According to SAS “Social networking now accounts for 11 percent of all time spent online in the US – with 100 million unique visitors and more than a billion tweets per month”. A PR agency out of Boston Coneinc.com produced a survey that said that 80% of people have changed a purchase decision due to a bad review they saw. So in the “ZMOT – Zero Moment of Truth” world companies can either ignore this fact at their own peril or decide to do something about it.
Creating a social media (e.g. a Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Tumbler, etc) account isn’t enough. In fact you’re missing the point by not embracing the new world order.
The point is – Personal, Fast, Response and Engagement It’s a very crowded space and conversations taking place on these social networks can help or kill. If a CEO doesn’t know the conversations are going on or think that “it’s just for kids”, they are delusional and you don’t want to engage them. These companies will need multiple nurturing and educational campaigns to get them up to speed relative to the impact the social network effect has on their business. The Social community will help with this process over time as the impact is highlighted to them by their own employees. In fact a campaign targeting an entire company’s social presence might be very revealing to them. Fortunately these CEO’s are getting scarcer and even if they are against it they understand the point of content leverage. Every nurturing campaign you create can be leveraged at other points within the sales cycle from a social aspect – so it truly should never be wasted effort. If the CEO does understand the impact – they are going to look to their marketing brain trust to develop a strategy to “handle” it. Marketing then feels a lack of resources pain – it’s not as if the department was just sitting around waiting for something to do. There are so many networks to monitor let alone participate in so marketing might be intimidated by the social media landscape even if they are active with their personal brand.
Anyone who has ever worked in the online marketplace knows how difficult it can be to be everywhere at once. I’ve literally setup checklist documents – facebook, check – tumblr, check – twitter, check – hashtag, check, etc. Social media tracking tools can be extremely useful to help organizations keep up with timely relevant social media activity creating a level of efficiency an individual cannot hope to accomplish without automation. The problem is with so many on the market it’s somewhat hard to cut through the marketing bullshit to see what really matters and makes a solution different. The following list appears to me to be the “Jacks or Better” to even merit further investigation:
- Integration – If you don’t connect to everything (or a lot) don’t bother. Twitter might be the player now but tomorrow another network will crop up and they will be incredibly important some community somewhere.
- Monitoring – The simplest piece of the puzzle. Many tools give the ability to chart volume for keywords over time. This is a great way to measure impact of marketing efforts and social media campaigns, especially when combined with sentiment. Real-time monitoring is better but since you won’t be checking your tools every second of the day its really not critical unless you have a dedicated resource.
- Tone – It’s all in the sentiment algorithm. Most current tools attempt to assign sentiment to a post automatically. This will be helpful as accuracy improves over time. There was a recent blog post which said “70% accurate in most cases”, so manual interaction is required. An interesting company to keep an eye one is Recorded Future. There has to be a way to rank high probability success sentiment value to reduce the workflow.
- Influence Rank – Similar to a Klout score who is saying what is just as important as the people which are saying it.
- Location Services – Where the conversation is happening is critical especially for enterprise customers. Multiple languages can come into play to have an appropriate response. Otherwise a social proximity model sounds cool, but I’ve never heard of a successful automated implementation.
- Workflow – Team collaboration is a productivity and efficiency play. The process of assigning, tracking and responding is key to prevent double and missed responses.
- Ease of Use – Easy use needs to dominate for habituation. This allows the focus to be placed on what is most important – engagement.