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linkedin drives highest percentage of social traffic to corporate websites

By on Oct 22, 2013 in Uncategorized |

LinkedIn has emerged as the major traffic driver from social media to corporate websites in a recent study published by Investis IQ, as reported by Social Media Today. LinkedIn, according to the study, is responsible for 64% of click throughs from social media to corporate websites. Facebook, for the sake of comparison, drives just 17% and Twitter 14% (but rising). See graph below from Social Media Today: The results of the research aren’t particularly surprising – people use different social services for different purposes, with business users, the people most likely to visit a corporate website, most likely to be reached by brand communications in social media on LinkedIn. This finding doesn’t signal a necessary shift from Facebook for consumer brands, but is important for more “corporate” brands, particularly in the B2B space. Also, whilst it’s true that direct click throughs are both useful and measurable, having a brand presence on multiple social services still has a positive impact on search visibility, so it remains important to spread content, even that aimed at corporate audiences, across multiple channels where possible. What is key is that LinkedIn has changed dramatically over the last year or two, from a place where users look for new jobs to an important content hub both for brands and individuals seeking greater visibility amongst business oriented audiences. I used to worry when I saw members of my team updating their LinkedIn profiles – now I see it as an important tool for reaching professional audiences and keeping them engaged over...

ten steps to strategically align your digital and social media programme

By on Oct 6, 2013 in Uncategorized |

In many of my posts over the past year or so, I’ve found myself questioning the value of digital and social media but make no mistake, these posts are not attacks, rather pleas to the industry to do a bit of necessary growing up. Brands don’t need a social media strategy any more than they need a press release strategy, a payroll strategy or a Christmas party strategy. They need a digital and social media programme that is aligned to their overall business strategy. Yet many brands and organisations still approach it from the wrong end of the equation – by deciding they should “do” digital or social or Enterprise collaboration before actually knowing why, or even whether, they should be investing in these areas. It’s like choosing a hammer before realising you actually need a drill because what you really want is a millimetre perfect hole. Fans and followers, retweets and likes, click throughs and shares are all great IF they lead to outcomes of strategic importance. They are meaningless, however, in isolation. If its not clear why you’re investing in social media, all the statistics and measured outputs in the world won’t deliver a positive return on investment. Here’s a ten step approach to help you make the most of your investment: Take the time to understand your business strategy Identify and prioritise important strategic objectives Understand existing processes for achieving those objectives Look at the resources required to deliver those processes Understand what stakeholders – employees, investors, customers, etc – need to be engaged so as to turn those processes into desire able outcomes (and don’t forget to tease out their motivations) Map it all back to digital and social media, finding the sweet spot(s) where you can leverage these tools to deliver more effectively or efficiently Define a programme for doing this Tie the desired outcomes into existing measurement frameworks Implement, measure, analyse and iterate Capture best, and worst, practice and share the knowledge...

the end of digital marketing?

By on Oct 4, 2013 in Uncategorized |

Proctor & Gamble’s Global Brand Building officer, Mark Pritchard, hit the marketing trade press headlines by declaring, in a keynote at Dmexco, that “the era of digital marketing is over”. I couldn’t agree with him more, but you have to read beyond the headline to understand that Pritchard isn’t suggesting that brands will shift away from digital, only that it has, and will continue to, become more integrated with all the other brand building and marketing activities: P&G’s marketing team has stopped thinking of digital in terms of the “the tools, the platforms, the apps, the QR codes, augmented reality, holograms or whatever is coming next” or as a “mysteries medium with its own set of metrics”, but for what it is: “a tool to build out brands by reaching people with fresh, creative, campaigns”. Pritchard added: “Let’s celebrate the end of digital marketing. Let’s focus on creating the great ideas that move people and build great brands. And let’s leverage the tools, platforms and technology to make them bigger and engage with people like never before….” For more years than I can remember, I’ve been encouraging brands and organisations to think about generating digital and social media content by turning some of their internal processes – innovation, product and service delivery, research, editorial production – into content generating activities. I’ve also spent a lot of time helping brands understand that approaching digital and social media from a strategic perspective, with activities in digital being part of an overall, holistic approach to marketing and communications, is far more likely to generate meaningful outcomes than the typical approach of choosing to “do digital” or “do social” then trying to figure out what to do there. It’s nice to see senior figures on the brand side are starting to get this. Indeed, Forrester has predicted that 2013 will be the year that “Digital Marketing” becomes just “Marketing”. The same report discusses the importance of breaking down silos to enable digital and social media: Budget should also be reorganised out of channel silos and into new cross-platform teams organised around consumer segments, with experts on the relevant media, channels and devices for that particular vertical, Muchbach says. The report also advises marketers to maintain a shared “centre of excellence” for broader campaigns to help achieve scale for overlapping initiatives and to establish a multifunctional group from the marketing, R&D, IT and operations divisions to track how digital elevates their parts of the business to improve the brand experience for consumers. So what’s all this mean? Soon, with any luck, we won’t think of digital and social media as siloed activities, divorced from overall business strategies and contributed to and controlled by only one business function, but as activities that are integral to multiple business functions, processes and programmes. Digital and social media can and should be discussed at the top corporate table, but that’s only going to happen when we’re able to demonstrate real evidence – not fans and followers, comments and likes – of having played a role in pushing the needle forward towards meeting strategically important...

the end of social media as agencies know it

By on Sep 30, 2013 in Uncategorized |

The social media retainer, a dependable gravy train of revenue for PR and social marketing agencies, is on its last legs – and the agencies have no one to fault but themselves. The problem is the way these retainers have been sold. Typically, a client will go unchallenged when they ask their prospective agency questions about how, rather than what, their social media retainer will deliver: What are the most popular channels in market x What audiences will be targeted How many pieces of content will you generate, per channel and market How much ad spend will be required to drive fan base growth How long will it take to hit x number of fans and followers This outputs led approach to thinking about social media generates a slew of metrics: Reach Month on month fan base increases Engagement rates These metrics, however, don’t necessarily indicate meaningful outcomes. They merely demonstrate that something – anything – is being achieved through the delivery of outputs. I once worked with a B2B brand that was quite proud to have gained 100,000 fans on Facebook. When I reviewed the content that had helped them to achieve this milestone, I quickly realised that the main driver of fanning was a sports event ticket give away. Yes, the campaign had reach, it had increased the number of fans and it had led to higher levels of engagement – but how many of those fans had any interest in the brand’s offering or, through their activation, had contributed progress towards meeting a specific strategic objectives of the business? Possibly none. The question clients need to ask (and agencies genuinely working in their best interests should always challenge them to do so) is “how will digital and social media deliver meaningful and measurable progress towards clearly identified strategic objectives?”. Strategic objectives aren’t measured through output. They also aren’t measured through the contributions an activity may or may not make towards meeting them. Instead, strategic objectives speak directly to what must be achieved to ensure the commercial viability of a business and might include: generating more leads faster conversion from lead to sale increased value of customer over a duration of time reduced customer care costs lower customer churn rates ability to recruit high value employment candidates reduction of negative perception amongst license to operate stakeholders enhanced reputation amongst shareholders The above are all critically important outcomes – strategic objectives – that can’t be measured in fans, followers and likes, nor through any other metric associated to the outputs that might push the needle forward towards meeting them. Agencies need to move, quickly, away from outputs based measurements – this approach is increasingly a commodity offering, with plenty of agencies, some of them off-shored, able to offer the same levels of service at reduced fees. The key, should the PR and social marketing industries wish to retain their social media management clients, is to become far more strategic and, in doing so, become more strategically important to the businesses they serve. One way to do this is to shift the agency recruitment and staffing model so as to build teams that include not just community managers, copywriters and visual designers, but also senior strategists, possibly with a background in management consultancy or a degree in Business Administration. They’ll also need to bring in experts in digital measurement and analysis – not people who can count brand mentions, likes and followers using Radian 6, but people who understand how to track the outcomes of a piece of content using tools such as Adobe Site Catalyst, pull data from SalesForce, or extract information from scheduling and workforce time logging systems. The only way to target, and deliver, meaningful outcomes with social media is to understand the strategic objectives of the client. These days, understanding social media just isn’t enough.    ...

happy 17th birthday, website

By on Sep 27, 2013 in Uncategorized |

Cybersoc is 17. In late September 1996, I decided to publish my MA Sociology Thesis, an ethnography about online communities, online. I ordered a copy of Adobe Pagemill, the first WYSIWYG html editor, and bashed together a website which, aside from a purple background and the odd blink tag, wasn’t THAT bad. Within a few days I was getting letters from my ISP, Demon Internet, complaining that traffic to my site, hosted on a “tenner a month” account, had temporarily knocked down their entire web hosting infrastructure. Unbeknownst to me, I’d be listed as “Yahoo’s Cool Site of the Day” back when Yahoo mattered (this was two years before Google launched). Happy 17th birthday,...

social media week london

By on Sep 23, 2013 in conferences/events |

Social media week has descended upon London with what must be well over 100 events. Earlier today I attended an enjoyable and insightful presentation from Facebook’s Ed Couchman, who shared some useful stats on how brands can build engagement by targeting specific audience segments on the right device at the right time. Tomorrow (Tuesday the 24th) I’ll be participating in a panel discussion on the Future of Community, hosted by The Social Partners. I haven’t sorted out the rest of my schedule for the week yet, but will probably attend a few events each day at the Social Media Week HQ in Covent Garden – drop me a line if you’re going to be around.

only a third of social strategies are focused on outcomes

By on Jul 22, 2013 in Uncategorized |

I’m constantly banging on about the need for the social media industry to “grow up” by becoming more strategic. At the weekend, I came across a post by Brian Solis that makes same the same point. He writes: “Having a Facebook page or Twitter account is like having a telephone or a printer — they are tools that need a purpose…” Solis goes on to quote from an Altimeter survey of social strategists and executives that found, “…only 34 percent felt that their social strategy was connected to business outcomes. Only 28 percent felt that they had a holistic approach to social media wherein lines of business and business functions work together around common goals. A mere 12 percent were confident they had a strategic plan that looked beyond the next year. And perhaps most astonishing was the fact that only one half of companies surveyed said that top executives were “informed, engaged and aligned with their companies’ social strategy.” So while the company grows in its social media efforts, strategic focus with a clear goal in mind often falls by the wayside.” Full post here:...

customer experience excellence requires focus on the journey

By on May 9, 2013 in Uncategorized |

A recent McKinsey study (link hat tip to Dion Hincliffe) highlights the importance, for brands, of focusing holistically on all the touch-points of the customer journey rather than on isolated interactions (which they call “moments”): “Customers are increasingly using multiple channels to interact with companies in an effort to meet their needs. To resolve a billing issue, for example, customers will often start with their bill, turn to the internet, call in to a call center, revisit the web site to check for resolution, and finally confirm a resolution on their next statement.  In fact, over 70percent of very satisfied customers build a favorable impression when their needs are met over three or more  touchpoints. A Customer Journeys approach addresses this. Additionally, Customer Journeys are consistently better predictors of value. They do a better job than the touchpoint approach of predicting a customer’s willingness to recommend the company to others or to renew their business. They also give more reliable insight about a customer’s likelihood to cancel/churn…” The McKinsey research is worth a read:...