Tuesday, 16 April 2013

LISTEN, LEARN AND "OUT CARE"

Social media has revolutionised the digital industry completely. When the internet was first introduced, it was a very static and a one-way communication channel. Social media has changed this dynamic completely, the internet is now a content creating machine that empowers dialogue and sharing. We have all turned into #digitaljunkies, sharing and consuming content every minute of every day. 

Social media provides consumers with a voice, no matter where they are located or who they are, someone who lives in Ogies or Pofadder can now have an opinion and be heard by brands and others that might be listening. 

We have turned into Digital Junkies


When it comes to social media and social marketing, I would have to say that I was most inspired by a guy called Gary Vaynerchuk or better know as @Garyvee. He is the author of "The Thank You Economy", I would highly recommend this to anyone working in the social media space. Through his own experience he writes about how brands should use social media to their advantage by truly listening to their customers and by offering exceptional customer experiences through these channels. Here are a couple of my favourite quotes from his book: 

“A lot of companies resist building a Facebook wall, blogging, or starting a Twitter or YouTube account because an irate customer might post negative comments.

So what? Would you prefer that the customer post them somewhere else where you have absolutely no way to reply? Or somewhere you can’t even find? If you’re that afraid of your customer, you might want to take a closer look at how you’re doing business.”

It is time to become a "Customer Company"


“Embarking on one-to-one customer engagement offers significant long-term rewards, but the company will also experience immediate benefits – greater brand awareness, stronger brand loyalty, increased word of mouth, improved understanding of customer needs, and better, faster consumer feedback – and suffer very few drawbacks, if any."

“Meanwhile, the drawback to resisting social media engagement is clear: the longer you wait, the farther the competition can pull ahead. In the future, the companies with tremendous “relationship capital” will be the ones to succeed. Society is creating an ecosystem that rewards good manners, high touch, honesty, and integrity. Ten years from now, every company will have a Chief Culture Officer on staff and, if big enough, a team dedicated to scaling one-on-one relationships.”

This following quote is so true, how many brands do you see creating print or TV ads that just have their social media icons pasted somewhere? 

“When you place a traditional ad, whether it's on TV, radio, print or billboards, you're spending a lot of money to hold on to the microphone and say your piece over and over and over again. You're pushing your way into the consumer's consciousness.”

“If you are going to launch a campaign, it has to be one that evokes an emotion so that people feel compelled to share. Give them something to talk about, unleash the power of word of mouth, and allow them to pull you into their consciousness.”

“Develop creative work that allows the platforms to rally, to work together to extend your story, continue the conversation, and connect with your audience. It’s not enough to simply throw a Twitter or Facebook logo at the bottom of your ad, or show Facebook.com/yourbrand at the end of your TV commercial. That’s about as exciting and useful as saying “We have a phone!” or “Found in most stores!”

The Thank You Economy - "Out care your competitors" 


Many brands don't realise that they now have the ability to listen to their consumers like never before. It is like having a survey in the market every day, 24/7, 365 days a year and it isn't bias because it is honest conversations from customers and it doesn't cost a cent. 

Brands can now gain insights into what consumers think about their brand, their products, competitor brands and products and industries in general. These insights can provide invaluable insights into business strategies, product development and service enhancements. 

The sad reality is that many brands make use of ORM tools like Radian 6 and Brands Eye yet very few effectively use the insights obtained. In order to truly tap into the value that these tools have to offer one should have a dedicated team that analyses all the data captured on a daily basis, translating it into relevant data for business strategies. 


Business is Social → A Glimpse Into the Future


We Feel Fine (www.wefeelfine.org

This is possibly one of best examples of how powerful the web and social media can be in terms of "listening".  We Feel Fine came up with a concept to see what people around the world are feeling at any point in time and then try correlate it back to different things like weather, seasons etc. to see what influences people's emotions. 

The concept behind it is quite simple, they created software similar to ORM (online reputation management) tools whereby it searches the web and social media for specific keywords, in this case "feel". They then took all this data and created a dynamic and interactive website experience where users can filter the results and choose the way they wish to visualise the data. 


Radian6 Overview


Radian6 Insights and Social Listening


Another sad reality is that in 2013 we still find brands wanting to set "Likes" as the main objective. The question is not how many "Likes" you have but rather what you do with them and ensuring that they are relevant "Fans" and ultimately brand advocates. 

Brands should be focusing on engagement rates and organic growth. I can't wait for the day when a brand updates their cover image with a graph showing their "brand engagement levels" versus they just reached 10 000 "Fans" or "Followers". 

Here is a formula to calculate your current engagement rates and some graphs that show what content gets the highest levels of engagement



Getting "Likes" is easy, it just costs money and requires giving away a prize or incentive every month. These graphs below show the direct result of campaigns on Facebook where Facebook Ads were used.  


Brands currently celebrate how many "Fans" they have, a case of "my page is bigger than your page", who says those same "Fans" don't "Like" every competitors page?


These are two of my favourite examples of how useless a "Fan" or "Like" truly is, firstly have a look at www.pleaselike.com  and then watch the video below. This is essentially what happens when you just chase after "Likes" versus using social media to create true brand advocates and ambassadors. 

Buyral - Guarantees your brand to go Viral 


It is also important to remember that the more "Fans" a brand has, the more money they will need to spend to manage those communities and create content in addition to this the bigger your community grows the lower your engagement levels become. 
In conclusion, brands should be focusing on the insights and data that social media allows them to tap into, they need to move away from focusing on how many "Fans" they have compared to their competitors and start focusing on what they do with the "Fans" they have and how they they can use social media to "out care" their competitors.