Archive for the ‘Content Marketing’ Category

3 Ways To Use Social Intelligence To Grow Your Community

Grow Your CommunityYou’ve spent a lot time and effort growing your online community to get where you’re at today. You have a great group of people who are interested in interacting and championing your brand, but it’s not quite enough.

The great thing about online communities is that they’re living organisms. They’re always changing and, maybe more importantly, always have the chance to grow.

But how do you help your community grow even more than you already have? You feel like you’ve already done your monitoring to find out where your audience was and then started to engage with them there and they responded. Well, there’s a good chance that since the last time you did your research the landscape has changed yet again and there are a ton of new opportunities out there for you to grow your community even more.

Here’s a few tips that will help you use social intelligence to further grow your community:

Find where people are talking (again)

In today’s online world there are always new places and sites where people are going to learn and have conversations about your brand or topics that relate heavily to your brand. Using a social intelligence tool, like Sysomos, can can help you to identify what networks to start looking at. Start by entering a search for your brand name or some key industry terms and then look at where these conversations are happening most. Are there a lot of blog posts that come up in your search? Maybe there’s a ton of Twitter conversations. Heck, maybe people are sharing a lot of pictures related to your brand on Instagram. Find where the action is and then you can dive in deeper to get a better look at you can fit in there with them.

Sysomos Heartbeat - Activity Chart

Determine the real hotspots of activity for your community

You’ve found some of the networks and channels that you think could have a great potential for bringing people into your community. Now it’s time to get more granular to find the best new places and people to focus your efforts on.

While everyone in your community should be treated as an equal, there may be some people and sites that deserve a little extra attention to help bring more people into your community. A social intelligence tool can help you to identify these sites and people. For example, using Sysomos’s Most Authoritative tool can help you determine the blogs or people with the highest authority score that are talking about your brand or your search terms. Are these people or places you frequently interact with? If they’re not, they should be. These are the people and sites that are generally leading conversations and have people listening to them when they do so. Interacting with these people can help them to become more aware of you and your great community. The more you interact with them the more they’re likely to want to get involved with you and likely bring others with them. It’s important to keep seeking these people out on a regular basis as this list is going to constantly change as new voices enter the picture and older ones fade out.

Sysomos MAP - Most Authoritative Twitter Accounts That Tweet About Running Clubs

But people and sites with high authority aren’t the only people that you should focus your attention on. There are plenty of people out there that may be super fans of your brand or highly interested in your space and talking about it that aren’t necessarily your typical “influencer”. That’s why our Sysomos tools also have features to help you identify the people and places that are talking most about your brand or other key terms regardless of their authority. Looking for people and places with the most mentions of your interest can be helpful because while they may not have the reach of some of those people with a higher authority score than them, they’re still talking to people who are interested in the same subjects as them. These are the people that are truly interested and can easily be brought into your community and help to champion it to their own communities.

Sysomos MAP - Top Sources That Tweet Most About Cooking

Learn what your community values and give them lots of it

As a community manager myself for the past 5 years, if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that communities thrive when they find value coming from within that community. Saying that you’ve created a community is very different than having an actual community. People get the feeling of actually being part of a community when they’re able to both give and take in a valuable way. So how do you learn what your community actually values (besides your brand, of course)?

Start by learning more about them and their interests. For example, below is a word cloud made up of the bio’s of Sysomos’s Twitter followers. Twitter bios are a great place to start because people volunteer information about themselves including what they do and what they like. As you can see in the word cloud we obviously have a large group of folks following us that are marketers, communicators and people that are into the digital world. But if we look closer we can also see that these people identify as being fans of sports, music and more regardless of what they do for their day job. This let us know that our current community members have interests beyond social media, so we find ways to insert these other topics into what we do around social media. That’s why on our blog you’ll occasionally see posts where we talk about how social media played a role during other pop culture related events, like The Grammys or The Super Bowl, because we know that our audience likes these things and we’re able to find a way to show them something of value that also relates back to our brand and what we do.

Sysomos MAP - Word Cloud of  @Sysomos' s Twitter Followers' bios

But people also reveal a lot about what they value through what they talk about. So, find out what they talk about most and see if your brand can fit in to some of those things as well. Start looking at what some of your most active community members are interested in and try to figure out ways that you can help them or add value to these things. One step further would be to create a media set inside of Sysomos of your most active community members and then look at text analytics around what they all talk about and see what surfaces. Seeing what a large group talks about in common will give you a great idea of what your larger community is interested in. You can then create content that fits with your brand around those topics and even interact directly with your community members around them.

Sysomos MAP - Buzzgraph of Social Media Influencers' Conversations

If you start making your community feel like they’re really getting something from you, they will also start to share those valuable pieces of content and others will be brought into the community by seeing the value they can get from it.

The ideas above are just a few ways that can get you started on using social intelligence to keep your community growing. Remember that communities are going to constantly keep growing, so keep going back and doing these things time and time again to help your community grow.

We’re also curious to know how you’re using social intelligence to grow your communities. Let us know in the comments below.

Do you need social intelligence to grow your community? Give us a shout to find out how we can help you with it.

4 Ways Social Intelligence Can Help You Retain Customers

Experts say a customer retained is 2-3 times more valuable than a newly acquired one. Whether you sell a product or service, keeping your customers happy post-purchase is a huge and important task.

With the advent of social media and Internet savvy, socially active consumers, there’s a huge opportunity to strengthen your customer retention strategies.

Let’s stop here though. If you’re looking for a blog post focused on how to monitor and track what’s being said about your brand or product online, you can find these in other helpful Sysomos blog articles. :)

Today we’re going to talk about social intelligence, which is defined as the step beyond listening and reacting to Tweets, Instagram posts and the like. In an earlier post, Amber succinctly defined social intelligence as:

But in the case of “social intelligence”, we really are referring to the next generation of how social data informs your enterprise far beyond “brand watching”, listening or monitoring.

So, how do we take this concept and apply it to customer retention? In my opinion, customer retention is synonymous with customer care and customer satisfaction. A socially intelligent organization is one that has taken steps be able to act in a timely fashion on customer feedback and ensure that in all steps of a customer’s journey that they feel loved and adored.

Use your social fanbase as your most valued focus group

Thinking of a new product or feature idea? Is your company trying to decide amongst two or three features and you want to check in with your community?

I am an Engineer

The beautiful thing about social-powered focus groups is that they can be impromptu, fast-flowing and even fun!

When structuring your focus group, be sure to ask specific questions that will inform your business processes. As a team, decide what aspects of the decision you’re willing to crowd-source and be specific with the asks.

Also, think about how you’re going to collect opinions. Will you use a hashtag and manually collect responses or would you rather use a tool such as PollDaddy?

To honor the time investment given by your community, be sure to report back after the poll on how your team will make use of and act on the data.  Most of all, thank them!

Go beyond listening and build a team capable of taking action

Any brand can hire a community manager or agency to respond on Twitter to praise, complaints and feedback. However, it’s the socially intelligent organizations that build teams composed of people empowered to take action.

When a crisis hits, responsive action is the name of the game. So, in addition to monitoring and responding to complaints, your brand should construct a small group of rapid responders from marketing, fulfillment, customer service, legal and an executive sponsor to help push actions through.

Team With Medals

Also, on a regular basis, the community team should be sending regular reports to stakeholders in your organization about feedback gathered from the online community. These include metrics such as inbound mentions, top complaints, and praises and individuals that were specifically mentioned on social media.

Remember, it’s the small things that count most

Socially intelligent companies are online not only to push a marketing message and inform the public about products, but also to make sure customers are being listened to and respected. As a result, any community manager or department should have a good system in place for keeping tabs on top clients and most vocal advocates.

In my former position as an influence marketer at Republic Publishing for Nokia (now Microsoft), I used social intelligence to make sure our influencers were remembered during life’s milestones in a personal way. Despite having an influencer population of 400 people, we worked hard to recognize and reward our brand advocates and influencers.

Whenever a milestone was mentioned such as an anniversary, child’s graduation or similar event, we recorded the upcoming milestone in a shared notebook. By using surprise gifts such as a bouquet of flowers or a Starbucks gift card on Father’s day, we made efforts to ensure each of our brand influencers felt valued.

In your organization, you might take action by congratulating a subscriber on their 1-year anniversary of using your service or by sending them some company swag when they report being a repeat customer. Evaluate your online audience and construct a plan to delight and honor your fanbase.

Predict what your customer wants next

Every day, social data exposes customer’s opinions – good and bad. Here at Sysomos, we ingest multiple petabytes of data every day.

So, after monitoring and collecting data of what your social community is saying, the socially intelligent company will then move to an analysis and predictive phase by analyzing the conversations.

For example, say an electronics company releases a blockbuster toy. After 3-4 weeks of monitoring social conversation, a pattern appears of numerous complaints about battery life. The next step would be for that company to take this feedback to the engineering group to push for a larger battery to be potentially included in the next version of the electronic gadget.

Furthermore, moving along the social intelligence continuum, social data can be used to predict what your customers are looking for next. How do we build actionable information from social data? One technique is to look at mentions of your brands and products and discover what words are being said in relation to your proprietary terms. An integrated digital marketing organization can use search data from Google to help extrapolate this.

On the social data side, we can use Buzzgraph from Sysomos MAP to do the trick. For example, say you are a small-town microbrewery that just expanded your brewing capacity and you’re wondering what beer you should brew next.

By analyzing your brewery’s name in a Buzzgraph, you can surface social posts and unearth questions such as “Does Vagabond brewing make an Irish stout?” If you see this pattern over and over again, perhaps stout should be the next beer on Vagabond’s available sign. J

Sysomos MAP - Buzzgraph around community management

Wrapping up

As you can see, there are many ways social intelligence can be applied to customer retention.  What’s your favorite way of ensuring your customers are forever fans?

(Photo credit: orinrobertjohn and thejesse)

Listen To The Top Content Marketers On The Content Pros Podcast

Content Pros

When you work in any field, it’s hard to stay connected to the thought leaders and advanced topics that you typically have to go to a conference to be exposed to.

A new podcast for content marketers has been launched by our own Amber Naslund, SVP of Marketing for Sysomos and Chris Moody from Oracle Marketing Cloud.

Rather than focusing only on theory and high level thinking, Content Pros is twice-monthly podcast that features interviews with heavyweights in the content marketing answering the questions you want answers to.

Content Pros is 8 episodes in and has featured amazing shows with the likes of Jason Falls, Ann Handley, Jason Miller and many other luminaries. The shows are about 30-40 minutes long and a fantastic mix of fun conversation and hard hitting tips and topics that will enlighten you with every episode.

Also, for each Content Pros episode, the website features a visual note taker for every episode! They’ve partnered with Chrysallis Studios to create videos capturing the key points of Content Pros episodes.

Here’s an example:

Personally, I love podcasts because I can listen to them while on a bike ride, driving or walking to work.

Content Pros is available in iTunes, on Stitcher and via your favorite podcasting app. Sysomos is a proud sponsor of the podcast series we hope you subscribe today!

What Goes Viral?

stock-partyThis past weekend, a teen from Mississauga did what lots of teens have done in the past: announced a get-together on Facebook. Somehow, this innocent announcement of a small, private event spiralled out of control. The word spread via social media, the party eventually developed its own hashtag, and even a paper flyer went out (put together by persons unknown).

The teen’s parents ended up calling the police when droves started arriving at their home. For four hours, if you can believe it, police stationed themselves at the house and turned prospective partygoers away. The cops even sent out their own social media messages, warning visitors that they’d be met with a police cruiser upon their arrival. They claimed their word prevented even more visitors. But still.

This party gone wild is yet another example of a social media message inexplicably going viral and having real-world consequences. There are other viral instances no one wants: the politician saying something sexist, the athlete caught on video, drunk at a party. Marketers, meanwhile, would love to know just how to command an audience in the millions for their story, video or image.

So academics and social media groups have put their minds to studying the phenomenon; trying to crack the viral code so those who want to go big can do so. Here’s what the research says:

-Positive material spreads faster than negative, according to one study. Rage has the most velocity, according to another.

-Evoke emotions: shock, awe, pity, alarm. Further to the above, really — emotional content is what people want to share.

-Be practical. Service-style information gets traction. Makes sense: we all want to know how to do stuff like get healthier, live better and make more money.

-People share what they think others want to know or hear about. This really puts the social in social media.

-Studies are showing that long posts attract the most links. Meanwhile, multimedia content is more likely to go viral than text-based material.

-Be funny. Humour has been working in traditional advertising for decades. In online content, it’s key for everything but the most serious content.

If that seems like a lot of bases to cover, that’s because it is. In truth, we don’t yet fully understand what turns a get-together into the biggest party in town. But we’re getting closer to understanding the odd modern phenomenon that is viral content.

 

Can the Medium be the Message?

mediumOn Twitter, the social media world has mastered the short, pithy statement. Now, Twitter founders Evan Williams and Biz Stone are banking that online sharers will also enjoy making medium-length statements. With the quasi-launch of their latest venture, Medium, last week,  they have unveiled a service that combines photos and text without a limit of the number of words you can use.

Rather than sorting posts by author like many existing sites, Medium sorts by topic. This focus on topic borrow, in some ways from Digg and Reddit, and illustrates how presenting information via topics is gaining more traction within digital content circles.

Medium looks like a service will act like a sorting house for short blogs-like text posts, pictures with comments and Pinterest-style images. People will be able to rate content so the most popular rises to the top.

This is an interesting middle (medium?) ground between posting longer status updates on Twitter or Facebook and working around the site’s quirks (having half your story hidden on Facebook and requiring readers to click, or doing multiple tweets) and having a regular blog, which can be a lot of work for those who don’t always have a tale to share.

For marketers and brands looking to tell stories in a new and different way, Medium offers the ability to combine pictures and words in a way that marries the best of Twitter, Facebook and blogs.

Telling stories, promoting and launching new products, and highlighting events in a mid-length format could open things up for creative, visual and even risk-taking marketing content.

And since the best content will rise to the top, the push will be on for stellar content from individuals and businesses alike.

Medium still hasn’t been rolled out publicly but people interested in the service can get on the wait list by registering using (surprise, surprise!) their Twitter accounts. Time now to wait and see if going medium length is what the social media world wants.

For more on Medium’s launch, check out this blog post written by Evan Williams, as well as this Business Insider story.

 

 

Content Marketing + Social Media = The Perfect Marriage?

content marketing social mediaHave you embraced content marketing yet? Have you bought into the idea that content is, in fact, king?

It’s difficult not to feel like the role and value of content has dramatically changed over the past year. It was not that long ago that brands were getting their heads around social media; now they have to think about becoming publishers. No wonder some brands have little idea about what to do given the landscape is changing so fast.

Here’s the thing about content marketing and social media: they’re both meant to attract eyeballs and, at the end of the day, drive transactions. In other words, they’re marketing and sales tools that can be leveraged to attract target audiences to change their thinking or behaviour.

It’s really as simple as that, although it can be difficult to tell given the hype surrounding content marketing and social media.

Here’s another reality: content marketing and social media have the potential to be perfect partners because while they share the same mandate, they address the challenges in different ways.

Content marketing involves the use of content – Webinars, videos, blog posts, case studies, whitepapers, etc. – to build a brand’s profile and provide existing and potential customers with some kind of value. By creating content that resonates, brands hope consumers will think of them in a different way, establish a relationship and, ideally, buy a product or service.

Meanwhile, social media is a way to engage and have conversations with consumers by using tools that allow for two-way dialog. Whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, Linked, YouTube, Tumblr or Pinterest, brands leverage social media to connect with consumers and, hopefully, have them connect back.

So what happens when you put content marketing and social media together?

If done right, the content created or delivered by a brand is distributed using social media services to target audiences looking to consumer content in different ways.

By using social media, brands can do a better job of getting content into the hands of people who may find it interesting or useful. As important, social media lets consumers engage with brands about this content.

In other words, content marketing and social media complement and support each other.

It explains why many brands are embracing content marketing because it provides more ammunition for their social media efforts. At the same time, social media can offer an effective distribution network for companies creating a lot of content.

Bottom line: content marketing and social media can be a powerful one-two punch.

More: For some other thoughts, Erin Nelson has a post on the “real magic” of content marketing, while Lee Oden has a post on five ways that B2B business can win with content marketing and social media.