June 19th, 2012 by Sten Franke
Social Media and Human Resources: When I’m right, this is going to be one of the coming boom topics in the next months, as more and more blogger and relevant media cover it. Recently I read on Futurebiz.de: Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest are employed to win young talents and meet employer needs. Who is surprised by that, as the lack of skilled personnel no longer is refined to engineers, IT, and health care, but threatens the growth potential of the German economy owing to the over-aged population.
Furthermore, Europeans biggest marketing magazine “Werben & Verkaufen” wanted to know my opinion of this topic. Out of my and ethority’s point of view HR and social media is particularly interesting and hardly covered in regard of monitoring and measuring aspects. Not only social media campaigns of most businesses lack KPI’s in this field, to even measure success and reach of single employer branding and recruiting campaigns.
What are the relevant KPI’s to measure success of social media activities in human resources and employer branding?
The KPI’s at first are similar to monitoring brands:
- Buzz volume – How often is HR of my company talked about?
- Share of Voice – Are different businesses talked about more often considering this topic?
- Popularity of the employer brand – Which degree of sympathy, intensity, enthusiasm is at play when users talk about it as an employer?
- Sentiment concerning the employer brand in the single social networks, forums, blogs – How positively or negatively do the users talk about it on LinkedIn, XING, Facebook?
- Social Referrals of your employees – recommendations of vacancies in their own social networks – where, how often, and how successfully are vacancies distributed by your co-workers?
- User numbers of HR- or recruiting-apps for job offers
- Number of Followers/Fans on especially established HR-Twitter accounts, -Facebook Pages, or HR-channels
- Reach of single HR-campaigns
Ultimately, each HR manager will measure social media activities against hard facts like
9. Quantity (total CV-uploads) and
10. Matches – quality of received applications – amount of applicants fitting to the respective vacancyAre the criteria different to those of brands and products?
As yet mentioned of course a lot of identical KPI’s are applied to employer branding that as well are employed in the brands and products sector, although the data basis is different, and cannot begin with mentions of your business. Looking at the “where” and “how”, the context in which your company is mentioned is of key importance. Besides, “soft” criteria need to be defined that are tailor-made for the enterprise and the particular campaign.
Can you measure this success: Which tools are at your service?
Alongside these KPI’s it is important, to integrate methodological knowledge from market research in order to read strengths and weaknesses as an employer, find out needs and expectancies of potential applicants, and accordingly take the proper steps to your HR-strategy. A social media monitoring tool like the gridmaster is very useful to do this: The tool delivers KPI’s for HR-area and serves as an analytical instrument for campaigns and activities on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, XING, and their prospective alumni networks, as well as particular, topic-related blogs, forums and communities.
The gridmaster gathers KPI’s for the success of activities on the networks, or rather especially tailor-made job postings for social media, analyzed, and talent-screening is performed web-wide.
What do businesses need to consider from the beginning, to measure the proper results for their social media undertakings?
Each business has to know right away which goals it wants to reach with social media. Equally important are the appropriate platforms, your target audience, which topics to engage. All in all you always have to reconsider that social media steps do not necessarily have immediate effect on e.g. revenue, or rather – to stick to HR – amount of applicants. Social media actions need to be thought of as long term, and will bring the expected success with continued engagement. Next to analytical technology, in the past years we have reacted to the needs of the market and created a consulting-unit with analysts, planners, and community managers, to be able to offer the suitable strategies and activities to our clients and partners out of the analyses. What leads to success are finally the fitting mechanisms and sustainable community management, e.g. to get recommendations (so-called social referrals) of your community’s members, in order to reach the ideal candidates.
As I said in the W&V: At the end of the day, what counts are the hard facts like quality and quantity of the received applications, against which each HR-manager will measure his or her social media activities.
June 7th, 2012 by Sten Franke
As soon as a McKinsey-study names big data, digital marketing / social media, and cloud computing as megatrends, it will be recognized among most old economy enterprises. A recent investigation by the consulting firm concludes that most C-level executives see foremost three key trends in the digital business:
- Big data and an appropriate analysis of the data
- Digital marketing and corresponding social media tools
- Usage of new platforms like cloud computing and other mobile offers
The expectancies to these three mega trends are high. For instance a third of the questioned believe, via the mentioned trends operational revenue can be increased by more than 10 percent. Managers of privately held businesses expect an even bigger growth potential than their colleagues at companies or publicly held organizations. 39 percent of the “privates” see a growth of over 10 percent thanks to the three above defined trends. At public decision-makers this figure is only 24 percent.
How strong the pressure in these trends is can be seen by the fact that more than half of the respondents said, at least two of the three trends are among the top ten of their strategic business objectives in the coming years. The digital marketing, as well as big data, already belongs to top 3 priorities at 25 percent of all companies.
It may be interesting, whether the planned investigations can cope with the reputed reality. A mere 25 percent of the interviewed declare that more than 3 percent of the company budget is allocated to the digital business. For 29 percent this value only is 0.9 percent.
Tantalizing: A third considers the planned investments as sufficient. However, a half is speaking of too little financial resources.
The actual benefit businesses want to extract out of the three mega trends are – logically – widely varied. E.g. in the big data sector 49 percent state they will focus on customer insights. In digital marketing predominantly it is about further integrating consumers in the field of social media.
At the end of a highly appealing study the authors give an outlook: They see numerous challenges enterprises will have to face. „Also required is a new approach to managing talent by utilizing flexible team structures, engaging outside collaborators, and increasing corporate tolerance for failure.“
Based on my experience and variable discussions I had with executives of companies, brands, and agencies I assess the situation of Germany’s market as follows:
- More than 95% of the businesses will lag behind these mega trends, although the topics have gained awareness in the top management. Most of the times their relevance is being rated down, although. Owing to a lack of know-how they are not being approached or rather realized consequently. The jeopardy especially for exporting companies is very high, as they, first, disregard the chance to strengthen their leading position in the market, and second, risk to lose ground to direct, more innovative contenders in the global competition.
- The budgets for digital marketing have increased the past years, although far away of what would have been necessary to comply with the altered patterns of media usage of consumers. Established B2C-brands bet on modeling tools to fathom budget allocation best, although the tools often miss the input of social media data. When it comes to the creative realization, in my view too often the antique sender-receiver principle is being applied. A good bit of the digital budget is allotted to further development and launch of websites, while the initiation of branded communities in social networks is neglected. Too little significance is given to the important community management.
- Sure, big data is a hype topic in the media, but yet hasn’t arrived in the daily business. First tries to mount and interpret the massive data treasure can be identified, mostly in the US, where intern data are combined with consumer insights generated in social media, and so increasing the efficiency and output of campaigns. In Germany many companies still are in search of an argumentation to conduct a first professional social media analysis, above all against the background of identifying emerging crises. To get access to the nuggets – the customer insights – more than monitoring of keywords is needed. High analytical and technological competence, considerable comprehension of how consumers think nowadays, and which marketing tools deliver best leads is what it takes.
Conclusion: Indeed, most businesses will have a hard time building the required know-how, and the appropriate structures, in an acceptable time frame. That’s why top management will buy the competences externally. Ergo, service and solution providers in the above mentioned sectors may look forward to above average raising budgets in the coming years.
May 8th, 2009 by Mo
Original Article by David Nelles
All beginning is hard. The dialog with customers in user generated communication channels will be more than just a free will thing to do in the future, but utmost it will become the obligation of companies. After companies have been quite detached in the last decades from their customers in regard to the communications, and now they bring consumers and suppliers back together on the same level. The imbalance of power between brands and consumers has shifted in favor of the consumer. Through social media consumers are able to talk eye to eye with companies and brands. Thus, communication with consumers in digital area requires the long forgotten abilities such as dialog capability, authenticity, and transparency. The shift of media usage will put tremendous pressures upon companies to re-adopt these abilities. The classical work of the communication collides often with the new media. Thereby, five fundamental mistakes stand out the most in regard to the social media handling:
Not being true to self. Authentic dialog also means that brands i.e. companies are communicating themselves and hence, the communication must be transparent. Transparency begins there, where users i.e. consumers can recognize with whom they actually talk to. The temptation for brands to be actively engaged in a hidden way through social media is quite alluring, but over time this could actually endanger the brand image and dialog with users. Sony, Walmart and Vichy were example from the past for such failed and fake maneuver way into social media. Only a transparent dialog with target groups will help in countering this kind of risk.
Not listening to users. Even, when it somehow hurts, it won’t be often enough said: All beginning of the company’s efforts in the area of social media must be to listen first. Social media strategies are dialog solutions and not monolog strategies. Hence, the start of each dialogs lies in listening. If one foregoes a social media monitoring, then one can hardly find the right target group. Furthermore, one cannot determine which topics the potential customers in social media are actually interested on. Who is deaf and actively engaged as brands in the area of user generated media will harvest only on disappointment – that for certain.
Not finding the right words. Marketers are often having trouble speaking the language of social media. Real dialog is more than just a press release, advertising statements or tight- lipped PR statement. A good social media strategy is definitely not just another one-way channel for press releases and brand messages. Social media marketing means: Humanize your brand. Particularly, this applies in addressing the target group. The dialog must have a real added value for users, and for them this begins with a real authentic dialog.
Focusing solely on sales. This is in my honest opinion one of the cardinal mistakes. Social media marketing is not online marketing. Measuring the success of social media marketing strategies with metrics of classical online marketing is surely not the right objective. Social media can’t be reduced simply into relation between clicks and sales. Social media marketing is the building of consumer engagement and brand image. Such metrics might not lead to a direct or clear classified buying decision, but they do show quite significant influence for buying decisions in the future. Another reason, why sales and social media only contingently fit each other: What happen with party guests, who try to involve other guests in sales conversation? Yes – They won’t be invited to the next party. The same thing applies for brands, which in their social media efforts only try to get users to buy the products. Such brands won’t have the long lasting success in social media, since no one would want to listen anymore.
Micro instead of macro approach. Big companies have obviously problems in handling social media as one whole communication process and hence, online sales department might be in charged for a group page in facebook, or company communication in charged for a corporate blog and a brand with its own twitter stream. Multiple closed communication ways within the company is the result out of such strategies. This kind of approach would only lead to confusion and the target group would not perceive the company as one unit. It’s quite decisive for user to have a voice or at least to be able to communicate with other voices. Social media must exist outward as one uniformly communication string. Hence, the various activities should be coordinated and structured on top of one another.
The listed cases, which often occur by inappropriate application of social media, are certainly not the only rocky obstacles for professional’s communicators. Nevertheless, the cases do show how companies and brands still need to get use to the direct contact with their target group. This kind of contact needs not only a different way of thinking but also a mid-term structural change in the communication processes within the company. Hence, structures of the classical communication work require a change management as to keep in touch with target group in the future.
April 21st, 2009 by Mo
Original Article by David Nelles
There it goes; Twitter has become a substantially relevant PR tool. Hence, within only few months a number of brands have experienced, how fast a crisis can spread – thanks to this channel of the 140 characters. The American painkillers Motrin had encountered the anger and resentment of few well networked moms. The E-Commerce Gigant Amazon had to experience a hacker attack over Easter, which erased literature offers regarding gay and lesbian themes. And last but not least, the Domino’s pizza delivery service has its share of experience in regard to the short distasteful video of two employees on YouTube. The three cases show that even in the U.S Twitter has definitely become more and more relevant for company’s communication. Yet, how could these three companies avoid the big disaster to their reputation before it even started? Maybe these three tips below can help a little:
Only listening does not suffice
Important is also knowing, who talks about the brand in Twitter, and how badly he/she speaks about the brand and the corresponding company. Therefore, the following few priorities should stand out in foreground:
Priority No. 1 has to be the people who make up the majority of your brand’s customers. And that will be the question for Domino’s as it plots the best plan of response: The pizza chain needs to know not only how many people saw the video but who those people are and how likely they are to be current customers.
A monitoring is not only a quantitative analysis of the relevant brands mentions, but it’s also about the qualitative analysis like the segmentation and the creation of user’s typologies. Only a qualitative analysis ensures an effective potential crisis analysis. Thereby, it’s not only decisive, how often a tweet or retweet comes out but it’s also important, whether the tweet fits into my target group or not.
Don’t hide uncertainty – Transparency is a must
Companies should engage themselves in the discussions with quick and fast manner towards the emerging crisis in Twitter&Co. even if the companies do not actually know, what is happening, just like in the case with Amazon deleting the whole product groups. A short PR statement would only ignite more fire to the unfavorable situation. A transparent answer in Amazon’s case would be to inform users that the mistakes are not known yet and people in charged are doing everything in their power to resolve the problems. Through this kind of behavior, one shows that critical voices in Twitter are being taken seriously and that one does react to the voiced sentiments. This kind of strategy can smooth the situation and best example for it: the action taken by Scott Monty after a notice of one of the Ford fan’s communities:
Monty logged onto Twitter and asked people to hold off: there was “more to the story.” That slowed down commentary. A little later he added, there was counterfeiting of Ford trademark properties involved. That froze the conversation and bought him some time.
“Some time,” in a PR crisis a few years ago used to translate into about four days. Times change. Monty figured he had bought Ford a few hours.
The above example show that through the announcement of the brand alone of something is being done in respect to the circumstances can definitely slow the spread of crisis significantly down.
Exercise precautions and build your own Twitter community
This basic doesn’t only apply for Twitter but it applies as well for the whole area of social media. In case of a crisis, a strong brand community can be a life insurance for the brand.
Strong, emotional brands that have built up years of consumer goodwill seem to be more insulated from long-term hurt. Few consumers judged much-loved Whole Foods when its CEO was caught posting comments on financial sites under a fake name. Another consumer darling, JetBlue, has recovered valiantly from its Valentine’s Day massacre, which left passengers stranded on board on a runway for eight hours.
It appears quite advantageous for brands alone, out of the perspectives of crisis prevention to build a strong community around its brand. An authentic and long lasting dialog with users, and tying customers emotionally to the brand will make sustainable damage of brand reputation very unlikely. Furthermore, a big brand community i.e. a big Twitter followers guarantees a real sense of hearing in the target group of user generated channels. At least, Domino’s Pizza now understood how essential own Twitter community can be.
April 15th, 2009 by Mo
Original Article by David Nelles
Okay, we’ve seen the missing willingness of few marketers to get into dialog with their target group in social networks. Now, it’s a fair turn to give these execs some rules on how Facebook can also work for them. Through my research, I’ve come across a really meaningful “manual book” for Facebook on mashable. Based on this manual: The five pillars for a successful Facebook Fan Page.
Connect your online appearances. Utilize you existing network presence to additionally fill out your Facebook Fan Page with life. With this strategy, you can be absolutely certain that your target group – which already actively involves in other web appearances, has an easy access to the Fan Page.
Use existing Fan Pages for own purposes. Why make something new, when existing pages are functioning quite well. Cooperate with existing brand evangelists. The best example is the actual cooperation between Coca Cola and its brand fans.
Don’t be an advisor or exclusive information giver only to your supporters. Give also other users advises, which they can get out of your Fan Page. With this strategy, you can increase the brand image outside your own fan group. Hence, Dell plants itself as advisor for Facebook users in the application of social media for small business.
Increase the attractiveness of your Fan Page through special offers or winning contest. Winning contest can encourage user’s engagement, which can boost engagement in the corresponding Fan Page. Good examples are Adobe , Ben & Jerry´s and Old Navy.
Look for your target group. A proper targeting is a must for a successful fan page. Not all brands would get strong fan community like Apple&Co. Hence, a relevance check should always be in foreground of a Facebook initiative.
The following strategies should come out of the five pillars: At the beginning, an extensive targeting must make sure that the corresponding brands i.e. the products do fit into the Facebook target group. Once this process comes out with positive result, it’s helpful to check if there are big fan pages, which are worth to cooperate with. After a possible cooperation or own initiative, it’s quite important to link the fan page with the rest of the brand’s web appearances as to forward the traffic of the existing internet appearances into the fan page. In the end, the success of each branded community – be it on myspace or Facebook- depends on the quality of the contents. The content of such community must show a real added value. This could be winning contest or special offers and even promotions, which increase the user’s engagement in brand communication.
March 24th, 2009 by Mo
Original Article by David Nelles
Social media marketing only works when a user gets a real added value through his/her engagement. This means: The interaction with brands in user generated channels must result in a measureable ROI for users, as to achieve successful marketing in this area. Thereby, in his latest post – Tom Smith opts for a change in perspectives regarding this matter. It’s not about the added value of social media for companies but instead it’s more about the added value of big brands’ social media activities for users. Smith derives eight advantages for consumers through social media marketing:
1. Social media can transcend the “black box brand” of the past into a transparent dialog partner. Social media enables user a peek behind the scenes of a brand.
2. Social media differentiates bad products from good ones. Thanks to social media, it’s easier for users to get information about specific products before buying decisions are made.
3. Social media is the perfect channel for customer service. Comcast, Dell and Southwest are few of the best examples. The basic for brands should be to actively present themselves where the target group is, as to always be there for the costumers.
4. Social media allows users to take part in product innovation. The keyword is crowdsourcing for the creation of better products. Tchibo, Dell and Procter & Gamble show how companies can involve consumers in product development.
5. User decides if he/she wants to interact with brands. In classical online marketing, users didn’t have the power of choice to decline massive brand messaging.
6. Social media efforts of big brands are the prerequisites for a free of charge usage of Facebook&Co. However, for a continuous availability and development of social media platforms developers need the money, which would come from a booked and well-planned marketing campaign of big brands.
8. Brands in social media are alive through users. One way or another, users’ conversations about brands would take place, regardless of whether brands are choosing to be actively engaged or not.
In the end, it’s quite evident: Social media marketing i.e. active brands in social media offer users a real numerable added value. It starts with transparency through direct customer service and the power of choice, where users can decide for themselves whether they want to be exposed to brand messaging: users benefit obviously from this 2.0 brand communication. This user’s ROI is the key indicator for the success of a brand in user generated media. Brands communication in social media ignites two-way added value, both for users and brands. This applies only, if marketers abide to above mentioned added values. Hence, keywords like transparency and authenticity should be the core focus.
March 16th, 2009 by Mo
Original Article by David Nelles
In an interview with AdAge magazine Jimmy Wales gives his estimation about marketers’ strategy of mass collaboration in digital platforms like wikia.com. But Walles also thinks that the real success of this media is often overshadowed by marketers’ fear of losing control. Thereby, brands are still not able to enter into a real direct dialog with users in user generated media.
The fear of losing control doesn’t only apply exclusively to Wiki platform, but rather to the entire area of user generated media. This kind of fear resulted from marketers’ way of thinking that they could control their brands message, just like they did back then before social media surfaces. Well could they do it? The answer is a plain simple No. After all, social media is only a consequent shift of social interaction into a digital environment. Marketers are mistaken if they actually believed that they could control their brands communication back then. Even before social media, brands were already subjected to various discussions by consumers and print media. The difference in social media is that the critical voice of consumers for the affected company is instantly visible. Feedbacks about offered services or products should not ignite fear and loathing for marketers in charge in the company. Social media offers the chance of digital consumer conversations for brand’s benefits. Hence, it was never before so easy for companies to achieve consumer insights.