Tag Archives: community 2.0

The Customer Is Always…On Twitter?

Have you seen this article from Fortune exploring the efficacy of various customer service channels for eight real-life brands?

Not that long ago I was discussing the future of technology in regards to customer service. Here we have eight cases of companies using twitter, in addition to phone and web channels, to address customer issues…with varying degrees of success. Even Zappos, a known customer service champion, falls somewhat short when put to this test.

The fact is, customers are going to seek answers on channels like twitter – or worse, badmouth your brand. Refraining from having a twitter presence means you may not immediately hear the complaints, but they’ll still exist. The best policy is therefore to listen and respond in the best way possible. (A topic IIR occasionally addresses on the Community 2.0 blog). Is the social media team at your company prepared to deal with this challenge? Where does customer service and social media intersect? It’s an interesting conundrum.

Are you on twitter? We are, follow us @customerworld.

Social Media and Community Scorecard Examples

One of the most consistent topics in the 4 years we have been having the Social Media and Community 2.0 Strategies Conference is the need to demonstrate ROI in our Social Media and Community programs. We have had some great speakers over the years that have helped us all understand the ways to measure your programs. We also have some great speakers coming to this year’s event. Below are a couple of generic scorecard examples to show how people are demonstrating their ROI. We have one example support based scorecard and another marketing example. Our experts hope this will help you with ideas for what you should measure! To learn the nitty gritty about how to create a scorecard that demonstrates the ROI that aligns with your business goals join Cindy Meltzer’s session on “Beyond the Theory of Measuring” at this year’s Social Media & Community 2.0 Strategies Conference.

Some of the insights from previous conferences:

Do you have example measures that we missed?
- Stacy

Flashback Friday: OMG! We Need to Do Social Media!

A Look Back at SMC2010: OMG! We Need to Do Social Media!

Social Media and Community 2.0 Strategies is taking place April 4-6, 2011, in Boston, Massachusetts. Fridays leading up to the event, we’ll be recapping one of the sessions from the 2010 Social Media & Community 2.0 Strategies Event. For more information on this year’s event, download the brochure.

Jaimee Clements, online production manager of eBusiness and AAA, gave a quick and candid half-hour talk on social media implementation. What she said is a primer for good execution; here it is.

Tips for If You Haven’t Dived In Yet

Start small. Try Twitter first; it’s easy to manage and understand.

Listen and take action on what users already want from you.

Be clear on objective and goals. If you know what your goal is, you have something to measure, and you can engage selectively, as opposed to in a way that spreads the net wide but wastes energy.

Meet with legal & HR early and often. Otherwise, if you surprise them all of a sudden with a crisis, they’ll probably take forever. Damage gets done when you can’t respond in real-time.

How dedicated do you want to be? A yardstick:

Low: minimal engagement.
Dedicated tools: Passive. Needs no monitoring once tool is provided to users. Structured user input, no content created.

Moderate: intermittent engagement.
Dedicated tools: Part-time. Weekly moderation, user submitted content/media must be reviewed before publishing.

High: daily engagement.
Dedicated resources: frequent posts, real-time responses, full-time community management.

Once You’re In: Objectives

  1. Listen daily
  2. Identify your top brand advocates
  3. Engage them where they are, and in their language. Don’t go storming into a chatroom at a socnet, where you haven’t introduced yourself, and be like, “I’m great! By AAA.” You’ll get spanked.
  4. Work the feedback loop. Make sure the data you glean goes back to your customer support team or whomever the most relevant department is. Don’t shove undistilled social media reports onto everybody; feed the feedback loop appropriately, so it can actually make a difference in your product line and the brand experience.
  5. Make it interactive; provide viral incentives. Bear in mind you can’t make a viral campaign; it involves a lot of luck, good planning and good community rapport.
  6. Prepare for the unexpected. If a firestorm happens, make sure there’s a real-time escalation pattern, with people already identified to manage it. (Handy Pulp Fiction reference: identify THE WOLF.) “Make sure you have that path identified [beforehand],” because whatever your response, you need to respond in real-time.
  7. Always be willing to adapt.

Best Practices

  • Be human, transparent
  • Be unique, interesting; add value.
  • Don’t try controlling the convo.
  • Be thankful! Recognize people helpin’ you out, say nice things.
  • Don’t be too salesy. It’s hard to be friends with that “always-on” personality.
  • Understand/define success metrics.
  • Don’t forget social media is public media
  • Don’t be afraid to have fun!

Useful Tools

  • Radian6, for tracking.
  • Spigit, for goal-based internal collaboration.
  • Yammer, which is essentially a Twitter just for members of your company. This is great for maintaining morale and keeping people feeling connected, however far-flung other team members may be.

And remember: To do the social media thing right, it takes a lot of time. You have to get to know your community to learn what to pull out, how best to talk to them. Don’t underestimate the amount of time developing that intuition will take.

Looking back, did you start a social media campaign or presence in 2010? Did you find these tips helpful?

Selecting An SM Monitoring Tool

Many of us in the research field are interested in the insights that our customers are sharing on Social Media properties every day. Listening platforms are a great way to sift through the volumes of information to gain the nuggets of useful data. The question is how to select a platform and how to use it. The Social Media and Community 2.0 Strategies blog has been featuring the considerations for selecting Social Media and Community technologies. The current insights are focused on how to select a listening platform. Nygel gives us several things to consider in his post. The three previous posts about broader community software also offer great advice on the creation of a strategy before you buy software.


Selecting An SM Monitoring Tool” by Nygel Weishar, Sysmos Inc.

With millions upon millions of unique conversations taking place in the social media realm daily, the question is not if social media is useful, but rather: how do we make it useful to us? There are 100′s of billions of conversations that have already taken place, not to mention about to happen, and this highlights the need for a place to aggregate the data. This is where Sysomos and other social media monitoring tools come into place. But which one do you choose?

As most effective research projects start, the individual should first decide what they need to find out/prove and ways this data could be presented. Is there a current Social Media goal? Or is the need to understand a specific Market or Topic? This will define the things that are important to the project and will ultimately outline the main things to look for in a tool. What sources are being crawled? Are the appropriate results even available? Is the tool flexible enough to satisfy my requirements? On top of data being presented, it is also equally important to qualify who will be using the tool and the learning curve necessary to be effective using it. (Just because the tool can do it, doesn’t mean it is easy to do.) Being able to quickly/easily find the necessary information not to mention present it to the appropriate audience so that it makes sense are both crucial things to consider.

Some other things to keep in mind would be budget, scope, and integration. What is the pricing structure? Is there a flat fee? Am I penalized by the amount of data/users I have in the system? All of these things will be crucial in defining if a solution will even be affordable. That being said, many tools provide varying ranges in coverage as well. It’s important to know that the scope of your project is feasible with the tool of choice. What geographic regions need to be covered? How many languages are included in the tool? Finally, integration is an area we are getting more requests for lately and this entails features like: CRM’s, Fanpages, Twitter Accounts, etc. By integrating directly to a tool, marketers can streamline engagement processes and provide even deeper insights regarding the topic of interest.

Social media as most know is a continually growing and evolving organism. Be sure to have a solid grasp on what you hope to gain from social media and ask the ultimate question: Is this something you can use effectively?

How to Maintain a Twitter Audience

Wondering how a top brand like SEGA maintains a loyal community? Look no further! Kellie Parker, Community Manager at SEGA and one of our Keynotes at this year’s Social Media 2.0 Conference reveals internal secrets on how her team successfully reaches the Twitter audience.

- Stacy

How to Maintain a Twitter Audience” by Kellie Parker, Community Manager, SEGA

One of the questions that I get asked most often about SEGA’s community outreach is how we build and maintain our Twitter audience. My first and best piece of advice is to have a conversation, not just push marketing out to them. Notice the ‘just’ in that last sentence ‘ we do push marketing, either in direct tweets or through linking people back to our blog. We are giving updates on our games and corporate activities. But we also re-tweet fan photos, tweet about fun stuff going on in our office (free donuts!) and sometimes not-so-fun stuff (another fire drill!). We reply to most everyone, even when the answer is ‘I’m sorry, I can’t answer that’. We try to be as, well, human as possible.

But the program that helps us grow the most, and most community managers are interested in, is Free Stuff Friday. It started as a way to get rid of swag and promotional items for older games that was just going to be thrown away, as it had little PR value. The community team started rescuing these items because we couldn’t bear for them to be thrown out. We needed to do something with all of this, so we started the Free Stuff Friday program. It’s been wildly successful, and has gone from a way to get rid of stuff to a planned part of our strategies.

How the Giveaways Work
The SEGA Twitter feed is run by the community teams in the US (that’s my team) and the UK. We each update the feed during our normal business hours. In order to make the administration of the giveaways easier, as well as give more opportunity for people around the world to participate, the US and UK team alternate Free Stuff Friday weeks. There are generally 6 prizes per day. For each giveaway, we’ll tweet an item, a number, and a phrase. For example: ‘Giveaway! Sonic the Hedgehog T-Shirt, size L. 5th person to DM ‘Sonic rules’ wins!’ And, as you would expect, the 5th person to DM ‘sonic rules’ to us will win the shirt. We use an auto-follower to follow everyone who follows us, so everyone can send us DMs.

Where We Get Stuff From
The items that we give away really come from all over. Some things were created for promotional use and we get some of those. Sometimes we partner with other organizations, and we get free items through that. (For example, we’ve given away t-shirts and coupons that we got from Chiquita through our partnership with them on Super Monkey Ball Step & Roll.) Sometimes we get samples and other items from our licensing group, who handles relationships to get Sonic on a t-shirt, for example. We sometimes give away copies of games. Different regions often have different pre-order bonuses or special edition packs, and we work with SEGA reps in these territories to get a few of those items to give away. We also sometimes pick stuff up on our own to give away. For example, one of our community managers was in Chicago over the winter break and found some old SEGA Visions magazines at a retro games store there. So he bought them, and we gave them away. As you can imagine, we get a diverse pool of prizes because of this, but I think that keeps it fresh and interesting for our followers.

The Preview Video

To promote the week’s giveaways, my team makes a video each week to show off what we’re giving away. It’s also a chance for our community to see and hear us, and that makes us more human. We’re not the big bad faceless corporation, we’re people.
We generally do the videos in one take. This is mostly because I am not a very skilled video editor. But it’s also because the video is supposed to be a little homemade looking. It’s not supposed to be a slick, shiny trailer-style video because that might make it seem less authentic. We generally leave the camera running while we are setting up and deciding who is going to say what about which item. We’ve captured some really funny moments by doing this. Then we film the main segment, where we describe the items. Finally, we’ll leave the camera running while we’re done if we’re still milling around playing with the items or if we’re in need of anything funny.

In terms of editing the video, I use iMovie on my Mac. I put some titles on it, put some titles at the end with some music, and add a funny (we hope) bit at the end just to leave people with a laugh. Sometimes they are outtakes, sometimes they are jokes’ whatever we had that week.

Here’s the video that we did recently, and this is fairly typical of our videos. We upload these videos to our YouTube account. We also blog them, and that blog link gets sent to our Twitter feed. We also post the blog link to our Facebook pages to generate more interest and followers.

Once we started doing these giveaways, word spread pretty quickly. We started gaining lots of new followers. We’ve been doing these giveaways for almost 2 years now, and we typically gain 500 ‘ 1000 new followers per week. And although I have no metrics to back it up, I feel pretty confident that we get more new followers on Fridays than any other day. The giveaways are a win for everyone ‘ our fans get some free stuff, we have an outlet to create content and connect more directly with our followers, and we have a way to give away stuff that’s of little value to the company but tremendous value to our community. It takes just a few hours of my time every other week, and we see tremendous return on that investment.

How You Can Implement This
Not every company has fun T-shirts or toys to giveaway, and I understand that. But nearly every company has a product. And nearly every company has people who are fans of it. Even just your company logo on a keychain will excite people. But do you have free product you can pass out? Can you feature someone on your website? Basically’ what can you give back to your fans? I’m sure if you think about it, you’ll come up with a few things you can give away.
Take these ideas and make them your own. Mold them to the needs of your company and your fans. But it’s a way to use Twitter that’s made us pretty popular with our own fans, so I wanted to share this great idea.

I am happy to answer questions about our Free Stuff Friday giveaways in the comments, so please ask away!

Does Your C-level Finally Get Social Media?

Here it is, finally, an in-depth analysis on how to create ROI and executive buy-in from your C-suite. One of our fantastic Keynotes weighs in on how to overcome management challenges in the wide world of social media. Read on and take note!

- Stacy

“Closing the Information-Gap” by Sasha Strauss, Managing Director & CEO, Innovation Protocol

Twenty-four months ago, CEO clients responded to the notion of social media with ‘don’t waste my time talking to me about that childish thing.’ Now, they’re asking how they and their organization can elevate themselves to a leadership position in their category on the back of social media. Oh, and ‘please define tangible, financial benefits’ along the way. This ubiquitous gap leads to all kinds of problems’the biggest one being apprehension. To mitigate this nauseous sensation, I suggest three things to ponder:

‘ Cost
‘ Voice
‘ Measurement

COST: Contrary to popular belief, social media isn’t free. Organizations shouldn’t just participate in online communities’they must strive to lead the discussion. That’s never been free in any sector, why would it be in the most powerful communication channel in history? Social media will take money to increase visibility or address the needs of your audience. For example, last year, Pepsi skipped the Super Bowl and launched The Pepsi Refresh Project. The campaign received over 61 million votes from users giving input on various initiatives – from building playgrounds to donating pajamas. The program gathered more than $14 million to fund 352 projects, and they’re fully committed to the project for 2011. What kind of tangible benefits will Pepsi receive from something like this? It actually isn’t even measurable’not yet anyway. What matters is that they’ve essentially shifted their target demographic and converted a brutal advertising spend into a social campaign that is positively impacting millions. That social impact translates into an army of supporters/believers/advocates/customers that prefer Pepsi now over the alternative.

VOICE: What you ‘sound’ like within the social media sphere is also extremely important. Social media allows an organization with countless voices to condense that cacophony into virtually a single sound. For example, the voice of Zappos (@Zappos) on Twitter is CEO Tony Hseih. He has over 1.7 million followers and shows his fluency in the social media space by using powerful features (like hashtags: #) while taking the time to engage and publicly refer to other users. As both the CEO and official Twitter voice, Tony sets the tone for Zappos and can clearly represent the brand, no matter what the circumstance or context. It’s an authentic dialogue that followers use to connect with their favorite online retailer, and Zappos can use their social media observations to understand their connection with their audience. As an individual, Tony can speak on behalf of his industry, consumers or even himself’because it’s authentic, it’s social, and it’s timely. This freedom flawlessly represents the Zappos brand, but might not necessarily work for a more conservative organization like Disney. Disney’s audience is so diverse’and, potentially, so concerned about general internet content, that Disney has actively decided NOT to have a singular social media voice. Or a social media voice at all. Robert Iger, the CEO doesn’t have a Twitter account ‘ but he understands the power of the environment. For example, his company recently purchased the social-gaming company Playdom and launched the ‘Let the Memories Begin’ campaign. It takes user-generated social media content of happy park-goers enjoying themselves publicly for use in advertisements and promotions. In fact, this month Disney World began projecting guest photos onto Cinderella’s castle and on Disneyland’s ‘It’s a Small World’ in California ‘ it’s media, it’s social and it’s universally desired and consumed.

MEASUREMENT: We’ve covered the cost of social media, and therefore it’s clear that content blasting around the Internet would have financial implications. So the final consideration must be measurement. Social media enables users to publicly portray their affinity for content posted by clicking ‘Like’ or adding the person/organization as a ‘Friend.’ This mark of popularity has quickly become a barometer for content relevancy. While your number of ‘Likes’ or ‘Friends’ are great indicators of interest, they’re just a temporary acknowledgement of your relevance. What also must be considered is WHO is publicly endorsing you. In offline retail, it’s the difference between your friend Sally telling you she loves Miracle Whip and Oprah mentioning it in an interview. The validity of the endorsement is correlated with the significance of the endorser. The prestige of endorsers is a more accurate measurement of how well your social media strategy is doing. Fortunately, there are plenty of free tools to measure your impact and influence in social media. For example, Google Analytics is a free service that supplies detailed information about visitors, like where they’re coming from (physically and online) and what they’re doing when they arrive.

If you want to get a strong sense of how social media can build advocacy ‘ but how it also requires deep analysis of cost, voice and measurement, check out the explosive advocacy around Old Spice. Yeah, your dad’s deodorant. A brand nearly written off by grocery retailers worldwide. In a last-stitched effort to capture youth attention, the brand launched a series of video responses by towel-clad Isaiah Mustafa that directly addressed casual users and celebrities alike. In this world of ‘Likes’ and proprietary analytics, Old Spice’s social media managers were able to look at the number of views each video had, the followers it generated, and immediately measure user behavior and sales on their site. In as little as a few months, marketing managers attained bottom-line results that reflected consumer understanding and the eventual retail action it informed. More importantly however, Old Spice is building a community of advocates that will follow and listen to the brand as it continues to evolve. They’re now listening’ what you tell them next is yet another chapter in the ever-evolving game of social media marketing.

I suggest that you do not fear the beast that is media pushed through social channels. Embrace and look at the next 6 months as an opportunity. An opportunity to gather fans, learn from their words, support them through social actions and grow your understanding of the market you’re trying so aggressively to own. Just think, organizations of all sizes and budgets can finally engage their audiences with real-time mass communication. I’ve dreamt about this very notion since my first days in the communication field. I was disappointed that press releases took weeks to grab media attention. I was frustrated that even the wealthiest brands had to write, produce and distribute print media campaigns to clarify false assumptions thrown into the public sphere. Today, it’s nowMedia. It’s in controlledMedia. It’s what we’ve always wanted: social media.

Selecting a Primary Community Platform Part 1

Are you shopping for a Primary Community Platform? It is such a critical decision, but hard to know what to base your decision on. I recently had a chance to catch up with several of the leading Community Platform vendors to ask them what people should be looking for when considering what vendor. We are going to share the perspectives of Jive, Lithium, and Telligent in a three part series of blog posts. Hope they are helpful in your decision making process!


‘Strategy First’ by Tim Albright, Director of Community Strategy at Jive Software

Honestly, I don’t believe anyone should start a social business platform assessment by looking at features. Instead, truly understanding your own social business strategy is the most important criteria for choosing a platform. Some community features are fairly commoditized (e.g., forums, rating, blogs, et cetera) and some aren’t (e.g., bridging internal and external communities, video, mobile, et cetera) but if the reason you’re applying social isn’t clear, choosing a platform to do it won’t be either, no matter what features are provided. Obviously, any social strategy should map directly to overall business goals and, for all but the largest companies (and probably for them too), a social business strategy will be more successful if it is shared across the enterprise.

A good social strategy identifies what specific problems to attack. For example, improving Sales Enablement is a strategic goal but it’s also a bit abstract. On the other hand, shortening the response time for RFPs is a concrete, measurable target that will improve Sales Enablement Now you can accurately assess the Sales Enablement capabilities of a social platform:

‘ Does it support robust internal deployments?
‘ Does it allow easy creation of logical groups (Sales Enablement, Regions, et cetera)?
‘ Can the usual RFP formats be uploaded and reviewed in the communities?
‘ Can users easily create reusable tables and charts with links to customer references, success stories, et cetera?
‘ Can users rate and tag content to heighten relevance and improve reuse?
‘ Can users follow spaces, content and other users?
‘ Can users receive notifications and reply directly via email?
‘ Is there mobile support for my distributed sales team?

In short, what should really inform your decision is: can the proposed platform take the current tasks your employees, partners, and customers are already doing and make those tasks easier by applying social? In the Sales Enablement example, social attacks the problem because it:

‘ Removes the RFP request from the tyranny of email: the Sales Rep won’t get nine ‘out of office’ replies and the responses aren’t buried in her email box
‘ The Rep doesn’t have to ‘know’ who the right source is: the source finds her. The entire company’s expertise is available to all Sales Reps, even on their first day on the job.
‘ When she gets the right answer, she can rate it highly so the next rep with a similar RFP can search and find it more easily
‘ Mobile and email allow users to respond when and where it’s convenient for them.

Each of these (and more) will measurably shorten the turn around time for RFPs. If the platform you’re considering can do all these things, it should be a contender for your Sales Enablement initiative.

Of course there are many other strategies and tasks that social business software can measurably improve. At Jive, we’re dedicated to helping you identify the right business areas to attack with social tools. Not all business problems require social solutions, but we’ve found many that do. Here are the questions I would consider in assessing platform vendors:

‘ Do you have the experience and skills to help me define solid, measurable business objectives?
‘ Do you have examples where your social software solved these types of business problems?
‘ Are there customer references ‘like’ me that you can share?
‘ Do you give guidance on IT, SSO, and other integrations?
‘ What Flexibility do you offer for theming my site to look like my other properties?
‘ Given the solutions we’re discussing, can you provide guidance on attracting users, marcom plans, et cetera?
‘ What else do I need to know to be successful?

Focusing on the right task to meet your objectives will also help inform all your other social decisions. For example, if you have a public support community, what should your Facebook or Twitter strategy be? Support communities focuses on asking and answering questions in the community. A FB page is likely to confuse some users and distract them from participating in your community. Contextual FB ads, on the other hand, might be a great way to generate awareness about the community and help to brand it. Tweeting about community events and hot topics might also extend awareness. The point is that, once your objective is solidly defined, you can have the right argument: will this feature or capability make the task better for the users?

Once you know what you’re trying to solve, and once you’re comfortable with the answers to these questions above, reviewing features, watching demos, and playing in sandboxes will be a lot more useful to you. Get the ‘what’ right and the ‘how’ will be much, much, more easy to spot.