Five Key Takeaways From San Francisco

By Sheldon Levine - July 1st, 2014

Today’s post was written by our CEO, Jim Delaney

Social And The Customer Intimacy Imperative

The other week’s Social and the Customer Intimacy Imperative event (#SysomosCII) was a resounding success for the Sysomos team. We brought together some of the brightest minds and biggest brands, and cultivated an outstanding discussion about the next frontier of social: the intersection of data, predictive analytics and revolutionary customer experiences. I cannot thank our speakers and attendees enough for such an inspiring conversation.

The Customer Intimacy Imperative is an age-old problem, but the solution is a moving target that continues to shift as technology advances and culture evolve. The sheer amount of raw data available through social networks means that brands, large and small, MUST engage through social channels or risk devastating consequences of irrelevance and ineptness.

Whenever I’m in the company of other leaders at industry events — either as a host or a participant — I’m always amazed by how much I learn. While I could go on for days about all the kernels of wisdom that were shared last Tuesday, I’ve whittled my list down to five key takeaways from #SysomosCII:

1)     Look forward, not backward: No longer is it enough to look back to see what happened and why it happened. Customers want brands to anticipate their needs. The social web is a focus group of hundreds of millions providing insightful data that brands can use to anticipate future needs.

2)     LOTS of data: Too much data perhaps. Social is pervading the marketing team into other reaches of business. The data is driving new business models as innovative brands are leveraging social data in the decision making process. (@RMB, @chuckhemann, @znh)

3)     Analysis gap: Either in talent or technology, brands need to better understand the “social cocktail” globally in terms of differences between cultures and market segments. The skews of relevance are paramount to help determine ROI. (@RMB, @chuckhemann, @znh)

4)     Be able to take a punch: Social data is disruptive to traditional marketing. Expect questions. (@MasonNelder)

5)     Audience is a privilege: The fundamentals of marketing still apply today. We want customers to trust us and communicate with us. Respecting the customer-brand relationship will foster loyalty, and loyalty will drive revenue… ROI! (@petershankman, @jbmustin)

These takeaways barely scratch the surface of what the future of marketing might look like. But you can be sure that we’re going to see some amazing new developments in the coming months that will define that future. In the meantime, stay tuned as we continue to share insights from #SysomosCII.

Should Blog Comments Be Rewarded?

By Mark Evans - June 30th, 2014

As Twitter and Facebook have become more popular as ways to share and react to content, the blog comment has lost a lot of its mojo.

Sure, there are some blog post that generate a lot of comments but the enthusiasm for comments is nowhere close to what it was like five or six years ago when blogs were shiny and new.

blog commentIt would be interesting to quantify the number of blog posts that attract comments, but I would guess that most posts don’t get any comments.

It’s not that the content is bad or doesn’t deserve a reaction; it’s just easier to do something on Twitter or Facebook. That’s just the reality of social engagement these days.

Let’s take the position, however, that blog comments are a good thing to drive conversation and the exchange ideas.

Using this as our thesis, what about the idea of rewarding blogs for attracting comments, and people for leaving comments.

What if Google and other search engines embraced the blog comment as a front and centre SEO pillar?

In theory, it would encourage more people to leave comments on blogs, and be a great way to motivate bloggers to keep writing posts.

Of course, there would have to be some way to stop the spammers and link-builders from abusing this approach to comments.

It would likely require some kind of effective link and comment analysis to make everything work, but you figure Google has enough technology to make it happen.

For some people, this idea may be far-fetched, illogical or unnecessary. After all, updates on Twitter and Facebook may be enough boost for blogs because they help to attract a bigger audience.

But there is something romantic about blog comments. They require someone to make an investment in reading a post, and then crafting a comment.

In a world world where people are time-strapped, comments required effort, thought and intent. It’s why they have so much value for bloggers.

What do you think? Should there be some way to reward blog comments?

More: Here’s Google’s Matt Cutts on comments made on forums and blogs.

Watch The World Light Up With The #WorldCup Hashtag

By Sheldon Levine - June 28th, 2014

The Group Play round of the FIFA World Cup is officially over and we’re about to head into the Round Of 16, also known as the Knock-Out Stage today.

The tournament has already been generating a ton of buzz from soccer (excuse us, football) fans from around the globe. While half of the teams that started the tournament have officially been eliminated, we don’t expect to see interest wane from global fans until a winner has been declared.

To help us show that, just in time for the start of the Round Of 16, we’re excited to launch our Sysomos Global #WorldCup Hashtag Tracker.

Sysomos Global #WorldCup Hashtag Tracker

(Click on the dashboard image above to be taken to the real dashboard)

Starting today and running through the end of the World Cup on July 13th we invite you to watch our dashboard to see where the #WorldCup hashtag is being used in real-time.

Every time someone around the world sends a tweet that contains the #WorldCup hashtag our dashboard will capture that tweet and display a soccer ball blip on our global map corresponding with their location. This will give you an idea of just how many people from all corners of the world are watching the matches and joining in on the real time conversation.

And, just to add a bit of competition for fun, we’ll also be keeping a running tally on the righthand side of the dashboard of the countries who are using the #WorldCup hashtag the most.

So, please tweet along with every game and watch yours and millions of others’ tweets light up our dashboard. Also, every tweet you make with the #WorldCup hashtag will help your country to make it higher on our #WorldCup hashtag counter.

Which country is going to win the World Cup this year? Which country is going to be making the most noise on Twitter about the #WorldCup? Only time will tell, but we’ll be anxiously watching and waiting to find out.

Are Users Tuning Out?

By Mark Evans - June 27th, 2014

0_0_620_http---offlinehbpl.hbpl.co.uk-news-OKM-D1477D22-9BB5-E71C-291739D0F19EE0A5The biggest danger in social media is your audience may not engage with your content.

If social media becomes more like traditional one-way communication, it will have lost its magic.

The question brands have to ask themselves is “are users tuning me out?”

A recent Gallup poll, “The Myth of Social Media” discovered that 62% of those surveyed believe social media has no influence on their buying decisions.

The other interesting (albeit not surprising part) is that companies invested a whopping 5.1 billion dollars on social media advertising in 2013; a number the report claims will jump to 15 billion dollars by 2018.

When you boil it down, Gallup’s survey suggests users are not using social media to engage with brands. 

For brands, here’s the deal: your target audiences will use social media and they will probably discuss or research your products. You have to be present or risk missing out.

94% of participants said they use social media to connect to family, while 29% claimed they use social media to follow trends and get product reviews and information.

On the whole, the numbers are staggering but they don’t paint the bleak picture some would suggest. You can interpret reports and surveys in many different ways.

One thing to note is the report confirms the unfathomable activity levels of social media, something no brand or user can ignore.

As well, a key takeaway may be that buying and boosting ads on social networks should be less important than creating and curating content that engages your audience.

This last part isn’t news to anyone and, by no means, should you refuse to allocate advertising dollars to social platforms. The point is your digital strategy has to be built around honest and genuine engagement.

Digital marketers need to review this report and others to surmise what is the best way for them to proceed.

Where Does Twitter Think LeBron Is Heading? [Infographic]

By Sheldon Levine - June 26th, 2014

If you’re a basketball fan you’ve likely heard about LeBron James over the past few days. Even if you’re not a basketball fan you’ve likely heard that as of July 1st LeBron will officially become a free agent.

Earlier this week, James made the announcement that he would not be optioning the final two years on his current contract with the Miami Heat. This means that as of July 1st any team from around the NBA can try to court King James to come and play for them.

Ever since the announcement was made, basketball fans all over the world have been speculating as to where the Power Forward may head next… if he heads anywhere new at all (he can still sign back on with the Heat with a completely new contract). LeBron’s name is being tossed around the internet with a slew of possibilities of teams from ones that seem like they could happen to ones that people would just love to see (like James coming to play for Raptors in our hometown).

So what are the most popular choices for where LeBron may wind up?

We used our powerful Sysomos software to look at Twitter conversations about LeBron James to try to figure out where the majority of people think he’ll be headed to for the 2014-15 season. We looked up LeBron’s name with appearences in tweets along side every NBA team to see which team was being favoured by the general masses. The following infographic shows the top 15 teams people are thinking he may head to.

NOTE: For this infographic we left out mentions of James along side the Miami Heat as they were seeing above average mentions for being the team he is leaving and the Cleveland Cavaliers as people are comparing this to when he left them in 2010.

Where Is LeBron Headed? A Sysomos Infographic

 

What do you think? Do you think the mass voice of Twitter is right? Where do you think LeBron James will be playing next season?

Is Facebook Too Eager to Beat Snapchat?

By Mark Evans - June 25th, 2014

Slingshot-App-Store-640x579Facebook isn’t shy about how badly it wants to crush its competitors. They’re willing to spend big bucks to make sure they own the social media throne. This aggressive approach has done them wonders, but it does backfire sometimes.

A few weeks ago, Facebook released Slingshot, a new app they’ve created to take on Snapchat. 

The only problem is Facebook didn’t intend to launch it, and the app wasn’t quite ready.

Slingshot is now widely known, so the question is: what is it exactly?

The app is designed to let users connect with other users by taking a photo crafting a message or drawing something, but only after another user connects with you.

You can also write or draw on images and photos, similar to Snapchat. What isn’t clear is whether you can place a time limit before a “message” automatically deletes. 

Slingshot has a lot of the same elements of Snapchat, and it doesn’t appear bashful about acknowledging these features aren’t meant to sink the popular network.

There are schools of thought that believe Facebook has lost many of its teenage and younger audience to Snapchat. 

It’s not surprising they want to reclaim that demographic, which helped propelled them to social media stardom as they succeeded with colleges and universities.

The confusing part is how did Facebook accidentally launch an app? It’s not like you just press a button and suddenly it appears on the app store.

While it was only briefly available, could this have been part of a greater PR plan to build buzz?

Let’s just say it wouldn’t be shocking if this was true, and can you blame them? Lots of people and tech sites and forums have been talking about it, which aligns with Facebook’s strategy for social media domination.

What do you think? Was Slingshot “accidentally” released?

Digital Mistakes? Seriously, It’s No Big Deal

By Mark Evans - June 23rd, 2014

In all walks of life, mistakes happen. It’s a simple fact. The world of social media is not exempted from this nor are brands and the digital marketers who are behind them.

Making a mistake whether it is a bad tweet, update or a strategy that doesn’t pan out is probably the greatest fear in the industry. Well…maybe it shouldn’t be.

mistakesBefore making this argument, let’s just say that being scared of mistakes will sink your overall social media efforts. You can’t succeed in the digital world with a strategy full of half measures.

The trick is being willing to make the mistakes and learning from them. Failing to build a massive audience from a single strategy isn’t the whole story.

There’s no social media campaign that won’t have its rocky parts. Making sure they aren’t repeated in the future is a more important consideration.

You need to discover what works for your brand and what gets your audience excited and mobilized. There’s very little chance hitting it out of the park on the first try.

This leaves the only option: the old proven method of trial and error, which often comes with mistakes. 

For brands, they must have someone in charge who not only gets this reality but embraces it. Maybe it boils down to culture and personnel, as many things in social media do.

Social media is so volatile, the smallest change to something can transform failure into success. Just make sure you are making the changes and not your competitors.

Lets be honest…if social media was easy it wouldn’t be as powerful a tool.

Mistakes are part of the game. It is one of the reasons not to be scared of failure because they allow for honest evaluation and pave the way for future success.

The NBA Rewards Its Social Media Stars

By Mark Evans - June 20th, 2014

NBA-TV-social-media-awardsWhen it comes to all things social media…the NBA is awesome. Right now, you could argue that they have few peers when it comes to the social game.

Their star players provide a lot of insight and engage with fans, and the front office is adept at handling every tumultuous situations (i.e. Donald Sterling) with class via social media. 

To top this off (even though it’s safe to assume the NBA is far from at their apex), the league has created the social media awards to put the spotlight on players who have done it right! This year marks the third anniversary of the awards.

The smartest thing about this strategy is it sheds light on players who use the medium well, but it entices other players to get on board. Any way you cut it, the  fans end up the winners.

The players can receive awards for funniest tweet, best #tbt and best video. There’s even an award dedicated to the best “social rookie”.

Whereas other sports leagues like MLB have used fan voting in different ways, many successfully, the NBA created something special just for social media.

Not only do they embrace the new way of communicating and marketing, they own it. Constantly staying fresh and innovating their digital image makes for really impressive stuff.

These awards are important to build the NBA’s brand, and help steer it through the rocky times it has endured lately. That’s the thing with social media: if you do it right, then you’re able to overcome many off-the-court issues.

What the NBA understands and what their social awards demonstrates, is you have to engage your audience, even when the season isn’t on. Every brand has a “dark” period but that doesn’t mean that your social activity should wane.

Unfortunately for NBA fans, it looks like Kevin Durant might still go home empty handed.

Twitter Lets Users Hit the Mute Button

By Mark Evans - June 18th, 2014

Twitter-Mute-ButtonEver wish you could just tune out certain users on Twitter without deleting them? Or maybe you’re tired of hearing about the Kim and Kanye wedding?

Well, Twitter has unveiled a feature just for you.

The new mute button will let you erect a wall around a user or topic who just doesn’t interest you. You can still follow someone even if you mute them, but this is clearly a distinct step in Twitter’s evolution.

Muting a user means none of their tweets will be visible to you, but they can still see your activity.

Having an option to mute and not unfollow will keep Twitter etiquette intact. It seems Twitter has found a happy medium.

By not unfollowing everyone who posts items you find uninteresting, you won’t have to worry about the reciprocated unfollow back.

This is just in time for the upcoming FIFA World Cup, which will dominate feeds for the entire month. If you’re not a football/soccer fan, you’ll now be able to easily miss all the chatter on Twitter.

For brands, there could be some reason to be concerned, but this is a wake up call to make sure your content is relevant, compelling and not overwhelming.

These are important points we all must be remember from time to time. Now, all brands need to be cognizant that they can easily be muted. Good news for their audience numbers but never good to have your message fall on deaf ears.

Content is king and this is just another reason why this adage is not going away. Every digital marketer must create and curate content that will make your users not want to tune you out.

Social media is a struggle to stay relevant and embrace two-way communication. The fact your audience has a new tool to escape the conversation needs to be taken seriously.

The quest for content just got more challenging.

The Customer Intimacy Imperative: What You Need to Know

By Sheldon Levine - June 16th, 2014

Social And The Customer Intimacy Imperative

We’ve been counting down the days until our big San Francisco event, Social and the Customer Intimacy Imperative. Taking place tomorrow, June 17th, at The Battery, we are looking forward to hearing the industry’s game-changers and noise-makers discuss the future of social media. And we invite you all to follow the conversation! @Sysomos will live tweet the event using the hashtag #SysomosCII.

Throughout the event we will hear visionary social leaders talk about big data, predictive analytics, and customer experiences through interactive Q&A sessions, presentations, and a keynote address.

We can’t wait to kick things off with Rob Bailey, CEO of Datasift. He will be sharing his thoughts on combining social data with business data.

Also be sure to tune in for exclusive insights from Chuck Hemann, executive director of GolinHarris, Zachary Hofer-Shall, senior manager of the Twitter Ecosystem, and Mason Nelder, director of social and digital strategy for Verizon. They will be speaking about how to harness data for the insights that drive better customer experiences.

Wrapping things up is our keynote speaker, Peter Shankman, founder of The Geek Factory Inc. You may have seen our Q&A with Peter posted on our blog last week, and we are excited to hear what he has to add tomorrow on “Nailing Customer Loyalty in an Age of Social, Mobile and the ADHD Consumer.”

Social and the Customer Intimacy Imperative will shine a light on the information, thoughts and opinions shaping the world of social media by bringing together the latest thinking in the world of social. Don’t miss out on joining the conversation in this rare opportunity. Be sure to chime in with your opinions and questions throughout the event.

Have a question for one of our speakers? Tweet at them using the hashtag #SysomosCII. All of their Twitter handles can be found below: