Category Archives: new communications

Social Media Intervention for Engagement and Intelligence

Event-related communication has always been at the heart of social media, from Twitter’s debut at SXSW in 2007 to the everyday sharing of check-ins, meals and parties in Foursquare and Facebook, to Oreo’s big marketing win with a single tweet during the 2013 Superbowl.

As my colleague Daniel Honigman pointed out to me today, for brands trying to gain attention through social media, simply being event-driven does not ensure engagement. Daniel noted the social media efforts around the 2013 Oscars as an example of event-based communications that underperformed expectations because although they were clever, they were also contrived and (unlike Oreo’s superbowl message) not naturally related to the actual unfolding of the event.

So relevance and timeliness are the required characteristics for successful social media engagement, both in the proactive publicity-seeking outreach mentioned above, and in the other common form of social media communication: crisis response. Continue reading

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Social Media for Enterprise – Value-adding Practices

Even the best general models don’t solve specific problems of practice, but they should be useful in guiding thinking around specific problems. This particular model proposes a standard path for building value from social media practices within organizations.

Each of the practices has inherent value for particular organizational problems of practice, and each additional practice draws value from the successful presence of preceding practices. The specific value of each of these practices to a particular organization will depend on many factors including organizational readiness & adaptability, product offerings and market environment, all of which must be considered when building solutions in each area.

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Walmart and Tesco Make Big Moves in Social Strategy

Tesco just announced its acquisition of social media marketing firm BzzAgent. This follows Walmart’s April acquisition of social media analytics firm Kosmix.

The world’s first and third largest retailers have thus set into motion what they view as the next stage in customer intelligence and engagement.

Each firm’s acquisition reflects a gap in their prior organization. Tesco has maintained what is apparently one of the most advanced customer intelligence databases for over a decade, while Walmart’s current consumer insights group was launched in February of 2011. (I’ve created a Storify story with background on Walmart and Tesco’s consumer intelligence approaches up to and including today’s acquisition.)

With a wealth of consumer insights already at hand, Tesco’s acquisition of a firm that specializes in linking loyalty and social-network promotions makes perfect sense in extending their existing intelligence into social engagement. What they do not get with BzzAgent is a social intelligence platform – a way to collect insights from social networks. Tesco may already have such insights through their existing database in order to add social graph connections as an additional layer on its existing consumer insights. Continue reading

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Social Media Activity, Intelligence and Outcomes

Was looking for a very simple way to represent complex process of interwoven activity, intelligence and outcomes. What do you think? Please share comments.

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The Interdependence of Communication and Feedback

There are two primary and interdependent activities in social media management: communication and intelligence collection. These activities are interdependent because the style and quality of your communication will influence the context and content of your networks and the intelligence you are thus able to collect from those networks.

Very simply, a communication approach that establishes trust and affinity through shared interest and value will generate more useful feedback than will a communication approach that elicits indifference or annoyance (which will probably yield the insight that people are indifferent or annoyed). Continue reading

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Reciprocity, Engagement and Value in Social Networks

Yes, another post about Empire Avenue – but only because it presents such an interesting little laboratory to examine the valuation of social media activity.

In this week’s leader-board analysis, I noted that some of the leading brands in EA were not making purchases in their investors or other EA players. This lack of reciprocation seemed antithetic to something the social sciences have clearly shown to be a powerful norm in most cultures; a drive to return or repay what another has provided.

Unsurprisingly, this social norm translates nicely into most social media practice. Social media interactions should be based on perceived mutual value or shared interest, so while social media engagement does not require 1:1 exchanges (of follow for follow for example) when there is no perceived value in the connection – reciprocation is nevertheless a very good strategy when first building a network as these brands are doing in Empire Avenue. Additionally, while no one should feel compelled to connect with (or invest in) network members who don’t add value, it would still be expected that there are some valuable connections in the network – so there would be some level of reciprocity. Several of the leading brands seem to see little or no value in making or returning most/any EA connections. Continue reading

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The Social Business Methodology – Keep It Simple

David Armano recently posted a nice concise summary of the paths organizations need to take in order to scale their social engagement from experiment to success.

The top path is business planning – setting objectives and expected outcomes and defining the resources and structures that will make these objectives happen.

The middle path is strategy – not network/channel strategies (i.e. “our Facebook” strategy) but business strategies (i.e. our “customer loyalty strategy”). Social channels/networks are means to fulfilling the strategy. Continue reading

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Marketing, Let’s Face the Music…

Two recent back-to-back Ad Age articles painted a very compelling picture of the challenges facing the marketing and advertising industry, and left one feeling that the most deeply established parts of the industry do not quite know how to dance to the changes around them.

The first article by Edmund Lee was the best head-on analysis of an issue that is surely keeping agency management up at night, the death of the “impression” as “the basic unit of attention that has been sold by media and bought by advertisers for more than 50 years”, asserting, quite rightly I believe, that “the impression, and all the economies based on it, may be doomed”.

Wow! That’s a $151 billion dollar economy in the US alone. Now, Mr. Lee is not predicting the death of advertising and marketing – just the kind that relies on impressions – meaning the kind that just about everyone is buying and selling right now. The gist of this perspective is that simple visibility or presence in media, in and of itself, is not enough to motivate people’s behavior, especially given the vast competition of competing messages. As a numeric measure that takes on greater value the bigger it gets, the impression is a currency of “mass” messages, and in our long-tail world, very few people fit into any “mass” graph. Continue reading

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Commanding Communities?

Communities, and community organizations, arise around common needs, values and objectives. A community is a community (as opposed to just a group or place or list) because its members share a common vision, values and voice. The strength of a community comes from the extent to which its members are invested in this shared vision and in their common objectives, the authenticity of their commitment, and the degree to which they participate in actions based on shared beliefs.

Any discussion of online community should of course look to ‘The Cluetrain Manifesto’ for guidance. The management approach in ‘The Cluetrain Manifesto’ is radical, to say the least. It suggests that to thrive in a customer-centered world, managers must hand over the reins, stop trying to steer the corporate message, and allow the collective voices of all of the organization’s members to interact with the collective voice of the organization’s other stakeholders.

Handing over the reins is an excellent idea if your company is truly a community, with members (staff) who share a common vision and values. If, however, your organization is like many, there may be a fear within management of exposing the voices of people who might get “off message”. Unfortunately, this leads to management feeling compelled to try and control all speech emanating from the firm, resulting in a continuing command and control approach to communications. Continue reading

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Jumo: Cause Curation or Engagement Engine?

Jumo, a new cause-driven social networking site launched in beta on Tuesday by Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, shows some promise on first glance as a cause curator, wrapping a lot of information into a nice simple package. However, it is not immediately clear how the site will go beyond making introductions and providing information (worthy ends in their own right) to facilitate people’s engagement with the causes they care about.

The site has a simple “getting started” process, authenticating through Facebook, then offering a quick easy set of menus to select issues and projects. By default it posted that I’d joined to my FB Wall, but that’s okay, and under settings there’s an option to disable subsequent updates to FB. It also had me automatically follow any of my FB friends who were already in Jumo.

As is expected for a beta launch, there are definitely still some kinks in the site’s operation. Information Week reported outages today, and indeed I received quite a few internal server errors this morning and some strange page renderings on refreshes, and I expect the interface will undergo some redesign to more cleanly group and manage projects, people and issues as users’ lists of these grow beyond the sidebar real-estate they currently possess. Overall though, the site is very straightforward, with just three pages; homepage, profile and settings. Continue reading

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