April 4th, 2012 by Sten Franke
This catchphrase has the potential to become an all-time classic on all conferences from Hamburg to San Francisco: Digital Darwinism. Creator of this saying is Brian Solis, one of the most interesting thinkers in the digital era, Principal Analyst of Altimeter Group, bestselling author and keynote speaker.
What he means by Digital Darwinism is the excluding competition around awareness which brands in the social web are facing. Now all of a sudden extremely hungry and customer focused newcomers compete with established brands that long profited of their tradition, reputation and their rather sedate product cycles. Now the latter notice that the former are growing excessively, and are only one click away of heralding their decline.
An important factor is the new power of the consumers – so to speak the right to communicate and co-determine that is being lived on social media platforms for long.
In Solis’ point of view on Facebook & Co. an excluding competition is fought that only those companies will survive that are willed to accept this change and think differently. To consist in this competition there are 10 principles to abide by that he had articulated. Among them there is strategy, culture, people, and vision. In respect of the last point Brian asks rightly, when one has read the mission statement of his company lately? Whether you live by them and whether they are matching the times. Basically he says that an enterprise has to be able to create a working environment that leaves each employee the room to invest his entire creativity and innovation.
A business that strives to maintain in the Digital Darwinism, always has to question itself, and has to be ready to adapt their business goals and strategies anytime. Further keywords that are of huge importance to Brian Solis are: Localization, Philanthropic Capitalism, and Intelligence. On it is is said:
„One of the biggest trends in 2011 was the development of social media command centers. At the heart of these sophisticated data gathering silos were conversations and tools that allowed community managers to listen, respond, and promote engagement within the company. While social media is introducing the art & science of monitoring to marketing and service teams it is the organizations that invest in technology, teams and processes that will translate activity into actionable insights.“
However, the most exciting thought of Brian Solis is to demand more leadership qualities by the Top-Management. They have to provide the strategy and exemplify them through their own life. They have to cater the adequate corporate culture, and should be the first to listen to users and consumers in social media.
The US-American reaffirms a trend we have covered only recently. According to a study by Brandfog, the social media awareness of a brand is influenced positively by the circumstance whether the CEO engages on Twitter, Facebook, and Co. personally. For instance 78% think, it has positive consequences when the boss hits the keyboard or smartphone on his own. 71% believe this improves the brand image and 64% are sure a twittering and facebooking management’s business is perceived as more transparent than others.
Brian’s approach is extremely fascinating to me, so I want to dig deeper into it in further blog articles. Though, it has to be admitted that these principles apply foremost to consumer-centered business models.
March 19th, 2012 by Sten Franke
Facebook still is the most underestimated platform for corporate communications. This may sound odd, yet most companies and brands don’t exploit social media platform’s potential sufficiently.
A research by Recommend.ly shows 82% of all facebook fanpages are updated less than 5 times a month. A surprisingly low number. Even worse are accounts of local businesses. Only 6% of them engage in conversations on their fanpages.
Furthermore, Recommend.ly found out that on average 91% of comments of facebook fans remain unanswered. As a basis of this analysis 1.7 Mio. fanpages of enterprises serve.
Most companies apparently don’t know how to use their facebook account, these results show.
The conversion into new timeline gives reason to expect better. It forces businesses to reflect on their facebook strategy. Indeed ever more companies evaluate the challenges the social network poses.
Allfacebook.de reports 8 Mio pages have switched to the new design in the first fortnight. I.e. “of the 37 Mio pages with more than 10 fans (December 2011) 20% shifted to the timeline voluntarily”, experts say. Further it reads: “The remaining 80% hopefully are planning the makeover right now.” Otherwise on March 30 there will be a rude awakening: At the end of this month all pages are converted automatically. Futurebiz offers a worthy tutorial.
6 steps to change your fanpage successfully:
- Adapt your cover and profile image
- Create highlights and allocate pictures
- Look through and highlight past posts
- Prepare your community management to the new communication channels
- Optimize tabs
- Evaluate Concepts for campaigns à integrate your chronic
February 21st, 2012 by Sten Franke
ROI measurement will soon be crucial to any social media marketing strategy and analysis. In my opinion, the most recent study conducted by King Fish Media leads only to this conclusion.
The marketing agency King Fish Media found that, up to now not even half of all businesses measure the ROI of their Social Media campaigns, although for long there are already Social Media Intelligence or Monitoring tools which can easily analyze Return on Investment – like ethority’s gridmaster. In addition to these tools, the free ethority Social Media ROI Calculator may be used.
A third of the businesses that have calculated the ROI of their campaigns stated that their measures have had the expected impact. For 13 percent the results even exceeded all expectations.
Now, these businesses are particularly interesting because they are the future. Analysts of King Fish Media revealed that 29% of the surveyed companies need to show a positive ROI to receive their Social Media Budget next year.
The most important findings of the study were:
1. Social Media ROI tracking will become much more relevant in the future because half of the surveyed companies still do not conduct ROI analyses.
2. It can be predicted, however, that more than the current 29 percent need to develop an appropriate ROI to be able to plan with respective budgets for future campaigns.
3. The time of social media success being determined only by the number of fans, friends or followers or by rule of thumb will pass.
And this is just as well, because everybody profits from a reasonable ROI measurement strategy and analysis: Users, because campaigns are specially tailored to their needs, and businesses, because they can use their budget more efficiently.
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.
December 10th, 2008 by Sten Franke
Original article by David Nelles (translated by Nils Maier)
It’s a well known fact; Dell is pretty advanced in the adoption of Social Media in the areas of CRM and Marketing. The interview with Richard Binnheimer in Online Marketing Blog, actually punctuates my assessment about the U.S number one PC provider: Dell did get it!
I found the middle part of the interview quite interesting and educating. Binnheimer explained the reasons, which supported Dell’s decision to adopt Social Media.
“1. The Magnitude of Change: One billion people are now online — a figure that will double by 2011. In fact, every day 500,000 new users come online for the first time. Content is exploding. There was more content on YouTube in 2006 than on the Web in 2000. This represents a significant shift in what we think of as media, or put another way, what and how people get information. Taken together, we are experiencing changes to the dynamics of how we process information to form opinions.
News cycles can start from anywhere today. News and conversations are not just local/regional, they are global. Single blog posts can have as much power as major news stories. People are publishers, content providers and decision-makers. There are additional and new news cycles, and a proliferation of outlets for information. There is a rapid and continuing democratization of information.
This global information technology infrastructure enables individuals to connect and converse using all kinds of social media. They are forming new communities, their own communities, sharing information in ways they care about and make sense to them. These communities shape debates, impact perspectives and perceptions. The numbers and connectedness are of such a magnitude that public opinion and perceptions can be influenced and changed by “each other,” not controlled by others (and, I think this is a good thing, by the way).
2. The Value of Personal: I personally believe social media is contributing to a significant change that take us from what I call the “traditional, rational, objective, institutional” perspective to a more “subjective, emotive, personalized and human” perspective.
The move from “objective,” fact-based, third party reporting and commentary (traditional media/advertising/controlled messages/interruptions) to individual, “subjective,” and “crowd sourced” perceptions is very powerful. Perceptions are no longer just reality. They are real. The “new facts” are based on real interactions and experiences that people share with each other. Perceptions (“my real experience and my views) gain legitimacy and value and become a part of the larger community’s “facts.” For more on the importance (and inherent value) of perceptions in social media check these links.
If you are not persuaded by the trend data, directions and changes occurring, I would pose this question, rhetorically. I call it the customer question.
3. Connecting with Customers: Since when did any business not want to connect with its customers? Seriously, what is the issue here? Do we need to justify using today’s efficient, effective and readily available technology to spend 30 minutes or couple hours a day connecting with real customers?
No one has yet to explain to me why they should not use social media as a way to connect with their customers. We could leave this point hang and let it stand on its own. I think it speaks volumes.
However, lets flesh it out a bit. Connecting and communicating with customers is about more than merely meeting customers’ expectations today. Social media is an ideal tool to reach customers more quickly, efficiently, frequently and cost effectively.
Even more importantly than its efficiency and cost-effectiveness, social media is an ideal tool to listen, learn and engage in real conversations with customers. Does someone need to justify that?
Here is an example: If a conversation occurs in a Minneapolis Starbucks about the new Dell mini, I can’t hear it, nor be informed by it. On the other hand, if that same conversation starts in Minneapolis (or China) with a post on a blog, Twitter, Friendfeed, Facebook or wherever, not only can I listen and learn, I can act and join the conversation.
We can immediately take the information and do what we need to – fix something, thank the customer for positive feedback, correct misinformation, whatever might be relevant. It’s like having Dell customers from anywhere in the world walking the halls of our offices in Round Rock, TX. How cool is that? But the result is better than cool. The immediacy of online listening means we can continuously build a better business based on real time customer input.
One further thought, beyond listening and learning, I’d also highlight the benefits of engaging in online conversations using social media. If your customers are connecting with each other, why not join them? At a minimum you are forming a relationship, and more broadly, a community. There are all kinds of benefits to deeper and interactive relationships. One of my colleagues likes to say, “we used to host, prepare and serve the dinner party. Social media allows us to come to the party, join the conversation in a more relaxed manner and be part of it.”
The above three mentioned reasons, hit the bull right in the eye: the changes in media communications with consumers, immense value of authentic communications and eventually the direct contacts to consumers. Exactly these facts are the decisive pleadings for a solid place of Social Media in marketing mix.
Marketers in Germany should take these pleadings seriously into account. All three reasons do not only apply specifically for the U.S but rather this development applies as well here for Germany.
Change in media communications with consumers is less of a threat and more of “a not yet exhausted of possibilities”. It was never so easy to listen and to communicate with consumers in direct dialogs – cost efficient and less of divergence. Yet, one should not forget, that Dell had its Dell Hell experience before it got to this point of realization. If you want to read the whole interview, here is the link.