Archives for posts with tag: marketing

With 13 million views in one week on YouTube, kmart’s “Ship my Pants” catchphrase caught on fast.  It was a successful experiment in social listening, allowing the kmart marketing team to see wether or not they were on to something before moving to more traditional channels like print and television.

With a dedicated in-house, data-driven, social media team, they closely monitored reaction to the spot…You put things online, you get reaction, you get real-time feedback and data, and then you can make the decision on how big and bright you want to go with it.

Due to the campaigns success, kmart has plans to use similar tactics with their back-to-school campaign.  Read more: http://www.fastcocreate.com/1682826/how-kmart-used-social-listening-and-some-nerve-to-create-a-ship-my-pants-funny-viral-hitkmart

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Ever wondered what people actually do on their smart phones other than talking, texting and accessing email? A study by BBDO and AOL just published in the Harvard Business Review’s January-February 2013 issue gives us a glimpse into that. The main lines:

46% of non-phone/text/email time was devoted to consuming non-news-related content. In contrast, only 19% was spent directly interacting with other people (presumably on social networks).

The share of time devoted to seeking information on a product or active shopping was only 12% (126 minutes per month on average). but note that light (or passive) discovery, which is the process of receiving recommendations from peers and being exposed to marketing content or word-of-mouth content occurs mostly in the 65% of non-phone/text/email time during which smart phone users are passively interacting with both content and their network, and during the phone/text/email time not included in this particular infographic.

What does that tell us?

1. Don’t let the 12% fool you. In the context of an infographic like this, it’s easy to forget that the act of shopping is merely the culmination of a process of discovery, desire and validation which ultimately ends in a transaction. If smart phones users only spent 6% of their time actively shopping wouldn’t suggest that they are buying less products. It might only mean that the mobile transaction and checkout process is more efficient. So don’t sweat the fact that shopping is dwarfed by “me time” and socializing.

2. Whatever smartphone users do the most indicates where mobile attention-share is. If you have a marketing message to share, adapt it to mobile users’ behaviors. (In other words, just be where they are.) If your ideal customers spend 46% of their time consuming cat videos and gossip columns, it may not be a bad idea to either shift some of your advertising dollars there or create/sponsor/share/syndicate that kind of content.

3. If the second most important block of time consumers spend on their smart phones is dedicated to socializing (on social media platforms), it isn’t a bad idea to run passive searches on certain keywords that are relevant to your business and/or industry. (Brand names, product names, product categories, etc.) How many people are talking about you and your products? How many people are talking about your competitors? How many people are looking to purchase a type of product that you sell in the next few hours? In the next few days? In the next few weeks? If you haven’t yet established this basic level of monitoring, you are handing over a significant portion of your sales to those competitors who are actively looking for opportunities to create connections with consumers via mobile channels and converting those connections into sales.

Note that the study metered the average “socializing” time block at 410 minutes per month, which at 13-14 minutes per day, only accounts for a portion of the time consumers spend interacting with others on social channels using all of their devices.  For reference, recent studies (like this one) put active Facebook usage in the US at about 26 minutes per day (8 hours per month). That doesn’t include time also spent interacting with other people via Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Quora and other platforms.

4. If you are a B2C business and you are not making it as easy as possible for consumers to discover your business through social channels and “me time” content channels, your marketing/business development strategy is not 2013-relevant.

5. If you are a B2C business and you are not making it as easy as possible for consumers to do business with you on their mobile devices, you are going to lose business. Hotels, airlines, restaurants, car rentals, retail, and so on. Your mobile commerce platform must be slick, intuitive, pain-free, and fast. We can’t really help you with that, but we can help you with the monitoring part (number 3).

Cheers,

The Tickr team

PS: 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.)

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Filed under: and now, for something completely different… Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be an in-depth analysis of so-called case studies involving digital influencers, awareness campaigns and free swag. Just a few straightforward observations (maybe even insights) about this little-spoken-of confluence of fashion design and digital navel-gazing that the cynics among us might point out could very well be a sort of marriage made in heaven. While that’s neither here nor there, here’s what we got out of that information:

1. Leverage events.

Events like New York Fashion Week (and design houses participating in them) are now leveraging social media to increase their reach and penetrate markets. Case in point: Marc Jacobs gained over 5,000 new Twitter followers in one week by leveraging its digital presence during the fall event. Michael Kors gained an impressive 15,000 in the same time frame. Victoria Beckham (while not in Paris watching DB play for PSG) managed to gain 53,000 followers that week.

If your industry has big events, use them. It doesn’t matter if it’s CES, the Oscars or the Detroit auto show. Starting today, your business is going to have a digital/social media plan in place before you attend your industry events. Not taking advantage of this magnet for media coverage and attention borders on negligent.

2. Rethink the world of the catalog.

Badgley Mischka & Bergdorf Goodman, understanding the potential power of Pinterest (think demographics and layouts) previewed their new collection exclusively on the platform. The result: almost 40,000 net new followers for their Pinterest account, after posting only 42 items. Cost of printing: zero. Cost of mailing: zero. Cool factor: high. Virality quotient: high.

Well played.

3. Context is king.

Sometimes, a product is just a product. But anything that speaks to both an appreciation for original design and its owner/user’s sense of cultural identity is bound to be incorporated into someone’s photo feed. Enter Instagram. Whether you think the whole thing is an orgy of vanity or a cute little phase humanity is going through right now doesn’t matter. Fact is that people like to take pictures of themselves and of their stuff and post those pictures on Facebook and Instagram and wherever else they can. Some companies approach this with suspicion if not apprehension. Others embrace it completely. The fashion industry finds itself in a very unique position in regards to this whole cultural phenomenon because its entire existence is predicated upon people wanting to look good and be socially desirable. In other words, if Pinterest is a natural extension of the catalog, Instagram and Facebook are the natural extensions of people’s own private catwalks and red carpets. Some numbers:

Over 650,000 people follow Burberry’s Instagram account. 500,000 people follow Marc Jacobs’ Instagram account. Gucci: 350,000. Kate Spade: 300,000. And so on. You get the idea. And don’t cringe (especially you serious photographers out there) but 73 Instagram photos from New York Fashion Week were accepted into Getty Images’ library. Yes… times, they’re a-changin’. It isn’t a bad thing either: empowering people to share your products in a way that gives them both approval and context creates a free engine of discovery and recommendation. You want net new customers? You want to get people to covet your products and get off the fence about buying them? Well there you go.

4. Understand your key channels.

Sure, most of the channels you want to focus on are no-brainers: Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Pinterest, Instagram, and so on. But there might be some niche channels you need to leverage as well. For the fashion world right now, one of them seems to be Pose. The platform a) uses a user co-creation model to curate collections of “looks” that users can browse and b) integrates a shopping into the experience.

What’s the big deal? 1,000,000 users and 120 million images viewed per month.  How many people are opening your emails or taking time out of their day to come by your website?

Plant seeds in all the smart places. Not just where everyone else is planting theirs either. Plant them also in places where people come specifically to find the kind of stuff you want to sell.

5. Use infographics no matter what your industry is.

No need to go into lengthy explanations about this one. We would have probably never even heard of Pose had it not been for that infographic.

Lesson: It doesn’t matter if your business only sells peanut-shucking machines to the tabby aristocracy in the Democratic Republic of Catistan (yes, it’s… a real place): use infographics to help potential customers discover your company and your products.

6. Use hashtags.

One of several common denominator in all of those wins: the use of specific hashtags. Now, wait a minute… we know what you;re going to say: hashtags aren’t necessary or cool anymore. Well, half of that is just nonsense. While it’s true that they aren’t necessary for monitoring purposes, they are nonetheless helpful. Here are three reasons why: Identity, virality and measurement.

Identity: they provide context for social content. Virality: they’re social objects that invite participation and sharing. Measurement: necessary or not, they do make monitoring, measurement and reporting a little easier for your digital team. Using the attached infographic as an example, imagine how much of a pain it would be to effectively track every mention of New York Fashion Week without the #NYFW tag. By creating official hashtags, you help bring clarity and order to what might otherwise be an incoherent mess of social mentions.

7. Monitor digital channels for key activity.

Monitor and measure mentions, followers, comments, shares. Do this qualitatively and quantitatively. Measure that against visits to your websites, visits to your stores, impact on sales volume, brand awareness and brand sentiment. Use the proper tools. Use the proper methodology.  Treat this stuff like the job it is and not an afterthought. Treat social channels as the product discovery channels they are and strive to understand the mechanisms by which your social content and activity ultimately drives sales. It isn’t that hard, but it’s work and when you treat it like work, it pays off. Big time.

We hope that gave you some cool ideas to work on. And if our Command Center app can help, all the better. Big thanks to ebay deals  and Mashable for the infographic.

Cheers,

The Tickr team

PS: 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.)

If you have been reading our blog these past few months, you have probably noticed that we spend a lot of time talking about digital mission control centers. Given that our product generally ends up being used in a digital mission control center setting and that most of our clients are engaged in some phase of either developing or expanding a digital mission control center, we are in a unique position to observe, discuss and provide insights on the inevitable adoption of digital mission control center by every agency and brand in the world inside of the next three years. This trend may have been accelerated by a single event which took place during the 2013 Superbowl.

A quick recap: Superbowl Sunday. The Baltimore Ravens are leading the San Francisco 49ers 28-6 with only 13:22 left in the third quarter. Suddenly,the NOLA Superdome experiences a power outage. Moments later, Oreo tweets this ad with the caption “Power out? No problem.”

Clever, right? Yeah, we thought so too.

The result:

Oreo tweets

The biggest boost in mentions and follows for any brand at the Superbowl. Compare that to any other Superbowl advertiser.

The same image received over 20,000 likes on Facebook, and the marketing, digital and advertising worlds were abuzz with Oreo and 360i’s marketing clever little guerrilla coup during the Superbowl.

Why is Twitter relevant to this conversation? Well… Judging by our own monitoring of the Superbowl, the lion’s share of brand mentions and real-time conversations about the Superbowl happened on Twitter:

Tickr Superbowl 2

This isn’t to say that Twitter is more valuable than Facebook or that social networks are more valuable to advertisers than traditional media channels like TV and radio. This isn’t that kind of post. What we are observing is that every channel has its own unique value, and when it comes to amplifying the impact of a particular event to promote a product or brand, Twitter tends to be a high volume, high reach, high velocity channel.

Look at it another way: what Oreo managed to do in under five minutes with a few computers and an agile social content team was both more effective and considerably cheaper than most multi-million advertising spots broadcast during the game (including its own). There were virtually no production costs involved. There was no media buy involved either. (Note: the average Superbowl ad was reported to have cost around $4M this year.)

Will this ultimately turn into more sales for Oreo and Kraft? Maybe. Maybe not. Only time will tell. You could ask the same question of any of Superbowl Sunday’s ads and the answer right now would be the same: we don’t know yet. All we know is that the impact of this one little piece of real-time marketing was a measurable win in terms of reach, in terms of social sharing, in terms of generating positive product and brand sentiment, in terms of positive brand engagement, and, last but not least, in terms of its overall cost. If anything, that’s a very good start.

So how did Oreo and 360i pull this off? Well, Buzzfeed’s Rachel Sanders has a quick recap of how this little win came to be:

“We had a mission control set up at our office with the brand and 360i, and when the blackout happened, the team looked at it as an opportunity,” agency president Sarah Hofstetter told BuzzFeed. “Because the brand team was there, it was easy to get approvals and get it up in minutes.”

Wait… 360i had a what where? A “mission control center?” Set up at the office? You don’t say.

This is the part where we sit back in our awesome 100% recyclable ergonomic chairs, cross our spectacularly muscular arms, and smirk at you without actually saying “we told you so.”

Bonus: digital mission control centers don’t have to cost anywhere near $4M either.

To be fair, there is a lot more that went into this win than a mission control center: a leadership team brave enough to give its digital, brand and agency teams the go-ahead to build a clever social engagement campaign (remember Oreo’s “Daily Twist”), the right digital team to execute on that plan, the right collaboration processes, the right resources, the right tools, and the right environment. You need it all. But it is no accident that the first thing that came up in the Buzzfeed interview was the mission control piece of the puzzle. Having one has become a tactical imperative. It’s as simple as that.

Our guess is that every brand and agency who had a “we wish we had thought of that” moment on Monday morning is now looking into finally building something similar to what 360i and other forward-thinking agencies already had in place for the big game. This is how digital marketing is done now.

Every evolutionary leap needs a catalyst. We all just witnessed one. Cool, huh?

Other screen shots from our Command Center‘s Superbowl monitoring adventures:

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Tickr Superbowl 7

If you are new to this topic, we invite you to do a quick search for some of the articles we have already posted here on the topic of digital mission control centers (how they work, why they matter, how to integrate them into your business, how to use them to track campaigns and/or PR crises, etc.) and of course find out why most of them already incorporate Tickr. You’ll want to use other tools as well, by the way. We’re only one small piece of the puzzle.

(If you aren’t familiar with our new Command Center edition, here is a 1 minute video that touches on the basics.)

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Also, be sure to enter our Command Center beta/contest:

The categories: non-profit, journalism, and for-profit.

The way it works is simple: 1) Sign up. 2) Enjoy free access to Command Center. 3) Submit a case study (or summary) of how Command Center helped you with a project. That’s it. We even have prizes and everything! The sooner you register, the better. (Sign up here.)

Cheers,

The Tickr Team

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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

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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.)

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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.)

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.

Don’t get any ideas. We don’t actually have a crystal ball in the office. Well… there’s the magic eight-ball and it’s never been wrong, but a crystal ball, no. Not yet at least. But as we have begun to find out, combining a few pairs of eyes, a little curiosity and some solid monitoring software is kind of the next best thing. Over the last few months, we have been looking at technology, culture and business trends to see what business wanted, what consumers wanted, where technology was and who was working on what, and we have come up with a few predictions for where things seem to be headed in the world of digital over the course of the next twelve months. Here are five that we feel pretty strongly about:

1. Mobile gets even bigger.

The trend has been pointing to an increasing shift from desktop internet access to mobile internet access for years now. This will not change in 2013. A few bits of relevant data:

A year ago, ebay bet big on mobile. The result: Roughly $10B in mobile revenue in 2012 (more than double what it was in 2011). That’s a purchase every 2 seconds. The company plans to continue to create mobile-specific transaction vehicles and content to make it even easier for sellers and buyers to use mobile devices. Mobile now also drives 22% of QVC’s digital sales. If you are not continuously working on making it easier for your customers to transact with you (or each other) via mobile devices, you need to. (Even if you are a small brick & mortar retailer, take a serious look at the possibility of enabling mobile checkouts.)

Of all searches on the web, roughly 30% now come from mobile devices. According to a BIA/Kelsey report, mobile searches will continue to catch up to desktop searches, generating 27.8 billion more queries by 2016. Even now (still at about 30%), this trend is especially important for brick & mortar businesses as the majority of mobile searches are local. Restaurants, bakeries, hardware stores, florists and other specialty retailers, take note.

Mobile paths to purchase are hot. A 2012 study by Telmetrics and mobile ad network xAd suggests that roughly 50% of mobile search queries in travel, restaurants and automotive verticals result in some kind of transaction. The number is highest for restaurants (85%), followed by automotive (51%), with travel lagging in third but at a no less impressive 46%. As stated earlier, the study also notes that local searches tend to have higher conversion rates.

If your digital strategy is not yet focused on mobile, time to change that.

Bonus: you can find pretty much every relevant 2012 mobile statistic here.

2. Apps take a bite out of the “old” web.

As tablets and other mobile devices are increasingly becoming our web interfaces of choice, apps are redefining how we think of digital access and web experiences. The “web” is quickly moving away from websites and turning to apps. While this does not signal the death of websites, businesses will have to think very seriously about how consumers are now accessing digital content, and what their expectations are in terms of digital experiences.

Some stats: There were 45.6 billion mobile app downloads made this year, nearly double the 25 billion downloads in 2011. Over six years, the progression looks like this:

2011: 24.9 billion

2012: 45.6 billion

2013: 81.4 billion

2014: 131.7 billion

2015: 205.3 billion

2016: 309.6 billion

Just as companies found themselves adding Facebook pages, Twitter accounts and Youtube channels to their digital footprints four years ago, apps are cementing themselves as the new digital interaction frontier. Successful brands will continue to create a variety of digital experiences based on the types of interfaces their customers (and potential customers) use, and apps will become the increasingly crucial gateways between them and their markets.

3. Social media continues to be a mess of confusion for businesses, but… insights.

Confusion about how to properly use social channels to grow consumer communities, increase meaningful engagement, drive new business and increase brand loyalty will still plague organizations focused more on traffic and likes than on actually changing consumer attitudes and behaviors. Social platforms like Facebook, Google+, Instagram and Twitter will continue to struggle with their revenue models and long term value to users. Measuring success (including but not limited to ROI) will continue to mix sensible, business-focused data points and social media guru-driven nonsensical value equivalency equations and ROI calculators.

There is, however, light at the end of the tunnel: digital intelligence tool will make it easier to dig through social channels for consumer insights and paths of opportunity. By combining digital monitoring tools and a new generation of social channel-facing CRM solutions, brands with the will to derive more pertinent insights from specific consumers and their target markets at large will be able to do so faster and cheaper than ever before. Data analysts and consumer insights specialists will increasingly see their disciplines merge as their tools become more powerful.

4. Digital mission control centers to the rescue!

With an ever increasing need for real time market data and insights from Customer Support, Marketing, PR, Business Development, Sales, and other business functions, expect to see greater investments in digital infrastructure. Major brands and the agencies that serve them have already begun to build digital mission control centers that allow them to keep tabs on a variety of channels (many of them social) and track mentions of their brands and products, monitor shifts in perception (positive or negative), track the success of specific marketing and advertising campaigns, monitor consumers’ reactions to a product launch and correlate that data to sales numbers in real time, prevent (or manage) PR crises, conduct market research, and so on.

These mission control centers will vary in size and complexity, but the trend towards creating multi-screen environments for project management teams is accelerating and for good reason: the complexity of digital channels demands new solutions and a new approach to real-time information management. Don’t worry though. This new complexity is balanced by a new generation of digital monitoring, management and visualization tools that make it easier than ever for companies to manage campaigns and workflows and organize themselves around data.

(Speaking of that, we will be releasing a pretty hot new product very soon, so stay tuned. We’re pretty sure that you’re going to like it!)

5. Big brother gets pushed out by big mother.

We’ve all heard about big brother. Looking at the amount of information collected on us each day by search engines, social media platforms and even our mobile devices, it’s easy to start feeling as if our privacy is being incessantly invaded. Many consumers have already begun to push back against digital intrusion, or at the very least, distrust it. Well, the flip side of the privacy coin may just be the concept of big mother.

Unlike big brother, big mother is not interested in exploiting your data. Big Mother has your best interest in mind. Her main concern is to analyze your tastes and habits so she can better understand and predict your needs. If you are familiar with Apple’s digital assistant, think of a more focused and insights-driven Siri. So how does big mother look on the consumer side of the digital divide? For starters, she shields you from ads you don’t want to see and instead makes ads that are both time and topic-relevant visible to you. She allows you to control the degree to which you want your digital experiences to be interrupted by commercial messages. (For instance, you may want to turn off targeted ads and special offers while you are at work, but turn them on while you are out shopping.) She also allows you to be more or less open to local ads and offers where and when you want to be. Big mother is essentially an intelligent filter whose degree of initiative you can control. “It’s almost lunch time and I want to eat someplace new today” becomes a prompt for action driven by big mother’s insights about your tastes, the time of day, your spending habits and your surroundings.

On the business side of big mother, what you have is data. If you are a pizza restaurant, big mother can let you know that right this minute, 130 people who like to eat pizza twice per week are within five blocks of your location, and that 25 of them have their local notifications turned on. For a small fee, you can choose to push an ad or an offer their way through a social channel or SMS. This push notification will not come across as spam since those 25 individuals have made themselves open to them. If, like mobile search, 85% of passive prompts from a big mother-enabled device result in a transaction, an investment of a few dollars could result in significant net new revenue and potentially a whole new set of new customers.

This organic approach to real-time, predictive marketing works because consumers are in control of it. Remember “permission marketing?” This uses mobile devices to make it a reality. It also eliminates spam and scattershot targeting (which is no kind of targeting at all), cuts down on ad spend waste, increases conversions, and does it all without betraying consumer trust. Side benefits: increased potential for social discovery, more opportunities for word-of-mouth recommendations (digital and otherwise), facilitates (and relies on) mobile payments, and above all, saves consumers time. Done well, the experience itself will be fun and cool.

The idea behind big mother is to create value for both consumers and businesses. It’s to give everyone more of what they want and less of what they don’t. By combining consumer data, social data and mobile functionality, big mother is will begin to become a reality in 2013. The first company to successfully create a slick, user-friendly interface, the connective tissue that makes it work across an ecosystem of digital channels and the marketplace that makes it all possible will literally revolutionize digital marketing and mobile commerce. It may be premature to expect something like before December 31, 2013, but as the conditions are right (the technology is available and there is a real revenue model attached to it), we could very well see the first versions of a big mother app turn up sometime in 2013. We’re crossing our fingers.

There’s a lot more exciting stuff on the calendar for 2013, but we’ll leave it at that for now. Happy 2013, everyone!

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Today, we want to point you to one of this year’s top resources about the state of media (and one you should bookmark) – Nielsen’s State of Media: The Social Media Report 2012. There’s no need for us to peel back the layers and outline every piece of it, but we do want to point out a few key findings before you guys spend some quality time with the report itself.

1. Compare the amount of time spent on social media by device category: PC vs. mobile/tablet. On average, mobile web & apps win out over PC. That is pretty significant when you consider where web development, advertising dollars and marketing campaigns will go in 2013 and beyond. We have passed the tipping point: the PC is now the “old” interface. Mobile devices have overtaken the PC when it comes to digital social usage.

 2. Year over year, unique users of the mobile web has almost doubled in the US. (82% increase.) Mobile app users have also increased by 85%. PC web users, however, have gone down a bit (4%). Something about these numbers remind us of other media tipping points we’ve seen in the last few years.

To make this data relevant to you, let’s focus on a few quick questions: where are your customers? How are they accessing the web? How much time are they spending there? (How much time are they spending there compared to “traditional” media, and how will this impact where you focus your resources and budgets?) What kinds of experiences are they expecting? What are they talking about? What does this all mean to your business?

 

3. Year over year, US web users spent 120% more time accessing digital content through apps than a year ago vs. +4% via the good old PC. But wait… when you look at net numbers, the lion’s share of minutes spent accessing web content the PC still dominates: 363 billion minutes (PC) vs. 158 billion minutes on mobile web and mobile apps combined.

So here, think trends vs. volume. Be aware of the shift, but be also be aware that the good old PC-based web is far from dead. Plan for mobile, plan for apps, invest your money there, but don’t abandon the non-mobile web just yet. Think “and” rather than “or.” Think combination rather than replacement.

 4. Social TV: look into it. How this ties into advertising, reach, WOM, net promoter score and customer acquisition isn’t super complicated.

Also, from January to June 2012, active Twitter users discussing or sharing updates about TV content grew from 26% to 33%. Whether you are a media buyer or a social media director looking to justify your budget, this trend is worth keeping an eye on. If it inspires you to use social media to drive the reach of your television content (including advertising), you’re on the right track.

How can social channels and social sharing increase reach and amplify the reach of your content? How can these same mechanisms help customers discover your products or move them up into their hierarchy of planned purchases? How might you leverage monitoring platforms to better understand these mechanisms and tie them into customer acquisition, development and retention strategies?

(If you weren’t yet asking these questions, you should be.)

5. “Second-screen” is actually a little more complex than what has been presented to your team, but that’s a good thing. Here is a quick breakdown of what people actually do on the web while they are watching television content (and how they do it):

- Shopping (45% on tablets)

- Looking up product or special promotion information (TV ad related; 50% on tablets)

- Visiting social networks (44% on tablets)

- Doing research on the show they are watching (35% on tablets).

Takeway 1: Immediate calls to action work. If you are buying ads on TV (or working with product placement strategies), make sure that your digital storefront and/or digital springboard towards an offline purchase is a) easy to find, b) easy to share, and c) built to drive the user behaviors you expect it to drive.

Takeway 2: Tablets trump phones when it comes to second screen experiences. Design your digital marketing platforms accordingly:

1. Build deliberate second screen experiences.

2. Design one-click tie-ins to product pages, social channels and other relevant content.

Takeaway 3: If you plan on paying for TV content in 2013 (advertising or actual programming), you’re going to need to include a second-screen plan to go along with it. Not doing this is basically the equivalent of posting a phone number in an ad but not having someone to answer the phone if someone tries to call. Relying on people to Google your product, your TV program or your company worked great in 2010. You can’t really just rely on that anymore.

Note: Your second screen experience should include a) social components (sharing, #hashtags, links to Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and b) transaction driver components (links to product feature pages, customer reviews, online stores, and brick & mortar store websites).

Okay, that’s it for us. Big thanks to Nielsen and NM Insights for putting this together. Reports like this one tend to help companies make better digital spend decisions, so that’s a huge + in our book. For that, it goes at the top of our 2012 studies bookmarks. Great stuff. We hope it will help you with 2013 planning.

To check out the full report, go here.

To return to Tickr.com, click here.

Cheers,

The Tickr team.