Preparing for Social Media Engagement with Groundswell’s POST approach

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Charlen Li and Josh Bernoff described approach called “POST” in Groundswell:

People, Objectives, Strategy and Technology

People: It is important to understand the customers or target audience behaviour. What are they? how do they engage on social media etc. Based on the customer understanding, appropriate technology as well as media can be identified.

Objective: It is very important to understand what is the goal of social media engagement. Is it for creating awareness via marketing or creating more sales lead or addressing issues of customers or create awareness about the usage of products / services? There are various objectives: They can be : 1. Listening to customers 2. Talking to the customers 3. energizing customers to spread word of mouth or further awareness 4. Customer support 5. Embracing to customer feedbacks or ideas. If you want to map these tasks to the traditional tasks enterprises do then:

Listening means market research(companies traditionally spend $15biilion on market research), Talking means outbound marketing, Energizing means generating sales leads, supporting means customer support and embracing means development or (inbound) product management.

Strategy: What is the expected change by doing the engagement? what is the effective strategy to have it? It is very important to think about how to engage customers and hw will that engagement grow and influence internally as well as externally. Since the planning of social media engagement can take endless time and most importantly while you doit, the market dynamics would force it to change it. Hence it is important to start small but have plan to grow further. Important aspect is to have an idea of how it would impact, what is the endgame, how it would change company. Social media engagement is sometimes like a stirring a beehive. One should be ready with proper strategy to engage the customers otherwise it may backfire. There is no right way to engage social media customers. However, there is a genuine and respectful attempt with some creativity and innovation would definitely help.

technology: Wiki/ blogs/ social networks/ sentiment analysis/ twitter/ forums / what tools should be used? If you are engaged in online community development then proper technology like communispace, or MarketTools/Network insights can be looked into. Considering the volume that one may need to deal with the proper aggregation, filtering, sentiment analysis and summarizing technologies are needed to bring down the endless chatter into some manageable flow of information. For example, MotiveQuest, Nelson’s BuzzMetrics, Cymfony.

Forrester Research’s Technographics Profiles

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Forrester research developed a concept of technographics profiles of people using Social media technologies. This concept for categorization of Social Media users was eloborated by Charlen Li and JOsh in their book,  Groundswell, as well. Forrester research has developed a tool for capturing such profiles of consumers of a business. Here is a nice presentation on this technograohics ladder presented by Josh Bernoff and Jacqueline Anderson.

http://www.forrester.com/empowered/ladder2010

It defines the people as:

Creators: Write blogs, or upload videos etc.

Conversationalists: Express opinions on twitter

Critics: Comment on others content in terms of review sites or leave comments

Collectors: Aggregates or organizes contents like diggs / topix

Joiners: Connect in social networks

Spectators: Read blogs, watch videos, listen music uploaded by others

Inactives: None of above:-)

Understanding of consumers profile with this perspective is important to decide how to monitor and engage them.

My Comments on Jordons'(from LiveFyre) Comments on Facebook Comments :-)

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Jordon Kretchmer from LiveFyre commented on Facebook comments. No wonder he does not like Facebook comments, especially because his company is also in SocialComments.

However, he raised few valid points. The visibility of Facebook comments is wider that it should be. It is based on Social graph. Your comments get displayed in your social circle as well as in the social circle of the friend / page on which you commented. I agree with Jordan that in real life you do not want your comments to be visible to every one but only to the people who are interested or who matters. In that respect, it is important to have a visibility control to the person who gives the comments. It can be based on interests , conversation thread, groups, etc.
There is another issue of about using Facebook comments in your application is who owns the data (comments). Jordon rightly asserted that Facebook wants your data. Yes, for good or bad, every one in web2.0 wants data. Today the User Generated Data(UGC) is the king. It becomes the basis of crowd intelligence, it provides insight about users preferences/tastes, it gives insight about public opinions about event/news/product/topic/subject that can be used for various purposes. These comments are the basis for Social Analytics, Social Media Monitorng as well as social medi engagement. So, not just Facebook but most of the comments sites would/should treat this data as asset. However, if any app / blog / site is using these comments sites, the app / bog / site own should get access to the complete data.

Social Media Certification for Marketers / CRM Agents?

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In Social Commerce Summit, there was a discussion around Social Media Engagement. A marketing executive who was one of the panelist mentioned that they wanted people who deals with Social media coversation to follow some guidelines. In the context she mentioned about Social Media Certification, which is a good idea.

IMO Social Media Certification for CRM Experts should cover:

1. Understanding goals of the engagement

2. Lern technical tools

3. Understand profiles of customers

4. Have Education about company and product branding.

But whenever one mentions ‘certification’, the focus becomes on best practices and tech expertiese, which would kill the most important aspect of Social Media Engagement that is to be genuine personal tone. The formal certification or best practices should not kill the personal voice. Otherwise the engagement would not be effective. Rather it may backfire. So in the Social Media Engagement Certification, I would add more focus on personal tone and voice, more focus on soft skills & informal communication than the formal talks. So, more unlearning of typical sophisticated marketing  / customer care talk would be needed. [tweetmeme source=”khanderao” only_single=false]

Social Media Monitoring – Engagement would be core to CRM

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Kana announced acquisition of Overtone, Social Media Monitoring platform. This announcement is at the heels of recent announcement by Salesforce of acquisition of Radian6around 350 million. Kana has not disclosed the terms. This acquisition is another example of acquisition frenzy into the world of Social media Monitoring which would be a part of Social CRM.

Typical functionalities of Social Media Monitoring are:

1. Monitoring social media buzz across various sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, as well as various QA sites / survyes. The monitoring covers sentiment analysis, response to product releases / campaigns / news PR, feedbacks on products, grivenance about product / people / company, competitor analysis, trends, feature requests etc.

2. Social Media Engagement: Tracking conversations from customers / partners across multiple channels and engaging into the conversations. This is expected to result into better customer / public opinions. Such conversations often take place on public sites and would eventually be monitored by investors too.

3. Social Analytics: Root cause analysis, Analysis of customer profiles, customer response, sentiment, product buzz, competitors analysis are areas where a lot of work is being done and would be done.

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