Archive for the ‘Content Marketing’ Category

Why Reporting Is Crucial To Your Company’s Social Efforts

In my years of generating content, building communities and corporate storytelling, I’ve worked with companies large and small on various projects, campaigns and initiatives.

One common trait I’ve seen repeated over and over again is a lack of reporting and constructive learnings shared within organizations.

I’m writing this post in hopes to start a dialogue with you, Mr. or Ms. Digital Marketer, so we can all start or improve our reporting processes together.

Let’s talk about the importance of proper planning and reporting, shall we?

Properly plan and set targets early on

Properly planA social project or campaign starts (or should!) in alignment with a business goal or company’s overall needs.

Then, the digital marketers are called in to craft a campaign accordingly. This is where reporting starts! Be sure that even at the projects’ inception, your efforts closely align to the business goals. Start by setting two primary goals and actionable tactics that will be indicators of success to those goals.

For example, if the goal is to “grow our Twitter following”, set a target early on that’s achievable, measurable and realistic.

Is a 20% growth in following satisfactory or is 50% more in line with the stakeholder’s expectations?

The benefits of reporting and surfacing conclusion collectively

In most cases, not carrying out proper reporting and post mortem activities isn’t malicious. It’s because marketing departments are busy and when one project closes, we begin executing on the next project.

However, I feel a project isn’t truly complete until reporting and lessons learned have been discussed. Reporting should *never* be an afterthought, it should be part of a project’s flow and timeline.

Build transparency and trust

When you build a report that is highlights successes, surfaces failures and explains the reasons why you’ll do it differently next time, you build trust through the exercise of being transparent.

Reports are fantastic avenues for telling stakeholders about a project’s success, what worked and why it worked. These wins should be mentioned in an executive summary and highlighted in detail throughout a report.

Building transparency

But here’s a challenge: treat a failure of “need to improve upon” factor with the same rigor. Highlight a “lesson learned” by explaining the factors of why a goal wasn’t met and then reflect on how you’ll change your approach for success next time.

Trust me, your stockholders, managers and directors will appreciate the honesty.

Proper reporting helps repeat mistakes

This likely goes without saying, but proper reporting and distributing these reports will help your project team or campaign staff from making repeat mistakes. It’s fine to have a slip-up or to miss a target. Make the mistake a success by openly discussing it and learning from the mistake!

The only crime is repeating the mistake or withholding information. :)

Reporting helps surface and share successes unseen before

Worried that sharing failures and lessons learned might be a negative thing? Here’s a secret: the opposite might come true! By building and sharing reports (even in draft) you’ll discover wins and successes in the project that weren’t even on your radar before.

While you were busy carrying our your portion of the project and taking tabs on the occurrences from your perspective, other project members, perhaps in another department likely exceeded their target or made a slamdunk, figuratively. :)

When reporting, poll all participants and share your draft reports to gather intel form all sides.

Data feeds reports, reports feed conclusions, conclusions predict the future

The best campaign reports are composed of data that paint a story that management can use to draw conclusions. When these conclusions are applied to future efforts, a magical thing happens! They allow a department, project team or leader to predict what will work well next time.

So, ensure that a next time will happen by building amazing reports.

To be sure your reports are amazing, you need the proper tool. Sysomos MAP and Sysomos Heartbeat enables practitioners and decision makers to have the proper data and context into that data to make decisions.

Request a demo today!

(Photo credit: Flickr user Stella12 and Flickr user renemensen)

Everyone Is An Expert. Use Them For Content.

Creating content isn’t an easy job. Believe me, I know because it’s a big part of my role here at Sysomos. Luckily, I don’t have to do it all by myself because I’m surrounded by a ton of smart people both inside and outside our company and make sure I use their smarts whenever possible.

I’m not alone in this content creation situation. Everyone knows just how important it is to have great content, especially in the online world, these days. But don’t worry, no matter what size your company is, you’re not alone either.

Here are a few ways that you can enlist others’ help in creating content for your brand:

Ask the amazing people you work with

I’m lucky to work with a ton of really smart and creative people. From our product group that help to make Sysomos software great or our account team who help to make sure our clients have the best experience possible with us. They’re all very smart and all have their own areas of expertise in their fields that can benefit our clients and customers. That’s why I it make a consistent practice to call upon their help in content creation.

Whether you send out a company wide email or you make a posting looking for some assistance on your company intranet, there’s a good chance people in your company will be more than willing to help. People like to help, especially if they get some sort of recognition for it or will benefit from it. The problem is most people in marketing or communications don’t go outside of their departments for help, but you’d be surprised what you’ll find when you do.

help-me-help-you

 

Find customers/superfans and ask them to contribute

You know who else loves to help when they can? Your customers and superfans.

These are going to be the people who use and love your product. They’re probably doing amazing things with it and have perspectives that are different than yours. Even just talking to some of these people will give you new and great ideas for content or, at least, how you can shape some of your future content.

Sometimes, your customers or superfans may even want to get in on the content creation process. This could be in the form of a case study (highlighting how they are using your product/service) to a testimonial (singing your praise) to something else that’s completely different. Don’t be afraid to get creative and try new ideas from others, you might get amazing results from it.

For example, we love when clients do cool and interesting things with our Sysomos software. It gives us a chance to highlight interesting ways people are using our software, plus they help us to create the content to highlight it. One of my favorite examples in the time I’ve been here was a few Christmases ago when Canadian Tire and their agency used Sysomos to light up a Christmas Tree based on holiday cheer being spread through social media. This was a great way for them to get extra exposure for their project, it gave us something cool to write about and it was something interesting that we wouldn’t have thought to do on our own.

Canadian Tire's Christmas Tree - Powered by Sysomos

Knowing who your customers are to hit up for some help in creating content is easy (and if you don’t know, again, ask around your company and people will know). But what about finding your superfans? If you don’t already know who they are, you can use a social intelligence tool, like Sysomos, to search them out. You can do a search for your brand or product name in a tool like Sysomos MAP and then look up who are the people that mention it the most. Like this example below, we did a quick search and were able to determine the people that mention they love their Fitbits a lot on Twitter which means they are likely superfans who may want to help the brand if they contacted them.

Sysomos MAP - People who mention they  "love fitbit"

Can’t write? No problem. There’s other ways these people can help.

Once you’ve determined some people to enlist in your quest for creating more content, you’re bound to hear the common response, “I’m not a good writer” at least a few times. But don’t let that discourage you. Writing is only part of the content creation process. There’s a lot of ways these “non-writers” can still help.

scott-pilgrim-its-hard

A lot of people think that they can’t write, but they’d be surprised what happens when they actually try. Give them a little bit of encouragement to try and, as a writer yourself, offer to help them fix it up once they’ve put together a first draft.

If they’re really against writing, don’t worry, there’s a ton of other ways you could work with these people to get them to help you produce content. Here’s just a few examples:

  • Make a video of them talking about a topic (a lot of people find it easier to talk about something than to write about it)
  • Do a Q&A session (either written, transcribed or on video)
  • Ask your customers what their biggest questions are and create content that answers those questions
  • Get someone to tell you about a process and then transcribe that process into an easy to follow infographic
  • Do a picture heavy editorial and ask people to submit their own photos around an event or topic
  • Ask them to tell you a story and then transcribe it or record it and turn it into a visually appealing video
  • Get them to create a bulleted list (this helps them get away from thinking they need to write out proper paragraphs of points)
  • Make an audio recording that an be easily shared

That list could go on and on, but we think you get the point of how many different ways there are for these “non-writers” to still help you create great content.

Now stop worrying about all that content you thought you had to create on your own and go out there and enlist some help. Everyone’s an expert on something. Use their expertise.

Reusing and Repurposing Content: How And When To Best Do It

Reuse and Repurpose Your ContentThe really great thing about really great content is that it’s timeless. This means that if you have produced a well performed piece of content, be it a blog post, a video, an infographic, or anything else, just sharing it once means you’re not sharing it nearly enough.

Great content that has a long shelf life should be, and needs to be, shared more often so that you’re not missing out on connecting it to the people that want or need it and missed it the first time around. But how do you know what content should be shared again? And once you know that, how do you go about doing it? We have a couple pieces of advice for you on this today (or any day if you’re reading this when we’ve reshared it).

The process is actually quite simple and shouldn’t take you long at all do. It’s a simple three step process of:

 

  1. Figuring out the best content to repurpose or reshare
  2. Find the best way(s) to reuse that content
  3. Find the best times to put that content back out into the world

Determine what content should be used over and over again

The first step when it comes to repurposing and reusing content is to determine which content is worthy. There’s several ways that you can do this. Of course, our favorite way comes from using social intelligence to determine what content your audience loved or what old content would be relevant for them again today.

Let’s start first with determining what content your audience loved the most. If you’re doing content right, you should have analytics around all of your content that you can go back and look at. If your content is a blog post, take a look at your Google Analytics (or whichever web analytics provider you use) and determine which post saw the most overall traffic. If your content is a video, you can also see this information directly from YouTube, Vimeo or any other video site you uploaded the content to. All your content should have some analytics attached to it so you could see how it performed. Seeing which content attracted the most eyeballs should give you a pretty good idea of which content pieces seem to be most interesting to your audience and even though they have the most views, there’s still a good chance that not everyone you’d have like to have seen it did. This means that this content is ripe for getting reshared with your audience.

Another way to determine which content of yours was most popular would be to use a tool, like our Sysomos software, to figure out what content was most popular in the social space. One way to go about doing this is to look back at which of your tweets linking to your content was shared most. Using a tool like Sysomos MAP and heading over to our our Most Retweeted section we can help to identify which tweets were passed along the most, which likely means that people liked them so much they were interested in sharing them with their networks. For example, @Pillsbury shares a lot of yummy recipes that you can make with their products. By doing a search for tweets with “recipe” we can determine which were the most popular ones in the past six months (or in whatever timeline you’d like to search in). If these recipes went over well the first time around, they’re likely to do the same if they get reshared again.

Sysomos MAP - @Pillsbury's most retweeted tweets about recipes

Figure out the best way to repurpose or re-share your content

Now that you’ve determined your content that’s worth putting out there again, it’s time to figure out how to best go about doing this.

In the example with @Pillsbury above, they could likely send out the exact same tweets again and get a great response on their second time around. In a lot of cases, you could probably do this as well. But what about if you could use that same content in a way that makes it look fresh and new?

If you already know your audience and how they like to recieve content from you, figuring out a way to repurpose it for them should be easy (and if you don’t know these things, see our blog post on how to use social intelligence to design content your audience wants). Here’s some examples of how you can repurpose old content:

  • If your audience also likes YouTube, take a popular blog post and find a way to change it into an entertaining video that can be easily watched and shared
  • If your audience is of a business nature, take that blog post of tips you made and make them into a presentation that you can share on SlideShare in an easy to digest format that can be easily shared or embedded in other places
  • You can even repurpose content in the same format, but just in a new package. Take your company’s YouTube videos and then find the best 6 second soundbites reshare those on Vine (or make them into 15 second clips and use them on Instagram)

(Note: that last idea was curtesy of @jj_stockwell during an #SMmeasure chat a few weeks back. Thanks Jason!)

If you consider yourself creative in anyway, the number of ways that you can change old content to make it look new and fresh again will be limitless. 

Know when the best times to reuse all that content is

Now that we have all this content that we’re ready to put back out into the world, we need to figure out when the best time to do so is. In some cases, anytime might be a good time. For example, since this post isn’t associated with anything specifically timed to today, we could (and likely will) reshare this post whenever we feel like it. The content is timeless, so anytime we can get it in front of new eyeballs is likely a good time.

However, not all content is like this. Some content will do better at certain times or when they can be associated with other timely events. For example, one of @Pillsbury’s tweets we showed above was for a basketball themed recipe and was shared during March Madness. Well, just a few months after March Madness we found ourselves in the middle of the NBA Finals, which would be a great time to reshare that basketball themed recipe.

Things that gain the attention of a large section of the population aren’t just good times to bring up that old content. It’s also important to remember to focus on things that are timely and specific to just your audience. Keep an eye on what your top community members or influencers are talking about in the present, which is very easy to do if you have them in a Sysomos media set. Do you have a piece of content that speaks to something they’re currently interested in? This would be the perfect time to repurpose or re-share it. For example. in a media set we have built around TV critics, we saw from our Buzzgraph that they seem to be talking a lot about the season finale of Game of Thrones in the past 7 days. If we were in the entertainment business, we could take this a cue that people interested in entertainment and TV are also likely talking about this and now would be a great time to reuse some of our Game of Thrones content that we already have ready as the topic is hot at the moment.

Sysomos Heartbeat - Buzzgraph of what TV critics have been talking about in the past week

Good content is always going to be good content and there will usually be a time and place when you can use it again. So, instead of constantly straining to keep coming up with fresh new content, don’t forget to think about all the ways that you can reuse and repurpose all of that great content you already have.

If you want to learn more about how social intelligence can help guide you on how and when to reuse your content, reach out to us and request a demo of Sysomos.

Set Up The Ultimate Content Plan Using Social Intelligence

When you’re responsible for shaping and executing your company’s content plan for social media, it’s easy to get distracted. As corporate content marketers, we’re constantly asked to “throw things up on the blog” or “post that image to Twitter and generate some leads”. Therefore, content plans can be cluttered and lack theme and direction.

But, let’s not throw our hands in the air, content marketers! There’s light at the end of the tunnel (and it’s not a train, promise)!

To help guide us in our content planning, let’s go back to basics and architect a calendar/strategy that aligns with organizational goals powered by social intelligence.

Go back to the corporate elevator pitch

The vast majority of messaging that goes out on corporate social channels need to be ‘on brand’ and ‘on message’. But constitutes ‘on brand’?

Consult your company’s high level marketing messages and goals. It it’s been so long that you can’t remember what these are, then remind yourself by asking. If the corporate goals are stale and out-dated, then rattle the CMO’s office for actionable messaging.

Within the Syosmos content team, we’re lucky that we have a transparent CEO and executive team that takes it upon themselves to make sure we have a corporate roadmap in place that enables us to develop marketing messaging (for all digital marketing channels, including social). If you don’t have this in your organization, speak up! Remember, the squeaky wheel gets the grease!

Use text analytics

When looking for new keywords to play off of in corporate social messaging, look at your analytics tools and specifically the text analytics capabilities. Within your analytics tool, check out word clouds and my favorite, Buzz Graphs.  If you don’t have a BuzzGraph, then you need Sysomos.  :)

 

Elevator Buzzgraph

BuzzGraphs are my favorite because it shows correlations between two or more terms on social media and shows what words are being used in conjunction with your specified terms.

So, let’s say you work for an elevator company. You might find that people like to complain about waiting in line for elevators, that Brits refer it to the lift and so on. In this case, craft some funny social messages/images around waiting in line.

Get funky and think outside the box!

Find your balance and enforce it

Because social media touches all facets of the business from marketing, customer service, support and more, it’s important to find a balance with your messaging.

As a content manager, decide how many posts on each channel are appropriate for your business. Then devise a formula to guide your content calendars.

For example, some companies employ this type of mix: 50% outbound marketing, 20% helpful tips, 20% curated content, 10% re-tweeting clients. With this type of formula, you’ll know exactly how many messages you have each week to devote to each category. Writing your outbound messages become easier when you have these mixes in mind.

Let us help you master content planning by showing you what social intelligence is all about. Contact us today for a demo!

What tips do you have for your fellow content marketers?  Let’s discuss below!

 

How Audible Uses Social Intelligence Powered By Sysomos

Audible needs no introduction. The company is one of the pioneers on the web, having brought audiobooks to the connected, tech-savvy consumer. The service has a loyal fanbase of customers ranging from the very young to those who’d classify their age as ‘mature’. :)

Audible is a global brand, stretching across North America, Europe and all the way to Australia.

The social team at Audible is a small group that has a large impact. In order to help service the various departments at Audible, the team uses Sysomos to make smart decisions based on social intelligence.

Helping product marketing decide upon priorities

As Audible customers ourselves, we realize that the best audiobooks are a combination of a fantastic book and of course, a stellar narrator. In fact, when you find a narrator you like, you often seek out books brought to life by those immense talents.

It turns out we’re not alone and Audible realizes this. Using Sysomos Heartbeat, the marketing team tracks top narrators based on conversations occurring on the social web. Then, using MAP queries to dig deeper, product marketing is made aware of top narrators and given context of the voice talent is one who’s sought after.

In the same manner of Heartbeat monitoring and ad hoc MAP queries, the social team reports on authors, narrators, plot lines and other social data to help formulate a predictive formula for a top seller in the Audible store.

Informing Customer Care and Community Management

In our interview with Audible’s marketing team, community management and customer care were recurring themes that make use of Sysomos technologies. As a team that’s spread across geographies, Sysomos Heartbeats and MAP searches unify efforts and leads to time efficiencies that wouldn’t otherwise be possible.

“Instead of just monitoring direct mentions, we have Heartbeats that help us monitor all aspects of customer satisfaction,” says Monica Vaccari, community manager at Audible.  “From identifying issues with books, to pinpointing potential bugs in our mobile apps, Sysomos helps puts hours back in our day.”

To communicate what categories of questions and issues the Audible social team replies to, they’ve employed tags in Sysomos Heartbeat. After a response is issued to the customer via Sysomos Heartbeat, they use the tagging system to tag each contact with a relevant category.

Social Care Responses

In their rock-star efforts to ensure customer happiness, Audible makes use of Sysomos Heartbeat, MAP and publishing tools.

“Through Sysomos, we can find buried conversations that we wouldn’t be able to find on our own.”

Using Sysomos Text Analytics, the social care team reports on what words and phrases are being used and responded through on social media. This helps the team illustrate that time period’s conversation topics in relation to Audible’s key words.

Text Analytics

Applied example: going above and beyond for the community

Recently, the Audible social care team noticed a notable influx of inbound messages surrounding the a popular podcast and Audible. At first glance, the team thought it was a crisis of some kind, but upon further investigation, the podcast creators, in their show, urged listeners to Tweet at Audible in an effort to get an audiobook recorded.

The social team went in to action and helped the show’s producer through the audiobook production process and in a short period of time, Audible had the audiobook up for sale.

This process is a successful example of community managers identifying a want, helping the customer through an otherwise involved process and delivering a finished product to the marketplace.

What a great way to honor a content request and enable these content producers find a market for their creations!

Influencer engagement

One marketing outreach area that Audible is seeing a boost in is YouTube personalities. Through affiliate marketing, YouTubers are driving links and sign-ups at Audible.com and through the Sysomos lens, Audible knows which YouTube creators are the most valuable to their brand.

In a similar vein, if you’re a podcast fan, then you’ve likely heard your favorite podcast host mention Audible.com as a sponsor.

Audible learned early on when podcasting started as a medium that listeners of top podcasts were the perfect candidates to trial Audible and convert to customer. Similar to finding YouTuber influencers, Audible uses Sysomos to recruit and track podcasters in their affiliate marketing programs.

Merchandising using social intelligence

For any retail business, knowing what goods and products to highlight is an art that is sometimes informed by science. This is where social intelligence comes in to play. By using social insights, Audible merchandising teams can listen, experiment and feature titles at will.

On a regular basis, the community management team sends reports and observations to the Content team at Audible (the group who acquires new titles). From data on new prospective authors, narrators and even potential titles, the Community team has 6 MAP reports that went over Comic books, podcasts and other new types of content.

As a result, Audible acquired the rights to those titles and they’ll be in the store this summer.

Applied example: One Direction

In 2014, the wildly popular group One Direction released a memoir of their lives as artists.  As an added bonus, the band members each narrated their parts within the audiobook. Noticing a spike in conversation on social, the Community team at Audible was the first to pick up on Audible customers’ interest in this title. The team was astonished at how focused and passionate One Directions’ fans were and notified the Audible product team.

Audible was able to put the book up for pre-order and with their learnings, the social team informed those in charge of paid social advertising. Those ads drove new member acquisition and the One Direction narrated book even made the Audible.com home page based off the interest first spotted on social media.

Launching a dedicated social care channel

In order to better serve their customers, Audible is launching a Twitter account dedicated to customer care. To help coordinate between the main Audible account and Audible social care channels, the teams will use assigned tweets inside Sysomos to coordinate responses and set assignments.

Also, with an added team member, Sysomos makes it possible to orchestrate efforts regardless of a person’s office location.

Audible.com has sister sites in Australia, Germany, France and the UK, the community team has adheres to a unified social approach through regular meeting and weekly email coordination with the social care teams.

Being able to have social care reporting will be an added benefit to launching an Audible Social Care Twitter handle. Social Care and Audible Customer Care both align in one mission: “Exceed Expectations.” As Audible matures along the social care timeline, they seek to keep exceeding expectations.

In the graph below, the Social Care Team reports on the favorable sentiment of the contacts social care responds to.

Social Care Sentiment

Social Intelligence’s place in your community management practice

How do you integrate intelligence as a community manager? Which any of the lessons learned form the Audible team resonate with you?

Is your reporting different and better? Leave a comment below and let’s discuss!

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.