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A few days after Obama was announced re-elected, we dived into our social media monitoring software to pull some insights for the past 30 days.

Back in 2008, President Obama’s digital campaign became one of the world’s references in social media, defeating the Republican nominee, John McCain. However, while everyone expected again another great online performance by Obama, many wondered how well the Republican candidate, Mitt Romney, would embrace that channel.

Turns out, that in the final results, while Obama won in number of mentions, the online race has been pretty tight. Here it goes:

Topic trend

Check out how Romney wins partially the mentions battle October 16th and 22nd.

Conversation by media type

Obama conquered mentions in every media channel by far. Here the difference seems bigger.

Overall mentions with 30-day difference

Top-10 number of mentions by country

Did you expect Netherlands, Brazil and India in 4th, 5th and 6th  place?

 

Thousands of brands and companies have embraced social media already. However the vast majority haven’t adopted it yet. You can already see this question in the air, coming especially from the C suit: “Do we need to be in social media?”

There are different ways to answer that question. Every company is a different world so, including in the answer reasons about how using social media will impact their bottom line, makes a lot more sense. I usually dislike general answers, however I bring you today a nice exception.

I watched yesterday the video below from Gary Vaynerchuk about the “Stream economy: the way we used to consume information and the way we do it now”. He’s not inventing the wheel but, I’m sure that if you show this short video to high level executives, they may have an “a-ha” moment…

What do you think?

It has been a few years since social media became popular.

I wouldn’t say mainstream since a huge number of companies haven’t gotten started yet.
Another good portion have recently acknowledged its importance and are taking action at the moment.

When it comes to their first steps, the mistakes don’t differ much from those brands and companies that have started using social networks a while ago. It consists on a race for followers, fans… eyeballs.

From their perspective, it makes sense that they want to prioritise attention/reach. At the end of the day, that’s how TV, radio and newspapers work.

By now, most of these companies will feel frustrated. It turns out, attention is pretty scarce these days and there’s too much noise and competition. Money is not the solution either. Brands like Tipp-Ex (BIC Group) that have ample budgets might capture that attention initially but arrive to the same frustrating point later on since, after the momentum, they don’t talk to people.

It is not sustainable to win an attention race. Here’s what your company can do instead…

Race to care, or better yet, out-care.

Think about this

  • Did you set up a company email to get as many emails as possible?
  • Did you make a business phone number available to your prospects and customers with the intention of getting as many calls as possible in the first place?

You did it because people also have emails and telephones and therefore, they become  clear communication channels for your company. Then, if you’re good at handling email and phone queries, you’ll be able to serve more customers.  Does it make sense?

Step 1: Take the project as an experiment. Think about your customer persona and ask yourself: where do these folks hang out? (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc). You might not know 100% yet (maybe yes) but try to define that first.

Step 2: Create an account in the defined platforms and try to understand first, how do they work (don’t just join Facebook and Twitter because everyone is doing it. It might not even be for your company yet). If you understand how to communicate through the platform, it’ll be easier then to understand how to conduct conversations.

Step 3: Get help if necessary to gain a deeper understanding of the platforms and tricks that might help you stand out.

Step 4: Think about the type of content you’re going to share to serve your audience, to help your customers resolve their pain points, until you start getting questions from them. Content marketing is a world in itself so do your homework about what are you going to talk about.

Step 5: Ensure your profile/s are fully completed before engaging. Finally, start publishing your company updates.

Step 6: When prospects and customers do talk to you (big milestone!) be there to answer and provide helpful information!

The steps above are a super simplified way to approach social media in your company or organisation but, I can guarantee you that you will find it much more useful than publishing random posts in networks you don’t understand yet.

What do you think?

This is the kind of situation that you will more likely encounter while being on holidays. It’s a very popular rule that many businesses (big and small) keep nowadays.
Why do you think they still do that?
I honestly don’t think they know or understand why. It’s something they’ve been enforcing for years so why stop now?

With arguable exceptions of art museums or places like banks or airports where security is a major concern, there’s nothing else that comes to my head that could possibly deserve the famous photo/video ban. Companies applying this rule are wasting their time and attempting against their own reputation. Here are a couple of examples.

A visit to Camden Lock Market in East London

Loads of great shops. Most of the businesses don’t let you take any pictures. What is the main reason? Fear of getting copied.

In the current age & time, that should be the least of your worries. If I really wanted to, I could easily photo/video shoot your store/area/restaurant with my smartphone, without you even realising.

A visit to the the Spanish Riding School of Vienna

Spectators are dying to take home a slice of that beautiful horse show. Why then not let tourists take pictures? Mainly because they sell a CD package with photos and videos of the riding school and its horses when you leave the premises, therefore “it will impact sales”.

The opportunity

Both businesses are missing the point. The objective is to increase revenue (and reputation). The shop in the market aims at selling more crafts and the riding school aims at selling more tickets for tourists that want to enjoy the show, not selling more CDs. What’s even funnier is that, letting people take their own pictures doesn’t necessarily mean fewer CD sales either!

I still remember when I was younger and bags were usually checked for cameras at concerts. If the music/concert industry has now understood the imminent change where everyone is a broadcaster, how come others haven’t yet?

Every time you let your customers and prospects collect a piece of what you offer through a photo or video, they become the best sales people you could have ever hired… for free. They will use that visual material to amplify their experience in the different social networks. As a result, more people become aware of your attraction and may consider to pay you a visit.

As we mentioned previously, companies are still investing too much energy and resources to make private what should be public. The fact that something has been done in a certain way during 20 years, doesn’t necessarily mean that it must be kept that way forever. In fact, you could embrace the ban and make it work to your advantage. What do you think?

Last Thursday,  Tipp-Ex (a BIC product) launched once again their interactive campaign with the funny bear: “In the first season, viewers were invited to white and rewrite the story… For the second season, it’s now time to white and rewrite history!” (BIC’s press release).

Last year we followed the results for the first week of the campaign and also commented on some missed opportunities. Let’s first analyse a bit the brand mentions generated during this second season. We tracked the following keywords: tippex, tipp-ex, tipex and the official hashtag, #tippexexperience2. The timeframe we used was April 9th through the 19th.

Trend: This year the impact was bigger. Tipp-Ex had almost 5,000 mentions on launch date only. Last year they reached less than 2,000 the same day. They also had an average of over 200 brand mentions before the campaign started as opposed to 100 last year.

Mentions by region: Besides the US, not surprisingly in first place, this year the most mentions came from France  in second place (Buzzman, the French agency behind the campaign might have some impact) and the UK in third. Last year the UK was second and Germany third.

Mentions by media type: Naturally, micromedia was king with over 11,000 mentions. Last year we had over 4,000 within a few days from launch.

Was the campaign successful?

Despite the fact that Tipp-Ex achieved higher reach in this second attempt and that, undoubtedly, it’s a very creative and fun way to engage with fans, I wouldn’t say it was a success.
They have indeed added this time a Facebook page for the campaign (not the product unfortunately) where they amassed 35,000 fans. However, that doesn’t translate into success either.

We wrote a few posts about the importance of endurance in social media marketing. The BIC Group, as well as other powerful brands, such as Volkswagen and Old Spice, have the budgets to pull off entertaining campaigns of this magnitude.

Do you enjoy beautiful fireworks? How long do they last? That’s the best analogy to explain this new campaign. It took Tipp-Ex over a year to come back with “the bear”. The 1 million dollar question is: What have they done in the meantime?

There are no signs of engagement, no brand/product representatives talking to customers, not even in the Facebook page with 35 thousand fans! (please correct me if I’m wrong by sharing the link to their social channels in the comments).

At the end of the day, the idea is good and more likely Tipp-Ex will stay fresh in people’s minds for some time. However, a good social media marketing programme requires a lot more than one expensive, interactive campaign every now and then. Impressing your audience is one thing. Talking with them makes it more meaningful and rewarding.

What do you think?

I recently went to Oman with my family in-law. It was a fantastic experience. We drove across the country and explored its scenery and culture.

Despite how different life is in this angle of the planet, in my visit to the souk (Arab street market) in Nizwa, I realised that the behaviour was the exact same as in any other local market: people get together around the goods and socialise. Now, each one of these local points around the world have its unique characteristics (language, dress code, type of food, location, etc) which means that if you place a local shop from Paris in Nizwa, it’ll more likely not work.

Later on, this good article from Clara Shih about Facebook timeline for brands came to my head. Here’s the extract:

“Facebook is the place where friends have conversations with friends, and conversations are ever-changing. Sometimes, those conversations are with brands. Other times, the conversations are about brands. Businesses which are best at telling stories and creating emotional connection with fans get talked with and talked about the most. It’s that simple.
By eliminating fan-gating and no longer making it possible to apply old marketing tricks to the new medium, Facebook is issuing a challenge to all marketers: be yourself, stay in touch, tell your stories in authentic and engaging ways.
This begs the question: how do businesses come across as authentic and engaging? The key is to appeal to the issues, passions, and pain points that matter most to fans by getting highly targeted and local…”

This is not a piece of advise for Facebook execution only. Any global brand that drops the corporate one-message-fits-all approach and focuses on local, meaningful interactions will be making progress getting closer to prospects and customers.

This “local” we’re talking about goes beyond “localisation” (adapting a product or service to a particular language, culture, and desired local “look-and-feel.”). Creating useful content that “appeals to the issues, passions, and pain points” of your customers and prospects is the real challenge and the only way your company will build a long lasting relationship.

Imagine your company acting as the local market. People coming to you because you offer something of value that goes beyond the very transaction. Imagine building social nodes where relevant people interact with each other and eventually come for your help.

From a different  angle, Gary Vaynerchuk also talks about “Local” and the importance of bringing some “small town sensibility” within the organisation.

What do you think?

I receive about five undesired LinkedIn messages every month. I got this one a few days ago that seemed to have a bit more work than the average. I felt bad for the person sending this message. He or she clearly sat down and thought about some creative lines, the ones that probably make you think, the ones that maybe work like magic and make people take action… I’m afraid that did not happen. Here’s the message:


Yes, I did press the “Report Spam” button because that’s all the message is. From the moment a stranger makes contact with you, doesn’t use your name, and pulls a pitch, it doesn’t matter how good is what they offer. People will shut down.
Many professionals using this tactic obviously don’t see themselves as strangers and don’t put into the recipient’s shoes either. But hey, the good news is that there’re many other great and legitimate ways to sell insurance without being a spammer. However, they take a bit more time, dedication, getting to your know your audience, business contacts and also offer something of help (tips, a blog post, a guide, etc).

Have you ever heard that “first impressions are very powerful”? Well, that doesn’t apply to the offline world only. When you send a message of this type, you’re closing doors. You put red flags in people’s heads as soon as they read your name again.

What’s your experience? How are some professionals wasting their time on LinekdIn?

Last Sunday, February 26th, The Oscars’ ceremony was celebrated once again. A type of event that generates a lot of conversations around the world so we thought it would be interesting to share with you some insights.

Conversation trend

This graph shows you the level of “oscars” mentions from February 23rd through the 28th. By including a few days before and after the event you can clearly see the contrast in the volume. From an average of about 12 thousand mentions days before the ceremony to over 2 million on Sunday 26th.

Conversation cloud

We only tracked Sunday 26th and Monday 27th for this graph in order to get a clearer snapshot of the conversations.
We drilled down into many of the keywords, especially “worst” and “best” to see if we could discover something worth talking about. Yes, you guessed. Nothing, unless you really wanted to know what thousands of people said about Angelina Jolie’s leg. You may be interested in knowing that many people mentioned that this was probably one of the worst Oscar ceremonies though.

This tweet about Natalie Portman’s selected words was retweeted almost 15 thousand times!

Where did conversations occur?

Most of you wouldn’t be surprised to see that Twitter ruled. Even if the monitoring software could track all Facebook posts that are not public, Twitter would still win with a major difference. It’s a very agile, real-time communication tool.

Mentions by country

Naturally, the US and Canada led the pack. I wouldn’t have guessed that  Brazil would be in the fourth place.
To the right of the graph you get the difference in the amount of mentions compared to a couple of days before the event.

Did you follow The Oscars? Have you got any insights to share?

When some professionals ask me for tips and advise, they usually focus on the very social media platforms. They are looking for tricks on how to better use Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. As soon as I ask a couple of discovery questions, I immediately realise they have another problem: they don’t know what to talk about (their value proposition online). The platforms are just the tip of the iceberg.

I remember working with a commercial real estate firm that made big plans for a new property events website and then, it came the time to “do social media” (afterthought). They wanted to master all platforms simply because they didn’t know better and also because they saw social networks as mere distribution channels. From that perspective, it makes sense: “…all marketing and PR stuff that we have there, we simply push it here too“. No one is going to ban you from doing that but it will get old very fast and you will be soon thinking that the reason why there’s no engagement is because “there’s something you’re doing wrong when managing the platforms.”

A useful starting point

What does your network offer? How does it solve people’s problems? What kind of problems?

A company blog is the easiest way to get started (not a news wall). If you write content that at least tackles the three questions above, you will be serving your audience with something useful, nuggets of advice that will help them make better decisions (whenever they’re ready).

Think also about where your prospects and customers are. We recently did an audit for a recruitment firm who often runs open days and fairs and almost non of their potential candidates were on Twitter and Facebook but on LinkedIn instead. Guess what? They saved a lot of time by avoiding any Twitter/Facebook tactics. They only spent their limited resources where their audience currently is. That’s part of traditional marketing so even professionals not very familiar with social media should be comfortable with that.

A recent situation

Last week I met a network manager that asked me for tips on Facebook. They’re expanding their events to other countries and they were looking to gain reach. I asked: “Is there any reason in particular why you would think that Facebook can do that for you only?

The solution came by having clear what’s their main subject and what they offer, through content. For example, what’s going on in each event? Network managers should squeeze every minute of event time to generate content, specially because then, they don’t have to plan separate activities to create it :)

  1. Are you bringing a speaker? Get your Flip camera and record the session. Maybe do a short 3-minute interview before the event so there’s almost nothing to edit and you can upload the video to YouTube and have it available for your community the same night or the day after!
  2. Go through the attendee list and based on the theme of the event, select people to do testimonials about a specific subject or simply about the event itself.
  3. Have a dedicated photo hub such as FlickR, however if Facebook is very important for your efforts, upload pictures to both platforms. The benefit is that through FlickR is very easy to have all photo material organised and with Facebook, easier to spread the word by tagging members of your group.
  4. The more you know your attendees (community) the better you will remember what they do and therefore you can give them a public plug offline and online. Have they write a guest post on your blog! Then you’ll distribute it through your outposts (“shop keepers” as @ChrisBrogan would say) and they will do the same through theirs.
  5. Have a dedicated video hub such as YouTube. I also recommend that you upload selected video content in parallel to your Facebook page. Visual content is the best food for your Facebook fans.
  6. If your event managing platform is Meetup.com, proactively ask a few members to leave feedback, visible to the group’s page. Tip: I’ve seen a few groups grow a community with Meetup.com and then switch over to their own “social site” made with Jing or SocialGo and never took off. You might want to keep it simple with Meetup or your own platform if you started there.

What other tactics have worked for you to succesfully promote your network?

Very often we send or receive all kinds of different documents online and offline, such as proposals, branded presentations, training packets, etc. All those papers have a purpose. We would like people to do X when they read it, right? Here are a few things you can try:

1. Complement with video

All proposals we send have a customised video that points to a branded page on our website where the prospect can learn more about the service and what they can expect. Video provides a full different taste about what you offer. Think about your training material or anything that’s been delivered traditionally for so long. Why not add a link to a video where the person that wrote that piece of  content can expand more on the subject?

2. Always use a URL shortener

We rely on Bit.ly. This service provides you with a shorter (handier) version of any long URL you might want to share. You can also customise the name of the link. It also provides valuable  insights about the amount of clicks your content is getting and the regions where those clicks are coming from. Finally, Bit.ly will generate a QR code for each shortened link. In the example above, if the prospect decided to print out the document he/she would still be able to scan that code with a mobile and watch the video!

Use QR codes also at events so people can easily scan and download your documents.

3. Allow people to interact in your ebooks or white papers

Since Twitter, avatars have demonstrated to be very powerful. Use them in your documents to provide a face for the expert writing the content and invite your audience to continue the conversation providing a link to the specific website, blog or even your LinkedIn Group! Chris Brogan did this in his first book, “Social Media 101″. That’s taking reading (one action only) to the next level.

4. Facilitate discussions with polls

Create a poll and embed it on any web page. You can do that with Polldaddy.com or why not with LinkedIn to direct people to your Group. Share a link on your document and also a QR code (for offline users) that points to that poll. Check for instant results during or after your presentation for example.

5. Include sharing options

Any promotional PDF that you share online should have a call-to-action asking users to share it more. Make it easy for them. Hubspot do this on every paper they distribute.

6. Finish strongly

At the end of any typical document, I usually see a brand, name, address and maybe email. You can do better than that. Include a video screenshot pointing to the resource online, invite your audience to join your LinkedIn Group, sign up to your email updates, share the social networks to connect with the speaker, etc. Remember to always include a shortened URL, otherwise you won’t be able to track your efforts.

How do you currently optimise your documents?