Terms Commonly Used by MavenSocial and in the Social Media World
Analytics – A compilation of data and statistics, which is used to analyze and report on the performance of a campaign.
Blog – A website that allows users to reflect, share opinions, and discuss various topics in the form of an online journal while readers may comment on posts.
Brand – A type of product under a particular name manufactured by a particular company
Campaign – An advertising plan created to increase product and/or service sales.
Case Study- a careful study of a campaign that is used to determine what factors led to its success or failure
CRM (Customer Relationship Management) – Social CRM puts the “relationship” back into customer relationship management by allowing a two-way conversation between a business and its network. It is a way to keep track of your consumers and your engagement with them.
Consumer – A person who purchases goods and services for personal use.
Contest – An event in which people compete in an activity, to win something.
Changing Tides: How Companies are Realizing the Importance of Social Media Influencers and Data Collection
Recently I came across a study IBM, From Stretched to Strengthened – Insights from the Global Chief Marketing Officer Study. The study interviewed over 1,700 IBM Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs), spanning 19 industries and 64 countries. This study was conducted as part of a larger C-suite Studies initiative that has spanned the past seven years.
I’m floored by this study because it reiterates what we have been doing at MavenSocial for years now. We have understood the importance of social media and its affect on brands. A brand’s online social media presence can make or break a company. Many
companies fail to understand the importance of social media, and continue to only engage in traditional forms of marketing, such as direct mail, television, and magazine ads.
The Future: It’s About Data
The goal of every company and brand should be to connect with, and enter the social media realm. In this realm they need to be equipped with proper analytics that recognizes preferences, trends, and patterns across all touch points.
The IBM study shared that they should re-prioritize their investments to analyze digital channels, such as blogs, tweets, social networks, peer reviews and consumer-generated content. All of this is done so that the company has access to “customer’s honest, unmediated views, values, and expectations”.
Paired with powerful social media data and metrics from our WhiteFire Social software, blogging team, and interactive Facebook campaign, MavenSocial can track the life of any brand’s campaign from start to finish. As I have shared before, we are able to identify and track the campaign’s social media influencers, allowing the brand to connect with the influencer and cement their positive brand messaging throughout the life of the campaign and generations after.
The IBM study also shared that market and technology factors are the two most powerful external forces affecting the organization today. With the top four challenges being the “explosion of data, social media, the proliferation of channels and devices, and shifting consumer demographics”. It is imperative that companies have streamlined social media strategy and data analysis software that will ensure brand awareness cross-pollination.
It’s About Relationships:
Customer loyalty is best cultivated online. Social media allows the brand to create a personal experience for the consumer. Platforms such as Facebook allow companies to share brand information on someone’s personal space. Between comments from friends, and pictures of your sister’s new baby, when someone likes a brand’s Facebook Page they have direct access to that individual’s newsfeed.
A telecommunications CMO in Japan explains that the social media space needs to be understood by companies as they attempt to connect with, and increase customer loyalty. He explains “loyalty and customer satisfaction are critical because advocates online provide you will immeasurably valuable free marketing”.
IBM has 3 top priorities for managing the shift towards digital technologies:
1) Enhance customer loyalty/advocacy – 63%
2) Design experience for table/mobile apps – 57%
3) Use social media as a key engagement channel – 56%
This shift will demand that company’s stay on top of their social media strategy and strive to identify the best and the brightest in the social media analytics industry. The next few years will see an unparalleled increase in innovation, where customers will continue to demand brand transparency and best practices.
Consumer Motivation: Self-Serving
Motivation for many people is completely self-serving; it is about time that we accepted this fact and worked with it, instead of denying or rationalizing it. 70% of the CMOs interviewed in the IBM study, believed that people “Like” a Facebook page to “get information, express an opinion and feel connected to their brand”. In actuality, people like the page because they want to know W.I.I.F.M., or what’s in it for me? The top reasons that consumers give for following a company is “getting discounts (61%)” and “making purchases” (55%). Only 33% of followers connect with company’s via social media to “feel connected”.
Ann Glover, the CMO of ING Insurance U.S. sums it up nicely when she says “Customers today have more control and influence with the brand than ever. We need to make sure it’s give and take – a two-sided conversation, with both parties having responsibilities in the interaction.”
Women continue to gain strength as they become prominent social media influencers both online and offline. Due to the ‘double shift’, women are affording less time and patience for companies toting jazzy gimmicks and inflated results. Instead, there has been a shift towards social media sharing, where busy women can interact online with their peers. This interconnected forum is a utopia of information for companies who want to interact with their most vocal consumers. Tapping into the female market can be difficult; the first step to understanding your brand influencers is to identifying how they think.
Women Collaborate, Men Eliminate:
As a result of women’s climbing influence on brand dissemination, it is important to understand their decision making process, and the differences between the two genders. Women collaborate, men eliminate.[i] An article posted in the New Yorker explains that “women talk about brands they like, with a full 96% recommending products they like to others. This is an audience that every brand needs to connect with. If marketing to women isn’t already a priority for your brand, it should be”.[ii]
When making a decision, women tend to consider various viewpoints, collecting a multitude of pieces to the puzzle. Once all the pieces are found, a conclusion is made (both positive and negative). Think of it as a spider web. The initial idea or product is in the centre, with the various permutations, worries and queries spiking out in a wide circle, forming a web of connections and ideas, all beginning from a central idea. It may take women longer to make a decision, but once they do, it is a well-thought out one indeed.
A Woman’s thought process mirrors an Influencer’s Interactions?
Women tend to multi-track, building layer upon layer of information in order to form a coherent picture from which to form a decision. This is the same way that a social media influencer works. They disseminate the information on a brand or product to others, who then pass it on to people in the network. These networks gain strength, as sharing continues. Sharing is not only seen as a way to pass on the information to others, but also a way to establish close relationships. Social influencers are crucial to the success of a brand, because people are more likely to trust information they receive from a friend. Both men and women feel safer with people they know; which is why they actively seek support from their social network.[iii]
What’s in it For You?
Understanding who your social media influencers are, and how they process the information you offer them, will allow you to actively engage your primary social media influencers. Through this understanding, you have the opportunity to enhance the resiliency of your product through viral sharing among multiple platforms. Women have become the most prolific of these social media influencers. They represent 85% of all consumer purchases, comprise 63% of key social network membership, pass an average of 83 word of mouth conversations about brands/products each week, and are influenced by word of mouth in purchase decisions more profoundly than men (53% vs. 45%).[iv] Utilizing women’s desire to connect and share with their peers, you have the opportunity to directly connect and engage your market.
[i] Yaccato, J.T., & McSweeny, S. (2008). The Gender Intelligent Retailer, Discover the Connection Between Women Consumers and Business Growth. John Wiley & Sons. Mississauga, Ontario.
[ii] The Corporate Eye (2010). 25 Brands Most Buzzed About by Women. http://www.corporate-eye.com/blog/2010/09/25-most-brands-most-buzzed-about-by-women/.
[iii] Ma, W.W.K. & Yuen, A.H.K. (2011). Understanding online knowledge sharing: an interpersonal relationship perspective. Computers and Education, 56(210-219), p.212.
[iv] Fay, K. Comscore, 2010.
2nd Quote: The Economist (2006). The Importance of Sex.http://www.economist.com/opinion/PrinterFriendly.cfm?story_id=6800723.