Best of 2014: Peter Shankman on Customer Intimacy

By Sheldon Levine - December 19th, 2014

In June this year we held an event in San Francisco for some of our clients that we called Social and the Customer Intimacy Imperative.

We were very lucky to have the great Peter Shankman join us as our keynote speaker for the event where he imparted his wisdom (and great humour) on us and our guests. But before he spoke with us live, Peter did a great Q&A with us on the blog about how companies and customers interact, specifically through social media.

This was one of our more popular posts of the year, so here it is again for your enjoyment.

This post was first published on June 12, 2014:
Q&A with Peter Shankman, Social Media Specialist and Keynote Speaker at Social and the Customer Intimacy Imperative

Peter ShankmanNext week, leading social minds from some of the biggest brands in the world will gather in San Francisco for Sysomos’ Social and the Customer Intimacy Imperative. We sat down with the event’s keynote speaker, social media specialist and author Peter Shankman, to discuss the role of social media to build loyalty in the age of the ADHD consumer.

Q: Thanks for letting us pick your brain today. So how do companies achieve customer loyalty through social media?

PS: The first thing to understand is that customers have an overwhelming, burning desire to be loyal. But in order to be loyal, customers need to be loved first – they need a reason to be loyal.

The fact is, consumers today expect to be treated like garbage – like a number. But if you treat me one level better than a number, I’m yours for life. Take last week for example. I needed to find a place in Miami to watch the Rangers game and a local bar replied to my tweet. Just the fact that they did that made me want to go there to watch the game.

Shankman_Tweet

Q: Can a company use an interaction like that to measure success?

PS: At the end of the day, it must translate into revenue to be a success. Revenue comes with loyalty, but it doesn’t come with clicking a “Like” button.

Q: Are companies then misguided to rely on “Likes” and “Follows” as a measure of customer loyalty?

PS: The concept of “Liking,” “Friending,” “Following,” and “Fanning” is going away. The last time you friended someone in the real world was 2nd grade when you asked, “will you be my friend?”

If you go to a restaurant a lot you don’t need to “Like” it, you already do. The key for companies is to create an exceptional customer service experience, or as is often the case, an experience that merely reaches one level above what’s expected. Do that and customers will like you; they will love you; they will come back; they will bring friends and they will drive new revenue.

Q: Can you give an example from your career of how you created a customer experience that exceeds expectations?

PS: Take HARO for example. HARO succeeded in part because every user felt invested and that if they ever had a problem they could email me directly. When we used a customer’s suggestion, we sent an email saying ‘Hey Mark, we implemented YOUR idea.’ Even if 8,000 people had suggested the same thing, we sent an email to each one. When you do that customers become invested, and they will spend more money and be motivated to tell you exactly how you are doing.

Q: Do companies engage enough in two-way communication with their customers?

PS: The biggest misconception that companies have is that they can rely on analytics and numbers without ever talking to their customers. Why not call 10 customers each morning and ask them how they’re doing? Take advantage of all the people at your disposal who have given you their information.

Q: Is that how you stay in touch?

PS: I just listen as much as I can. I look at what people are doing.  What kind of phone are they using? What kind of apps are they using? There’s a wonderful service I use called Product Hunt, which sends me an email each morning with the best products and services voted on by its members. There are about 15-20 apps and services that are built into my life that I use on a regular basis.

Q: What applications do you find most effective to connect with people?

PS: Facebook is the network where people try too hard, Twitter’s the network where people won’t shut up and LinkedIn’s the network where people seriously need to take off their tie and have a drink. That being said, if you put all three together you get positive benefit from them. For me though, nothing in my life ever precludes me from checking email. Email is first. Email is the killer app. Email will never go away.

Q: Any parting words of wisdom?

PS: At the end of the day, the goal for the people you follow and the people who follow you is best summed up by Hannibal Lecter from Silence of the Lambs: We covet what we see every day.

 

The keynote speaker at Sysomos’ Social and the Customer Intimacy Imperative event on June 17th, Peter Shankman is currently a Principal at Shankman|Honig, a consultancy designed to help corporations, businesses, and retail operations create stellar customer service that resonates in our new “conversation economy,” driving revenue, repeat business, and new customers. An entrepreneur, author, speaker, and worldwide connector who is recognized nationally and globally for radically new ways of thinking about Social Media, PR, Marketing, Advertising, creativity, and just about everything else, Peter is also founder and CEO of The Geek Factory, Inc., a boutique Marketing and PR Strategy firm located in New York City, with clients worldwide.

Best of 2014: What’s the ROI of Sharing Content on Social Media?

By Sheldon Levine - December 18th, 2014

Social media is a great place to form relationships with customers, potential clients and other people.

This is something we hear all the time. But if social media is meant for forming relationships, why is there so much content sharing going on through all the different networks?

This was a question we tackled in this staff favourite post from earlier this year when we explored why people curate and share content in social media.

This post was first published on November 10, 2014:
SharingFor all the talk about social media being a place to engage and have conversations, sharing content is probably what most people do the most.

The question is why so much sharing?

What is it about social media that makes it such an active medium to share interesting articles, photos, infographics, videos, etc. with other people?

Is it vanity? Is it goodwill? Is it a way to reward interesting, weird, different or high-quality content? Is it about personal branding?

It’s probably all of the above, as well as many other reasons. The reality is social media is a super-easy way to share content, while human beings are inherently information disseminators.

Telling people information about things we have found, seen or read is part of our personal make-ups. It’s what we do, so social media only serves to facilitate and accelerate this activity.

That said, a recent survey of Canadians using Twitter and Facebook showed some interesting differences in how we use different platforms.

On Twitter, for example, 79% of respondents said the reason they shared content was to endorse it. On Facebook, endorsing content was only cited by 32% of respondents.

Many of the other categories ranked fairly closely with the exception of “gain followers/build a brand”. Only 2% of Twitters users said they shared content to achieve this goal, compared with 11% of Facebook users.

One of the more interesting trends to watch in 2015 is how content curation will become more popular and valuable for brands and individuals.

While there are many reasons to share content, there is more interest in how shared content is packaged and tracked, and how it can deliver better ROI.

Platforms such as Pressly, which allow brands to create destinations to share their own and curated third-party content, will likely gain more traction so brands can have more control shared content.

At the same time, you will likely see more services such as Snip.ly, which lets people add a small “branding widget” when they share content via social media. It’s a way to gain a little more of the spotlight, other than the goodwill of sharing content.

In many respects, the social media sharing economy is evolving and moving in interesting directions. While people will continue to enthusiastically share, there will also be more ways to capitalize on this activity.

share social media

Best of 2014: New Twitter Rules After the Death of Robin Williams

By Sheldon Levine - December 16th, 2014

Social media has given everyone a voice. It allows people to say what they want whenever they want. However, this freedom has of course led to some people saying things that can be deemed as offensive.

This year, in the wake of a celebrity death that the whole world was paying attention to, Twitter invoked some new rules to their network that would allow people to have hateful and inappropriate material removed from the network.

It was an unfortunate incident that brought about this new rule, as you’ll read below, but many people are thankful for it.

While social media still remains a place for freedom of speech in most cases, this new rule was a welcome change for people who are being attacked through social media.

This post was first published on September 5, 2014:

 

article-2723742-207FF52400000578-54_634x422In the wake of Robin William’s shocking suicide last month, social media exploded with memories, kind words and warm wishes for his friends and family. Unfortunately, some of the tweets directed at his children were less than kind and thoughtful.

In light of his daughter, Zelda, being the victim of the harsh and cruel attention by certain users, Twitter has changed its rules as to what it deems to be inappropriate .

The new rule allows the family of the deceased to have hateful or inappropriate material removed. The Williams family worked with Twitter to create this rule and, unfortunatel,y it is a necessary one.

How big of a topic was Williams’ death on Twitter? There were about 63,000 tweets a minute on August 11, showing the range and power of Twitter and how many users were deeply affected by his death.

The posts that led to the rule change involved users sending Zelda Williams Photoshopped images of her father’s corpse and his cause of death.

Twitter is a newsfeed first and foremost but it also doubles as a place to share, reflect and learn. Williams’ death illustrates both  aspects, but it was wise of Twitter to create new rules to protect the loved ones left to read all of the messages.

All users and organizations know you are at the mercy of whatever is posted. There’s not much you can do when reading about a trending topic. You can ignore, retort or hope that others will come to your aide and defend.

The reality is that Twitter and all social media is a free medium where opinion flows every second in real-time. You have to be willing to absolve everything shot your way, but in this case it was too sadistic and personal.

Twitter is best served as a great and powerful newsfeed and arena for discussion. These negative moments are going to happen but Twitter should be applauded by not hiding behind that fact.

 

Best of 2014: Will The Buy Button Reshape Online Shopping?

By Sheldon Levine - December 15th, 2014

One big question that always seems to arise in business meetings around social media is “How has this helped our sales?”

Sometimes this can be a very easy question to answer, but a lot of the time it’s a lot more complicated. Social media has the ability to help people make purchasing decsions, but sometimes it’s hard to see the clear line someone followed from social media to actually buying a product in a brick and mortar store, or even an e-commerce site.

But what if you could press a “buy” button right from a tweet or a Facebook post?

The opportunity to do so really intrigues a lot of businesses, and that’s why a lot of people got excited about the possibility of these buttons becoming a reality.

Today’s “Best of 2014″ post is a favourite of some of our staff because they love this idea of being able to purchase something right from their favourite social network and think that a lot of our Sysomos clients are very interested in the idea as well.

This post was first published on October 1, 2014:

 

twitter_buy_buttonOne of the world’s most active and popular social networks is trying to venture into digital regions that most other networks have been slow to set foot within.

News emerged recently that Twitter was testing a button which would appear on tweets and allow a user to instantly buy something. The button would be embedded and ideally relevant to the post.

Some reports claimed that a non-operational Buy button appeared for some users earlier this year.

The testing involves a small amount of U.S. users who will see and have access to the Buy Button and its functionality. The number will grow as time goes on.

This is a huge development not just for Twitter but for all of social media. The immediacy of learning about products and services both from brands and their fans, then being able to buy is a radical shift.

This is certainly one way to bolster the economy along with the bottom line of many online retailers. The biggest winner in all of this will be Twitter, which would naturally grow from influencing buying decisions to being a shopping mecca.

If successfully deployed, it has the potential to shift Twitter from a social network to a leader in e-commerce. It has the potential to even be the leader in both.

The initial rollout of the button didn’t require the button to be part of an advertisement or appear as a sponsored tweet. Businesses won’t have to pay for the service of the button which means even more businesses will look to Twitter as the place they need to invest their time.

The ease of purchasing will drive users to see Twitter as the ultimate newsfeed and shopping mall meaning the potential is through the roof on many fronts.

The Buy Button should drive advertising dollars, user engagement and most likely a slew of imitators.

 

Best of 2014: Who Goes First In The NFL Social Draft? [Infographic]

By Sheldon Levine - December 12th, 2014

Sporting events are always a big draw for people to jump on Twitter. To that end, football fans in America start getting excited for their season way before the first kick-off. They start getting excited months before when the NFL does it’s yearly draft.

We tried to predict the order that players would get drafted in based on the chatter around top seeded college players. As it turns out, online popularity doesn’t always make you the best athlete. In this year’s official draft the player that went first was Jadeveon Clowney, however, we had him ranked to go second. Our number pick based on online buzz actually got drafted 22nd.

However, this was still one of our most popular posts of 2014, so feel free to check out our picks based on buzz below and compare them to the actual draft order.

This post was first published on May 8, 2014:
It’s draft day in the NFL.

For many football fans, this is one of the most exciting days of the year. Today we find out which of the top college football players get to see their dreams come true as they get selected to play for NFL teams.

Analysts have been speculating over which players will go to which teams in which round of the draft for weeks. Maybe even months. But analysts aren’t the only ones who think they know what they’re talking about. There’s a lot of football fans out there and a lot of them think they know better than the analysts.

Today, before the draft kicks off (get it?), we want to put those fans’ voices to the test.

We took the top 10 ranked players on CBS Sports’ NFL Draft Prospects list and ran their names and Twitter handles through our MAP software to see how many times they were mentioned and their sentiment in the past month along side the word “draft.” The results of new ranking are in the infographic below.

Is the order different than the analyst rankings? Very.

Sysomos NFL Draft 2014 Social Prospect Rankings Infographic

 

Do you think the fans can know more collectively than the official rankings? Let us know in the comments before the actual draft takes place.

Best of 2014: Does Engagement Matter More Than Followers?

By Sheldon Levine - December 11th, 2014

The question in today’s post has been one that has plagued marketers since social media started to rise and “followers” became an everyday term. A lot of times you’ll hear people say something like “I’d rather have 50 engaged followers than 500 passive ones.” So what will it take to make people look more at engagement numbers than follower numbers?

This post was chosen by our staff as one of their favourites from 2014.

This post was first published on August 18, 2014:
Pied_Piper2For social media success, what is more important: engagement or followers?

This question came up recently during a strategic planning session when an organization talked about how the number of Facebook followers surged after a recent contest.

While having more followers looks impressive, the digital marketing team was asking what it really meant. Does having more followers mean their social media efforts are more successful, or does it give them more opportunities to be successful.

It’s a quality versus quantity proposition.

Personally, engagement strikes me as a more important consideration, although size does matter. A vibrant and active community can provide brands and organization with a powerful platform to drive strategic and tactical initiatives.

A large community, however, that is inactive or not terribly engaged delivers far less value.

In an ideal world, it would be great to have engagement and big numbers but this is probably a luxury that few brands get to enjoy.

In a recent blog post in Marketing Magazine (U.K.), Matthew Burns talked about how brands such as Coca-Cola and Red Bull are taking a close look at the effectiveness of Facebook as an engagement platform.

“The brands that are huge on the social site are the ones that were fastest to appreciate Facebook’s strengths, but are now also first to be wary of its limitations: why pay Facebook to reach and engage fans if we can achieve similar objectives, mostly for free, on other networks?”

Burns discovered, for example, that Red Bull’s main Facebook page has 44 million fans but it generated only 330,000 interactions in July. This is less than one monthly interaction for every 100 fans.

As brands look to drive more engagement to extract value from their social media activity, Burns suggests brands will start to explore other platforms such as Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube.

The focus on quality versus quality reflects the fluid and dynamic of social media. As brands looking to drive return on investment, they are constantly tweaking the dials and looking for competitive advantages.

The interest in engagement suggests there may be too much of an investment happening to build bigger and bigger audiences. It could be that some brands will start to redeploy their social media efforts to get more people actively involved.

If engagement gains more momentum as a social media “must-have”, it could do two things: force existing players such as Facebook to adopt, or open the door for new engagement-friendly players to seize a golden opportunity.

What do you think? Is social engagement gaining more momentum?

Best of 2014: Big Data = Big Social Marketing Opportunities

By Sheldon Levine - December 10th, 2014

Big data started to become a hot buzzword in 2013, but it showed no sign of slowing down in 2014. In this blog post from earlier this year we talked a bit about what big data is, what it means and how companies can start thinking about how to use it.

This post was first published on May 9, 2014:

 

There’s a lot of buzz about “big data”. In fact, it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to expect it.
In simple terms, it’s based on the idea that brands can leverage large amounts of data to extract insight to make their businesses more successful.
img vspace=Big data is being applied in a wide variety of industries, and being propelled by startups trying to develop disruptive technology and services.
Rubikloud, for example, is looking to make a splash in the e-commerce market by giving marketers easy ways to see how their online operations are performing.
It should be no surprise that big data is alive and well within the social media world.
Given all the activity – the tweets, updates, posts, likes, etc. – there is an enormous amount of data being created, analyzed and crunched.
Sysomos is no stranger to big data. MAP, our flagship product, was developed on its ability to let brands monitor and visualize huge amounts of social media activity.
In many ways, however, big data’s impact on social media is still in the early days.
One of the biggest opportunities will be using big data to provide brands and individuals with more insight.
How do brands, for example, tap into the power of big data to discover and identify interesting changes, important trends and quirky behaviour.
It’s based on the idea that the better insight allows for better decisions, not only about social media but content marketing, e-commerce, etc.
When you think about it, big data has the opportunity to dramatically change the social media landscape. Using big data technology, brands will have valuable information at their fingertips in real-time.
It will mean less guessing and speculating about what’s happening and how the business is being impacted.
For digital marketers and social media leaders, big data will be a big challenge because it will change brands operate, make decisions and interact with consumers.
At the same time, it will be a big opportunity to gain more insight to improve social media operations and carve out a competitive edge.

Best of 2014: Cadbury’s Big Social Bet on Black Forest Chocolate

By Sheldon Levine - December 9th, 2014

As we draw closer to the end of 2014, we thought it would be interesting to take a look back at some of our most popular posts of the year. Over the next few weeks we’ll be posting our best posts of 2014 that have been determined from looking at Google Analytics, social shares and a few that our team members have chosen as their favourites.

We’re kicking off our best of 2014 series today with this great post below that highlighted how Cadbury, the infamous chocolate makers,  heard an uprising from their Facebook fans in Australia to bring back a fan favourite flavour that had disappeared. The chocolatiers used social media as a focus group to get to know their fans and what they want better, and then used social media to give it back to them.

The following was originally published on May 12, 2014:

 

img vspace=Brands across the world have probably run into the situation where their Facebook audience has demanded something to the point where they need to act. 

If they didn’t act, it definitely got them thinking.

This isn’t a negative things by any means, it actually illustrates a fanbase’s passion, and how it can lead to solid social media activity. 

Cadbury was monitoring their Facebook page when they realized a high number of requests from fans in Australia for their popular chocolate bar, Black Forest, which hasn’t been available for some time.

This forced them to consider bringing it back as part of a new $7-million campaign geared towards Australia that features TV ads, new packaging and flavours for their  historic product line.

The most vital aspect of the campaign is social media.

Besides the fact it was all prompted by social media, social media will be the platform that launches the integrated campaign. Cadbury is making a huge enormous investment ,and the success will reside in the activity that happens during and after launch.

Cadbury seems to put a lot of trust into sentiment and how social media opens a window into what your fans and customers think and want.

The social media side of the campaign is fairly inventive and intriguing.

Cadbury will assign a personality to each of the 17 flavours. From there, it will create new and specific content. The hope is their fans will be compelled to share and discuss. The quality of the content will be key.

Integrated campaigns are becoming more popular. How many times have you been watching something on TV (an ad or a show) and you are asked to tweet using a hashtag, watch a video, or to go online to give your thoughts.

Cadbury uses Facebook as a vehicle for two-way communication with a foundation of real time market research. The success of this campaign will be determined by their online fans. You can be sure that other brands are watching closely.

Argos Gloriously Chirp Ticats

By Mark Evans - December 5th, 2014

07b33e51-4edf-49a0-ae26-ad5675dfc6af_300Social media is a digital battleground for enemies to meet and exchange barbs. It’s all in good fun and can even make brands and organizations more appealing to users.

Even a generally polite Canadian brand was getting into the fun, when a moment to stick it to an old foe presented itself.

Nothing says good clean fun like the big game which brings out all sorts of characters from opposing teams (even though  those not participating). this was evident in the CFL Grey Cup from last weekend where The Calgary Stampeders defeated the Hamilton Tiger Cats.

Once the final score was in, the Tiger-Cats arch-nemesis The Toronto Argonauts wasted no time in taking to Twitter to let them know that they had once again lost the big game.

The tweet was brilliant. It was an image of a ribbon that read “Back to Back Grey Cup Participants”. How much do you love the Argos right about now? Of course, it is not lost on many that the Argos did not make the playoffs. In fact, this became a sticking point.

This started a fun back and forth and fans were happy to join in and take a side. Canadian sports journalists are even taking sides and it seemed to generally favor the Tiger-Cats as opposed to the trash talking Argos.

Fans of each CFL team should continue to keep the fun going, and hopefully help keep it strong through the offseason creating buzz for the 2015 season.

This is one of the best benefits of social media. It can be used to bring enemies together and allow them to assist the other to market and communicate while getting fans excited. For a brand like the CFL utilizing Twitter is a great way to build your brand in a different but positive light.

Please remember to keep it light and fun, and even consider creating the strategy with your competition. When you think about it…why wouldn’t you?

Giving Tuesday Gets Bigger In 2014

By Sheldon Levine - December 4th, 2014

Giving TuesdayOn Tuesday we took a look at some of the social numbers behind the people talking about Black Friday and Cyber Monday this year. But there’s one other important day that has come in to play to help kick off the holiday season in the past few years; Giving Tuesday.

Last year, we wrote about Giving Tuesday on the Marketwired blog, which was only in it’s second year of existence. While 2013 was just the second year that Giving Tuesday existed, it was only the first year we had heard about it. The idea of Giving Tuesday was born from the idea that after Americans have spent a weekend on buying things for themselves and loved ones on Black Friday through Cyber Monday, there should be a day where people can help others, which is also in line with the holiday spirit of giving.

Since last year was only the second year of Giving Tuesday’s existence, we looked at how much spread the idea had got through social media. Well, now that Giving Tuesday has had it’s third year of doing good for others, we thought it would be interesting to use MAP, our social media monitoring and analytics software, to see how it grew in 2014.

In 2013, “Giving Tuesday” or the hashtag “#GivingTuesday” appeared in about 472,000 social conversations across blogs, online news, forums and tweets. This year we saw the number of mentions rise by over 100,000. This year we found Giving Tuesday being talked about in 1,218 blog posts, 7,649 online news articles, 259 forum postings and 570,016 tweets on just December 2nd. Interestingly, most of that jump of 100,000 mentions happened on Twitter as the other three channels we looked at actually dropped.

Sysomos MAP - Activity Summary

Since Twitter was the main driver of conversation this year, we dug a little bit deeper into what happened there. As it turns out, the number of tweets about Giving Tuesday jumped from about 19,000 mentions an hour last year to almost 24,000 mentions an hour this year. Also interesting was that we found who was tweeting about it also changed. Last year women tweeted more about Giving Tuesday than men at 52% to 48%. This year that gap widened though. In 2014 even more women were talking about Giving Tuesday and the gap grew to 54% vs 46%.

Sysomos MAP - Twitter Activity Summary

Last year we also found that 74.7% of the Giving Tuesday tweets came from the United States. This year, that number grew to 75.3% of all the tweets. But just because the United States seems to be the most involved in Giving Tuesday doesn’t make them the only ones. When we pulled up our geo-location heat map of where tweets were originating from we can actually see that people from around the world were tweeting and taking part in Giving Tuesday.

Sysomos MAP - Geo Location Heat Map of Tweets

Last year we also looked at how popular the #GivingTuesday hashtag was on Instagram. Last year we found 17,630 pictures tagged with the hashtag. This year though, that number rose to 70,708… which is a fantastic rise for a great event.

Sysomos MAP - Instagram Activity Summary

The best rise in activity that we found this year though was through the sentiment around Giving Tuesday in social channels. Last year 40% of the conversation was positive, while 13% was negative. However, this year, positive sentiment around Giving Tuesday rose to 57% and negative sentiment shrunk to 2%.

Sysomos MAP - Overall Sentiment

We were really happy to see that Giving Tuesday has seen a rise in awareness in the social sphere. We hope that it goes up even more for next year.

We’re curious to know how charities saw a rise on Giving Tuesday though. If you work for or with a charity, please leave us a comment and let us know what you saw happen on Giving Tuesday and how it changed from last year.