Here are all of the posts tagged ‘conversation response’.
Monitoring Social Media 09 is taking place in London this coming Tuesday. The organiser, Luke Brynley-Jones, talks about the inspiration for the event and what it aims to achieve.
In the dying days of the summer, Asi Sharabi wrote a late night rant about the state of social media monitoring. He directed his anger squarely at the many social media monitoring services that have emerged in recent years, highlighting dodgy results, issues with data, limitations in sentiment detection and often somewhat overblown claims of what can be achieved.
As it turns out, Asi wasn’t alone in his frustration. His post struck a chord with people that resonated across the blogosphere. The debate began and is now up to 50 comments on his original post. Suppliers, agencies, brands, bloggers and data-heads: everyone seems to have chimed in with their views, gripes and come-backs. It was this frenzied discussion that led me to believe there was room for a conference that focuses squarely on social media monitoring, it’s goals, it’s potential, how it works, whether it works, it’s impact on organisations, it’s costs and how to gauge ROI.
Tuesday’s MSM09 will not be a typical social media conference. We won’t have a spew of incumbent-funded sales pitches. We aren’t beholden to any particular viewpoint. In our lead Panel discussion “What’s Wrong with Social Media Monitoring Services?”, Asi will be joined by Amelia Torode (of Compare the Meerkat renown) to debate the issues with the CEO’s of two leading monitoring services, Mark Rogers (Market Sentinel) and Nick Koudas (Sysomos). Equally we won’t have any long, self-obsessed presentations. Our speakers get just 20 mins to make clear points and recommendations before the mic is wrestled off them.
While our focus is on monitoring and measurement, we also plan to cover important related topics, such as: the truth about data (sources, quality and accuracy); monitoring for reputation management; and “beyond brand”, i.e. how to implement monitoring as a key business process. One of the things I heard repeatedly during my consultation process was the need for experience-sharing and case studies, so we will also have a number of “live” case studies on the day and be providing attendees with a pack of case studies to read through (or watch) afterwards.
One of our “live” case studies will be provided by We Are Social’s very own Robin Grant. He will be spilling the beans about their work with Skype – explaining how they helped Skype to set-up and run their own real-time social media listening and responding programme, which tools and methodologies they used and how this helped the world’s leading VoIP provider contain a major crisis. Other “live” case studies include, Chris Thomas from The Conversation Group – who will present a social media-driven competitive analysis of the launch of the first Google Android phone – and Celia Pronto, Marketing Director of STA Travel, who will demonstrate how her team embraced social media monitoring and reaped the benefits.
Lastly, we will have a bunch of tools for attendees to try out. Visible Technologies, Brandwatch and White Vector (to name a few) will be showing off their wares in the break-out room. Hopefully, at the very least, we’ll save a few people the tiresome process of beauty pageants by getting these guys in one room. Hope you can make it!
Luke has kindly offered We Are Social readers a 10% discount on the MSM09 £195 ticket price, by entering the discount code MSM0910 when buying a ticket direct from the MSM09 site.
The hype around Twitter doesn’t seem to be slowing down, however few research papers have been published so far about it. So it’s with a gleeful smile that I welcomed the results of the academic study of the phenomenon published by Professor Jim Jansen and his team at Penn State University. They analysed nearly 150,000 tweets to understand how brands were mentioned on microblogging tools like Twitter.
I will focus this post on the results, but feel free to check for yourselves the methods that have been used, they’re very well detailed in the report paper.
Around 19% of tweets mention an organization or a product. Of these:
- 1 out 5 tweets express a sentiment or an opinion, either positive (for 52% of them), negative (33%) or neutral (15%)
- 4 out of 5 tweets are not associated with a sentiment, they are mostly questions and answers. People are seeking details missing from their usual source of information and helping others with their findings.
This latest data is additional proof that brands and products are at the heart of online conversations. Conversation strategies are a requirement for brands and it should be part of an overall strategy. A conversation strategy can be used, for example, to understand why a product is more popular than another, and what could be improved as far as service and customer relationship are concerned. It might also help to discover a problem with a product already on the market and identify what remedy could be taken; users generally have very insightful inputs that should be taken into account.
Listening and responding are even more important, in that they help brands greatly when they want to start a conversation with their customers, or any other people out there.
If most of the tweets about a brand are questions, brands themselves can provide fast and reliable information, which I have no doubt will have a positive impact on the prospect/brand relationship, and then on the client/brand relationship. That’s what Robin was saying when he explained that it was important to “engage in conversations in social media”
Furthermore, the study shows that there can be a massive swing in sentiment from a studied period to another.
It’s probably obvious to all of you who are reading this, but conversations need constant monitoring, whether they happen on Twitter or elsewhere. It doesn’t stop at weekends: buying patterns and therefore exposure to corporate messages evolve constantly, and the strength of a brand is its ability to identify these variations and adapt to them. When We Are Social work on conversation audits for our clients, we often analyse the reactions of individuals to a brand at a precise moment, for example after the launch of a new TV ad campaign.
With the rise of microblogging, clients and individuals are exposed to a constant stream of information and opinions and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down. These are rarely monitored by brands, so it’s high time for them to have a look and engage!
Last month we were proud to be one of the agencies working for Dunlop, and their specially-commissioned loop-the-loop stunt created by BBH. An ordinary car with Dunlop tyres was driven round a custom-built loop by Steve Truglia, one of Britain’s top stuntmen – not only to demonstrate Dunlop’s quality and endurance under pressure during the peak period for tyre sales in Europe, but to stoke the ‘wow’ factor and passion amongst fans of driving stunts and Dunlop’s brand adherents. It was shown across multiple media, including a dedicated microsite, a spot on TV’s Fifth Gear and social media outreach to car and viral fans in the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain to spread the message. That last part was our job, and as simple as it sounded on paper, we had to be quick on our feet throughout.
We had planned to build up anticipation about the outcome of the stunt prior to its debut on web and TV. However five days before the stunt went live, a national newspaper leaked photographs of the stunt, and as the day rolled on, the story was picked up by an increasing number of blogs and Twitter users. Months of careful planning was being undone, all without a mention of Dunlop in the coverage or Dunlop branding in the leaked photos.
To turn things around, we tracked down the key blogs and started a conversation with them about the video, introducing them to the microsite, talking about Dunlop’s involvement. We used the immediacy of Twitter to join the conversation about the stunt by setting up an official Twitter channel for Dunlop, talking with people who had spread the link and offering them more information about the stunt, while being as conversational as possible.
Having steadied the ship somewhat and set the record straight, we were then able to use the momentum created to reinforce our original idea, contacting driving and stunt video bloggers in five territories, providing them with photos and videos that were exclusive to Dunlop, and giving them the chance to ask questions the team behind the stunt.
The results were fantastic, and we’re really happy with them given the tight turnaround time. Not only did we get some great enthusiastic reactions on Twitter from the people we got in contact with, but we got great coverage in the blogosphere, with 60 blogs in five languages linking to the microsite, and at least another 24 discussing the stunt with Dunlop branding associated – amongst them blogs such as Gizmodo who had initially reported the leak were more than happy to set the record straight, strengthening the Dunlop brand association. And it wasn’t just about the sentiment – the total reach of the blogs involved was 8m unique users/month and 420k RSS subscribers, far outstripping the reach of the initial misinformed coverage from the leak – and almost all of the coverage was positive to boot.
There were several things that the video’s success brought out. Not only was it a demonstration of the power of social media to create and develop the conversation around something people love, but also a testament to the power of listening and responding to quickly and decisively correct mistakes or misconceptions. Social media offers you the opportunity to react and turn around a conversation at lightning speeds compared with more traditional messaging. However, you have to be friendly, open and willing to listen to and converse with the enthusers around your brand if you want them to listen and contribute back.
They’re also not the sort of company you would immediately assume would be ahead of the curve in terms of social media – they’re the world’s largest multi-channel home electronics retailer (similar to Currys or Comet in the UK) who have recently made moves into Europe with the acquisition of 50% of Carphone Warehouse’s European stores (and with rumours they may go further than that).
It’s also worth finding out more about Best Buy Connect, Blue Shirt Nation (a community for Best Buy Employees), how they use customer reviews, their recently launched API and looking at how they use their own forums and Get Satisfaction to support their customers.
Let’s finish with a 4 minute video looking at Best Buy’s internal use of social media followed by a 20 minute interview with Best Buy’s CEO Brad Anderson talking about the issues in detail:
A very important part of what we do at We Are Social consists in helping brands engage in social media by having meaningful conversations with people and igniting positive word of mouth. So as I was watching Loïc Le Meur’s video on ‘How to launch a product using your community’, I thought it was a brilliant illustration of why word of mouth is so important. As it’s in French, I’ll try and recap some key learnings here.
According to Loïc, traditional advertising, PR and marketing are all still very valid but are nowhere near as important as the power of word of mouth. He illustrates this by saying that when you are about to buy a product, what you want is to know what your friends think about it before you purchase it. You want to know what your community has to say about that product.
And to be honest, in some ways, this has always been the case. In the past, we would probably have asked our neighbors, colleagues or ‘real’ friends what they thought about product X or Y. Nowadays, those conversations about products and brands alike are happening online. And rather than transiently involving two or three of your friends, these conversations can now potentially reach millions of people and are permanent (as they’ll appear in Google’s results for ever). This is good if the conversation is positive and not so good otherwise.
Loïc adds another interesting point about online conversations: the years 1993-2000 were about static media – i.e. the online environment was a reproduction of traditional media; since 2000, we’ve seen the explosion of what we refer to as ‘social media’ – i.e. people interacting with people but also brands, via blogs, social networks, etc. And now, as Loïc highlights, since the beginning of 2009, the web has entered a new area. People still want to interact with their community but they want to do so in real time, via Twitter or Facebook statuses for example. Which means that when people talk about products and brands, they also do it in real time.
Hence the importance of listening and responding in real time as Robin was highlighting in his interview with emarketer ‘Social Media: Joining the conversation’. And both Seesmic & Twhirl are a great examples of brands who have understood the importance of listening in real time to the community’s feedback, to get insights into what’s good, or not so good about their products. And Loïc is the first one to say that this means sometimes he’s checking Twitter Search at 3am to read about the community feedback and to reply to it. Because Loïc knows that if 1,000 of Seesmic’s fans are convinced about the product, they’ll tell another 10,000 of their friends about how great the product is.
It’s all about ‘micro interactions’ as David Armano calls them. It’s about turning your fans into brand advocates. And it works – this is how how he managed to get Seesmic Desktop application downloaded 1.5 million times in a few days. This is the power of word of mouth.
eMarketer have released a new report, “UK Social Media: Joining the Conversation” which is a useful compendium of the latest stats on social media usage in the UK, along with some spot-on commentary and advice from the author of the report, Karin von Abrams:
No commercial enterprise can afford to ignore social media
As part of her research for the report, Karin conducted an interview with me which she’s been kind enough to let me publish here:
The feature article in today’s Marketing, ‘Twitter enters the mainstream for brand communication‘ covers work we’ve done for three of our clients, with the obligatory introductory mention of Stephen Fry and his 130,000 followers, moving on to part of what we do for Skype:
Robin Grant, managing director of social media agency We Are Social, agrees that, if used wisely, Twitter can help reduce negative word-of-mouth online and assist with brand building. We Are Social client Skype, for instance, uses Twitter to ‘respond to people having issues with or asking questions about Skype’, according to Grant. ‘If we can respond, they tell their friends what brilliant customer service they’ve had from Skype.’
And then some of the work we’ve been doing with Ford:
Ford took more of a campaign approach to promote its latest Fiesta. It backed its ‘This is Now’ TV campaign with blog and Twitter activity encouraging consumers to submit photos and art and design-related discussion posts. Despite Ford’s Twitter activity, though, the car marque’s communications manager Lisa Brankin claims Twitter remains ‘niche in its appeal’. She adds: ‘By itself it is not strong enough but it can be valuable as part of a wider campaign.’
Twitter’s growth is heading in the right direction, but as We Are Social’s Grant argues: ‘Brands need to think carefully about what impact any commercial use of Twitter is likely to achieve before investing any significant resources in it.’
The cover story from Fiona Ramsay about Twitter’s plan to start charging brands (subsequently picked up by Techcrunch and others), starts from a quote straight from the horse’s mouth:
Co-founder Biz Stone told Marketing: ‘We are noticing more companies using Twitter and individuals following them. We can identify ways to make this experience even more valuable and charge for commercial accounts.’ He would not be drawn on the level of charges.
Stone said it could also create revenue-generating features to tap into the way brands use Twitter as a hybrid marketing and customer-service tool.
But Bob Pearson, vice-president of communities and conversations at Dell, said: ‘If it becomes complicated and costly, our instinct would be to move elsewhere.’ Robin Grant, managing director of social media agency We Are Social, said Twitter could charge for display ads or to access customer information for marketing.
I had quite a long philosophical conversation with Fiona about this when she was writing the article, and expressed my scepticism about Twitter charging for brands using Twitter normally (which is not entirely summed up with the quote she used, but it least got across the idea they’d look at charging for added value services rather than the standard free functionality). As I said in the comments of the article:
The challenge Twitter will face is that there’s such a grey line between personal and commercial use.
Aside from the celebrity issue, where they are clearly individuals, but using the service for commercial gain, it’s grey elsewhere too.
If I spend a lot of my time on Twitter talking about business related stuff, where does that leave me?
For brands overtly using Twitter, it’s not black and white either. Look at Ford’s Scott Monty for example (@ScottMonty), who uses his personal account to represent Ford. Even the account we run for Skype (@PeteratSkype) is as an individual not a brand (as is the same for most of Dell’s accounts). And of course Zappos famously have hundreds of employees on Twitter.
Let’s face it, one of the reasons that Twitter is popular is because it’s such an interesting mix of both your personal and your business life – in fact, unlike Facebook or LinkedIn, it lets you be the whole you. Twitter will be risking a lot if they try to change this.
Which has since proved to be correct, with Biz Stone publishing this clarification on the Twitter blog:
It’s great that both individuals and organizations are finding value in Twitter and there may be ways we can enrich the experience. In fact, we hope to begin iterating on revenue products this year.
However, it’s important to note that whatever we come up with, Twitter will remain free to use by everyone – individuals, companies, celebrities, etc. What we’re thinking about is adding value in places where we are already seeing traction, not imposing fees on existing services.
At We Are Social towers, we were rudely awakened on Thursday morning to a brewing Twitterstorm to deal with. Robert Scoble was Twittering to his 53k+ followers live from the Davos summit. Here are the edited highlights:
Scobleizer: @AnthonyHocken I hear Stephen Fry’s Twitter account isn’t done by him but rather is done by his PR firm. Lame if true.
Whatleydude: @Scobleizer I believe a PR firm helped @stephenfry set up his account (@wearesocial) …but us Brits can assure you, it *is* him.
Scobleizer: Getting lots of pushback on Stephen Fry from people who say he’s actually doing his own Tweets.
mbites: @Scobleizer yeah @stephenfry is the real deal
wearesocial: @Scobleizer @stephenfry is doing his own Tweets! We helped get him set-up and gave him initial advice, that’s all. Could you please RT?
Scobleizer: RT: @wearesocial @stephenfry is doing his own Tweets! We helped get him set-up and gave him initial advice, that’s all.
Scobleizer: @wearesocial glad to help clear that up. A PR company exec told me it was done by PR. I love Twitter took minutes to clear up incorrect info
vendorprisey: @scobleizer Surely the next tweet should read, sorry @stephenfry ?
Scobleizer: RT @vendorprisey: @scobleizer Surely the next tweet should read, sorry @stephenfry ? (My answer: yes. I’m sorry).
This may seem like a Twitterstorm in a teacup, but the threat to Stephen’s reputation (and ours) was real. It was essential that we acted fast to establish the truth before it spiralled out of control (in the end we were able to nip it in the bud within an hour). In fact, it was a microcosm of how we pre-empt and deal with situations like this on behalf of any of our clients:
- Make sure you’re already respected members of relevant communities and have built strong friendships in them before any crisis erupts.
- Listen carefully to the conversations relevant to your brand at all times
- When appropriate, respond quickly in an open, honest and human way
Those friends mentioned in point 1 are the ones who are likely to come to your aid when it matters, just as ours did above – remember that their voices may carry more weight than your own, especially in these cynical times.
This is an approach that works for clients large and small, both in everyday conversations about their brands anywhere in social media and when confronted with much bigger crises than the one above. It was battle tested during Skype’s China crisis last year and passed with flying colours.
If you’d like to know more about how we helped Skype handle that situation or our how we help brands with online reputation management, conversation response, corporate blogs or advocacy programmes, then don’t hesitate to get in touch.