Social CRM Doesn’t Exist, But a Need Does

The following article is a guest post from Houston Neal, Director of Marketing for Software Advice. You can view the original post here: Social CRM Doesn’t Exist, But a Need Does.

Social CRM is to the social media craze what eCRM was to the dot com bubble. The enterprise apps community is hungry for a big new category and social CRM smells tasty. As a result, software vendors, tech media and research analysts are all racing to promote and opine on this new market. Gartner, for example, appears to have hastily published their Magic Quadrant for Social CRM, which has been panned as confusing and unfocused.

But Social CRM Doesn’t Exist
In reality, social CRM is a misnomer. It doesn’t exist yet. This catch-all nomenclature implies a category far more straightforward than the diverse set of specialized systems currently targeting the social media opportunity.

“There is no such thing as a social CRM suite yet, says Jacob Morgan, Principle at Chess Media Group. You have community management platforms, CRM vendors, monitoring guys. No one does everything.”

The debate over social CRM has been drawn out over the past couple of years and analysts are still at odds over how to define it. Depending on who you ask, social CRM will mean something different.

“Trying to put a blanket over it and calling it a market is very difficult right now,” says Bob Thompson, CEO of CustomerThink. “Gartner attempted to do it and they ended up doing silly things like putting community vendors like Jive and Lithium in the same quadrant with CRM vendors that are doing Twitter feeds.”

So why all the buzz? Because there is a need for social CRM. Companies need a scalable way to engage customers in the social sphere. This includes everything from managing brand reputation, to responding to customer service requests, to finding new sales prospects.

The State of the Market
Currently, the social CRM landscape is comprised of several evolving software categories, each with 20 to 150 vendors competing for market share. To help you understand the lay of the land, I’ve created version 1.0 of the Software Advice Social CRM Market Map. It provides a fast, easy way to visualize the leading players in the social CRM space:

Social CRM Market Map

In this map, I segment the market into four categories, each of which markets could be divided into as many as 16 subcategories. However, I can sum them up into three primary applications:

  • Social media monitoring. Monitoring tools allow organizations to “listen” to conversations happening on the web. Also referred to as brand monitoring, social media monitoring allows you to track who is saying what about your organization or your competitors, as well as track when it is said. Some systems also allow you to publish responses, such as Tweets or Facebook wall posts. Social media monitoring is a crowded space with roughly 150 companies vying for a piece of the action.    (Radian, Visible, Alterian, Nielsen, Buzzlogic, BrandsEye, trackur, scoutlabs (acquired by Lithium), buzzgain to name a few)
  • Social analytics. Analytical applications go beyond web analytics and social monitoring to analyze conversations in the social sphere or social connections / content interaction using Social Intelligence. They can also analyze text, rather than just visitor behavior. For example, an analytics program could scour text from emails, surveys and social media, and then report trends and insights that help you decide how to respond. Social analytics companies often pair their main offering with social media monitoring tools. ( InfiniGraph, Gist (acquired by RIM), crimson hexagon, clarabridge, crowdfactory, InsideView, Attensity )    see Michael Tchong comprehensive review of Social Analytics.
  • Social platforms. Platforms empower an organization to build its own social communities or networks. These may be internal systems to foster employee collaboration or external networks for customers, prospects and partners. Deploying a social platform is like having your own private-label Facebook. There are roughly 125 vendors offering some form of social platform.  (Lithium, Jive, telligent, Pluck, LeverageSoftware, vovici, SocialText, mzinga, LiveWorld and many others)

At the same time, CRM market leaders ( Salesforce.com, Oracle, SAP, RightNow, Microsoft Dynamics CRM) are trying to piece together their own social CRM suites through development, partnerships, and acquisitions. Salesforce.com is the most likely to succeed in this effort. Over the last two years they introduced new social applications, like Chatter and Salesforce for Facebook, and made strategic acquisitions – notably Jigsaw and Dimdim. I would argue that Salesforce is a social CRM leader, rather than just a CRM gorilla trying to edge in on a new market.

Software vendors are all racing to build complete social CRM suites. What does this mean for buyers in the meantime? If you want a complete social CRM system, you will have to piece together tools from multiple vendors.

Next Steps
First, ignore the buzzword. There is no standard for what should be in a social CRM solution and there are no vendors that offer everything. Don’t just say, “Hey, we need to get some of that social CRM!” Instead, you need to decide what you are trying to accomplish and which categories are most likely to make a meaningful contribution to your strategy.

You will need well-defined goals for your social CRM strategy. If you just want to track what customers are saying about your brand on the web, then a social media monitoring application will suffice. But if you want to analyze that data, identify influencers, or spot trends, you should explore social analytics. Finally, if owning the community is strategically important, you will need a platform to build out that environment for your constituents.

Keep in mind that social CRM vendors don’t offer the same level of sales, service and marketing functionality that traditional CRM vendors offer. So if you need capabilities like sales lead management, lead nurturing and a few social features on the side, then you should really be looking at CRM software.

We’re obviously just skimming the surface here, but we’ll be publishing more on this topic throughout the year. In the meantime, check out the 18 Use Cases of Social CRM from the Altimeter Group and Social Business Framework from IDC. These tools present possible uses of social media and align them with business objectives.

Special thanks to Brian Solis, digital analyst and author of Engage; Michael Fauscette, Group Vice President of Software Business Solutions at IDC; Kathy Herrmann, thought leader on social business and change management; Paul May, CEO of BuzzStream, and; Peter Hrabinsky, VP of marketing at Antarctica Digital for their input on this article.

Expert Strategies for Using Social Media to Sell More, Faster

F_t_ilarge

Role of Social Content in the Sales Process
Brian Fetherstonhaugh, Chairman and CEO of OgilvyOne, argues that InfiniGraph’s business proposition is based on a Content = Digital Bait model.
    
Content once held a nicely defined niche in the sales process. It was used to articulate our message or hype our benefits. Content was highly sanitized and contrived. Now we see an entirely new role for content with consumers providing what is most relevant based on social behavior and letting brands participate in their digital conversations.

Content use to be what marketers decided, such as a 30-second spot, print ad, direct mail and e-mail, which was pre-defined and one way. Now there is an emerging discipline that has content taking on the role of DIGITAL BAIT.

The concept has marketers producing a whole stream of digital content for the market place. It can be on thought leadership, what your beliefs are, your special expertise in the form of a blog, or Twitter and Groupon offers.

This new skill set requires that marketers be great at creating content, delivering it to the market place and then understanding what people respond too.

Publishing content, understanding who acts on it, and who is driving the conversation in your sector, goes beyond social listening and monitoring and is key to capturing your business’ social voice.

It has been shown that using Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn increases your marketing communication program’s reach with target customers. Furthermore, it’s also true that about 1% of your audience shares your content that ultimately drives reach.   Here is InfiniGraph’s approach to content intelligence for more in-depth and to see the entrie Infographic go here

Socialintelligenceflow

Social engagement creates Reach, Relationship and Response enabling you to learn to sell more and faster, based on consumer interaction. Marketers who do not own their social voice and content space will see competitors grabbing increased share, so it’s imperative that one is prepared to compete based on Social Intelligence.

Below is an example of how InfiniGraph can assist in developing content intelligence:

Petcotrendingcontent2

Crowdsourced content is one of the best ways to determine what‘s trending around your brand and most relevant to your audience. Half the battle in content marketing is having the knowledge of what is driving the conversation, therefore, making you the smartest person in your community.

Knowing what to insert in your feed and seeing realtime results lets you build your content consumption’s success. Another major opportunity is increasing relevancy among your audience even if the content falls outside of your industry’s purview, which offers the distinct opportunity to interweave a brand message as part of a more advanced content marketing strategy.

How are you using content to be more relevant and what are you using to discover content that can turn your brand into a thought leader?

Please connect with us on our Facebook page too

@chasemcmichael
@infinigraph

 

 

Social Stream Marketing and Content Automation – Drive Actions Drive Results

Social Stream Marketing and Content Automation – Drive Actions Drive Results
Speaker Chase McMichael
  Las Vegas at Social Media Marketing 2011 Jan 12th

In this session you will learn how to maximize your content stream “Steam Marketing”, gain insight into what topics your consumers want to be engaged on “crowd sourced topic trending” and drive relevant content automation. With the growth of Facebook and Twitter continuing brands are allocating more budgets towards social marketing those who harness the stream with measurement and conversion into tangible events will benefit the most from the brands to consumer social graph.

Download InfiniGraph’s case study on Complex Media

Wonderful quote by @ChaseMcMichael: “Life is not about being liked; it’s about being effective.” #smlasvegas   via @sheckii

@ChaseMcMichael <— #rockstar of the session so far… #usguys #smlasvegas   via @lewisporetz

http://static.slidesharecdn.com/swf/ssplayer2.swf?doc=smlasvegas011210-110109114405-phpapp01&stripped_title=stream-marketing-and-content-automation-drive-actions-drive-results&userName=InfiniGraph

Other noted tweets @ #smlasvegas

@infinigraph:@ChaseMcMichael did a bad cartwheel at #smlasvegas    via @Kate_Malinoski

Awesome cartwheel!!! @ChaseMcMichael #smlasvegas via @SuperDaniYell

Yea he did! #SMLasVegas RT:@ubercool: At Social Media Marketing: 2011 and speaker via @kate_malinoski

@ChaseMcMichael just did a cartwheel! :) #socialmedia    via @DerekSchoen

Loved the gymnastics after your great presentation @ChaseMcMichael @infinigraph #smlasvegas    via @JustAskMary

Omg @ChaseMcMichael just did a cartwheel after his preso! You’re my fav #smlasvegas presenter! Giving what the people want #awesome    via @Maria_Roncal

Props to @chasemcmichael for giving in to crowdsourced desire to see a cartwheel. #smlasvegas    via @jayfenster

“It’s about being effective.” and “Don’t be lame.” #SMLasVegas #DontBeEffectivelyLame via @righellis

Users tell you via their actions what audience “passion points” are. 1% of population moves the brand, drives conversation. #smlasvegas via @jayfenster

Check @ChaseMcMichael’s slideshow NOW: #smLasVegas http://bit.ly/fp0LZd via @24kMedia @assuranceagency via @24k

Cartwheel completed by @ChaseMcMichael. #epic #WhiteBoyGotMoves #smlasvegas    via @sHecKii

Quality breeds quantity – focus on action. Your consumers demand quality. #smlasvegas via @assuranceagency

Great preso by @chasemcmichael. Tons of great ideas. #smlasvegas via @jayfenster

Social media content quality breeds quantity per: @ChaseMcMichael #smlasvegas via @neilglassman

Feed your feed with crowd sourced trending content. #smlasvegas via @assuranceagency

Interaction around content is more important than follower count. #EngagementIsAddingValue #smlasvegas via @jayfenster

Jargon throw-down! “Trending affinity map” and “crowd-sourced social intelligence” are in the lead. #SMLasVegas via @dribbleglass

Fingers crossed that @ChaseMcMichael really does a cartwheel. I’m not buying his excitement without a cartwheel. #smlasvegas via @JentheAmazing

“Your audience is full of smart people. You need to do more with them than ‘social listening.’” @ChaseMcMichael #smlasvegas   via @gosocialmotion

We just challenged @chasemcmichael to really do a cartwheel if he says he could . Prove it.#asw11 #smlasvegas via @prosperitygal

Agree 100% with @ChaseMcMichael‘s points on what actually has value in social. #smlasvegas    via @jayfenster

Fingers crossed that @ChaseMcMichael really does a cartwheel. I’m not buying his excitement without a cartwheel. #smlasvegas    via @JentheAmazing

Check @ChaseMcMichael’s slideshow NOW: #smLasVegas http://bit.ly/fp0LZd via @24kMedia @assuranceagency    via @24k

Check @ChaseMcMichael ‘s slideshow NOW: #smLasVegas http://bit.ly/fp0LZd    via @assuranceagency

In a language the nerds understand: “Effectiveness pwns being liked in social media.” @ChaseMcMichael #smLasVegas    via @gosocialmotion

Wonderful quote by @ChaseMcMichael: “Life is not about being liked; it’s about being effective.” #smlasvegas   via @sHecKii

Life is not about being liked, it’s about being effective – @ChaseMcMichael at #smlasvegas #truth    via @Maria_Roncal

“It’s about being effective.” and “Don’t be lame.” #smLasVegas #DontBeEffectivelyLame 

really diggin @ChaseMcMichael presentation #smLasVegas    via @LewisPoretz

Life is not about being liked, its about being effective @ChaseMcMichael #smLasVegas    via @dtaylorcreative

Life is not about being liked, its about being effective #smlasvegas via @Missypoo586

“The activity stream is now serious #marketing.” – @chasemcmichael #smlasvegas  via @lollieshopping

“If people like your content, don’t be afraid to put it out there again.” via @ChaseMcMichael #smLasVegas   via @gosocialmotion

Nice, @ChaseMcMichael used @briansolis + @jess3′s Twitterverse Infographic. He mentioned @Quora during preso#smLasVegas cc @billfishkin    via @24k

 

Be sure to check out our Facebook page

@chasemcmichael
@infinigraph

Stream Marketing, Social Intelligence and Influencer Media

Come join our CEO Chase McMichael in Las Vegas on Jan 12th at the Social Media Marketing Tips, Tools & Techniques 

Are you in the echo chamber of delusion?

Brad from LA – “You’ve got to be kidding me – this is clearly an example of the echo chamber delusion that a lot of digital marketers exist in. So 8,000 people pressed “like” on Facebook? Did they buy the product? Did they evangelize the product to a friend? Are people who answer questions on random Twitter feeds influencers or, in this case, decision makers in the supermarket? Yes, you picked up more followers for nothing — if that gets you paid, congratulations but don’t kid yourself that your brand or bottom line is being forwarded.”

In the end it’s behavior-based. A Facebook fan has no value. Getting a Facebook fan to do something does. @bdwallas Brian Wallace, VP-global digital at BlackBerry

We believe that many marketers think the same when sales numbers are more important than which post received the most “likes” or user shares. Fact is, we’re in the age of Stream Marketing, and where integrating your brand into the conversational steam and engaging your audience is a critical component of your marking strategy. Translating social interactions into click-through and engaging a consumer through relevance is what we will cover in the final story of this three-part series.  (Read Part 1 and Part 2)

Social graph commands a shift in ad spend

The impact social media is having on paid search efforts and ad campaigns on Facebook and LinkedIn is clear: Almost half of advertisers surveyed say that social is driving marketing spending. (Covario survey)

Toppaidsearchsocial

This study also found that advertisers will spend 10-20% of their pay-per-click budgets on Facebook next year, giving the social networking site the lion share of that market. How do marketers maximize social interactions around their brands?

 

Now that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a vital part of keyword buying, brands are looking to Social Media Optimization (SMO) to find out what keyword are trending and most relevant in relationship to the Social Graph. Social SEO is becoming the deciding force of the efficiency of ad dollars spent.

 

Influence and stream marketing

Running any campaign today without understanding the characteristics of your audience content consumption, their brands affinities, and knowing the Influencers is a marketing no-no.

People are socially promiscuous – many boast more than one social presence, such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and a blog. If you’re not considering these facts you’re missing the greatest marketing invention, called Stream Marketing. Targeting influencers is not easy. It requires intelligence, relevant content and consistency, while understanding these five key factors: 

·      Influencers interact more with brands

·      Influencers generate reach, boosting marketing efficiency

·      Influencers accelerate product adoption and improve profitability

·      Influencers amplify advertising messages via word of mouth

·      Influencers drive conversation activating brand advocacy.

The Content Consumption Graph is driven by a brand’s active audience interacting with content around other brands they’re connected to. This trending content graph is highly relevant to a central brand and being driving by those influencers.

We’re entering the year of Facebook. Many retailers who established Facebook pages are wondering how they’re going to engage customers. Companies such as Best Buy, J.C. Penney, AXE and Complex have open Facebook walls and emphasize engagement as a key part of their social initiative.

Crowd sourced Social Intelligence provides the consumer affinity maps which are trending based on social interaction producing a near real-time keyword trend map.   The more the interation the better the target trending.

Complextop10affinities

Evidence suggests that Facebook is successful directing new customers to retailer sites. Blogger.com and Twitter are also connecting shoppers with retailer sites. Companies like PeopleBrowsr research.ly, Gravity Twiterest, SocialFlow, Backtype, Sharethis, Asteriq – mentionmap and Convers.ly help better understand the Twitter data stream in order to harness the Public Interest Graph, while optimizing the timing and content of posts.

Tagmentions

Facebook and Twitter don’t displace editorial curation or search, but add a new mode — recommendations and links from friends, family and other trusted sources — that can spark viral distribution and mass awareness.

Social Intelligence and Engagement Media

Engagement media offer a plethora of tools to ignite passion and social distribution with nearly infinite supply of content creators and minimal cost of creating media,   This affords brands a unique opportunity to leverage the influence engagement media with consumers.   With a nearly infinite supply of content creators and minimal cost of creating media, the Content Consumption Graph is now more important than ever.

Redefining relevance  and content toward conversational marketing must inspire feedback to expand the reach. Using Social Intelligence lets brands know what’s most relevant to their audience, while increasing positive brand sentiment and greater engagement.   Engagment is not delusion if your interactions are matched with the brands goals.

What are you using today to determine what your audience engagement points are and do you think consumer relationships with brands are just waiting for a discount or coupon?

@chasemcmichael

@InfiniGraph

Our Facebook page welcomes you.

Influencer, Content Intelligence and Social Engagement

Talking with many brands and agencies the same challenge comes up over and over:   “What should we put in our stream to engage our audience and what’s important to them?

This is a very good question and any serious social site management has a content calendar / blog post schedule to do just that.   The bigger question is what do you do on a consistent basis (daily) and is the content you’re putting in your feed getting the attention you think it deserves? “You are what you feed” and in this hyper connected 140 character news bite world we live in, your brand must be on topic and as relevant as possible to as many people in order to obtain any social velocity around your brand’s ultimate call to action.    

In this 2nd part of our 3 part series, we will explore direct ways to achieve greater relevancy, intelligent content discovery, consistency of engagement and being part of your audience’s conversations.  Sharing and re-tweeting is a must have in the NOW world.  You’re only as good as your last post. So, some may say, “Make it a good one.”   The importance in understanding your audience and what drives them can dictate what we put in our feeds that appeals to the greatest number of engaged consumers that are also compelled to share with others.  This is the holy grail in social content marketing today…(Did someone say I want to make this go viral?)
Most have heard about the 1% rule — that just 1% of your brand’s social media followers are responsible for the majority of sharing.  They share your social media campaigns with their larger social network, passing on links to your contests, promotions, deals, and other marketing campaigns. These key Influencers are more than just fans — they’re brand ambassadors and advocates.   

  

With the growth of major brands engaging consumers across social channels, as seen in the graph above, more brands today have a greater need for relevant engagement. How to crowd source knowledge, and leverage what’s trending for your own brand is now at your finger tips. Brands that have fully embraced the social graph’s effectiveness to deliver growth, lead generation, loyalty and direct click throughs, plus the amazing number of Comments, Like and Retweets would make any competitor envious.  AXE (Unilever brand)  is a great example of content that’s not brand specific, however, engages and produces traction with its followers.

Axe50thingsguys

To get consumers to interact more and drive them to a call to action requires engagement beyond just the brand pump or product discount announcements. AXE consistently provides these types of posts to their audience allowing them to be in the conversation. Below is a screen shot of intelligent crowd sourced content trending around pet owners connected to other pet oriented sites (Content Consumption Graph). Thus, providing a direct example of content that’s highly relevant to the audience making this process of sourcing content simpler and more seamless to deliver on a real time basis, or as required.

There has been some argument regarding content vs. conversation.  Social media isn’t just conversation, it’s about ………. WHO CARES!  Let’s look at facts:

  • Conversations are a derivative of social media. Conversations are not social media.
  • Does content drive conversation?  Yes, compelling content drives engagement.
  • Does good content drive good conversation? Yes, the more relevant the better.
  • Does engagement for a brand have to revolve around the conversation? Yes and No. It’s about stimulating interaction which may or may not relate.
  • Relevant driven Conversations and Brand Interactions are the results

All content sent in the brand’s feeds are tracked individually creates a rank list of  the highest performers activity, providing instant feedback to what content is capturing Influencer attention and best social velocity:

   

A brand has to be more than just a great conversationalist to have long-term success in the social media. Social sites that have harnessed and engaged their audience have compelling content and tap into the passion points of their audience. This creates a huge marketing opportunity, called Content Marketing.
Using crowd sourced Social Intelligence provides a direct path to seeing what content is trending around your community (Content Consumption Graph). Monitoring the social interaction around your feeds provides a direct path by providing the most relevant content to your community and at the same time getting the most out of them.

Life is not about being liked, it’s about being effective!

Your turn, how are you determining what content is on topic and are you engaging your audience and Influencers with relevance beyond your brand marketing message?

 

@chasemcmichael
@InfiniGraph

Our Facebook page welcomes you.

Beyond Listening: Reinventing Social Keyword Monitoring

Beyond Listening: Reinventing Social Keyword Monitoring -  NY at #MSM10 Monitoring Social Media
Chase McMichael – InfiniGraph.com

Keyword-based social monitoring tools are difficult to optimize for targeted content delivery. They can also be difficult to use. In this session you will learn how, by leveraging your customers’ “Content Consumption Graph” you can not only deliver more relevant content but also dramatically boost engagement with that content. You will also see how advanced social intelligence techniques can deliver detailed graphs with insightful audience data.

 

http://static.slidesharecdn.com/swf/ssplayer2.swf?doc=monitoringsocialmediany100110-101105172625-phpapp02&stripped_title=monitoring-socialmediany-100110&userName=InfiniGraph

QA Session at talk

@chasemcmichael
@infinigraph

Fan Value, Customer Loyalty and Social Conversation

See InfiniGraph’s CEO Chase McMichael speak at Monitoring Social Media in San Francisco – Oct. 21 and  New York – Nov. 4: “Beyond Listening: Reinventing Social Keyword Monitoring”  Hashtag #MSM10

In this first part of a three-part series we address the challenges brands face with social consumers, the engagement around information to enhance loyalty and the value those fans bring. 

Continuously engaging one’s audience has gained importance now that the collective voice of social communities is growing louder each day. Not everyone can be Lady Gaga, Victoria Secret or the New York Yankees, yet many top brands are adding tens of thousands of followers daily, which is a good problem to have.

A recent study by Syncapse and market researcher Hotspex discovered that fans spend $72 more annually on consumer products than non-fans. They’re also 41% more likely to share or recommend a brand and 28% more likely to be a repeat customer.

The average value of a fan over a year was found to be $136, while fans of McDonald’s reported spending $160 more than other consumers. Even Oreo fans spent $29 more per year on Oreo cookies than non-fans. This data may not be as relevant for automobile or high-end couture manufacturers, but it’s a solid proof that fans are valuable and do influence their social circle.    

Oreofacebook

Below is a top brand affinity analysis showing followers of one brand are also followers of another.   This analysis is used to identify new consumers with high social activation and in-common connections to like brands in the same vertical.   Here we show Consumer product, media company, sports and consumer goods.

Top trending related brands for a major media company based on related social interaction and content sharing.

Complex_facebook_affinities100110

This can’t be a predictor of who will win the Stanley cup but surely shows which team has the most active fans linked to  NHL.

Nhl_facebook100410

Activity based affinity ranking provides the brand with other brands and their connected following are trending the most.  The other unique element is those top trending brands is the rank on the  active influencers in one to one with the most relevant brands.   Here you can see Pampers and ranked by activity is clearly related brands what you won’t find in any social monitoring out there due to the keyword nature of the products miss a great deal of relevance.

Pampers

Understanding your audience social affinities and content sharing activity provides the best cross targeting intelligence there is.  

The quality of followers matters due to social resonance — the ability for a message to be shared and continually carried beyond its initial broadcast. If social interaction is low, the value of those fans is lower. As a brand’s social graph grows, the tsunami of information and content sharing among followers becomes overwhelming.   But it’s not about who you connected to today, it’s about who you’re not connected to today. A key issue with social monitoring is that most brands listen for what they already know. However that misses key conversations that do not involve your brand.

Monitoring the quantity of information being shared and interacted with across many brands’ social touch points, which are changing in realtime, is a major challenge. This is compounded when you add consumer interaction with similar brands.

Yoram Wurmser, DMA research manager reports that 65% of brands don’t do any basic social listening or monitoring. This is likely due to the difficulty of making information actionable — too much data is flowing back without a clear way to act on the disorganized information.  Brands have to manage their own relevance in social media. This can be accomplished by leveraging social intelligence obtained through crowd sourcing. This technique offers the ultimate relevance filtering platform, whereby consumers collectively decide what information is most important and hence producing the best predictor of what others would benefit from discovering. 

 Wurmser notes that the biggest challenge for marketers is making themselves part of consumer conversations. Marketers must encourage people to have authentic conversations about products and services and use “Like” button clicks or tweet hashtags to measure interaction success. 

Marketers that embrace advanced social conversation techniques that enrich consumer lives without making them noisier, will enhance brand loyalty and, ultimately, emerge as winners in 2011.

@chasemcmichael
@InfiniGraph

Our Facebook page welcomes you.

Content Curation: Advocates, Influencers and Relevance

Chase McMichael’s upcoming talk Finding Influencers in Your CRM & Making Advocates on Sept. 17 addresses intelligent content curation and shows why brand advocates and influencers are the best source for community information. Also join InfiniGraph at Sports Marketing 2.0 VIP Summit – WEST Sept. 21, where you will see how sports teams are embracing social intelligence to drive “connected” traffic. 

The success of
Flipboard and Paper.li can be attributed to topic filtering and using the social graph of friends’ Facebook and Twitter connections to determine what content is trending. The overall success of social news generation depends heavily on this type of content creation.
Tools such as Curated.by, Tweetmeme, Topsy and twittertim.es, offer amazing features, from tracking number of clicks to who is grouping around a topic. The challenge is applying the right social intelligence to match enterprise-grade requirements and then scaling that technique to allow brands to mine this lucrative consumer data stream.
Tapping content shared among your friends, i.e. content crowd sourcing, is not new but the intelligence to parse what should be curated and how is. Enabling brands to be at the center of vertical content discovery is a valuable way to leverage this almost infinite information stream, while keeping the conversation relevant to your audience.

BrianSolisTweetPath2

Current solutions can explore links from your Twitter stream, plus your followers and their followers, ranking them based on how many people link to them. These products are conceptually similar to Tweetmeme but sorted based on contributors. Paper.li also achieves this type of curation, while exposing influential people on Twitter.

Collaborative filtering has been discussed since 2002, but it was Twitter and Facebook’s sharing of links plus feed amplification through the social graph which was the game changer.
The visual below shows one such re-tweet path and links shared. The red lines show secondary re-tweets  for this tweet http://bit.ly/99TmwN and illustrates something InfiniGraph dubs the “Content Consumption Graph.”

What’s the big deal? For a brand, knowing your audience and who has the most social resonance with specific content provides a valuable engagement conduit to similar communities. Finding your advocates by how much relevant action they’re engaged with in a content vertical is the best way of identifying authentic social interaction.
Below is a visual breakdown of a Twitter population based on who you follow, using segmentation categories created by Klout. Your content interests result in key social indicators that determine what content best matches a brand audience.   

twitterFriendAnalysis

Tools that measure your reach and determine the best content approach are still primitive. Bit.ly and similar tools work most of the time, except when links are altered by other social services. Sharethis is trying to address this issue but requires the installation of the Sharethis widget.

Tools like SocialTALKZuberance also enable tracking shared reviews. Rowfeeder pulls data directly from Twitter and Facebook and counts brand mentions to help find possible advocates. While the combining social monitoring and analytics with various sharing tools is possible, challenges still remain.

Social media now offer marketers a way to map relevant conversations ranked by influence, something that was previously impossible. But identifying brand advocates based on true social interaction and authenticity is still not possible.

Yet it’s becoming critical for brands to better understand how their content is being shared, how similar content is being consumed and where the content of competitors is being shared online. Using large-scale social intelligence techniques lets marketers and community mangers find the most relevant content to supply their news feeds, while engaging their audiences with far greater relevance.

Going beyond keyword monitoring and looking for opportunities to optimize the word-of-mouth effect of your social network content will greatly increase your reach. So key questions to ask your team are: How do you track your content  today? What content are you curating through your feeds and what is getting the most traction?

 

The “Now What” Syndrome: Retaining and Engaging Fans/Followers

In Chase McMichael’s upcoming talk at INTEGRATING EMAIL MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA, we’re addressing the challenges brands are having with their social sites once they get one rolling. The question is “NOW WHAT” with regards to retaining and engaging their fans/followers.

Brand managers are challenged with managing and making their social presences engaging; what should I post to my audience over just product update after product update, or special discounts, over and over again. Social is not about force feeding a one way message to your audience but more about starting conversations, becoming a leader in information discovery and content creator. Even the company blog needs content that’s highly relevant and meaning full, overall providing value to your consumers.   

 
How brands obtains a greater following which produces high social density (people with same or similar in common connections to the same brand) is based directly on connected consumers with similar interests.    The higher the social density is around a brand the higher the social resonance a brand has among a community; therefore creating greater conversation and sharing.

Fig 1 and 2 illustrate high and low social density around one topic.

Low social density results in low social resonance.   The top image has zero in common connections therefore the probability to cause social resonance is approaching zero where as the lower image has high social density around a specific vertical topic causing retweets, sharing and people commenting.   

When consumers share, go to and make comments on content; these actions create the Content Consumption Graph (CCG).  Billions of views on content are happening right now and a fraction is being shared or interactive with to expand that content reach.  The word “Viral” is a word used to describe a small set of consumers who send out content to enough people in turn sending to others and so on, hence, Viral spreading. What’s great about all this behavior is Brands can leverage this with desire to share and create content discovery with content that’s highly relevant to their brand and resonates with their target audience.    

The ability to do continuous social insight management of my many social points is vital to leverage the CCG. With recent advancements in social technologies brands have access to real time recommendations of content that’s important to their audience. Being in the stream and being relevant is a big deal. There are 100,000’s of social sites that are dead because no one is fuelling the jet and providing ongoing lead nurturing and content discovery around their social presence. 

Do you know what your brands social density is and who is engaging your posts? How are you sourcing content that’s relevant to your customers? Tell us what steps you’re taking to engage with content.  

@chasemcmichael
@infinigraph
sales@infinigraph.com

Top 8 reasons why your business will need Social Media Optimization

A major shift has been taking place for a few years on the web with the rise of user generated content, and businesses now have hard evidence that the “social web” has become undeniably what constitutes their quintessential source of traffic, leads and sales, alongside with traffic referred through SEO and SEM. See how the main sources of traffic for some of these major sites have turned to become social-web driven:

Forward-thinking marketers have started to engage in social media and this has become part of their overall marketing strategy. New approaches to online marketing are emerging constantly and require a quick adaptation to concepts such as “earned media” (the additional unpaid exposure a brand gets when consumers engage in conversations around brands online), local social advertising, social search or social ad networks.

If you’re in charge of marketing your business, there is no doubt that you have already heard about the new marketing gold rush that is taking place in social media.  The low cost to entry of generating marketing content through the social media scene has created an opportunity for marketers to expand their brand reach by encouraging and monitoring engagement in social communities.  Although the marketing means in social media are more subtle and require more context understanding than in online advertising, the prospects are great for marketers to increase brand exposure and generate leads and sales. For those still in doubt that social media and real time marketing are worth the time spent, here are 8 good reasons why you should start to take it seriously.

1 – Reaches a better targeted audience

Social media networks require user authentication and as such, provide ways (called APIs) for marketers tapping in those social ecosystems to better target their audience. By leveraging behavioral targeting, marketers can pinpoint their targeted audiences and engage in conversations or advertise on pages that are more likely to be contextually relevant to the nature of the product being advertised. This has obvious repercussions on the resulting engagement and consequently on the likelihood that users will have a positive interaction with the product or brand being marketed.

2 – Reaches a connected audience in real time

The Web 2.0 revolution has mainly been the revolution of user generated content. The consequence of this for marketers is that content is created non-stop, and so are opportunities for brand exposure and user engagement.  This requires marketers to get the proper tools for

  • Monitoring and assessing online conversations and plugging into each opportunity to leverage the ongoing stream
  • Defining a business workflow allowing them to manage the process of handling those branding and conversion opportunities (and automating what can be)
  • Measuring the success of those actions, allowing for repeatable cycles of successful marketing opportunities
  • Amplifying the positive brand exposure by spreading it across all possible channels

3 – Generates exposure for you business

Marketers have a great opportunity to generate exposure by providing information about their company and product updates. This can start as simply as creating a Twitter account and Facebook Fan Page, and linking those pages from their web site. Most marketers report a positive outcome from marketing their business on social media.

4 – Generates qualified leads

Although requiring a high level of engagement, social media can help generating qualified leads given the highly targeted nature of the possible interactions with prospective clients. That is becoming a major potential source of savings for businesses, as it drastically reduces customer acquisition costs.

5 – Creates new opportunities for business partnerships

By engaging with people similar industries and having complementary business goals, social media can help businesses get new partnership opportunities and grow their business reach as a result. This particularly applies to sole proprietors tending to engage in social media under their own name (realtors, lawyers etc)

6 – Increases site traffic and subscribers

Well conducted social media campaign will leverage link building strategies in order to drive traffic to their site and increase conversion if coupled with targeted and optimized landing pages. This part should be coupled with A-B testing and can be easily automated and measured for optimization.

7- Helps your Search Engine Optimization

Since content of many of the social networks, social discovery and social bookmarking sites are indexed by search engines, having a presence on those networks will positively help with your SEO efforts. Automation is again is key, as spreading every piece of positive content can help amplify the effects of re-posting/re-blogging and provide opportunities for viral content distribution.

8 – Reduces overall expenses in web marketing and advertising

Social Media Marketing is projected to grow to a $3.1 billion market by 2014 (Forrester),
the highest area of growth in all marketing areas, ahead of mobile (+27%):

 

 

As stated by Sequoia partner Mark Kvamme (GigaOM, 03/17/10), “if you can harness social media marketing, you don’t have to pay for advertising any more”. The Social Web still is in its early phases but has the enabling characteristics of a transforming phenomenon for the
marketing industry, and Infinigraph is ideally positioned to become a leader and innovator in that disrupting phase of evolution, the era of Social Media Optimization.