, including government backedincentives to create a controllable home grown replica. Social andpolitical factors are different from cultural factors because they aremuch more fickle. While one countrys leadership may decide to banor un-ban Twitter or Facebook on a whim, social and conversationaltaboos are much more fixed. That having been said, the globalizationof communication has led to converging social mores in some areas(ex. the acceptance of younger generations to having personalinformation viewable by strangers, electronic multi-tasking, ADD),even in spite of governmental attempts to nationalize onlinebehavior. This is likely to play out as a immovable object vs.irresistible force passing through each other on a recurring basis,each side silently acknowledging the presence of the other whilepublicly heralding its inevitable demise. f) Physical infrastructure. There is a wide range of bandwidthavailable across the globe, from hardly text capable browsing tostreaming 3D. The feasibility of a given platform or idea isobviously a function of what type of pipe is consistently available.Beyond this, many entrepreneurs have made adjustments in theirbusiness model that reflect speeds that are a percentage of what iscommonly experienced or advertised today. While some places canexpect infrastructure to improve at nearly the same rate as an idea is
developed, most cannot and have already adjusted expectations tomeet those realities. e) Monetization. One major factor controlling the competitiveenvironment with regards to social media services is the nature ofthe community that a service attracts. Because it is difficult toacquire a large number of users, such a community is proving tobecome a significant competitive barrier. While at one time, thetechnology, coding and architecture was seen as a barrier, it nolonger is. The infrastructure for an entire scalable workingcommunity is freely available via open source, this is not where the value lies. Today, it exists in the number of users, and even then this is proving difficult to prove as a monetizable asset. What is gradually becoming apparent is not the size of the crowd, but the size AND targeted participation of the crowd. Such groups are valuable asa means to acquire the consumer information and leads thatcontribute to extended business cycles.Myspace is a perfect example of a huge audience with no particularsense of direction. Attempts to herd that audience into a particularsales funnel frequently lead in user revolt and wide spread saturationbombing type advertising tend to lead to increasingly low ROI, even
with demographically targeted advertising. The last phenomenoncomes from the fact that people coming to a social site are there tosocialize, bringing work or business into such environments is justnot as effective as it would otherwise seem. Greater monetizationpotential comes from a targeted community, interaction data that isparse able and interpretable and a two way channel between thisinformation and business intelligence. g)Ratio of localized restrictions/cultural factors to the field ofpractice Finally, there along this chain, different physical locations willhave different levels of explicit control over what transpires in thisspace. Governments that control their population, exert theirpressures less on the Business Intelligence side of the chain andmore on the public relations and media side. This means thatBusiness Intelligence technologies can be more generically appliedwhile public relations, social media etc will be more geo-locationspecific. These are the parts of the chain that are relatively well defined,but it is the gaps between that need to be filled in order to thischannel to become fully efficient.
Gap one: Business Intelligence to Internet presence This is the gap that exists between having a particularcommunications strategy and converting it to a format that isconsumable by various social media platforms. A slick interfacewould allow the marketer to drag and drop parts of acommunications strategy into platforms that meets specific needs,target the appropriate crowd andgenerate a stream of messagingthat reaches a given audience ona given channel while at thesame time retaining the essentialpoint of the communicationsstrategy, even if that messagehas to be distributed in smallchunks over a period of time. A look at what the largercompanies provide should makeit clear that while there are someorganizations that handle thegathering of data from ones online presence and provide someanalytics, there is less in the way of returning those analytic resultsback into the internet environment. That is, there is no realautomated online response as an adjustment to the insight thatBusiness Intelligence provides. Given that the Business Intelligence
component is already processing information and reachingconclusions, why isnt there a means to create, modify and re-broadcast messages tuned along a given set of communicationguidelines? The short answer is that this is complex and potentiallyrisky. If the algorithm misreads the data and broadcasts somethingthat bad data or computations created, a companies brand can take amajor hit. That having been said various filters and controls can beput into place in order to limit exposure to programming or strategicflaws. Within this gap is an emerging spectrum of services.Accumulated data and their reports can be made available for realtime adjustment and broadcast or they can come along with varyingdegrees of message consulting. That is, along with the results acompany more experienced in creating marketing strategy canprovide additional strategy adjustments. The degree of strategicinput from a service provider can vary according to industry, costand the need for the client for additional insight into how messagingworks on the internet (Another new science). Even withoutcommunications consulting, the complexity of software modules andservices that interpret business intelligence and convert/adjuststrategy will vary significantly, from completely user controlled tofully automated, and with varying degrees of authenticity andresponsiveness.
Gap Two: Internet presence to Public relations The second gap consists of the area between publicrelations/advertising companies and the various broadcastingchannels on the internet. At present is is not much sophistication inrelation to taking a composed communications strategy and tailoringit to delivery over the internet to audiences that are of value to thecompany with goods and services for sale. This issue exists for a fewreasons: a) Misunderstanding/lack of sophistication regarding natureof the opportunity that the Social Internet represents Adoption of social-media marketing is still quite reactive formany organizations. That is, they feel compelled to open a Twitteraccount and Facebook page because failure to do so is a PR liability.What needs to happen is for these companies to take a thorough andanalytic look at the platforms and their capabilities in terms of howthey benefit their own interests as opposed to merely emulating highprofile case studies. b) Lack of IT literacy among advertisers and marketers - ITliteracy in this regard does not refer to knowing that Facebook has aparticular number of users and extrapolating from this the enormouspotential number of customers. The kind of literacy referred to here
means the understanding that crafted commercial and PR messagescan be broadcast to a wide audience, but that every platform has aunique way of consuming and distributing data. Some platforms deliver and consume video, others shortmessages or photos of any other kind of specific media. In addition,different sites and target audiences have their own unique andoptimum times of day and events that are ideal for engaging a targetgroup, and that those messaging to those times and events can bescripted. Having a more explicit knowledge of these facts will drivethe development of messaging to occur on a more specific, time andgroup basis, with a deeper level of content without theoversimplification that mass broadcasting requires. c) Undeveloped platforms - The current platforms, are stilldefining, and sometimes throttling the kind of input and output thatthey allow from their platforms. A balance must always be struckbetween making information freely available in order to enhance theuser experience and monetization opportunities resulting fromleveraging demographic data, while at the same time limiting accessin order to combat platform abuse by spammers and unethicalinternet marketers. This is an area that still needs to be hashed out,the basic problem being how to allow open access without exposingthe system to abuse.d) inconsistency in platforms OpenID makes it possible to register for one site with thecredentials of another. This is convenient to the end user who merely
has to log on to the systems without registering yet again. This is lessideal from a business perspective because the profile informationcollected for one site is not available across platforms. This meansthat an end user will either have to enter the same data again, or havea minimal profile. Ideally, an end user would be able to share a basic profile acrossplatforms and append site specific profile to it that is then viewableonly on that platform. This way targeting a specific user at a specificsite will expose product related demographic data, while at the sametime keeping that information exclusive to that platform and to theuser as per their agreement. This allows the platform to charge foruse of its demographic user information base, provides privacy to theuser and yields targeted audiences that can generate much better ROIfor the advertiser. Today however, this is not the case. Instead, end users have to repeat their data entry, getting evermore irate at each repetitious form and many times foregoingmembership in a higher quality community for an existingmembership in one that provides less value for all parties(platform,end user and advertiser) involved. What emerges is ahighly unoptimized platform with unsustainable monetizationefforts, like the third party application lottery mentioned previously.e) Lack of targeted audiences The social network users exists on a small handful ofplatforms. There is still the (primal, perhaps) perception that a social
network with more people is of greater value. A more objectiveassessment would make it obvious that it is better to hang out withpeople who share your interest. Sites like Facebook have groups andeven third party applications that speak to these groups, but there islittle development in the way of a platform whos technicalfunctionality specifically targets a given audiences needs. Whats worse is that while Facebook may be able to collectdemographic data, they cannot ensure or even expect visitors at thatparticular time to be in the mind/viewer space for a particularcommodity. Facebook might be able to provide targeting, but itcannot turn those end users into solution seekers. Solution seekers goto more information rich sites. Social networks are rich infunctionality, not information. f) Privacy issues regarding a sites user base - Where there are some cultural factors that create variance withregard to privacy, most people expect their personal data to beprivate. While they are increasingly accepting of its visibility online,they still want some say as to how and when that data is madeavailable. The complexity of these issues reveals the perceivedimportance of all that personal information. Facebooks attempt toown your personal interaction information as well as their failedattempt to set your default to Share with all reveals how crucial tomonetizing their site your identity is. Aside from collecting and exploiting personal data, Facebook
has had little success in monetizing their site to the degree that thesize of its user base would imply. They will therefore either succeedin their aggressive tagging of the human population, or chase usersaway to social networks that create more value. This ongoingdialogue between platform and users will make it difficult forcommunications professionals to define a long term strategy becausea given method may be pre-empted by the stoppage of access to aparticular set of user data. Targeting more specialized usercommunities, however can be coupled with the expectation thatmembers have explicitly opted in so that they can access thecommunities full functionality. These more targeted sites aretherefore less subject to personal data controversy. f) Lack of marketing/advertising knowledge among ITprofessionals - IT professionals have primarily been focused oncreating services on the spectrum between Business Intelligence andSocial Media. On average, IT professionals dont delve too far intothe realm of Marketing and Public Relations. The two seem torepresent a classic dichotomy, in fact. Communication between thesetwo areas of expertise may be very difficult to accomplish, there arehardly any shared concepts or vocabulary and this makes it difficultto define the area of conversation. It is a cross-disciplinary chasmthat can take years to cross with any level of competence. Online andconference banter can be misleading as well, often creating theimpression through buzzwords and hype that either party knowsmore than it really does.
g) Lack of end user sophistication regarding dedicatedcommunities. - Finally, end users are not fully aware of the range ofservices that could be available to them if they would join morespecific online communities. The resistance to joining comes insome part from the belief that joining a smaller community will haveless value and that they will be leaving friends behind. Moving fromsite to site means either sharing time across more services, ordropping out of one altogether. Its true that there is a need for larger,more generic social networks, but many end users have yet to realizethat they also have a need for social networks that are specific to agiven area of interest. h) Dedicated communities achieving little differentiation outsideof being dedicated. That is, such websites have the samephoto,video upload,messaging and bulletin board functions as anyother social network. The differentiation comes from the stated focusof the site onto a particular area of interest, but there are no services,content or functions that assist the end user in developing the skills
or abilities related to the stated content of the site. Without this depthof focus, communications specialists will have a hard timecontributing valuable information to the site that can then work as asource of customers. Also, as this focus continues to lack, potentialend users will have little incentive to join.
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Predictions For 2011-2012The Economy as a Driver:Regarding the economy, two possibilities:a) It gets better. People and companies who invest in SocialMedia/Enterprise marketing now, will be first out of the gate whenthings pick up. In addition to their existing traditional marketingassets, they will be able to grab more community and social spacewhile others lag behind. That initial turf grab will translate into biggrowth as spending increases. Even with an improved economy,expect ROI to be a big focal point. This recession has touched a lotof people and caused many to make fundamental changes in theirthinking.b) The economy doesnt get better but very gradually creates newjobs over the period of a decade to replace the ones that were lost ina year. In this case the focus on ROI will remain fixed and there willlikely be a shakeout among the literally hundreds of serviceproviders during which only those with services that offer the mostimmediate and actionable insight will survive.
How To Prepare: Look more to the BI side of things as a stable investment and research SMM solutions, keeping an eye on trends. If you plan to buy now, look to a solution with exportable data and easy integration to Business Intelligence.Video:Ease of upload, organization and promotion will continue to seeimprovements. This will lead to a lot more business video content onthe web, with more and more companies creating their ownchannels. Most of it will be pretty awful, but the few shining spotswill inspire others.Opportunities for monetization will increase due to better metricsand video production companies will see some growth in businessfrom SMEs looking to expand their broadcasting capabilities.In addition, look for the video medium itself to become moreinteractive, with overlays, annotations and buttons/widgets that willnot only enhance the experience, but collect this interaction data asvaluable behavioral and marketing insight.
How To Prepare: Put a solid effort into creating and promoting a video that differentiates you. Monitor its success and determine if this medium is for you. Also consider that you may have to experiment with styles and point of focus in your content.Specialization:Many Businesses will come to the conclusion that a particularchannel or format works best for what they do, and they will focustheir attention and spending on that. How To Prepare: During the next two years, test, test, test, what works best for you may change over time because the infrastructure and acceptance of media, format and channels is also evolving.
Collecting data within the user experience – At present, users are generally asked to participate in polls surveys,etc. This is intrusive and breaks the flow of the surfing experience.The other option is for Enterprise Marketing applications to gatherinteraction data from various websites and applications. The problemhere is that this data can contain a lot of noise and spam. Marketerswill discover that the use of valuable widgets, applications andactivities will provide much more reliable data. How To Prepare: Study videos on Youtube to see how annotations and buttons are being added to enhance the viewer experience. Providing different incentives or video paths on different buttons is great split testing.New applications -Twitter is certainly not going to be the end of Internet evolution.Their current struggle/quandary on how to monetize and stabilize theservice is leaving the door open for other innovators. One obviousstep forward is to create a micro format that is capable of rich media.The main barrier to any competitor is the community of influentialpeople that the service has acquired over the years. A successful