Archive for the ‘Social Media’ Category

Integrating Social Reporting Within Your Organization

Reporting and distributing actionable information is hard. It’s very important but it’s hard. We’ve covered how to get started with your reports and what elements help paint a picture on how your marketing efforts on social are pushing gauges one way or another.


However, social reporting isn’t worth doing for the sake of knowing only how your social efforts are performing. Let’s talk about how social data should be integrated with other reporting and data points for insights across your company or organization!

Customer Service and Support

Supporting the customer after the sale is an important practice of any socially active company. How can we support customer service?

  • Problematic products: You should set up regular communications channels that include reporting on product mentions and sentiment. Dig in to peaks and valleys to see what products are causing customer issues and why.
  • Reporting success: If a change is made to your product and it causes a rise in sentiment or a rash of positive praise for your support group, let them know! Pats on the back are always appreciated. :)

Human Resources

Keeping a pulse on the buzz of your employees is super important in measuring and tracking employee morale.

  • Healthy initiatives: More and more companies are launching initiatives to get employees active and fit. It’s a fact, employees who are enabled to exercise and be active are happier and more productive. So, create a socially-enabled fitness campaign and use social reporting to encourage physical activities to individual and groups of employees
  • #CompanyLife: From happy employees who are enjoying the company coffee cart to those mountain biking on the weekend. Social reporting should report these cases so the company can a) use them on the corporate social channels and b) engage with the employees online ‘like’, comment and share the company’s amazing culture.

Within The Marketing / Communications Group

Social data is of course applicable to marketing efforts. From product launches to announcements and influencer engagement, social reporting should be mapped against:

  • Press releases and announcements: How much social lift was gained off impressions, shares and comments about your last announcement? Use your listening tool to help augment coverage reports.
  • Search marketing: At my last job doing work with Nokia, I was in regular communications with our search ad folks to map trends in search mapping to compare/contrast what I was seeing in social. This helped us optimise our content from an SEO perspective.
  • Merchandising management: What products are generating buzz (good and bad) online and do these map against the products you’re pushing through prominent placement?

Building big dashboards

As social media measurement and reporting touches so many branches of modern-day organization, I advise you to form a reporting alliance with different data / story tellers in your company. Get regular communications set up and work together to build responsive reports that give managers all around the organization actionable data to advance the company or organization.

Here’s another challenge: build dashboards that cross department and corporate lines. In my last role, we had a digital marketing-wide reports that spanned 6 different groups from social to paid to search and every where in between. We met weekly and produced a scorecard that contained high-level observations and weeks’ trends. Also, we had monthly and quarterly reviews.

These meetings and data observations helped us cross-pollinate to see how social campaigns touched each group and enabled us to tell a unified story to our CMO that the entire executive leadership team gained value from.

How do you report cross-organizationally?

(Image credit: Flickr user brenderous)

Qualitative vs Quantitative Social Media Reporting

When it comes to reporting on your social media efforts there’s many f ways that it can actually be done. Every company is going to have their own style and every manager or boss is going to have their own way that they like to see reports.

No matter what format your company, boss or client likes, it always comes down to two big questions when it’s time to do the reporting; Do I take the quantitative or the qualitative route?

The truth is, each side has it’s own merits.

Quantitative Reporting


Quantitative reporting means presenting hard numbers as your measurements. Think of “quantity.” Quantitative measurements are things that are real measurements, These are going to be all of the things that you can actually count and show cold hard facts towards. As we mentioned in an earlier blog post this month, your goals in social media should have something measurable tied to them that helps you know that you’re working towards your brand’s goals.

Managers like to see quantitative reporting because these types of reports have the actual numbers that show how you’re advancing towards your goals or anomalies that can then be analyzed to determine why numbers move in a certain way.

Some exmaples of things that can be measured quantitatively in social media include:

Increases (or decreases) in fans/followers

Sysomos MAP - Change In Followers Over Time

Number of mentions your brand gets

Sysomos Heartbeat - Mentions Count

Number of clicks you get when sharing links Shows Number Of Clicks To A Custom URL

And share of voice between you and your competitors

Sysomos Heartbeat - Share of Voice

Of course, these are just a few types of quantitative measurements that can be taken. One of the nice things about social media is that because it happens online, most things can be tracked and measured in a quantitative form.


Qualitative Reporting


If the key to quantitative reporting is to think of “quantity,” then qualitative reporting should make you think of “quality.” Qualitative reporting has less to do with hard numbers and more to do with the underlying meaning and interpretations behind those numbers. These are going to be the things that add meaning and value to your hard numbers.

So, for example, quantitative reporting might tell you how many times your brand has been mentioned in social media, but qualitative reporting will look at “why” your company was getting those mentions. What were people saying? Were you being mentioned for good or bad reasons? Were mentions consistant with your brand’s message? And so on.

Qualitative reporting is great because it helps to tell the story behind what’s actually happening in social media.

Some examples of things that can be looked at qualitatively in social media include:

What drove the conversation (using text analytics)

Sysomos MAP - Buzzgraph (Text Analytics)

What was most popular (looking at things like the most retweeted tweets)

Sysomos MAP - Most Retweeted Tweets

What was the sentiment around our brand (even though sentiment can have a number associated with it, it’s still more of a qualitative measurement)

Sysomos Heartbeat - Overall Sentiment


So, what’s best?

Now that we’ve given a breakdown of the differences are between quantitative and qualitative measurements, you need to decide what is the best way to put them into your social media reports.

My best suggestion would be to do what I do when I create reports and use a mix of both. Show the numbers that matter towards your goals with qualitative measurements, but then dig deeper with a qualitative analysis as to why those numbers were showing as they did. What drove them? What was the underlying meaning of all those numbers? What’s the story behind the numbers?

An example of this mixing method could be with customer satisfaction: It’s easy to count how many times you replied to a customer service request via social media. But how can you gauge the satisfaction of that customers interaction, since having them leave the interaction feeling positive about it is likely your goal if you’re doing customer service? The feeling of satisfaction doesn’t have any real numbers associated with it, but if you look deeper into those interactions (by using some of the methods we gave examples of above like text analytics and sentiment analysis) you can make a judgement call on if the customer left the interaction feeling satisfied. That way you can say, “We had 17 customer support issues last week and we were able to solve 15 of them (quantitative hard numbers) and the customer satisfaction rate for those solved issues was 85% satisfied (a qualitative number derived from looking at those interactions).”

Or, for a real world example, last week we announced that we have acquired Expion. For my reporting of that event I gave our team hard numbers of how many times Sysomos and Expion were mentioned together in social media, but then I dove into the text analytics around all of those mentions we received to show our team not just that people were talking about it, but what they were actually saying. We found words like (to toot our own horn a little bit) “unrivalled,” “undisputed” and “combined force” with a great positive sentiment rating, so I was able to tell our team not only did we get a lot buzz about the announcement, but that it was also received very positively.

By combining both quantitative and qualitative into your social media reports you will wind up with a finished product that pleases everyone and helps them to understand what’s happening in your brand’s social media world. You will have numbers that show your boss or client the hard numbers that are moving them towards goals, but you’ll also have a way to explain why things are happening and why those numbers are moving. The benefit of combining both is that you can also create a narrative in your reports, which makes them easier for everyone to understand whether their a numbers person or not.
Do you want to measure both quantitatively and qualitatively at the same time? Request a demo of our Sysomos software and we’ll show you how we can help.

The End of Rose In Cannes As We Know It!

Well, maybe not…but after attending the Cannes Lions Advertising Festival for the past few years as a Media company person (First with Microsoft and then with Clear Channel) it was a different experience bringing my new CEO of Sysomos to Cannes for the first time. Seeing the festival through the eyes of a Big Data person certainly changed my view of the future of the industry. With a lot of the talk being around data, the undelivered promises to date of Data Science and marketing and the sheer confusion on a lot of clients and customers faces, it was a much different Cannes this year.

Cannes Lions 2015

The questions on data range from not trusting the data, to building true real time ROI/attribution modeling that can better shape a campaign across Paid, Shared, Owned, Earned. To do the latter, we have to build systems that can ingest and analyze any and all forms of structured and unstructured data and give more control of the systems to the Agencies and clients. Of course all the while protecting data privacy and the consumers. But I’m encouraged that the discussion is actually more around the consumer and their experience than simple data. We want Paid, Shared, Owned and Earned content to enhance the user experience. If we can do that, then stories are relevant and welcome, not intrusive and unwanted.

The good news is we know we can solve a lot of the issues. Data Science to date has largely been built for the “experts”, keeping a lot of the great insights to small groups who are overworked with all the requests while at the same time overwhelmed with the various tool sets, none of which are completely doing what they want. I can remember announcing “Looking Glass” back in 2010 at Advertising Week. “Looking Glass” was a Microsoft built prototype tool for listening to Social, monitoring and reacting/engaging with users on Social. Microsoft never really got the product to market, but it was my first look into how the growing and changing social world could impact all of marketing and beyond. And, the growing desire for such tools and platforms from Agencies and Clients. We filled our 10 beta spots before I left the Times Center that day.

Today at Sysomos, we compete in a very competitive market of Social Listening/Research/Monitoring and again we are at the beginning. The meetings in Cannes with friends and colleagues left me nodding every time, “yes…we can help that…and that…and that”. From Creative process to all areas of media, to analyzing the return across Paid, Earned, Shared, Owned…even to how best align Brands and Talent in a way that’s genuine and authentic (whether that talent is a proven celebrity or an emerging platform star).

Sysomos Partnered With OMD for The Big Question Everyday Through The Cannes Lions

There is no question that Cannes has changed dramatically in the past decade and beyond. From P&G showing up as a client to the invasion of the Tech giants, from traditional media parties to social media dominance to a swarm of Ad Tech innovators. One thing is for sure is that we seem to be getting back to thinking about customers holistically and using media and technology to enhance our story telling, not replace it. I joined Sysomos three months ago to help just that. Not to have data drive the decisions blindly, but to guide and enhance the amazing creativity you seen at Cannes Lions. We have work to do, but I’m encouraged by our new direction and energy and by the willingness of our partners and clients to add energy and innovation with us.

Expion Joins #TeamSysomos

Welcome to #TeamSysomos, Expion!

Today I’m thrilled to announce that Sysomos has acquired Expion, a leading social marketing platform.

Expion has been recently recognized by Forrester as “one of the most significant social relationship platform providers,” for their content management and publishing capabilities, which will perfectly complement our robust, data-driven analytics platform.

Together, Sysomos and Expion will give more than 15,000 marketers, representing 1,500 companies, the power to better understand their customers, reach new relevant audiences and deliver more compelling customer experiences. We will now offer a complete content marketing and analytics solution, empowering the world’s biggest brands by adding context to millions of online conversations while giving them the tools to immediately respond and engage in those conversations.

Sysomos has been trusted by the world’s top agencies and brands for years to help them analyze and understand earned social media conversations and their audiences. With the addition of Expion we will not only be able to provide our customers with insights into their audiences and their motivations, but will also allow marketers to more effectively create and distribute owned content, place paid media, and guide customers through their journey of awareness, education, purchase and advocacy.

Sysomos and Expion will be integrating core technologies to provide a comprehensive family of products that help our customers solve the challenge of gathering, understanding, and engaging with the incredible amounts of social interactions taking place every day. We’ll continue to share with you exciting advancements in our platform throughout the coming months.

For more information about our announcement check out the official press release about the acquisition.

And if you’d like to learn a little more about Expion and what they do, check out this video below:

Expion – Social Software from Expion on Vimeo.

Once more, we’d like to welcome the Expion team into our growing Sysomos family, and thank our customers, friends and partners for their continued support.

The future is very exciting here at Sysomos, and we’re looking forward to having you as a part of it.

Shark Week 2015 Seemed To Be Better Received Than The Previous Year

Shark Week 2015In 2014, Shark Week put up impressive social media numbers, but it also received a lot of backlash. The backlash was due to the fact that their most publicized shows for the year were not true documentaries, but rather made up stories that were made to seem like they were real without telling their audience the truth. See our post on it here.

For Shark Week 2015, Discovery Channel promised that they would return to purely non-fictional programming and take the week of programming back to it’s roots. We decided to use Sysomos MAP to see how the social conversation went around Shark Week this year.

Looking for the terms “Shark Week,” “#SharkWeek,” “SharkWeek2015” and “#SharkWeek15” and found them mentioned 927,193 across blogs, forums, online news and Twitter over the 8 days of programming (July 5-12, 2015). Specifically, we found 1,211 blog posts, 2,691 online news articles, 2,287 forum postings and 921,004 tweets mentioning our search terms. This is down from 2014 where we found 1.6 million mentions across the same channels.

Sysomos MAP - Activity Summary of Shark Week 2015

With Twitter being the main channel where people seemed to be talking about Shark Week, we dug a little bit deeper. When we did this we found that most of the tweets, 76.2%, came from the United States, while Canadians accounted for 4.8% of all the tweets. We also found that both men and women were interested in tweeting along with Shark Week with women accounting for slightly more tweets than men, 55% vs 45%.

Sysomos MAP - Twitter Activity Summary for Shark Week 2015

We then took our search over to Tumblr and found 77,301 posts containing our search terms over the same period of time. This number is also down from 85,772 in 2014.

Sysomos MAP - Tumblr Activity Summary for Shark Week 2015

And on Facebook, we found Shark Week being talked about in 5,569 public status updates , which is significantly down from the over 17,000 we found last year.

Sysomos MAP - Facebook Activity Summary for Shark Week 2015

While many of the numbers we found for Shark Week 2015 were down from 2014, we did notice a similar pattern play out. When we took these mentions and looked at how they played out over the programming week we found that Shark Week started off strong towards the beginning of the week and then tapered off as it went on.

Sysomos MAP - Popularity Chart for Shark Week 2015

An even more interesting similarity to last year is that when we looked at the overall sentiment for Shark Week 2015, it was THE EXACT SAME as it was in 2014. Both years we saw 11% positive talk and 40% negative talk giving Shark Week an overall favourable rating of 60%. However, this year was a bit different.


Sysomos MAP - Overall Sentiment for Shark Week 2015

Last year when we saw a large amount of negative talk surrounding Shark Week it was due to people being upset around the programming. However, when we looked at a buzzgraph around this year’s Shark Week we found that the negative talk was actually stemming from shark talk. Words like “attack,” “bite” and “predator” were found throughout our text analytics this year, which technically have a negative connotation so would explain the large amount of negative sentiment. However, it also shows that people were very engaged with the shark related content that was coming out of Shark Week this year.

Sysomos MAP - Buzzgraph for Social Talk During Shark Week 2015

While numbers were down for Shark Week this year when we compared it to last year, by diving in deeper it actually turned out that people seemed to be more engaged with the actual shark content rather than complaining about being fooled.

Upcoming Webinar: What To Listen For When Your Brand Isn’t Being Talked About

Sysomos Webinar - What To Listen For  When No One Is Talking About Your Brand

If you have a new product or company, or more simply, you’re starting out on social media, how do you find out what’s being said about your market, company and products?

On July 23 from 1:30 – 2:30 PM Eastern, we’ll explore the topic of what to listen for when coming in to a new market or vertical.

We’ll discuss:

  • How to find your keywords surrounding your products/brand
  • What’s being said about your competitors. The good and the bad. :)
  • What’s being said about the business leaders in your field
  • How to find the most influential voices in your prospective communities
  • How to strike up conversations with those movers and shakers

And much more!

I’ll be leading the webinar and I look forward to the dialogue.

Jason Harris’ Bio

Jason Harris is Sr. Manager of Community and Evangelism at Sysomos. He manages Sysomos’ social strategy and Evangelism program. Jason works like mad to ensure data is relevant to decision makers and stakeholders. 

At Sysomos, Jason serves as a corporate liaison for the company’s clients, partners and customers as the head of community and brand evangelism.

Jason’s background is in corporate blogging, corporate community building and management and influencer marketing.

Join us by clicking here

Social Media Reporting Doesn’t Need To Be A Daunting Task

Being involved in social media marketing is a fun job. You get to come up with creative ways to engage your audience, speak to people from all corners of the world and help make your company look awesome to the rest of the world. But then it always comes to that one task that you dread… actually reporting on your social media activities.

Social media reporting doesn’t need a daunting task though. There are many tools that can help make the process a lot less painless, and Sysomos Heartbeat is one of those.

Set Up Specific Dashboards For Your Reports

One of the best features of our all new Sysomos Heartbeat is that we give you ability to truly customize your dashboards. With a customized dashboard you can have all of your important and need-to-know information at your fingertips anytime you need them all in one place. Another feature that makes customizable dashboards great is that as your plans and goals change for your social media activities, you can continuously change, rearrange and update your personal dashboard. You can even set up more than one dashboard to track different types of goals on their own.

If you want to customize your own dashboard, it’s really quite simple. Once you have your tags and filters* set in Sysomos Heartbeat to see the information you’re most interested in, find the widget that interests you. Let’s say for this example it’s the Activity Summary chart.

Now, notice in the upper right corner of the widget the widget settings icon? This is going to be important.

Sysomos Heartbeat - Activity Summary Widget

Selecting the widget settings icon will give you a drop down menu where you can select Add To Dashboard. Click that.

Sysomos Heartbeat - Widget Settings

Next, you’ll be given a drop down menu allowing you to select which already created dashboard you’d like to add that widget to. If you don’t already have a customized dashboard setup, you’ll be given the option to create a new one.

Sysomos Heartbeat - Select your Dashboard

Now, you can repeat this process until every piece of information you need to see is combined into your ultimate reporting dashboard. Any widget that you find inside the Monitor section of Sysomos Heartbeat can be added to a dashboard, which gives you endless possibilities for dashboards.

Sysomos Heartbeat - Executive Overview Sample Dashboard


Get Your Dashboards Sent Right To Your Inbox

Now that you have your perfect dashboard setup, it’s time to use it for easy reporting.

Additionally, the all-new Sysomos Heartbeat gives you the ability to subscribe to any and all of your dashboards. Subscribing to a dashboard will bring all the information that you just deemed as important to your reporting sent directly to your inbox… or even your boss’s inbox.

To subscribe to a dashboard simply head to the dashboard you want and in the upper right corner you should see a “Subscribe” button. Clicking that button will then give you a form where you can specify the email you want the dashboard sent to, what you’d like the subject of the email to say and how frequently you’d like it delivered, daily or weekly.

Sysomos Heartbeat - Subscribe To Your Dashboard
And that’s it!

You can now have your reports sent directly to you when you need them with no hassle whatsoever. It’s just that easy. Sysomos Heartbeat helps to make the daunting task of reporting on your social media activities as easy as opening an email.

If you’re already a Sysomos customer and want to learn about dashboards and how you set up your reports to be sent right to you, check out the dashboard information in our Support Portal*.

And if you’re not already using Sysomos to help take the hassle out of your reporting, what are you waiting for? Request to see a demo of Sysomos Heartbeat right now.


* This link goes to our client help section and you’ll need to login with your regular Sysomos login to access it.

Red Bull Records: Who Are You? #iamawolnation

What does your activity on social media say about you? Does it accurately reflect who you are and what you identify with? What about the city you live in? If an outsider were to look in, what would they deduce about the things members of your community collectively say and share on social networks?

These are some of the questions Red Bull Records hopes to answer. Why? It’s all part of a multi-touch campaign to celebrate and engage with fans. Fans of music. Fans of artists under the Red Bull Records label. Fans of everyone whose motto is rooted in living life to the fullest.

Of the various use cases we’ve seen here at Sysomos, it’s also one of the most creative and interesting ways I’ve seen a company integrate and apply social data.

A little bit of backstory here: Red Bull recently released a “World of Red Bull” campaign commercial. Included in the clip are highlights of the facets behind the brand – all set to the backdrop of a catchy new single by AWOLNATION, a multi-platinum artist under Red Bull Records, an independent record label formed in 2007 by Dietrich Mateschitz.

Premiering at the MTV Movie Awards in April, the clip has proved such a success that it’s still being aired across the U.S. and in international markets.  The song providing the soundtrack – a track titled “I Am” – has also landed a new gig: it’s become the focus of a new fan engagement campaign for the record label.

Justin Dreyfuss, who oversees digital marketing for Red Bull Records explains; “Given the level of attention the TV commercial is bringing to the song, we wanted to find a way to not only highlight the song to fans, but also maximize exposure and reach a new fan base.”

The Campaign: What Defines You?

Indeed they did. Taking direction from the song’s core message, the team flipped the track’s title on its head and placed it at the center of a multi-city fan engagement campaign – Red Bull Records and AWOLNATION want to know: Who are you? What are the things that define you?

Share your thoughts on social channels accompanied by #iamawolnation and you’re game to be part of a compilation that will highlight what makes AWOLNATION fans unique.

In addition to asking fans how they see themselves, the team also wanted to know what people were already saying about themselves on social channels, especially in tour markets and cities where the band is scheduled to play this summer. Currently crossing North America, AWOLNATION’s Run Tour will touch down in thirty eight cities, culminating on August 1 in Los Angeles.

“That’s kind of where the idea to profile cities came in,” explains Dreyfuss. “A way to highlight the song as the band tours across the country.” “That’s also where the idea to create infographics came in,” Red Bull Records’ Technical Strategist, Nic Chang, adds. “We thought it would be interesting to categorize and see what people were saying about themselves on social media – sort of a social listening experiment.”

The Cities: SF, LA, San Antonio

Ten cities were chosen to profile: San Francisco, Los Angeles, Montreal, New York, Indianapolis, Toronto, Detroit, Minneapolis, Chicago and San Antonio. Using Sysomos MAP to tap into and analyze millions of tweets across each, the team began by looking at the query terms needed for the search set.

Word Cloud -  San FranciscoWord Cloud - San Antonio Word Cloud - LA

“We started with the term ‘I am’ and variations thereof, like ‘I’m’, and then dove into it,” Chang explains. Narrowing the scope to parse through the noise of unrelated results, the team then experimented with words and phrases commonly used in tandem. “So not necessarily only searching for the phrase ‘I am,’” he continues, “but including associated words and phrases into the query, like ‘I am going,’ ‘I am feeling,’ or ‘I am listening to.’”

Once the search set was built, it was run uniformly against a year of tweets from each city (enough time to ensure the data set was large enough to capture a wide breadth of data). “For data integrity,” says Chang. “If there was an event in any one of those cities, for example. That stuff would be normalized out.”

What did they find? “San Francisco was very writer heavy,” Dreyfuss shares. “We saw a lot of people talking about writing a book or writing an article. San Antonio, on the other hand, was all about the rodeo.”

How did they determine what made each city unique? “The terms selected for each city were those that over-indexed – meaning it was something that indexed only in that city and nowhere else,” explains Chang. “The terms are more unique, as far as the conversation happening in these cities,” adds Dreyfuss. “So not necessarily terms ranking first, second, and third.”

“Once we identified the terms we found interesting,” continues Chang, “we tried to find the particular tweets that specifically mentioned that term, just to make sure we had the right context. The word cloud feature then helped us determine the frequency in which the term was used in the search set.“

Infographics were then developed to showcase the uniqueness of each city. As a long-time resident of San Francisco – eleven years and running – I have to say: there is much more to our community than being tired all the time and always going to work. That said, these terms were determined by what we as a community share as a whole on social networks – it may not truly reflect who we are (or think we are), or what we truly identify with. On the other hand, maybe we here in SF are just a bunch of tired, complaining, workaholics (ba dum tsch).

I am San Francisco Infographic I Am LA Infographic I Am San Antonio Infographic

My reaction is kind of the whole point to this data-science experiment. It makes me want to join the #iamawolnation conversation to share what we here in SF are really all about. We’re outdoorsy. We love music and going to concerts. We work a lot (ok that one might be true).

“Initially conceptualized around the song, and around particular lyrics in the song, we wanted this campaign to be a means for fans to express themselves,” says Chang. “Not just in the declarative, factual kind of way, but also aspirationally; who they’d like to be, how they want to be seen.”

The Surprising: Beaches, Hockey, and Feeling “22”

Amidst this whole process, I was curious to know what Chang and his team found that was most surprising. “Funny you should ask,” says Chang. “In general, people across all cities love tweeting about going to the gym. We ran the numbers: nine percent of the time someone tweeted about going somewhere, it was to the gym.”

Other interesting tidbits:

  • Across the board, people love tweeting about wanting to go to the beach, regardless of how close the beach was to them
  • Winnipeg loves the NHL Jets. No matter what category was surveyed, the NHL Jets were trending (explains the top-trending hashtag: #gojetsgo)
  • Detroit was the most profane city analyzed – with an average of 4 curse-words appearing in their top 50 terms, regardless of the query
  • Oklahoma has the biggest concentration of Taylor Swift fans, with 3.62% feeling “22”
  • Jail was the 7th highest destination in Santa Cruz, Calif.

Think that’s the end of it? Chang and Dreyfuss’ team have only just begun. When the campaign wraps up in August, they’ll compile a unique infographic for the results of the #iamawolnation engagement campaign – which we’ll share here alongside campaign results and key learnings.

Be sure to check back for updates – or make it easy on yourself and subscribe to the Sysomos blog – to stay apprised of developments.

The Power of Social Gravity

This post originally appeared on iMedia Connection.


GravityThere’s an irony inherent in modern marketing — when you’ve done your job well, it actually becomes less necessary. You are no longer initiating tons of interactions with your customers, because they’re initiating them instead. This is the concept of social gravity, and you can see it exemplified by a number of the brands we love — Zappos, Hubspot, and Apple.

Social gravity isn’t a new concept. The term that was coined in the Harvard Business Review to refer to those companies with such strong brand followings that it feels like they’re pulling customers into their orbit. The opposite of this would be brands who are shouting on social media and still can’t get customers to give them the time of day. For every one company with social gravity, there are 10 who fall into the latter category.

Social gravity hasn’t actually changed over the last few years since the idea was introduced; the hallmarks of a brand which exemplifies the concept remain the same — providing value, utility, and an environment for community to thrive. What has changed are the data and science used to approach the subject.

So how does a brand develop a high degree of social gravity? The top five things marketers can do to up their social game are:

Take advantage of the opportunity technology provides to be dynamic (think Google’s Doodle). Interactivity is a great way to create stickiness.

Arguably one of the most overused words in social, “engage” is really just a fancy way of saying talk to your customers in all the channels they want to use! It’s overused, sure, but it’s impossible to overstate.

Your company is the sum of all the awesome people who work for you. Share the story of the people that make you special. Customers like to interact with real people they identify with.

Provide value
The golden rule of social gravity. Draw customers in by providing value to their lives in the form of helpful, interesting content, insider information, deals, or community.

Be a good corporate citizen
When your customers feel like you’re giving back to the community you share, they feel good about engaging with you.

They key is to build a community centered around value and utility. One of the earliest and most successful examples of this is Johnson & Johnson’s BabyCenter. The site provides valuable (some might say essential) information and an environment where parents and expecting parents can learn from and ask questions of the community.

BabyCenter has been very successful extending engagement across apps, social media channels, and e-mail. The fact that J&J’s association with these properties is subtle makes the pull even stronger. The content and the platform unlock the opportunity, but the community itself drives the experience. Their customers, in other words, are doing the heavy lifting for them.

So, you might be wondering, how can social data help brands increase their social gravity?

The power of data science and the social graph lies in offering brands powerful, efficient ways to grow community size and engagement. There are three core dimensions where social intelligence can drive community engagement and growth:

Community mapping

Successful marketers don’t just understand the demographics, behavior, and preferences of their own online community; they have insight into the broader networked landscape. When we look at conversations around the Fitbit, for example, we can clearly see the natural communities that have formed around the Fitbit ecosystem, some of which Fitbit is already connected to, some of which they are not. By understanding who these communities are, what they are talking about, and who the connectors are, Fitbit can dramatically increase its reach and spread.

Topic mapping

Groups and subgroups often connect around specific topical themes and the more relevant a brand can be the better. Going back to our Fitbit example, clear communities have formed around the Fitbit’s use in sports versus daily casual activities and sleep. Understanding the dynamics and interests within communities makes for deeper relationships and more targeted communications. Finding the highly connected, topical influencers and engaging with relevant content and value can spark activity, like increased reach, retweets, reblogs, and the like.


Influencers have always been an important part of any brand’s strategy, but the conventional tools available have now evolved. Context is key to understanding an influencer’s impact on the subject in question — regardless of followers, a person may be well regarded in the field of sports nutrition but have little influence when it comes to cars. A second key element missing from traditional influencer tools is the idea that certain people can regularly spark and drastically accelerate the spread of content.  By analyzing the spread of content through networks we can now identify who these people are. With the vast amounts of data available today and the significant analytics capabilities of today’s tools, there’s no reason for brands not to understand the context of their influencers and to target the most influential among them.

Social Media Reporting: Where To Start

By now, being active in social media is pretty much table stakes for most modern companies and brands. But just being in social media isn’t enough. You have to learn from what you’re doing in social media so that you can continuously grow and get better. And the best way to learn is from reporting on what you’ve been doing and learning from what those reports tell you. Jason wrote a great post on why reporting on your social efforts is so important just last week.

While reporting is going to be crucial for your company so that you can get better, you first need to know what you’re going to report on so that you can learn from your efforts.


Start with knowing why you brand is active on social media

Getting involved in social media just to say that your company has a social media presence is not really a reason to be there. You should have clearly defined reasons for why you’re using social media.

For some companies, these reasons are going to be as simple as “create more awareness for our brand” or “to provide assistance for our customers on a channel that is easy for them.” Other reasons companies may get into social might include things like “to increase sales of our product/service” which can sometimes be a bit harder to measure, but not impossible.

By knowing your actual reason for getting involved in social will help you determine your goals and those will set you on the proper track to know what report on towards those goals.

Think about why your company is in social media in the first place

Create social media goals to compliment your reasons for being involved in social media

Once you know why you’re getting involved in social media it’s time to set some goals. Goals are going to help you set clear expectations for those reasons you’ve gotten into social media. More importantly, setting goals is going to help you to know if you’re achieving on your overall reasons for being in social media.

Goals for social media should be S.M.A.R.T. This is a simple acronym that means your goals should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound. So, for example, you want to get into social media so you can increase the public awareness of your brand, you should have a corresponding goal that would be something like “gain 1000 new fans/followers over our first 3 months.”

In this case, you have a specific reason for why you’re entering social media in the first place, and you have a target goal that you can work towards to justify your reason.

S.M.A.R.T. Goals

Here’s a few other examples of some S.M.A.R.T. goals you might want to consider:

  • If your reason for being in social media is to provide customer service via social media, your goal can be “to respond to all customer service requests within 30 minutes of when they come in” or “to help our customers by closing a minimum of 10 customer support tickets every week day” or even “to make sure that every customer walks away from a service request with a positive experience.”
  • If your reason for being on Twitter is to drive people to your company’s blog, your goal could be something like “to increase the number of blog visitors (click-throughs) we get daily by 30% over two months” or “increase the average number of page views per visit to a minimum of 3 pages in the next 6 months.”
  • If you decided that your reason for being in social is prove yourself or your company as a thought leader in your respective space, your goal might be “to have our CEO make one post to LinkedIn Publishing per month and have 1000 people read that piece.”

In all of these examples above, the goal always relates back to the reason for being in social media and has clearly defined and attainable measurements that have specific timelines. This is how you should think about all the goals that you start setting.

It’s also important to remember when setting goals that no two social networks are identical. Every network will have it’s own uses, so you may want to set up different goals for each channel, but making sure that they are still relevant to your overall reasons for being there in the first place.


Measure and report on your efforts towards those goals

Now that we know why you want to be in social media in the first place and we’ve set up some goals that will help us to justify those reasons, it’s time to start thinking about how you’re going to measure and report on those goals.

In the world of digital marketing, pretty much everything is trackable. The real difficult part comes down to deciding on how much of those things you’re actually going to report on. While it’s easy to get caught up in all of the numbers you might be able to see, if you took the first two steps above you should have a clearer idea of where to head when it’s time to report on your social efforts.

While your reports might include what some people refer to as “vanity metrics,” things like how your fans/followers increased, how many likes/favorites or shares/RT’s your content got, you should focus more on measurements that relate to your defined goals.

These will be known as your KPIs, which stands for Key Performance Indicators.

Report on things that show you're working towards your KPI's

If you follow these steps, you should now have a great idea of what you’re going to report on when your boss or client asks “How are things going with our social media efforts?”

Build social intelligence in your content production process and reporting frameworks. Reach out to us and we’d be happy to show you how Sysomos can help you measure towards your social media KPI’s and make sure you’re measuring the right things.