Archives for the month of: January, 2013

Tickr screenshot004

Over the last year, you told us what kinds of features you wanted us to add to Tickr and we listened. The result is Tickr Command Center, our most complete monitoring solution to date. It’s already being well received, but we want to shake things up a little. Instead of just inviting you to kick the tires in a standard beta-test, we want you to take Tickr Command Center around the track and drive it as hard as you want for a few weeks. What better way to do that that than to launch a little contest?

The rules are simple: You sign up, we grant you access to Command Center for a little while, and you submit a cool little case study or a summary of how you used it before March 15, 2013. Whoever comes up with the most original or interesting use of Command Center will win a year’s free access to Command Center.

The three categories of entries are:

    • For-profit
    • Non-profit
    • Journalism

Some examples:

For-profit:

- If you are a brand: How you integrated Command Center into your digital monitoring practice. How Command Center helped you improve customer service/tech support. How Command Center helped you generate more qualified leads. How Command Center helped you identify areas where your brand was receiving negative reviews, areas where your brand was receiving positive reviews, and how you solved the problem. How Command Center helped you with market research or business development. If you can throw in an ROI piece with real numbers, great. If you can’t, that’s okay too.

- If you are an agency: How Command Center helped you monitor a product launch or campaign. How Command Center helped you monitor reactions to an ad or event.

- If you are a PR firm: How Command Center helped you avoid or manage a potential PR crisis.

Non-profit: How Command Center helped you do research on a topic that is relevant to your cause/project. How Command Center helped you monitor conversations about key topics, then engage people directly about them. How Command Center helped you track and map the effectiveness of a campaign, message or hashtag across multiple channels.

Journalism: How Command Center helped you with research on a story or topic. How Command Center helped you monitor, track and map certain types of events or topics (natural disasters, elections, crime, acts of terrorism, political news, etc.).  How Command Center worked as a research tool AND and alert tool alongside Google, the AP wire, and whatever other tools and platforms you use.

You can copy those or come up with your own. It’s totally up to you. It doesn’t matter if you are a journalism student or a senior editor at a major publication, if your non-profit is a local after school program or a global charity, if your company is a small specialty retailer or a century-old brand. Agencies and PR firms of all sizes are welcome as well. The more the merrier, and the more diverse the entries the better. Let’s make this interesting.

Who can participate?

Anyone 18 or older (except where prohibited). See rules for details.

When does the contest start and end?

The contest opens January 22, 2013 at 9:00:00 a.m. US Eastern Standard Time (EST) and ends March 15, 2013 at 11:59:59 PM Pacific Standard Time (PST)..  How long and thorough you make your summary or case study is entirely up to you. Make videos, take pictures, create presentations, or just fill in the blanks in the form we’ll send you. You’re totally in charge of this thing.

What can I win?

Winners will enjoy one full year’s free use of Tickr Command Centerserious bragging rights, and maybe a few extra goodies. (More on that later.)

How does this contest work?

The short version:

  1. Sign up.
  2. Receive free access to Tickr’s brand new Command Center monitoring suite. (We’ll also send you the rules, some tips, and a registration form.)
  3. Use Command Center.
  4. Submit a summary or case study before March 16, 2013.

Go here and sign up. It only takes a few seconds.

You can also address questions to us via our Facebook account or our Twitter account, and if you have no idea what Tickr or Command Center are, you might want to watch this quick one-minute demo.

We can’t wait to see how you will use Command Center to make your world work better!

Feel free to share this with all your friends.

Cheers,

The Tickr Team

 Tickrnew001

speech

What’s on our minds today? This:

“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michaelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”

“No work is insignificant. All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.”

“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”

“All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality.”

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?”

All from Martin Luther King Jr.

He would have been 84 years old this year.

 

Tickrnew001

At long last, we can finally unveil our new baby: Command Center. We’re super excited to finally be able to share this with you.

What can you expect? More power, more data and more screens, for starters. More search and monitoring customization too. Command Center basically takes Tickr and gives it… well, superpowers.

You know what though? We’ll get down into details of how to use it next week (we’ll also be launching a contest that will let you use Command Center to help you tell your story to the world). Right now, check out our revamped website and this quick one-minute demo of Command center‘s key features, how it works, and what it can do for you. (Click here or on the image below.)

Tickrnew004

See? Digital monitoring and social business intelligence just got 100x simpler, slicker, and more powerful. (You’re welcome.)

Cheers,

The Tickr team

Also feel free to join our growing digital community on Facebook and on Twitter and tell us what you think. (We won’t spam you. We promise.)

Here’s a quick tour of where things stand with key social media platforms today. Hat tip to HuffPo and iStrategyLabs for putting this together:

 What jumped out at us:

23% of Facebook users check their accounts 5x or more per day. That isn’t far from how often the average person accesses an email account every day, and most likely a lot more time than anyone spends on your company website. Give that some thought.

Also, 80% of users prefer to interact with brands on Facebook (than on other social channels). The value they get out of that interaction is 100% up to you though, so make it worth their while. (Most brands don’t make it worth anyone’s while. Work harder at this.) 77% of B2C companies and 43% of B2B companies report having acquired customers from Facebook. [source]

By the way, 488 million users regularly use Facebook mobile. (See our previous posts that touch on mobile statistics.)

34% of companies have generated leads from Twitter. Or should we say “only” 34%? It should be 100%. (See our previous two posts. They touch on that and explain how to turn that around.) The magic word: monitor.

Bear in mind that about 0.05% of the total Twitter user population attracts almost 50% of attention on the channel. Without getting into discussions about the validity of “influencer scoring,” (Klout, Kred, etc.) understand that not all Twitter users are created equal. Some will amplify your reach while others will not. Seek to understand this process better. Test and map it if you can.

This also means that if you fail to understand how Twitter works, your content will go nowhere. 71% of the millions of tweets each day attract no reaction whatsoever. They may be seen, you may be able to estimate total “impressions,” but your audience’s reaction will be zero. Keep that in mind when designing content and evaluating its impact on your audience. (Content relevance/value matters.) Impressions are not behavior. There’s a missing link there that you need to provide.

Conversely, 56% of tweets from customers are still being ignored by companies. (Also see our two previous posts.) If every company had a mature social business program, that number would be zero. In the business, the technical term for this kind of insight is called an “opportunity.” Better get on that. (It’s so easy to fix that too. All you need is a decent monitoring tool. Ahem.)

635,000 people join Google+ every day. (Wow! That’s a lot. Really?) Look, even if Google+ is still a little odd and you don’t understand its value or purpose, start using it anyway. If anything, it’s a great platform for seamless collaboration between project teams inside your own organization. As Google+ continues to grow and evolve, you will grow and evolve with it.

Active users spend upwards of 60 minutes per day across Google products. (That’s email, Google search, G+, etc.) Compare that to the average 15-20 minutes per day spent on Facebook. We expect that the value of Google+ becomes clearer, usage will increase.

The average Instagram user spends more time there than on Twitter. And you may not know this, but Instagram is searchable. (Check out how Tickr incorporates Instagram images into its monitoring dashboard.) Here’s a screenshot if the link doesn’t work:

If there is one thing you should know about Pinterest, let it be this: Pinterest is social sharing on steroids. 80% of the content posted to Pinterest boards is repinned (like a share on Facebook or a retweet on Twitter). What this means: Pinterest is a strong vehicle for a) social discovery (from recommendations) and b) product bookmarking. Take a step back and consider opportunities for your business. If you’re a retailer of any kind, Pinterest should be on your radar. (You can post your products there, with back-links to an e-commerce site, for instance.) Same thing if you’re a hotel or a restaurant operator. Car manufacturers? Same deal. From summer camps to gyms and from cruise lines to media outlets, Pinterest might not be a bad investment. Create visual content that you can seed Pinterest with.

Remember: Social Discovery and (aspirational) product bookmarking. Bonus: 50% of Pinterest users have children,and 80% of these users are women. If you know your key target demos already, that’s pretty relevant information.

 So the moral of this post is that there’s still a ton of room for improvement in your social business program. No matter if you are a small little startup or a giant global brand, not only could you be doing better with social, but with a few small (and smart) changes, you might be able to see BIG results fairly quickly.

Our piece of that pie obviously deals with monitoring and listening. Just by combining the right focus and the right tools, you can increase lead generation virtually overnight. You can improve customer service (and consequently improve customer retention, loyalty and recommendations) in a very short timeframe as well, and perhaps even turn your social customer service practice into an overall cost savings project (it won’t be the first time). By being aware of where people spend their time, what they do there and how long they spend on these platforms each day, you can also improve brand awareness, product discovery, product recall, and even positively influence purchase intent (that whole product bookmarking thing is pretty effective).

So don’t get stuck on that whole “content is king” thing. It has value, but it turns out to be a small piece of a much bigger social business puzzle. Start focusing on the other pieces. The ones that actually create value, drive business, and boost loyalty. (Ironically, they may be cheaper than content creation.) Properly monitoring channels for threats, opportunities, reactions and consumer queries would be a great place to start.

Cheers,

The Tickr team.

As always, feel free to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter (we promise never to spam you with junk), and of course try the free version of Tickr. You can always upgrade to Pro or Enterprise later, but only if you want to.)

If we spend a lot of time talking about the need to use social media for market research, it’s because a lot of what we do revolves around that. Like most monitoring tools, Tickr is a pretty handy companion to Google when it comes to studying keyword  trends, digging up brand mentions, capturing consumer insights, and so on. You’ve seen our multi-channel dashboard. It’s simple. Today, let’s look at some numbers relating to businesses incorporating social media into their market research, courtesy of Social Media Examiner and Mediabistro.

First things first: Remember how in our last post, the study we shared with you suggested that increasing brand exposure and increasing traffic to a website were among the top goals of social media programs? We run into the same theme here, with 85% and 69% of respondents identifying them as the top two most valuable benefits of social media. Marketplace insights came in at number three (65%). We were also pretty excited to see lead generation and developing loyalty rounding out the top five.

Unfortunately, the report also tells us that almost half of B2C companies still don’t use social media for marketplace intelligence. (59% for B2C and 68% for B2B.) That’s shocking. Remember what we said in our last post about too many companies still chasing the wrong goals and not understanding how social fits into their business model? We see that reflected clearly in these two numbers.

The rest of the infographic isn’t super helpful, unfortunately, so let’s talk about some of the types of market intelligence a monitoring tool can help you with:

1. Tracking keywords (including hashtags) can help you track a campaign’s reach, stickiness and demos across demos, channels and regions. The same principle works for product releases, press releases, event awareness, etc.

2. Monitoring changes in sentiment and changes in the use and frequency of specific keyword combinations can help you graph consumer perceptions of a brand or product.

3.  Looking for sudden spike in mentions of your brand or product could signal a looming PR crisis. Use monitoring software as an early warning system.

4. Monitoring for mentions of your brand or products will alert you to customer service opportunities in real time. Airlines, cable providers, hotels and retailers are already using channels like Twitter and Facebook to respond to customer service issues in real time. Benefit: Reduces customer erosion, increases customer loyalty, increases the chances of positive WOM, positive PR, cost efficient alternative to call centers.

 5. Monitoring for mentions of your brand and key product categories will alert you to consumers considering a purchase. Weigh in and you could tip the scales in your favor.

6. Add a geolocation feature to your monitoring tools, and you will be able to map all of the above. What does that mean? More localized targeting of campaigns, responses and community engagement, for starters. You can see if a PR problem is limited to certain geographical area, connect a potential customer to the sales team closest to them, or identify areas of the country (or the world) where your latest campaign isn’t hitting the right notes.

(Above: You aren’t dreaming. That image is a sneak peek at one of the new screens available in Tickr‘s soon-to-be-released Command Center suite. And yes, we’re bringing map functionality to you guys this year. That’s all we can say for now, but… you spoke, we listened, and… you’re welcome.)

Anyway, knowing what we know, the fact that 59% of B2C companies report not using social media for marketplace intelligence really bothers us. We get the content publishing piece, but… all that talking without really listening? That’s an ocean of opportunities not even being tapped, right there. Given that real-time intelligence has a direct impact on marketing reach, net new sales, brand perception, customer loyalty and a slew of other business-relevant points of focus, we want to help change that this year. If we accomplish one thing, let it be that.

We’ll be back soon with more.

Cheers,

The Tickr team

PS: As always, we invite you to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and of course try Tickr (it only takes a few seconds to create an account).

How Organizations Structure Social Media Teams

Infographic by- GO-Gulf.com

Last week, we came across Go-Gulf’s social media team infographic (above) and found some of the numbers on it pretty interesting. (The infographic was based on a 2012 survey of more than 2,700 social media professionals conducted by Ragan/NASDAQ OMX Corporate Solutions.) Here is what jumped out at us:

1. 27% of companies surveyed still have dedicated social media teams, vs. 65% of companies having evolved towards functional social media integration.

2. In spite of the fact that 65% of companies surveyed assign social media responsibilities to employees with other duties, a whopping 82% of these companies report that less than only 1-3 people in their organization are involved with social media.

3. Only 22% of the companies surveyed are planning on hiring for social media related roles in 2013, and 25% are relying in some part on interns to manage some aspect of their social media programs.

4. Only 3% of the companies surveyed answered that a business background was a most sought-after quality in their social media hires.

5. 47% of companies consider that 1-3 years of social media experience is all their hires need.

6. The top three types of degrees most valued for social media roles were communications, PR and marketing.

7. Not surprisingly, the departments most likely to be involved with social media are Marketing, PR and corporate communications.

8. How is success measured? 86% of these organizations use likes and followers as their principal success metrics, followed by web traffic (74%) and deltas in reputation/brand sentiment (58%). Only 40% mentioned lead generation and 31% sales.

9. When asked what social media campaigns should be driving, the responses overwhelmingly pointed to increasing brand awareness (87%), followed by increasing web traffic (62%) and improving reputation (61%). Increasing sales and generating leads hovered between 40 and 45%. Improving customer service was in 6th place at 38%.

10. Almost half of the companies involved in the survey post content on social channels less than once per day.

11. When asked about major roadblocks in social media campaign measurement, 65% pointed to lack of time, 63% on inadequate manpower, 41% on lack of funding, and 39% admitted that it was not a priority. 39% also admitted that they were unsure of what tools they should use, and 23% thought that the task was “overwhelming.”

12. Only 5% of companies surveyed are highly satisfied with their social media programs. Almost 70% of companies were either somewhat satisfied or dissatisfied with their programs.

What does this tell us?

1. The goals are still wrong.

For starters, brand awareness should probably not be the primary objective of a social media campaign or program. Second, increasing sales should not occupy the 5th place. If half of companies still are not connecting the dots between social media activity and sales, there is a fundamental problem with how social media is being used by the average business. Speaking of that, if only 38% of companies are using social media to improve customer service, we still have a long road ahead. Note that market research and consumer insights did not even come up as an answer.

Tip: Focusing on the wrong goals leads to generating the wrong results.

2. There is a disconnect between what companies claim to be focusing on and what they are actually measuring.

87% of companies surveyed state that their focus is brand awareness, but the principal units of measure for it, according to this survey, are likes and followers. (Note: net changes in mentions might be a better indicator of brand awareness.) So basically, they are measuring the wrong things. That’s not good.

While 61% of companies claim to be focused on improving reputation, only 58% of them actually measure it. A similar gap exists between the 40% of companies listing increasing sales as an objective versus only 31% measuring social media’s impact on sales. This is puzzling. Why are so many companies not measuring key performance indicators?

The survey aims to answer that question, but here we run into a strange set of answers:

Not enough time: 65%

Not enough people: 63%

Not enough money: 41%

Not a priority: 39%

Unsure of what tools to use: 39%

Too hard: 23%

Let’s address those excuses one at a time:

Not enough time/not enough people comes from the fact that 82% of companies only have 1-3 employees touching social media campaigns. Only 9% have 6+ employees involved with their social media programs. (Note that 78% of these companies have no plans to hire more social media staff in 2013.) Solution: either start deploying more social media responsibilities across the rest of your organization or get help. Either hire someone or partner with an agency to fill the gaps as needed.

Not enough money should have nothing to do with an organization’s ability to measure basic KPIs. That 41% of companies checked that box is pretty puzzling.

Not a priority came in at 39%. That’s just shameful. Measuring KPIs is part of the job. It should be a priority for 100% of social media professionals.

To understand the unsure of what tools to use/too hard excuse, we have to look at the background and experience of the average social media professional touched by this survey. First, the majority of these companies preferred social media professionals with only 1-3 years of experience to those with 3-5 or more. Inexplicably, only 3% of respondents identified a business background as a sought-after quality in a social media professional’s background.

Tip: if 97% of your social media professionals don’t have business backgrounds, how do you expect them to understand business measurement?

Not to sound harsh, but when 39% of social media “professionals” either don’t see KPI measurement as a priority or don’t know what tools to use to measure the success of their campaigns, then 39% of social media professionals don’t have the basic qualifications to even be social media professionals. Either train them or replace them.

3. Only 5% of businesses are happy with their social media programs. Let’s fix that.

No kidding. Let’s consider why:

- Let’s start with 39% of social media professionals not really knowing how to show the value of their own social media programs and campaigns to their bosses (or not thinking of it as a priority). Fix: hire competent professionals.

- Speaking of hiring competent people, if your team consists only of communications, marketing and PR professionals, it is incomplete. Your social media team (dedicated or not) must also include customer service professionals, product managers, business analysts, and salespeople. Tip: the reason you aren’t selling anything is probably because no one from sales is even looking at your social media program. Fix: Change that.

Once you start focusing less on marketing and more on customer service, you will see an immediate change in engagement. Expect a positive change in online sentiment inside of a week as well. You will also see a boost in mentions and recommendations. (Measure all of that.)

Also, once you start monitoring keywords and mentions (your brand, your products, product categories, mentions of behaviors associated with purchases of your products, campaign hashtag mentions, etc.) social media channels will become three things for you: a) lead generation engines, b) customer retention engines, and c) market research engines. So take the time to test monitoring tools. Use them side by side. (Build mini digital monitoring centers). Listen with purpose and we promise that the the value of your social media program will no longer be a question mark for the people you answer to.

- Now let’s talk about goals. Does anyone really think that brand awareness is more important to a business than sales? Of course not. If you don’t agree, here’s something to chew on: what does brand awareness ultimately drive? (Answer: sales.)

Fix: forget what social media gurus have been selling you in their e-books. Social media campaigns’ goals should be aligned with your organization’s goals. What this means: If your company’s goal for 2013 is to increase sales by 11% YoY, then the primary goal of your social media program/campaign should be to help drive that 11% increase. That will be its macro objective for the year. Now let’s look at the series of micro objectives that feed into that:

    1. Net new customer acquisition
    2. Increasing customer loyalty/retention
    3. Focus on customer development
      • increase buy rate / frequency of transactions
      • increase yield (average value of transactions)

Everything that your social media team does should focus on these three areas. The awareness, word-of-mouth, engagement, likes, followers, mentions and visits are among the many vehicles your organization should use to drive these specific outcomes. Think about how to build new value for your customers. Think about how to create better customer experiences. Think about how social media channels, activity and tools will help you become a smarter business, a better business, a more useful business, a more pleasant business.

Tip: Pair a customer service representative with a digital marketing person and let them work side-by side with a handful of monitoring tools for two weeks. Do the same thing with a salesperson and your PR/crisis management person. Then bring both 2-person teams together and turn it into a 4-person team. (They don’t have to be literally side-by-side, but it helps if you can work it that way.) The value of that type of cross-functional collaboration will become evident when your social media activity begins to drive the above objectives.

 Okay, that’s it for today. We hope what we covered here will help many of you improve your social media program’s results. (Let’s get that highly satisfied stat up from that lousy 5% by January 2014, okay?) We’ll keep bringing you tips and insights, so check back with us often. (We’re also on Twitter and on Facebook, so subscribe to our no-spam feeds there.) And if you haven’t added Tickr to your digital monitoring toolkit yet, just click here and kick the tires a bit. We’re pretty sure you’ll like it.

Cheers,

The Tickr team.