Social currency for a brand can grow in two ways: slow and steady or slingshot.
The slow and steady growth is more likely sustainable, but as most campaign metrics (and marketing metrics) utilize a traditional purchase funnel, slow and steady efforts often fail to hit key "awareness" benchmarks.
Slingshottactics are far more gimmick-heavy and generally reach scale quickly, but they generally go dark a couple of weeks later. These are campaigns in every sense of the word. Give out a few free Macbook Pros on Twitter and watch your follower counts soar. Give away seven free iPhones and watch your brand become a trending topic. Create that incredibly creative Facebook application or visualization of the conversation, and hold up your scaled short-term engagement as your success.
But is Slingshot-value real social value? It this where most brand will play in the space?
Probably. As dirty as it sounds, Slingshot Marketing is going to be much of what we see in social over the coming few months. The strategic vision, budgets and dedication to doing social right just aren't yet there. Yet. But with the inclusion of some basic marketing know-how, your slingshot shiny objects can be of value.
Here are a few basic principles:
Build ongoing social support into all activation budgets. If you can't perform customer support triage, it will be very difficult to inspire a new consumer perspective towards the brand. This doesn't need to be expensive, but it does require some training and strategic setup.
Build for an ups and downs, not starts and stops. Your brand doesn't need to be inspiring new conversation everyday, but it does need to be present, real, relevant and responsive to the conversation 365 days a year.
Slingshot Marketing/shiny objects should speak to your core brand value. Don't give away an iPhone when you are selling a low-tech pair of socks. Connect your shiny objects to the brand value prop. Make your promotions speak to your messaging.
Invest in personalities and relationships. Always have a twitter account available for following, and a brand page on Facebook where people who engage with the application can gather for current engagements and future activation.
Level set with key stakeholders that this is a shiny object, not a full social strategy.
Setup your measurement, learningprocess and KPIs in advance.
Listen to the conversation. You just may find a few advocates and opportunities.
Setup a follow up lessons-learned session beforeyou start.
Always bring ideas for a more strategic plan as a next step. Neither you, nor your clients will find continued success in gimmicks in place of real marketing.
Your blog - is it a two way conversation? or a publication?
Your "viral video" - is it part of something greater? Or a tactic?
Are your listening, monitoring or measuring the conversation? Or none of the above?
Your influencer relationships - are they relationships, or paid friendships?
Your "blogger outreach" - are you forming a relationship, inviting their participation as a two way street? Or are you sending a form letter pleading for free distribution of your campaign?
Are your campaigns executional? Or are they part of a broader relationship-building effort?
The key differentiators:
Are you making a statement or participating in a conversation?
a conversational brand,
a social object,
a broadcast message or
a social enabler?
Do your efforts reflect this reality?
The truest test of a brand's commitment to a relationship: Does your customer support online, on the phone or via mail/email offer to same level of support as your social/twitter team, marketing agency, social agency or pr agency?
Key Takeaway:It's easy to care about a relationship in a silo. It's much harder to commit to that relationship across the board.
Hulu's been out for a while. And while I was at first skeptical, I now regularly enjoy their offering.
But what's next for Hulu?
Will their growth be in a broader library or in added functionality?
Will new platforms like Tivo or downloadable content drive increased value?
They've got us watching. They occasionally have us interacting. But is this really all they could, or should be doing to grow their business?
Isn't there a massive ad opportunity in a Hulu desktop utility with a program guide?
Wouldn't a distribution partnership with Microsoft delivering free ad supported downloads drive real equity for a next gen Zune?
Wouldn't a section containing all of their advertiser spots, fully embeddable, drive added value to advertisers? Allowing them to utilize Hulu to launch "viral" video campaigns?
Sure, you need to the content to drive the eyeballs. But please Hulu, don't forget about breaking the technology mold. You did it once. The market will demand that you do it again. Or someone else will.
OK, so first off, I'll admit it. I read Time and Newsweek. There are times when I find their articles intriguing, educational or provocative.
But this week, Newsweek was off the mark in a really grand way.
In their recent "The New Global Elite" issue (dated January 5th) they ran an article comparing Ink Versus Influence. What struck me the hardest was their Twitter Versus Newspapers comparison. To quote -
Twitter The dumbest innovation of the century? Memo to tweeters: we don't care what you think.
Newspapers Yes, print is troubled and some urban dailys are doomed. Still, on a screen or on dead trees, nothing shapes the conversation like facts.
Firstly, I searched Newsweek.com, this article isn't even on the web. Irony...
Secondly, I can't help but wonder what this factoid is hoping to convey?
(a) That twitter is overhyped by people and/or bloggers? (b) That twitter is misunderstood? (c) That the mainstream news is overhyping or over-covering this growing platform?
A quick search of Newsweek.com reveals no less than 52 results, 45 of them in the past year alone. So I guess they were at least partially responsible for throwing Ink at this "dumb innovation".
Furthermore, their second is assertion is that Newspapers contain... facts, while Twitter contains... something else.
Are newspapers factual? Non-partisan? Fair and balanced?
During the recent Intifada, the NY Times ran a picture my neighbor from Long Island, a kid I went to school with, on their front cover, reporting that he was an Arab teen fleeing the Israeli Police who had beaten him bloody. In reality, he was a Jewish American student studying abroad who was beaten beyond recognition by an Arab mob in the days before Yom Kippur.
Sure, newspapers are held to a higher standard than rumor-rich social media. But twitter is not a fad anymore than speaking with one another. Twitter may or may not be the next big thing (though the numbers do look promising). But it is a rich platform, and one I wouldn't be as quick to dismiss.
So is Twitter an irrelevant, over-hyped fad? Not today it isn't. I'm content with the fact that millions of people are talking. CNN and Fox News a regularly reporting on Twitter buzz and rumors (as is Newsweek). Brands are turning profits, direct ROI, via Twitter. I have met hundreds of interesting people on Twitter, and continue to do so on a regular basis. I have been recruited through twitter, I have recruited others via Twitter, I communicate with friends, family, clients, partners, vendors and startups on Twitter. This isn't to say that Twitter is an evergreen platform. But I wouldn't label them the dumbest innovation of the century.
So Newsweek, even if you believe Twitter is over-hyped, why would you turn your back on an open marketing channel, on millions of conversationalists? What do they stand to gain?
- - - - - - disclaimer: I'm generaly a fan of Newsweek and will continue to read this publication. I agree that Twitter is overhyped and misunderstood, I'm just not ready to write it off. And anyone who is, is clearly missing the core values of information flow in the digital dynamic. Let's hope this was the lone view of one contributor and not representative of a broader company perspective. On that note, the views represented in this post are solely my own and not of my employer or their parent company.
So everyone wants free media. But twitter isn't free media, it's a tool/platform that can enable or enhance your marketing via earned relationships. So what does it take to earn some relationship gold?
What does it take to make your corporate twitter account a success?
Make your account as personable and useful as possible.
Connect your twitter lead with your customer support and corporate communications. You will get a lot of random questions, networking internally will be key.
Consider putting a picture of a human face in place of/next to your brand logo. People know how to talk to people. Nobody talks to a soda bottle.
Fill out your bio. Consider including an email address.
Do not set up a twitter broadcast account before you have set up an interactive twitter account.
Man your account regularly. Disasters and opportunities present 24/7.
Get legal out of the way now. If legal needs to approve every conversation, you will not be successful.
Commit to both (a) brand value and (b) flexibility.
The community will define how relevant your position is on Twitter. Never forget who pays the bills. You have two bosses - your brand and the community. Ignore one or the other and you will fail.
Grow a thick skin and get over the negativity.
These conversations happened before you joined and they will continue when you leave. If anything, learn.
Do not yell. Nobody likes to stand next to a screaming maniac (unless that's part of your brand image).
Be very aware of personal space. Don't be a close talker and don't look like a stalker.
Do not @message people who don't want to hear from you.
Do not follow more than 1/3rd more people than the total of those who follow you. Uber-following makes you look like a spammer.
It is perfectly acceptable to follow people who aren't following you.
You don't have to follow everyone who is following you.
Don't jump into twitter without a guide to the community.
The twitter community is constantly refining their expectations. Keep learning, optimizing, reading and rethinking.
Don't auto-reply. Don't auto-anything (other than auto-following, maybe).
Don't ask what twitter can do for you, ask what you can do for the community.
Give, give, give.
Don't forget to measure what twitter is doing for you. See point 9 below.
Don't worry about scale, think about relevance and influence.
If you can't demonstrate ROI, you are nothing but a disposable test destined to be replaced by proven marketing channels that CAN demonstrate ROI.
Get some perspective.
The twitter community thinks they are the be-all and end-all. They aren't. They are important, but they are not necessarily representative of society at large. Just don't tell them that. And this doesn't mean that they shouldn't be treated with respect.
Utilize social intel solutions, or even search.twitter.com to alert you to brand relevance and positioning.
When appropriate, invite offline conversation continuity. Take a brand advocate to lunch and pick their brain. Ask questions to your community.
Introduction Social media marketing starts with listening. But how do you listen?
Project Smile is committed to bringing a broad perspective of the social media intelligence space, featuring both the heavy hitters and the innovative up and comers. This is the first, of what will be a continuing series profiling some of the leading players and solutions providers in this white hot industry.
Profile - TNS Cymfony
To kick it all off, we've got the wonderful Jim Nail, the Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer with TNS Cymfony. So who is Jim, what does TNS Cymfony do, how are they special, how are they different? For all this and more, check out our chat with Jim below. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please feel free to leave a comment below and we will forward them to Jim.
Cymfony tells brand and companies what people are saying
about them, whether those people are professional journalists, bloggers, a
brand’s current customers or average consumers. We combine the most comprehensive
collection of content from offline, online, and social media sources with
sophisticated text mining technology and the smartest analysts in the business.
led you to launch your company?
was founded in the mid ‘90’s by a PhD in computational linguistics and
initially developed the technology to serve the intelligence services of
government. We launched our first commercial product in 2001: a PR
measurement application called Brand Dashboard. We began analyzing social
media in 2003, making us one of the first companies to do so. We launched
our current product, Orchestra, in 2005, the first application to combine
traditional and social media analysis in one application. In 2006 we were
named a Leader in Forrester Research’s Brand Monitoring Q3 2006 report.
In 2007, we were acquired by TNS Media Intelligence.
Doing That Thing They Do Jon: How
would you describe your core capability?
order and structure to the fragmented, chaotic, information explosion
around us so that brands and companies can make sense of the rapid
changes around them.
Dancing To The Beat of Their Own Drummer Jon: What key
differentiators does your company offer? Jim:
most comprehensive collection of content from offline, online, and social
helping multiple functional areas of an organization get value out of
understanding social and traditional media analysis: PR, marketing,
market research, customer service, product marketing, etc.
translating a company’s business goals into a technical and operational
analysis framework that ensures we get the right content and process it
in a way to extract the right insights to achieve those goals
enterprise-class platform that scales to support multiple
divisions/business units/brands of large multinational companies with
thousands of employees and scores of agency partners
would you say has been your most successful engagement to date?What made it successful?
is hard to pick one engagement but across the range of our successful
engagements, the common factors are:
to hear what is being said: it is necessary to have some focus on what
you want to learn, but you can’t define a project too narrowly –
consumers may not be talking about what you want them to talk about. We
did a project for an OTC health brand and found significant conversation
among parents asking if this product is OK to give to their children,
even though the project was meant to understand how sufferers of this
condition made their medication choices. This unanticipated finding
indicated potential for line extensions of the brand targeted to
to invest: there is a misconception that because this content is on the
web it is free or cheap to do a project.Gathering the content is trivial; making sense out of it,
especially given the volumes that can be found for many products, is the
of multiple functional areas: there is a big, misplaced debate about
“who should own social media”. The fact is many, many areas of a company
can learn valuable information. And given the cost and effort, it is
important to amortize the investment across as many areas as possible. A
client who was dealing with a recall crisis distributed the daily
Cymfony reports to PR, marketing, executives, consumer affairs and
others. They all used it to assess how effective their communication and
response to the crisis was and revised messaging and strategy
accordingly. Another client in PR shared the results with his
advertising colleagues; as a result, they were able to boost overall
sales by reallocating some advertising dollars away from products that
were getting a high level of PR coverage to give covered products that
didn’t receive much PR coverage more advertising weight.
The Future of Social Media Intelligence
Jon: What are
the greatest challenges facing the social intelligence industry?
shouldn’t say this, because our competitors might start to get smart, but
here goes: social media analysis is too focused on social media. It is
important but it is not yet the dominant place where consumers get their
information to drive purchase decisions. Social media is one input among
many and if that is all you look at, you are only looking at part of the
Jon: How do
you see social media/marketing evolving over the next 3 years? Jim:
media analysis vendors: Consolidation and failure in the social media
intelligence space. Nathan Gilliatt just published his updated directory
of over 60 companies in the space. Most will die.
media experience: consumer media consumption is evolving from a solo
activity to a social event. Media companies are already embracing social
media enthusiastically so on USA Today you can become part of the story
by rating and commenting while with CNN’s Ireport, an average Joe can
become the journalist by submitting videos.
will probably continue to lag consumer’s adoption of social media. But I
am seeing an encouraging trend in companies hiring and staffing social
media/community departments, moving away from conducting viral marketing
campaigns and embracing participating in the social media dialogue
Choosing the Right Solution for You
role should experience play in choosing a social media intelligence
in social media isn’t that important – it is all so new and changes so
rapidly that anyone claiming to know it all is obviously blowing smoke.
What is most important is experience in understanding what a brand or
company is trying to get out of their social media intelligence and the
ability to design a framework that will deliver answers to real business
questions. If a client approaches a social media project without a
partner who can give them this guidance, they will flounder around in a
mass of mildly interesting, but largely irrelevant banter among online
We've all got that MASSIVE excel file sitting somewhere on our computers. We meant to do great things with it. The numbers could have spoken volumes, adding new dimensions to our presentations, to our proposed business plans, to our perspectives and to our proposed strategies.
However, in the interest of keeping it clean, making the information we were looking to impart both clear and digestible, we dumbed down the data, sacrificing nuance for actionable results. In an ideal world, we could have both nuance and action. However, the demands of time-pressed reality occasionally demand that this sacrifice be made.
Consider the topic of web 2.0. I have presented on the topic dozens of times. My presentations have ranged anywhere from a single slide, picture or video, to 80 page manifestos on strategy, tactics, implementations, best practices, etc. And as much I as would like to believe that my presentation skills are strong, it is impossible to impart an entire discipline in a single image.
Is it possible to boil down complexity without losing nuance?