May 11, 2011

Does your Facebook chief know strategy?

dashboard mashup

 

Your brand’s success on Facebook depends on how you integrate social media into your overall marketing mix

In this ongoing series, Socialmedia.biz explores how brands can use Facebook more strategically.
• Part 1: How to run an effective Facebook campaign for $5
• Part 2: The danger of buying Facebook fans

Guest post by Dennis Yu, CEO, BlitzLocal
and Hope Frank, CMO, Webtrends

Has your brand unknowingly placed limits on itself with its Facebook strategy? We’ve spoken to hundreds of brands — in particular, to the folks who are in charge of their Facebook presence. These companies included consumer packaged goods businesses, banks, retailers and more, all in a wide range of size and brand recognition. From those conversations, we’ve noticed that there are three primary types of individuals guiding their Facebook strategy:

  • Brand marketer: This is most often a mid-level manager with responsibility for social and sometimes another channel such as SEO or advertising. They care initially about fan counts, and once their presence is larger, they want engagement. They don’t know how to measure engagement, which means they are not sure how to optimize in a scientific method. So they buy a number of tools and spend money, since Facebook and their ad agency tells them to, plus their competitors are doing it.
  • Customer care manager: They see Facebook as an extension of the phone and email channels, which means the page is a complaints board that needs moderating. In retail, they can’t avoid customers who complain, so they spend their day responding to the wall. They also buy tools — primarily wall management. But as their presence grows, they can’t keep up, don’t have resources, and soon have a polluted channel. Without the coordination of other marketing channels, there is no branding power, just a reactive apology center. This person is usually lower level, as the brand hasn’t figured out a strategy for brand management and the integration of multiple paid and organic channels.
  • Direct marketer: They are held to return on investment, just like their counterparts who manage pay per click or direct mail. They live and die by the holy metrics of conversion rate, margin, and ROAS (Return On Advertising Spending). Brand investment or nurturing of the customer relationship doesn’t matter, since every touch is measured by how many conversions happen immediately in that visit. So they continue to spend money on bottom of funnel marketing that is less about demand generation as opposed to demand collection. They don’t realize or pay credence to an early touch or recommendation that can lead to a sale later. This is especially true in B2B, which has a lengthy funnel. Attribution modeling is in its infancy, so this problem will linger for quite some time.

Recognize any of these three as your role? It’s like the blind men and the elephant. We met with a telecom company to discuss their social media strategy (name withheld to protect the guilty) and pointed out that customers were complaining in droves on their Facebook wall. Their head of customer care, the guy who runs the call centers, pointed at the social guy. But the social guy assumed that it was a customer care function. We see this all the time.

Your social media channel doesn’t need to produce its own content, it need only leverage the power of your existing brand assets.

The fundamental issue is that social media is not just another marketing silo. Rather, it’s a layer that cuts across all marketing functions (and even beyond marketing). We feel bad for the company that appoints a VP of Social, unless that person’s role is primarily spent on coordination vs. execution. The moon doesn’t generate its own light — it reflects the light of the sun. Your social media channel doesn’t need to produce its own content, it need only leverage the power of your existing brand assets.

Your brand’s success on Facebook is a matter of how well you can connect people who love you in the real world — not Facebook fans, but real-world fans — to hit the Like button on Facebook. It’s hard to like something you don’t already know about. We’re not saying you can’t do customer acquisition with Facebook. Rather, we’re saying the first step is to harvest the low-hanging fruit of customers who already know you. And only then can you leverage the recommendations of those fans to drive new fans. This “friend of fan” targeting yields often a doubling of CTR (click-through rate), as we demonstrated in a study of 1,100 campaigns that we did in January. Continue reading

January 12, 2011

Top 20 social media monitoring vendors for business


A screen grab from Sysomos.

A comparison of the major monitoring & engagement services: Radian6, Lithium, Attensity360 & 17 more

Target audience: Brands, corporations, mid-size to large businesses. See Socialbrite’s series on social media monitoring:
Guide to monitoring social media conversations
20 free, awesome social media monitoring tools
10 paid social media monitoring services for nonprofits

By J.D. Lasica and Kim Bale
Socialmedia.biz

The online landscape is saturated with more than 200 tools and platforms claiming to be able to help you track and assess mentions of your business or brand in social media channels. While there remains a lot of churn in the field, a number of listening platforms have evolved to help you go beyond basic monitoring into an integrated approach that helps inform multiple parts of your business: product development, customer support, public outreach, lead generation, market research and campaign measurement.

Born as a way to respond to crises and manage brand reputation, social media monitoring, or brand monitoring — which ties into social media measurement and analysis — is finally maturing into a business process that helps the bottom line.

A comparison of pricing, features & clients you rarely see on the open Web.Today we’ll turn the tables on these companies and offer some business intelligence that you rarely see available on the open Web: a comparison of social media monitoring vendors, with descriptions of their strengths, clients and pricing. Many offer end-to-end solutions, providing not just tracking capabilities but a rich set of analytics and response tools to help you grow your business and engage with individuals who influence broad swaths of the market.

Social media monitoring vendors come in all shapes and flavors. Some cater to small business with modest budgets that want to handle monitoring analysis internally. Others service global corporations that want access to expert analysts as well as a robust suite of social tools that plug into business processes. So this roundup is admittedly mixing apples and oranges. (See our discussion of social CRM below.)

To draw some distinctions, we’ve broken this package into two groupings:

• 20+ social media monitoring & engagement vendors for business (below)
10 lower-priced monitoring services for nonprofits & organizations (on our sister site, Sociabrite.org)

Monitoring should plug into your business processes

Companies that will succeed in the 21st century will be social businesses, committed to forging deep and meaningful relationships with their customers. So use the new year as a fresh impetus to create a Social Media Plan (Socialmedia.biz can help with that), begin monitoring and consider evaluating an outside vendor by signing up for a free trial.

Keep in mind: Listening to conversations and gathering data is only one phase of a multi-step process that also involves engagement, metrics and acting on what you learn. As Jeff Nolan writes, “In its most pure form, social media monitoring is both listening and responding to social channels.”

Here is our guide to the Top 20 Social Media Monitoring Vendors for Business. Have your own favorites? Please add them in the comments below! And if you have any corrections or updates to the information here, please share that as well.

 

Radian6/Salesforce Cloud: A proven solution for big brands

1Radian 6, purchased by Salesforce in 2011, works with brands to help them listen more intelligently to your consumers, competitors and influencers with the goal of growing your business via detailed, real-time insights. Beyond their monitoring dashboard, which tracks mentions on more than 100 million social media sites, they offer an engagement console that allows you to coordinate your internal responses to external activity by immediately updating your blog and Twitter and Facebook accounts all in one spot. Fully automated. Cost: The dashboard starts at $600/month, though registered nonprofits can apply for two free uses per year under the company’s Giving Back program. They also offer free trials to students and educators for research and project purposes. Radian6 uses a monthly subscription based pricing model, with the monthly fee varying depending on the number of topics monitored each month. Clients: Red Cross, Adobe, AAA, Cirque du Soleil, H&R Block, March of Dimes, Microsoft, Pepsi, Southwest Airlines — a wide range of clients. Owner: Independent. Also: See our interview with the CEO of Radian6.

collective-intellect

Collective Intellect: Social media intelligence gathering

2Boulder, Colo.-based Collective Intellect, which started out by providing monitoring to financial firms, has evolved into a top-tier player in the marketplace of social media intelligence gathering. Using a combination of self-serve client dashboards and human analysis, Collective Intellect offers a robust monitoring and measurement tool suited to mid-size to large companies with its Social CRM Insights platform. It applies spam management techniques and text analysis to clean data sets, delivering customers rich intelligence.Cost: Pricing starts at $300/month and scales based on specific client needs, according to published reports. Clients: General Mills, NBC Universal, Pepsi, Walmart, Unilever, Advertising Age, CBS, Dole, MTV Networks, MillerCoors, Paramount, Verizon Wireless, Viacom, Hasbro, Siemens. Owner: Independent.

lithium

Lithium: Adjust your campaign on the fly

3Lithium monitors your search-specific mentions and sentiment in social media outlets and outputs them into easy-to-read graphs and numbers resembling the stock market. Lithium will aggregate information from a variety of platforms including blog posts and comments, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and many others, and it’ll assess emotions surrounding your brand pre-, mid- and post campaign so you can adjust your strategies accordingly. We miss ScoutLabs, which is now part of Lithium. Cost: Base plan of $249/month for five users and five searches. Free 14-day trial. Clients: Best Buy, BT, Barnes & Noble, FICO, Disney Online, Stubhub, Motorola, Coca Cola, Focus Features, Netflix. Owner: Independent. Lithium bought ScoutLabs in May 2010.

Sysomos: Manage conversations in real time

4Sysomos’s Heartbeat is a real-time monitoring and measurement tool that provides constantly updated snapshots of social media conversations delivered using a variety of user-friendly graphics. Heartbeat organizes conversations, manages workflow, facilitates collaboration and provides ways to engage with key influencers. For more, see ReadWrite review. Sysomos also offers a Media Analysis Platform. Cost: Entry-level price of $500/month. Clients: IBM, HSBC, Roche, Ketchum, Sony Ericsson, Philips, ConAgra, Edelman, Shell Oil, Nokia, Sapient, Citi, Interbrand. Owner: Marketwire. Continue reading