Happy Holidays from Customers 1st

We’re taking some much needed time off from our coverage of customer relationship management to celebrate the season with our loved ones. We want to sincerely thank you for your readership, your comments and your participation.

Here are our top posts from 2009:

Dell Delights Customers

NACCM 2009: Answering the Social Phone ‘ Listening, Measuring, and Engaging in Social Media.

Hospital provides customer service training at the request of employees

We’ll be back in January with more coverage.

We wish you Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays from The Market Research Event!

We’re taking some much needed time off from our coverage of shopper marketing and private label to celebrate the season with our loved ones. We want to sincerely thank you for your readership, your comments and your participation.

Here are our top posts from 2009:
A deeper look at the country music listener
Creating “Delicious” Research
The Skinny on Marketing Research at Facebook

We’ll be back in January with more coverage.

We wish you Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays from Community 2.0

We’re taking some much needed time off from our coverage of social media and online communities to celebrate the season with our loved ones. We want to sincerely thank you for your readership, your comments and your participation.

Here are our top posts from 2009:
Track Presentation: Southwest Airlines – Nuts About Online Communications

Enterprise Customer Communities: Hot Topics for 2009

Keynote: Traditional Corporate Communication is Dead

We’ll be back in January with more coverage.

We wish you Happy Holidays!

Social Media Strategies & Community 2.0 Brochure Available

Welcome to Social Media & Community 2.0 Strategies

Targeted advice for business managers seeking real-life stories of how to leverage social media for real results. Not just entertainment value, hype or buzz, but real-world examples of driving revenue, cutting costs, and energizing conversations around your brand.

For more information, visit the webpage here.
Download the brochure here.

Facebook Campaign Beats Cowell’s New Singer

CNN.com reports that Rage Against the Machine has claimed the prestigious No. 1 spot on the British singles chart on the last Sunday before Christmas, marking the first time in five years the winner of Simon Cowell’s “X-Factor” has not won.

Joe McElderry’s “The Climb” came in second, beaten by a huge online swell of support for “Killing in the Name,” backed by a Facebook group with nearly 1 million members.
It was the first time a group had ever won the top slot based on downloads alone, BBC’s “The Chart Show” said.

It’s reported that this upset is the product of a very savvy social media pair. Jon and Tracy Morter, who led the Facebook campaign for Rage Against the Machine have since turned down offers by Simon Cowell to “be in marketing or even running the company!’ reports The Daily Mail.

Learn more:

Social Media Plans a Must for Businesses in ’10

Vanessa DiMauro has a fascinating look at social media policies in her recent post on CustomerThink.com. DiMauro warns that a social media policy should be implemented across an organization as soon as possible. This will arm the organization with a set of procedures and policies that can keep everyone on the same page with regard to corporate communication. DiMauro offers a few tips on what to consider when formulating at social media plan.

Some questions to consider when formulating a plan:
What is your company culture like? Make sure that the social media policy reinforces company culture – an informal organization will have a different policy than, say, a government agency.

How do you want the employees to engage with clients and prospects? Take into account the in-person sales and marketing channel strategy and align the social media policy to those best practices.
What is considered confidential to your organization? Spell out what hind of information can and can’t be shared publicly.
How should staff represent them selves to others? Standardize or provide guidelines so that there is an evenness to your online footprint. Should all sales staff, for example, use a similar moniker in their twitter name or is it up to the person to decide?
What does transparency mean to your company? Too often people confuse personal opinion with company-representation. Can a staff of your organization share displeasure with the company’s product or services online without disclosing she work for your company?

For more information on creating a social media plan, we encourage you to check our DiMauro’s post in its entirety.

Learn more: Why You Need A Social Media Policy in 2010

Twitter’s Top Trending Topics of 2009

PCWorld.com just released their top trending topics of 2009. As we look through the list — any surprises? What other topics should have been included? We’d like to hear your thoughts.

There are plenty of lists on the PCWorld website, click here.

News Events

1. #iranelection
2. Swine Flu
3. Gaza
4. Iran
5. Tehran
6. #swineflu
7. AIG
8. #uksnow
9. Earth Hour
10. #inaug09

Technology became a disruptive force in Iran this summer when protests broke out over the results of that country’s presidential elections. Tech tools like twitter, cell phones, digital cameras, Flickr, YouTube and Facebook were all employed to get the word out and raise global awareness about the controversy. Since the protests, the actual impact of Twitter and other technologies on the protests have been called into question, but there’s no doubt Iran was a hot topic online this year.

Google Wave was the hottest technology topic on Twitter for 2009. Google’s collaborative work platform grabbed a large amount of interest when it was first announced, but since then enthusiasm for Wave has diminished. Apple and Microsoft got their fair share of tweets after launching the Snow Leopard and Windows 7 operating systems. And Palm’s Pre was the only smartphone to make any of Twitter’s top ten lists for 2009.

1. Google Wave
2. Snow Leopard
3. Tweetdeck
4. Windows 7
5. CES
6. Palm Pre
7. Google Latitude
8. #E3
9. #amazonfail
10. Macworld

Gartner Says Nokia to Blame for Low Smartphone Purchases

PCWorld.com reports today that although sales of smartphones have risen in Q3 of 2009, the increase was much lower than anticipated. Gartner, the market research firm, believes that Nokia’s smartphones may be to blame. Mikael Rickn??s, IDG News Service reports:

But the third quarter was a disappointment — mainly due to Nokia’s lack of attractive high-end smartphones. And consumers who like Nokia’s products are not necessarily buying smartphones from other vendors, so the market is taking a hit, according to Carolina Milanesi, research director at Gartner.

Still, in 2013 more than every third phone sold will be a smartphone, unless mobile operators persist at packaging smartphones with flat-rate data plans, which could put the total cost out of reach for many consumers, according to Milanesi.

What do you think about smartphone purchases — is Nokia really to blame?

Learn more: Smartphone Sales Increase Disappoints, Says Gartner

Meet the speakers of Social Media & Community 2.0 Strategies: Ali McCourt, TurboTax Inner Circle

We’re pleased to announce d like to present you with the first of a series of speaker podcasts delivered by our outstanding Social Media & Community 2.0 Strategies speaker faculty.

Our first conversation is with Ali McCourt, who is the leader of the TurboTax Inner Circle.

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Download the transcription here.

Can you tell us about the TurboTax Community?
Ali: I manage a community called The TurboTax Inner Circle. And essentially what it is is a volunteer army, a group of about 25,000 customers, and they participate with us by raising their hand and telling us that they want to help build better products and services. We work with them throughout the year to get those insights. So the goal for our community is two fold. On the product and marketing site, it’s really to obtain quick customer insight to help us drive enhancements and changes. On the customer side, it’s really building loyalty among those who want to engage with us. So it’s really great because as a result of interacting with them, and getting quick iterations on our product, obviously we get those benefits in that we get to push those to our product. And then on the customer loyalty side, we get to build this engaged group of evangelists who help spread word of mouth. And then they’re also leveraged for immediate feedback year round. We have great participation rates within our community.

How has it helped build a relationship with your customers? Has there been a financial benefit from creating this community?
Ali: Absolutely. Any time you really listen to customers and take their feedback to heart, and put it into your products, you’re going to see the financial benefits, because these are the people who buy your products. But chances are that more specifically within this community, I’ll give you an example. We launched a feature about a year and a half ago and we saw an immediate lift in revenue by $6 million. And since it’s been implemented, we’ve seen a lift of over $19 million in the last two years and that’s just with one feature. We do this year round, there’s upwards of 30 or 40 interactions per year that we have with this group. So financial upside is kind of a no brainer when you consider the cost of what it takes to listen to your customers.

Now for the first question, how does this help with engagement? I think this really helps us humanize our brand. So, this group of 25,000 customers sees me as TurboTax Ali. So now there’s a face and a persona with the brand versus ‘Oh, it’s Intuit,’ or ‘Oh, it’s TurboTax.’ They really have this special relationship with me and they know that they can come to myself or the community to get help or give feedback, to really know that they’re listened in their feedback and their time is taken to heart. So for us, I think that’s the biggest benefit. And that’s why we keep doing this, and it kind of creates this virtuous cycle of engagement. We’re able to close the loop with them and tell them where their feedback has been enacted. Pointing to it actually gets them more excited to get participating and giving us more ideas. I think this is the best way we’ve worked to create engagement.

You won a Groundswell Award for your work on this online community. Can you tell us a little more about that?
Ali: The Groundswell Award we won last year was for Company Transformation. So I have to give credit to my colleagues, so it wasn’t just the Inner Circle that won the award. It was our whole company. So QuickBooks community, who is another business division of our company, has their own community. The Inner Circle was also part of that, and then our TurboTax Live Community, which is a live question and answer based support site. This leverages the power of community in order to answer those questions.

What I think it really goes back to is that social is in Intuit’s DNA. Our founder Scott Cook is a huge advocate of listening to customers and building our products around their feedback and what they think would be easy to do. I think it’s really a part of our brand since we’ve been around in the last 25, 26 yeas. We think of it in three components. We’ve got the social media side, which is more marketing through Twitter, Facebook, contests, etc. Then we have the technology, which is the platform you build the components on. If you wanted to leverage social data, that’s where it falls into place. And then we have our communities, which is the Inner Circle and the live community side of things. The way we’ve broken this down into the different components has defiantly shown in winning the Groundswell award. It’s not just one silo in our company, it’s transparent throughout. No matter who you talk to, everyone is excited to talk to customers, and I think that’s kind of why we’ve been so successful.

To find out more about Ali McCourt’s presentation and the rest of the Social Media Strategies and Community 2.0 event, download the brochure here.

How can publishers use Twitter?

J. S. McDougall of the Huffington Post recently wrote a list of how book publishers can best use Twitter. The tips are publishing specific, but how can you twist them to best fit your industry?

1. [Tweet this tip!] Sign up for Twitter then cruise through WeFollow.com,TwitDir.com and the new Twitter Lists to find and follow folks in your niche.2. [Tweet this tip!] Create several Twitter accounts based on the niches in which you publish.3. [Tweet this tip!] Avoid the temptation to automate. It is important that you are on Twitter to respond to the community.4. [Tweet this tip!] Sell books by adding substantive information from your books and authors to the conversation. No hard sales pitches, please.5. [Tweet this tip!] Have fun. Invent new … ways to engage your Twitter community–contests, polls, jokes, raffles, giveaways, etc.6. [Tweet this tip!] Twitter accounts dedicated to a single book are hard to build and sustain. Stick with the larger niche.7. [Tweet this tip!] If you are one of a few people running a single Twitter account, be open about it by signing your name ala: -Jesse8. [Tweet this tip!] Create and use hashtags to start and follow conversations in your niche.9. [Tweet this tip!] Join appropriate Twitter groups (twittgroups.com) and have honest interactions with the folks there.10. [Tweet this tip!] Use tools to track your Twitter success: ChartBeat,HootSuite, Google Analytics.

Social Media Strategies and Community 2.0 has a panel called How Can I Unlock the Business Value of Twitter to Innovate, Interact, Inform?” which pulls from businesses currently using Twitter such as Sega, Planet Hollywood, Southwest, The Travel Channel and Whole Foods. For more on this panel, and the conference, download the brochure here.