For my 100th post on this blog, I thought I would share all 100 insights in one place. Each listing is a link back to the original post.
100 Insights For New Media Marketing:
For my 100th post on this blog, I thought I would share all 100 insights in one place. Each listing is a link back to the original post.
100 Insights For New Media Marketing:
On Friday it felt like every news outlet was writing about Amazon.com’s Pay To Quit Program announced in the annual report. Besides this immediate earned media attention, there is real value behind the program when we consider the social media empowered employee. Some simple calculations can show us what a happy or unhappy employee can earn or cost a company on social media.
Jeff Bezos explains that Pay to Quit is simple. Once a year, Amazon will pay associates to quit if they are unhappy. The first year it’s $2,000 and it goes up $1,000 a year until $5,000. But the retail giant emphasizes “Please Don’t Take This Offer.” They hope associates will stay. Bezos explains, “In the long-run an employee staying somewhere they don’t want to be isn’t healthy for the employee or the company.” Bezos is famous for focusing on long-run returns over short term gain such as break even pricing on the Kindle, but when you calculate the value of employee social media use I believe there are some more immediate benefits.
Happy Employees + Social Media = Real Value
Amazon isn’t talking about front office employees here. As Techcrunch put it, “Developers wanting seed money as they run off to build their own startups are out of luck.” This is their fulfillment center employees. When most people talk about employee social media programs they might not have this in mind, but look at the latest social media use statistics from Pew Research. Some 73% of online adults now use a social networking site and 42% use multiple sites. Plus engagement is up with 63% of Facebook users visiting the site once a day and 40% visiting multiple times. The latest data also shows social media use cuts across a diverse range of demographics including age, education, and income. Front office or not, your employees are on social media and a full 40% of cell phone owners are accessing social networks on their phones.
Social Media Examiner predicted Employee Advocacy to be the #2 social media trend to watch in 2014. Each employee has influence through personal social media accounts on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook that can be tapped to share the company’s messages and broaden reach. SmarpShare is a company focused on developing employee advocacy programs and they have provided a simple calculation of the value of social employees.
Look at how much social media platforms charge for clicks. Then look at promoted content that appears in the same area as messages coming from people, and use that as a measure of value. This isn’t actual business value, but it helps estimate potential. For example, LinkedIn charges $3 per click on a sponsored post. Using that, SmarpShare calculates the earned media value (EMV) of employee advocacy. SmarpShare has been measuring this value for over a year and found that one employee share generates an average of 6 clicks. This number varies depending on content, culture, and advocacy tools, but with Amazon surpassing Microsoft and Google to 110,000 employees we can estimate:
110,000 (Amazon employees) x 5 (shares per employee) x 6 (clicks per share) x3 ($ value per click) = $9.9 million EMV (even 50% participation = $5 million EMV)
Pay to Quit isn’t really new. It was invented by Zappos, now an Amazon subsidiary. We all know the Zappos social media story. As early as 2010 Zappos was using Twitter to build brand equity. The company has nearly 500 employees Tweeting. CEO Tony Hsieh was an early adopter of Twitter and encouraged employees to engage online openly during work as detailed in his 2010 book Delivering Happiness. According to SocialMention, today Zappos is referenced every 2 minutes, and positive sentiment is 9:1. Zappos.com also has a 65% passion rating, which means people are repeatedly talking about the brand over and over.
Will social employee advocacy work for everyone? Not if you don’t have happy employees and unfortunately most do not. A recent Forbes article reports 70% of U.S. workers don’t like their job – they are disengaged with work. Forbes contributor Sylvia Vorhauser-Smith says, “Disengaged employees can drag down others and impact everything from customer service to sales, quality, productivity, retention and other critical business areas.” What if those unhappy “disengaged” employees are actively engaged in social media? Suddenly, Jeff Bezos Pay To Quit program looks like a bargain.
I remember when a previous boss told us we better learn social media or leave. Yet at the end of the same meeting he said if he caught us on Facebook at work we would be fired. SmarpShare says there needs to be mutual trust between the organization and employee. The days of controlling employee actions in social media are over. Obviously, Bezos doesn’t want fulfillment employees posting Facebook updates all day long instead of packing orders, but with the right guidelines and program in place the ROI on Pay To Quit can be huge.
The other day I got a direct message from Jeff Bullas. I was excited. Jeff has a great blog jeffbullas.com that gives a lot of good blogging and social media advice. He’s a Forbes Top 50 Social Media Power Influencer, has written books and speaks and consults. His blog gets over 4 million page views a year. Jeff’s direct message on Twitter said, “Thanks for following me. I look forward to following your tweets.” With over 225,000 Twitter followers I responded, “I am impressed that with so many followers you do this.” I was looking forward to a conversation, but here it is 10 days later and I have not received a response. Then I noticed that Jeff sent me a direct message before (see below) two years ago with the same exact message. Back then I was also excited to start a conversation, but as you can see he never responded then either.
Is Jeff really “looking forward to following my tweets” if he won’t respond to two DMs he initiated? Are my expectations off? Other top social media influencers have decided to reduce or stop their engagement, becoming more like traditional publishers. I love Seth Godin and use a lot of his material in my classes. Unleashing the Ideavirus is a classic that is still very relevant today, but Seth doesn’t allow comments on his blog. He explains why here and he makes a lot of good points for him.
Then there is Copyblogger getting rid of comments. They just wrote a post explaining “Why We’re Removing Comments on Copyblogger.” They say the conversation has moved to wider platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn. They say people put too much effort into great comments on their site and should instead put that effort into their own website. They say they have spent way too much time sorting through the spam – only 4% of comments get posted. This change is a pretty big deal.
I was curious to see the reaction to this big announcement, but they removed comments. Instead they encourage me to let them know my thoughts about the change on Twitter. So I clicked on the link and went to Twitter. Just 12 days later that discussion is lost in a sea of unrelated topics, conversations and blog post promotions as you can see below.
If I scroll down the Twitter stream back to March 24 I do see comments about getting rid of comments, but this seems like a lot of work. At least on the blog all the comments under the post are focused on that topic and do not get lost in everything else. I also appreciate their efforts to weed out the spam, so the comments and conversation is of a higher quality. Moving to Twitter gives up all that control and opens up the floodgates of spam. Besides, I was already on their blog and wanted to talk specifically about that topic. Isn’t copyblogger owned real estate versus rented? Don’t they want to drive people there? Don’t comments help with SEO? This is all the questions I would have liked to ask on their blog, but I suppose I am taking their advice and writing it here on my blog instead.
Less social engagement from social engagement innovators. Is this simply where we are headed? As the innovators of social media engagement get too big, they simply must engage less? There just seems to be something weird about telling others to engage more while you are engaging less. This brings me back to my title. Ted Rubin was just named #13 on the Forbes Top 50 Social Media Power Influencers of 2013 (Just two down from Jeff) and he has over 196,000 followers on Twitter (the most followed CMO on Twitter). In 2013 he published a book with Kathryn Rose Return on Relationship, which is the value that is accrued by a person or brand due to nurturing a relationship. ROR is the value (both perceived and real) that will accrue over time through loyalty, recommendations and sharing.
Ted Rubin is a busy guy, but he is living what he is preaching. I have had several conversations with him on different social media platforms, and he has even commented on this blog. Thanks Ted. Still are my expectations off? Ted does wear Superman socks. Ted’s not the only one, there are a lot of social media innovators out there like Michael Stelzner who I know are still very active and engaging with their audiences even as they grow.
If I am wrong, let me know. Can relationships be automated? I also suggest checking out Ted’s book. #ROR
If you have never read Dr. Seuss’ book, The Sneeches, it is definitely worth your time. In this kids book we get adult insight into human behavior. The Sneeches with stars on their bellies are special you see. They were better than the plain belly sort and had parties and picnics the others were left out. A simple thing such as a star can make such a difference, which brings me to support forums and idea communities. What will people do for a star?
Li & Bernoff’s Groundswell tells us that the average call to a company’s call center costs $6-$7. Technical support calls are $10-$20. Way back in the early 2000′s TiVo noticed a consumer run TiVo Community Forum on the web. With no help from the company over 130,000 TiVo owners were solving each other’s problems. One user named “jsmeeker” had posted 44,000 times in 6 years.
Other company’s like Dell have started their own community support forums. Dell has been more intentional and is reaping the rewards. One user named “Predator” had posted 20,000 times answering tech support questions that were viewed over 2 million times. Considering the cost of call centers, this one customer saved Dell over a billion dollars in support costs. Dell wants to encourage more customers like this and has implemented a reward system so the most active members can earn their stars.
Dell Community Rockstars are nominated for their exceptional technical skills and willingness to help others. They also show leadership in the Dell community. What do they get? A star of course. The fancy star badge below. To be fair they also get some additional privileges and benefits including online and offline events and get to evaluate new products and services before others.
What else will someone do for a star? Help with new product development. Dell has also launched IdeaStorm to leverage the wisdom of the crowd to improve their products and services. IdeaStorm simply collects customer ideas in multiple categories from products to advertising and then the same customers vote on the ideas to help Dell identify the most promising. Since 2006, people have freely submitted over 20,000 ideas and nearly 550 have been implemented. What do they get in return? Points, votes and you guessed it, a star. Dell Rockstar badges also appear in IdeaStorm.
This is all well and good, but you may be saying to yourself, “Dell is a huge, well liked company. Of course, people want to contribute to them.” Don’t forget that Dell has not always been a well liked company. In fact, it used to be referred to as “Dell Hell” and is known for not listening to its customers as called out by Jeff Jarvis in his now famous “Dell sucks” blog post. The support forum and idea community are actually what helped Dell regain its customers.
As customer support moves further away from the phone lines, it’s become easier for frustrated customers to express that frustration publicly on social networks like Twitter and Facebook. As a result, more and more brand customer support forums are popping up. In fact, Forrester research has found a 25% increase in customer service community usage in the past three years. For the brands that embrace this change, customer service can move from cost center to a differentiator.
What can you do? Fire Pole Marketing says launch a brand community and give them something to display. They say, “Provide them with a plaque, certificate or similar item. Simple things like online badges or a certificate work wonders.” I agree and I suggest you use a star.
Can customer support and idea communities be a star in your company?
When working as a creative in the advertising business we were obsessed with finding the Big Idea. We wanted that great campaign with the clever tagline that everyone would talk about, hand awards to, and of course make the cash register ring. This catch phrase was even turned into the CNBC talk show The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch.
The big idea was about running 6 month or annual advertising campaigns with three print ads, a radio spot, some banner ads and a couple billboards, etc. Soon enough the ad agency or brand manager or CEO would grow tired of the campaign and we would step up to bat and try to hit another one out of the park. Big ideas were tidy mini stories told in a series of well crafted and finely controlled media executions. And stories in advertising are powerful as my recent research on Super Bowl ads has proven.
We were creating integrated campaigns with digital and social media, but social wasn’t as mainstream as it is today. As of September 2013, 73% of online adults use social networking sites. Fully 40% of cell phone owners use a social networking site on their phone.
Because social media is so big today I think the big idea has to be different. In social media there are so many individual executions being created daily, by brands and their consumers, we need a brand story that doesn’t start or end, but evolves and is co-created over time through interaction with customers.
But to do this you need to know what that core story is first and have a solid social media policy in place, because you will have more than one brand story teller versus the traditional advertising copywriter and art director. Now we engage our customers in conversation. John Miller hit upon this in a recent Inc. article.
What do you think? Is the traditional advertising campaign idea dead? Don’t get me wrong, you still need a big idea and creativity. It’s just not such a tidy process. In a way, your ideas must be even bigger and more flexible to include trends and consumer comments and content.
In terms of social media and story telling, brands need to get out of the campaign mindset and start living out a bigger story on a daily basis.
Dean Obeidallah starts off a recent CNN article with “Who could’ve ever predicted that 140 characters could screw up so many people’s lives?” His article was about the now famous ex-PR professional Justine Sacco’s regretful tweet before hopping on a 12 hour flight.
I am sure you can think of numerous “think before you tweet” movements. Below is a recap of the top ten from 2013.
70 years ago our 33rd president Harry S. Truman practiced a good policy when it came to writing letters. Any letters written in anger sat on his desk 24 hours before they could be mailed. If he felt the same, he sent the letter, but by the end of his life he had a large desk drawer full of unmailed letters.
How prevalent are social media mistakes? A study finds that 1 in 4 adults regret posts they have made on social media. Emotionally charged posts are the most regretful, with 29% of people saying they’ve feared getting fired or turned down for a job over a post.
With an instant mass publishing medium in our hands at all times, it’s harder than ever to have a “cooling off period.”
So what can we do today? This blog provides some useful tips.
1. Use Evernote As Your Desk Drawer. Get those thoughts out in a notes program as a draft. Check it the next day to see if you still want to send it.
2. There’s An App For That. The app “Social Interlock” forces you to perform sobriety tests, if you fail, you’re locked out.
3. Phone A Friend. Angry? Give your phone to a friend until you calm down.
4. Plan Ahead. Make a list ahead of time of what you will and will not post on social media. Thinking this through and consulting before you text could save you and others a lot of heart ache.
5. Use A 24 Minute Rule. When you get the urge to tweet, set a timer or alarm on your phone. If it’s still a good idea after time has passed, go ahead. Or perhaps that Tweet will no longer seem so important.
6. Be An Editor. If you do post something you regret, go back and edit or delete your posts. This is not full proof, but can be much better than doing nothing.
Don’t be fooled by the childhood saying “Stick and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.” It is simply false. Your words are a powerful weapon that can be used for good or bad. Think them through carefully. We have two ears and one mouth for a reason.
What’s your personal social media policy?
Sonia Simone in a Copyblogger post says “social media — when used strategically over time — is the most powerful form of marketing and market research the world has ever seen.” It can especially be powerful for entrepreneurs. For startup success look to leverage social media in these ways:
1. Peer-to-peer lending, or crowd-sourcing. Think Lending Club, Prosper and Kickstarter. What was a novelty not too long ago is now a viable way to raise capital from people investing directly in promising ideas and creating a new pool of funding. For a list of Top 10 Crowdfunding Websites see this Entrepreneur article.
2. Use forums/groups to engage a community. There are people wanting your products or services in forums right now and they are asking questions that you can answer. Showing your expertise in industry forums can lead to valuable connections. But also get involved in LinkedIn Groups where you can access industry leaders and prove your expertise through dialogue following the 80/20 rule. Spend 80% of your time answering questions and 20% promoting. Interacting with others and being helpful is the best way to establish yourself as an expert.
3. Keep an eye on your competitors. Look at their websites, find their social media channels and sign up to start watching what they do. See what their fans are saying and use that insight to improve your own business. Are they complaining about a missing feature? Can you add that feature to your product? Are they praising something you and your competitor do, but you aren’t promoting? Can you tap into an emotion they are expressing?
4. Earn media (PR) is key. Content that’s emotionally engaging and immersive is what works today – stories. The same is true for content around products and companies, but press releases are no longer the answer. Today PR happens via blog posts, online video, and social network updates. Integrate content strategy into your publicity.
5. Raise awareness of your startup. Social media is a great place to raise awareness with over one billion users worldwide. Channels such a Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and YouTube are cost effective and time efficient. They can quickly drive word-of-mouth to a new venture. See the graphic below for ways to promote on the top channels.
This Semester I started requiring students in my Social Media Marketing class to tweet to our course hashtag #SocialMedia453 as a small part of their class participation grade. This makes sense right? One of the best ways to learn social media marketing is to be active in social media. A couple years ago a professor based 20% of his student’s grades on how many points their Klout score went up – I’m sure the profs own Klout score went up over the publicity it got him.
My students are sharing good insights into marketing via social media. But what I’ve also found is they are sharing content such as Coke’s “Social Media Guard” video, which is a cone for humans to get them to look up from their devices and off social media.
Another student has shared an article “I’ve seen the future in Singapore, and I have basically stopped using the social media.” This is a great article, but it basically talks about someone quitting social media after seeing people in Singapore constantly on their devices.
Then there is the social media professional who’s blog I subscribe to and podcast I listen to, who started a new blog designed to get families off their devices and spend more time with kids in physical activities – My Kids’ Adventures.
Can social media be an addiction? A new Harvard study shows that the act of disclosing information about oneself activates the same part of the brain associated with the pleasure we get from food, money or even sex. Perhaps we have gone overboard. A Google search on the words “Quitting Social Media” reveals 6.4 million results including top hits from Huffingtonpost, Fortune, and Forbes on why a writer quit and/or why you should quit social media.
What’s the lesson here? Quit social media? Perhaps. But from a marketing perspective it just works too darn well. And from a personal level we do learn a lot and are able to connect with people and express ourselves in ways never before possible. Perhaps we all simply need to find a little more balance.
Put the phone down for 5 minutes, an hour, dare I say three? Look your significant other in the eye. Play a board game with your kids. Enjoy a sunny afternoon by actually looking at the sky. See the beautiful Johns Hopkins University campus in my header picture above? Too often I don’t enjoy it because my head is buried in my iPhone.
Take a rest for a couple hours or even a Saturday or Sunday. The updates, likes, shares, favorites will be waiting for you when you return. And perhaps using social media to pass this message along isn’t so ironic after all. We are the people with our faces buried in our devices that need to hear the message.
Or read a book. A real couple hundred pages book. I read Nicholas Carr’s book “The Shallows” last summer, where he talks about research that says the Internet is changing the physical structure of our brains reducing our attention spans.
Do you spend too much time on social media? Is going cold turkey the only solution?
According to Socialbakers’ latest rankings, the airline industry has the highest response rate on both Twitter and Facebook responding to 76.4% of all in-bound questions on Facebook and 56.3% on Twitter. This compared to the average response rate of 40.6% on Twitter and 59.4% on Facebook. This sounds great until you need it.
Today I was to fly to Austin for a conference where my colleagues and I were presenting a paper on Facebook research. That was until Winter Storm Pax hit, which the Weather Channel says has “Paralyzed Nation’s Busiest Airports, Snarls Roads and Rail.” By Thursday morning, more than 5,800 domestic and international flights were canceled, according to flight-tracking website FlightAware.com. Trying to call US Airways took about 8 attempts just to be able to get on-hold. Then after being on hold for an hour and 40 minutes, I thought I would try out the great airline social media response rate with the Tweet below.
Something we noticed when checking flights at our our airport and the connecting airport what that US Airways was keeping flights going into their hub in Charlotte on schedule, or delayed even while they were canceling in mass the flights out of Charlotte – people’s connecting flights. With turnaround times tight on a normal day, you know those people would not get out.
Why are they flying people to Charlotte only to strand them in the airport? With weather related delays and cancellations, most airlines have policies not to put you up in hotels. Those white rocking chairs in Charlotte are not that comfortable! So here it is 8 hours later and I am still waiting response. I even used their hashtag, so it shouldn’t be hard for them to find me.
Am I being unrealistic in my expectations? According to Social Habit data by reported by Jay Baer, 42% of consumers complaining via social media expect a response within 1 hour and 67% expect a response within 1 day.
Are consumer’s social media customer service expectations too high? Is this simply because US Air and American Airlines are in the middle of merging operations? Will I ever get to Austin?
UPDATE: I never made it to my conference. Fortunately another author on the research made it from England to present. Day 3 and still no response to my Tweet from the airline. It Looks like Winter Storm Pax won:
One of my favorite bands is Switchfoot and their song “Adding to the Noise” is the inspiration for this blog. When I started it four years ago, there were roughly 200,000 million blogs and I couldn’t imagine why the world would need another one. I even wrote a post “The Last Thing We Need Is Another Blog.” Ultimately this question lead me to the debate between quantity versus quality. A recent Michael Stelzner podcast interview featured Jeff Goins, a successful blogger and author who had several blog failures when he was chasing subscribers (quantity focus) until he started a passion blog (quality focus) that now has over 200,000 subscribers.
Today Technorati indexes over 1.3 billion blogs and the focus on quality content has become more important than ever. For marketers this noise has been creeping up in another social landscape – Facebook. In August of 2013 Facebook revealed that “every time someone visits News Feed there are on average 1,500 potential stories … most people don’t have time to see them all.” By December 2013 Ad Age reported “Facebook Admits Organic Reach Is Falling Short, Urges Marketers to Buy Ads.”
The bottom line is that Facebook has changed its algorithm, formerly called Edgerank, and content from business Pages has seen a drop-off in organic reach. In response, Facebook is urging paid distribution for brands to get back into their fan’s News Feeds. Since the tweak some brands have reported as much as a 40% decrease in organic reach.
In the end, business may have to increase their Facebook spending to maintain or expand reach, but there could be another option. Switchfoot sings, “What’s it going to take to slow us down … If we’re adding to the noise turn off this song.” Perhaps we need another content revolution. If you provide content people want to engage with, not turn off, you will break through the noise. Brands could up their content game to emerge organically from the noise in users’ News Feeds.
But this revolution is fueled by more than quality content. It is also about quality time. Mari Smith, author of Facebook Marketing an Hour a Day suggests that marketers should focus more on community management. The more your fans like, comment and share your content, the more likely that content will show up in their news feeds.
It seems there is room for improvement in the engagement game. Social Bakers provides social media monitoring tools and has been measuring brand’s engagement levels on social networks. Their recent reports indicate that only 10% of brands respond to 85% of questions on Facebook.
A brand that steps up its engagement game could not only protect its organic reach, but also find a significant competitive advantage. We all love when someone listens to us. When your fans hear from you, their excitement will spread along with your reach and reputation.
Ted Rubin calls this a real Return on Relationship. Fight quantity (clutter & filters) with quality (content & engagement). With every post, update and comment ask yourself, “Is it adding something meaningful or simply adding to the noise?”