Tag: social networking
Social Media humanizes your brand? Sure but firms are more concerned about “negative comments”…true?
You bet! of course that depends on how you interaction and converse online. Social media gives firms the opportunity never before access to consumer’s candid feedback and are given the opportunity to shine like never before if done right.
But the ‘problem’ I see is that a significant number of firms still treat the social media as a channel for sales i.e make the next sales. Firms should think beyond that and use social media as a means to better interact with their customers and garner feedback and of course genuine treat feedback as something positive not negative.
But from experience, it seems (having spoken to many firms) is they seem to be concern about one major point – what if something talks bad about me “can i delete that comment” and “why should I get myself in that situation” instead of talking about how I should engage my customers or have a content strategy. They seemed fixated on “negativity”…
For those firms, I always have a standard reply “Social Media did not invent criticism” – firms have always dealt with complains via phone calls etc. So how different is this? Why are firms using this as an “excuse”?
Do firms always cite “online criticism” as something that are really concerned about? I’m keen to hear your thoughts…
A day doesn’t go by (online and offline) where people talk about seeding conversations – afterall it has been said social media is all about conversation and that content whilst important (takes a queen role) where interactions (or conversation) take a KING role.
So naturally, we need to have conversations online to ensure success (an indicator of success) – afterall agencies will be hammered should there by no conversations online – darn boring!
So what do agencies and corporations do? they seed! they enter the social media space and start talking (in the pretense of just another person – like a customer or potential customer) and hopefully they will engage the audience. Nothing wrong with that per se but is it authentic and may I dare say ethical?
I’ve also seen job placement ads that explicit states “Social Media Seeder” – in my opinion, its fine if one states it at the outset that X is a seeder in the social media space at least that sets the audience in the right frame of mind but my argument here is for those who pretend that they are just like you and I and start contributing away…
Afterall in social media – audiences that participate in this space want candid and truthful feedback and it has been found that a fair number make decisions based on those feedbacks.
So if that is the case, is it ethical to do that from an corporation point of view? Are these corporations ‘lying’ to the audience? What are the implications if the audience finds out that it is actually the agency or the company feeding all these information to the people and they had the impression that they were genuine. Would there be a public backlash? and in turn people may lose trust in the organization and ultimately it will hit the firm’s bottomline.
There are many questions here, until the industry starts to realize and debate about this, then this can move forward, at this moment it is still rather grey.
Is this the beginning of “Stealth Marketing”? – actually lets start defining “Stealth Marketing”
I’m keen to hear your thoughts.
In media such as prints, TV ads, consumers will understand and recognize that these are all paid advertisement and they are perfectly fine with that. After all, this fact is known from the outset.
However what if this is not known from the outside? a trend that I see, from conversations with friends, clients and agencies is the notion of seeding conversations in Social Media. For example, firms employ (and pay of course) individuals to post comments on blogs, forums and such as to create a favourable image for the product and hope that it will generate more traffic and of course generate leads.
Is this right? I don’t know – Well for me, I hate to read comments that are not genuine especially if I found out later that this was a paid post or comment – some one who is employed by the company in question. I would lose credibility in the site or for that matter the product – trust is built in incremental steps but once lost, it falls exponentially – isn’t trust (and candidness) the bedrock of social media? Trust is one of the antecedents (drivers) of Word of Mouth (WOM).
From a marketer’s stand point, sure WOM is something they wish to achieve i.e. a result, by seeding comments, would one lose that trust if found out?
But I can understand from the agencies’s point of view is that it generates discussion in the comments section. Afterall social media is interaction and its success stems from conversations.
What are your views, I’m keen to hear them out.
Here are some of the Social Media Marketing Monitoring tools that I’ve used. Some are pretty good and some not so but nevertheless still works. Try it out for yourself.
Hope this helps.
Social Media Marketing Monitoring Tools
Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
• Google Alerts @ http://www.google.com/alerts (Generic KeyWord)
• Alert Rank @ http://www.alertrank.com (Accompanies Google Alerts)
• Social Mention @ http://www.socialmention.com (Targets blogs, forums)
• Tweetbeep.com @ http://www.tweetbeep.com (Targets Twitter)
• Twittrratr @ http://www.twittrratr.com (Targets Twitter with Sentiments)
• Watchthatpage @ http://www.watchthatpage.com (Monitor Specific Page)
• Lexicon @ http://www.facebook.com/lexicon (Targets Facebook)
• Backtype @ hhttp://www.backtype.com (Targets Blogs and Forums)
• Addict-to-matic @ http://www.addictomatic.com (Create One-stop Page of all mentions) *Love this*
• TechrigySM2 @ http://sm2.techrigy.com/main (Dashboard – Targets mentions of keywords)
• Board Tracker @ http://www.boardtracker.com (Tracks Forum Discussions)
• Trendrr @ http://www.trendrr.com (tracks everything according to them)
Paid Social Media Monitoring Tools
• Trackur.com @ http://www.trackur.com (Targets ALL social media mentions) – reasonably priced
• Dialogix @ http://www.dialogix.com.au (Targets ALL social media mentions) – mid tier pricing
• Radian6 @ http://www.radian6.com (Target ALL social media mentions) – high tier pricing.
Social Media Trend Tools
• Google Trends @ http://trends.google.com
• Blogpulse @ http://www.blogpulse.com
Please feel free to add to the list for those I’ve missed out. Thanks!
Advertising Age ran an article titled “Search Shifts Means Visibility Must be Earned, Not Paid” – does this infer that brand reputation and search engine optimization are correlated? If so, this has many ramifications.
One of which is that marketers should devote more attention to SEO rather than SEM, as the title in Advertising Age suggests. Pull demand is the force online, consumers look to the internet for information and education to help them make a more informed decision. They are unlike our forefathers who fall over to pressured advertising and hard sell. The generation today seek info and pull info towards them, they want companies to educate them not hard sell them. Hence its more of a PULL marketing at play here.
In the fast paced, interconnected world that we live in today, consumers are going to talk about your company regardless if you have entered the online space. So what you do offline campaigns, online campaigns, customer service, product quality will be talked about online. And these conversations can make or break your brand reputation. As part of SEM, one of the variable of a getting ranked higher, content needs to be refreshed and of course rich in content, conversations and (as a result interactions with other consumers) can be a very powerful variable in pushing up your brand name (be it positively or negative publicity) in Search Engines.
Consumers want to know what is the reputation of a firm (especially if its a new firm/product and they need to find a reason to trust you and develop a relationship) and what others have been saying about this particular company or product. Hey isnt that social marketing? Are you involved? Well regardless if you are involved or not, arent they still engaging in a conversation about your company? How would this affect your brand reputation and your sales figures? If your research studies shows that a fair number of your customers are online (well recent Google studies suggests that a vast majority of people are online and the number of hours spent online is increasing year on year) – so what does that suggest?
People are searching, people are also perhaps engaging in long-tail searches on your company and your product – as you know long tail searchers are people who are at the tipping point of buying or not buying your products. So having good or bad pages on the 1st or 2nd page of Google or Yahoo! may be a deal winner or breaker for you – depends how it swings.
As we move forward, I share the same as the author in Advertising Age, people are getting more involved in searching for brands and the search is getting more social – they want to read more about how others have to say about the company and the product – its no longer PUSH marketing but PULL marketing at play here. Not new I might say, in the past we have always trusted our friends more than than companies’s advertisement. But the differences here is the speed and the reachness and richess of the online medium that differs from yesteryears.
So concluding, I personally feel that your brand reputation and search engine are correlated – be it good or bad reputation – if it hits on the first or second page of search engines, it has the power to swing customers to you or to your competitors. Search Marketing is not just about generating leads, its also a strategy in itself that goes beyond selling a product.
What are your thoughts here? I’m keen to hear what you have to say.
Every presentation I present, every organization I meet, it is without fail the above mentioned subject pops up. Loss of Control of my Brand.
Why is this the case? We humans love to control variables (control freaks?), the idea of losing control is something incomprehensible.
Afterall, companies have spent heaps of time and effort (and money may I add) to built and position their brand to what it is today and so the idea that they may lose control of its brand is a BIG thing (and rightly so).
Well what I normally say to them, hey even if you do not enter the social media online landscape, people are already talking about you. What makes you think consumers online are not taking about you and do you know what are they talking about?
Wouldn’t it be good to retrieve first hand candid feedback and improve yourself and perhaps in the process engage in customer engagement and/or turn negative experiences to positive ones.
There are heaps of opportunities out there for you to grab. Ultimately, ask yourself this.
Are you ready to enter as an organization and also where do you customer hang out?
Well its really up to you on how you look at social media, it could be your number 1 enemy and it could be your best friend – all I can say, it offers a magnitude of opportunities for you to further engage your customers and enhance your corporate reputation.
So is social media for you? that you have to ask your self. Loss of control of brand. Well I can say YOU BET! but hey isnt better that you get it and be able to influence it then to let it generate it by itself. Be part of the action!
I’m keen to hear about what is the number one concern you have heard about companies entering the online social marketspace.
There is another one: reputational management – the ability to take care of negative comments – that’s a separate issue which deserves a separate blog episode
A very interesting reality check podcast on social media marketing.
Click here for the podcast: MIS: Social Media for Businesses – A Reality Check
(For those who are unable to sit through the 28 minute podcast)
1. Engage in conversations (interaction), the idea behind social media.
2. Use tools (e.g. Facebook, Twitter etc) to better engage your customers, and these are just tools. Social Media marketing is a strategy in itself.
3. Nothing will replace a face to face meeting – not even Social Media marketing.
4. No longer to talk to them, now is I listen to you – from company to customer “what do you think of my products?”
5. Markets are getting smarter – you listen to the customers – and there is also alot of unhappy customers out there. You can get an anti-your company blog. But hey which company doesnt want to listen to those unhappy customers. On the contrary these companies give you a chance to better improve yourself.
6. Use Social Media to understand the customer and give it to them better. They use Social Media tools to listen to the conversation about the company in real time.
7. Companies should embrace the opportunities Social Media entails – think beyond the unhappy customers, on the contrary convert those unhappy ones to happy one and they will be your evangelists.
8. Listening is one thing, participating is another. Its very important to listen first and understand first and then response especially in this fast paced world we live in now.
Closing comments – Should companies get into Social Media?
- it depends on what you want to do and where your customer hang out.
- large organization cant afford to sit on the sideline, have to get in now before you get left behind especially now that a growing number of customers are spending a fair portion of their time online.
- Social Media gives you untapped opportunities and allows you to listen in to conversations about your brand and as a result allow to you understand where you stand, how you can improve and as such deliver better value.
Social Media Marketing has received centre stage in most of today’s marketer’s planning plateau, e.g. Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Youtube etc. Not is it without a day passed without a mentioned of them.
Marketers are curious about this ‘new’ media channel, proponents of it highlight its strong ability in improving the bottom line. Well to be honest, it’s really not a surprise, given that that many studies depict a sense of positivism in it. For example, TNS USA study in 2007 found the following…
“if you had 15 minutes of free time…”
1. 17% Social networking
2. 17% Talk on Cell
3. 14% Watch tV
4. 10% Surf the internet etc.
If these numbers hold water, it definitely paints a picture that social media networking is a force to be reckon with and companies should engage them, afterall one of marketer’s many tasks is to seek customer engagement though many of the touch points available at its disposal.
However the reality is social media marketing is something of a black box, marketers inject programs into the black box and cross their fingers at the output. Though we appreciate the art of it, there should be some science involved to track. After all in the boardroom, numbers do the talking and in addition, there has been a saying, “if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it”.
If this mantra is true, does this really hold water in the social media networking or marketing world? Well maybe, well maybe not. I do not know. But what I can offer is if we were to approach the measurement, we could perhaps look at alternatives – after all there is no such thing as a one off solution, no?
Perhaps the standard quantitative notions of approach to analyzing data (bounce rate, CTR, regression, path analysis etc) may be cast aside for qualitative methods? afterall social being social requires the need for verbal and face checks, no? or perhaps we should just get companies to state their objectives and we just track certain metrics. Do we really need to measure it? that is the question. Or shall we just let social media play its role and just cross our fingers and hopefully the spread of it is positive and will correlate positively with profitability and hope that we can control the spread if its negative.
Well what are your thoughts? I’m keen on hearing them.