Ad Agencies and Social Media Marketing

A process for translating insights from social media data into innovative and emotional experiences

“Facebook enables brands to find consumers in a place where they’re already spending a great deal of time. It is also highly precise: I can target users by location, language, education, employment, age, gender, marital status, their likes and interests and the size and profile of their list of friends,” says Sarah Blackman, digital planning and innovation director at Young & Rubicam in Berlin. (SOURCE: http://www.momentumreview.com/uk/how-facebook-stole-our-brands)

“At the end of the day everyone has the same amount of data because data is just people doing stuff. Converting that into insight is the point; that’s where it turns to magic,” Unilever CMO Keith Weed highlights the importance of having minds on the team who are looking for actionable points of departure within the data. (SOURCE: http://www.digiday.com/brands/brands-at-ces-say-dont-be-seduced-by-data/)

THE CLIMATE INTO WHICH SOCIAL MEDIA ANALYSTS ENTER: A host of technology companies and techno-geeks are actively engaged in developing applications for segmenting the mass of data flowing in from social networks. Advanced agencies within the WPP network, such as Ogilvy, JWT and Kantar are increasing their analysis staffing. But the staff they are looking for are not just scientists. The social analyst has spent time in the networks and is merging an emotional sensibility with solid critical thinking skills. He believes the Internet is a real living organism and goes to work every day excited to put on his diving gear and encounter the denizens of the deep. She has an awareness that the most subtle shifts in one area of the Internet can cause a flood of awareness and action in unexpected communities, forums and in the minds of critical key influencers.

THE IDENTITY OF THE SOCIAL MEDIA ANALYST WITHIN THE CORPORATION: Major corporations and agencies must develop teams to leverage masses of social data and turn that data into stories, communities and new products/services. These teams will be filled with individuals who have learned age-old analysis techniques, as outlined in The Handbook of Market Intelligence from the Global Intelligence Alliance – http://www.globalintelligence.com/insights-analysis/handbook-on-market-intelligence. The teams will also be filled with individuals who know a new world is possible and do not bow to old-school oligarchs. I’m talking here about a Pirate Bay http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uUHmE5nD3W0 and Hacker mentality. Finally, these are going to be teams with a yen for weaving the digital and the material realms together, such as the GoPro crew http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3PDXmYoF5U and Timothy Ferriss of 4 Hour Work Week fame http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/. Big agencies and corporations need individuals who can lead them out of stagnant forms of pride and into more “experiential” dives into the data.

A PROCESS FOR TRANSLATING INSIGHTS FROM SOCIAL MEDIA DATA INTO EMOTIONAL EXPERIENCE: Below is an exact process for translating insights from social media data into innovative and emotional experiences by hand. When we know how to do something by hand, we can begin to implement the machine where possible. In the end, the human is the last mile in effective communication. In the end, one-to-one is the way to transfer messages into the “right” ears.

1. Who do you know that has the most knowledge of a particular market niche? Ask him/her which trade publications, conferences, individuals and companies are the leaders. Make a note of these on a piece of paper with a pen or on a text document on your computer.

2. Get one copy of each mentioned trade publication.

3. Note the websites of each conference, individual and company mentioned.

4. Thoroughly study this initial list from your personal contact. Note down vendors, service providers, advertisers, authors, journalists, products related to these trade publications, conferences, individuals and companies.

5. Look within these same publications and websites for a “Top list” of companies, individuals and products/services.

6. Create an Excel spreadsheet of these trade publications and “Top lists”.

7. Discover the Twitter accounts of these Top list entities and other thought-leaders discovered in the trade publications and websites. An easy way to do this is to type the name of the influencer + Twitter into Google. Or search in the Twitter search field. You can also go the websites of these entities and see if there is a Twitter link at the website.

8. Use a solution that delivers a spreadsheet of all followers of a specific Twitter user, such as Simply Measured or Social Bro. Download the followers of every influencer you have identified in your initial offline research. http://www.simplymeasured.com or http://www.socialbro.com

9. Use the Sort function in Excel to sort the list of followers by Klout, Kred, Peer Index or another influence metric. In the paid version of Simply Measured you will receive the Klout score for every account. http://www.klout.com

10. Create a 2nd copy and sort by Listed (the number of lists an entity is on within Twitter).

11. Use the Filter function in Excel to further narrow these sheets by specific industry-related keywords within the Description (Bio) column.

12. Use the Filter function in Excel to narrow by Location.

13. Combine the filtered results from whatever setting is important to your research question from each sheet into one “Master” workbook.

14. Rank the entities in this workbook by your chosen Influence metric (e.g.- Klout, Kred, Peer Index) or Listed to indicate global awareness and influence scoring.

15. Ideally, you will narrow this massive Master list to 1000 core influencers. Now download the Simply Measured Klout Audience Analysis for every single one of these influencers (thought-leaders). Go through the exact same Sorting and Filtering process and combine into a second Master list (this will be much larger). Now you have two concentric rings of influence you are able to connect into through content-marketing, direct-marketing or other selling strategies.

16. Take this work further by creating a book called “The Core List” in which you reveal core information for each of the 1000 core influencers: their bio from LinkedIn, all of their social links (find these through their Klout profile and further research, their top 100 influential followers within that specific market niche and their contact info (phone, email, address).

17. Now you are ready to study this core list and know who is leading the conversation in your market niche. Take the time you need to listen to each person and jot down observations on what they are saying and working on. Use a leading social monitoring tool, such as Brandwatch, Radian6 or Sysomos to augment your listening. http://www.brandwatch.com OR http://www.radian6.com OR http://www.sysomos.com

18. Create a list of 10-20 questions for the top 100 influencers in “The Core List” and send this to them via email. This is your focus group/survey for the market niche and will give you invaluable insight.

19. Create observations on the content produced by members of your core list. Add, as an appendix, all of the data organized by location, relevant social links discovered via listening, and metrics/statistics for the industry. This report, if concisely written and properly documented using best-practice research techniques, will be THE most comprehensive ever done for that market niche.

20. Create an Editorial Calendar with channel-specific ideas related to the industry. This Editorial Calendar ought to include specific marketing actions, online & offline channels for marketing and industry-specific publications in which to publish material. More on editorial calendars and a sample editorial calendar here: http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2010/08/content-marketing-editorial-calendar/

21. In addition, create a Media Plan that reveals regions, online channels and audience sizes. This plan will inform an advertising spend. Use SEMRush, a keyword tool for deciding where to spend advertising dollars. http://www.semrush.com/

Four Courses every Corporate Leader Needs in Social Business

The following are four ideal courses that the C-Suite needs as related to Social Business and Social Media Marketing.

TRAINING ONE: Is social media a fad?
Many corporate leaders wonder if social networks are a temporary fad. At the moment, social networks are THE primary means for global brand communication. Independent studies tell us that this will be true for another 5-7 years at the least. We should take advantage of this as corporate leaders and brand evangelists. This training session focuses on training corporate leadership in the nitty-gritty of social business set-up, risk assessment, how the various silos can integrate action in social networks and what role the C-Suite has in guiding the entrance of a brand into social networks. Particular focus is on roles within the corporate structure and best-practice related to risk-assessment in social business.

Additional focus will be placed on the role of the Compliance Department in working with the various silos of a brand entering social networks for the first time. Important questions related to compliance include: What are the risks if I engage my company in social networks? What are the risks if I do not engage with my customers in social networks? What are the legal ramifications of entering social networks? How will the Compliance Department interact efficiently with the various silos as each department enters social networks?

TRAINING TWO: What is the future of social business and related social business software?
The future is centered around mobile access to information and communication. We should be thinking about our mobile customer and how the mobile user will connect with our work in the social web. This training session identifies how a brand can easily transition browser-based communication assets into mobile assets. In addition, valuable resources related to mobile marketing and mobile social marketing will be discussed.

TRAINING THREE: What are the costs and resources needed to do this?
In this training, a step-by-step analysis of a social business proposal from top to bottom will be presented. Typical budgets for social business, social marketing campaigns and social business software licensing will be covered. Examples of real proposals will be shown and dissected by participants. This training is an excellent precursor to the RFP (Request for Proposal) process at a major corporation or brand. Guidance on questions to ask potential vendors will be given.

TRAINING FOUR: Does every employee need to participate?
Each department ought to have 1-2 representative employees that will be active and trained in the social networks. In this training, we will go over the titles and roles that these individuals will have, along with best-practice chronologies of action. We will cover how social business and social marketing can be integrated seamlessly into the everyday duties of current employees. A particular focus will be given to how social business and social business software can actually help corporate leadership save money. This training emphasizes the value brought to a corporation through using social networks and related software. Case studies and real examples will be shared along with suggested steps to take in integrating social business into a brand’s current activities.

Why study influencers' social streams?

When one goes slowly and with imagination through a list of influencers, reading about their passions, studying their proclivities, observing the vicissitudes of mood and opinion in their social stream…a story emerges and forms about that individual, about their market sector and about the customer in that sector. And it is such stories that form the basis of potent marketing campaigns, the focus of which is to grow awareness of YOUR product/service.

We have the conversations, we need people to analyze and synthesize what customers are saying

“We have the conversations now…we don’t need Nielsen…we don’t really even need some of these deep analytics anymore…we have the conversations” ~Jodee Rich, CEO, PeopleBrowsr

“You need someone who can read into the data and say “this is telling me…” @richmeyer

“There are way too many analytic solutions out there & not enough people to analyze the data and turn it into action.” @richmeyer

“Organizations need individuals/teams within to leverage analytics into actionable items that can help meet brand objectives.” @richmeyer

“A “spot-on” CSV of 100 Key Influencers w/social links + a summation of these Influencers’ latest messages/social objects + a graph of who follows them and who they follow.” @Nat_Hansen

“We helped (this brand) find 10,000 followers who REALLY loved them and their click through rate went up significantly…it (stories, conversations, and numbers) absolutely become dollars when it becomes what people are really thinking about us.” ~Jodee Rich, CEO, PeopleBrowsr

MANAGERS AT AD AGENCIES ARE MORE INTERESTED IN THEIR BUSINESS MODEL & MONEY VS. HOW PEOPLE FEEL: Putting a brand-oriented organization like an ad agency in charge of nurturing a community of people within social networks is a mistake. An ad agency’s business model is based on revenues earned from media. They create broadcast messaging for broadcast media. The growth of vibrant social communities is better done by those from WITHIN those same communities, individuals committed to the core values of whatever that particular circle lives for.

If a community is only nurtured for transactional purposes, its members interact differently than if the community has been formed around a passion, a shared interest. Good content-marketing is informed by deep insights derived from conversation snippets within social networks. And most brands and agencies are not staffed with the right people to discover such insights. They are smart but they are bound to their business model.

The best organization to build a social community consists of those who care about and have “grown up” within that community itself…whether it be the community OF THE BRAND ITSELF or a non-branded community that is GENRE-SPECIFIC (in which a particular brand tends to flourish). Additionally, those familiar with social networks and how to use social technologies are the best to train these community leaders. To sum up: Orient towards those who care about people as the ones to initiate AND grow a community within social networks.

SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY IS A TOP PRIORITY IN COMMUNITY CREATION: A number of organizations I am working with now in Europe are dealing with this exact issue. The ad agency for these organizations has been in charge of informing the ethos of the customer-facing materials. But now, in both cases, it turns out that the budding communities forming around these brands need leadership and nurturing. And there is no-one managing the brand or on staff at the agency that truly cares about the quality of the community. The PRIMARY discussion is: how many Likes can we get AND how many of those Likes can we turn into dollars or euros? At the outset of growing social communities, such strong focus on growing Likes and turning Likes into dollars/euros can suffocate the organic growth of a circle of people simply coming together to share a common interest or passion. To sum up: Peter Ecomonomides of FelixBNI says, “social psychology is far more important than economics”.

SCALES OF CARE: I remember consulting to a large sales organization years ago in America. I worked with an I/O Psychologist to assess the 100 person staff within the organization as part of an HR project. The study yielded some interesting results. Of particular interest was the psychological make-up of the COO and the Director of Sales. The tests we were using showed, as one scale of measurement, an individual’s care for other humans…that is, how much concern someone had for another person and their feelings/needs. The COO and the Director of Sales scored 1 and 2 respectively on a 100 point scale, with 100 marking deep care for others. To sum up: Do NOT put Directors of Sales or CFOs in charge of policies related to social communities. This is the vicinity of those in Customer Experience and the customer journey.

Choosing Fun in relation to Key Influencers within the Interest Graph can be very effective. Check out this twitter campaign for a cell phone company in Turkey. Brilliant! Thanks to @helena_chari in Athens for turning me on to this!!

BE CUSTOMER-CENTRIC, NOT PRODUCT-CENTRIC: While it is true that not all COOs or Sales Directors globally might score in the same way, this example points to an important issue for those building social communities. Often the decision-makers in the room at enterprise-level organizations are the CFO (who influences the CEO) and leaders from the Sales division. On one level this makes sense since sales is the life-blood of most organizations and the CFO is the “dutch uncle” (ideally) who maintains efficiency and the books. But a CFO and a Director of Sales are NOT the right people to nurture a social community for a brand, nor to dictate how such a community ought to be created and populated. This is best done by individuals who understand customer-service, who care passionately about user-experience and who have a bias towards giving power to the customer in such forums. And that’s why large organizations globally are gearing more resources towards Chief Customer Officers vs. Chief Marketing Officers. See Harvard Business Review article on this subject here AND here.

STAFFING FOR CONVERSATION ANALYSIS: I recently interviewed a large interactive agency in a major European city. I was particularly interested in discovering to what extent the agency analyzed customer data for the purpose of deriving insight. In other words, aside from receiving metrics and analytics from a social monitoring solution, did the agency employ OR contract with individuals who studied conversations by influencers around a brand. And, if so, what training or background did those individuals have. It turned out that the tool the agency was using showed communities around interests related to a brand along with stats on those who occupied the communities BUT the agency had allocated no resources or staffing toward peering into the conversations. To sum up: agencies and brands MUST staff in relation to customer need vs. product need. Social communities are best served by those who understand the human heart.

ANALYSIS OF CONVERSATION AND STORYTELLING: Something very powerful emerges when one knows what others are interested in talking about. Consider for a moment how powerful it would be for that interactive agency to spend time looking at the last 100 tweets/status updates/blog posts/thread comments OF the top 100 online influencers around its customers’ products. And what if the person studying this messaging had a background in psychology, writing psychological assessments and/or in journalism, feature stories. Agencies MUST consider contracting with or employing such people to do exactly this task. The creativity that emerged from the focus groups of old is amplified in potential with so many conversation snippets now discoverable within social networks around ANY topic. A psychologically-aware storyteller who understands the power of mashing-up content IS the individual ALL agencies and brands should be sending headhunters to find. Non-branded Twitter communities created on-the-fly for research purposes can be very powerful scopes for those with a trained eye and a trained heart. To sum up: Agencies and brands MUST hire individuals or contract to organizations who specialize in community and conversation analysis. Storytellers are vital to community conception and creation.

GOOD QUESTIONS TO ASK: Interactive and ad/marketing agencies should be asking themselves the following questions:

1. Are we satisfied with our process for deriving insight, customer intelligence and stories from our current social monitoring solution?

2. How much time are we spending on conversation/community analysis at the outset of social marketing projects? And on-going?

3. Have we considered hiring individuals trained in psychology and journalism to (a) analyze conversations within social communities and (b) create sticky content from the insights derived from these conversations?

4. Have we realized the full potential of non-branded Twitter communities as a valuable resource in gaining customer insight, gaining competitive intelligence and in our storytelling processes?

CONVERSATION INSIGHT AND ANALYSIS AT SLIDESHARE by THE SOCIALIZERS

RESOURCES:

Research.ly, a solution created by PeopleBrowsr, to create on-fly communities around ANY topic. This is an invaluable tool for market research and social community creation.

Copyblogger – a great resource for those who create content of all kinds.

Oxford Internet Institute Projects – this institute in the UK is deeply interested in the Hows and Whys of the Internet. The research they are doing is fantastic!

The Chief Customer Officer Council – The Chief Customer Officer Council is the first of its kind — a member-led peer-advisory network offering unparalleled insight into the critical issues facing CCOs.

WOMMA – Word of Mouth Marketing Organization – WOMMA is the premiere non-profit organization dedicated to advancing and advocating the discipline of credible word of mouth marketing, both offline and online.

The Value of Limerence: Community Precedes Commerce

What we know from our very short history of living online is that community precedes commerce; there’s no commerce without community. ~Kevin Kelley

LIMERENCE: Communities fostering “limerence” with their members in digital networks have discovered this simple truth: a desire for interconnection and interaction with other sentient beings drives a majority of searches and relationships in social networks. Investing FIRST in relationship and community leads to positive dividends in terms of customer equity AND market share. The time of the CIRCLE has arrived.

Limerence is the ethos of the Greek god Eros, who arrives where beings need freedom. And need it bad! Eros is a very important figure as related to social networks, which are characterized by the feminine principle of “circling” during crisis. Carl Jung, the Swiss psychiatrist, writes, “Woman’s psychology is founded on the principle of Eros, the great binder and loosener, whereas from ancient times the ruling principle ascribed to man is Logos. The concept of Eros could be expressed in modern terms as psychic relatedness, and that of Logos as objective interest.” “Psychic relatedness” is a critical factor in the growing of communities within social networks and an important concept to deeply understand for anyone involved in social business.

WHAT IS CIRCLE THINKING? At the core of true circle (social) ethos is the practice of speaking and listening from the heart. When humans are compassionate, heartfelt and empathic, and listen without judgement…when humans engage in non-hierarchical forms of deep communication, a group’s vision and purpose emerges naturally and beautifully.

Circles offer effective means of resolving conflict and for discovering deeper, often unexpressed needs within the hearts of individuals and organizations. Circles foster co-visioning born out of our personal and collaborative stories. Social story-telling is a more accurate method of solving real problems than the political games humans play to survive within strict hierarchies.

Social networks have introduced the global community to collective psychic experiences on an unprecedented scale. The logos of the soul, psychology, implies the act of traveling the soul’s labyrinth in which we can never go deep enough (James Hillman). The entire fabric of human culture, it’s very dimensionality, has undergone a profound shift into an experience of depth and the outcome of such a shift is connection between individuals and communities like never before. It’s a shift toward collaboration and connection.

COLLABORATION: Peter Economides, one of the world’s greatest brand strategists, writes, “Strategy is nothing without a universally compelling, and individually enchanting big idea that engages and aligns people inside and outside the corporation.” We live in times when social strategy teams must lead agencies, brands and entire organizations into new territory of collaboration…territory that binds staff together within through threads of common passion. Such organizations move out into social networks united in a single “heart-ethos” and this is felt in the emotionally-tactile comment-threads and newsfeeds within social networks. As social business teams, we engage in programs that effect the exact same culture change WITHIN the enterprise that we seek in our customer base, in our community, in our customer-facing programs.

SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY THROUGH COMMUNITY CREATION:

Brands hire Social Agencies to train Community Managers, establish social media policies and then go to the races together for a 1-year period. The GOAL for The Brand is independence from The Agency. It’s time to shift the focus away from “How can we do this fast and cheap?” TO “We’re committed long-term to growing the Brand’s community!”

Every major brand in large markets launching a social campaign should seriously consider performing the following steps:

1. INTEL: Social Intelligence to gather initial insights on what customers are saying, where key influencers locate (and what they are saying) and what content is sticky NOW.
2. STRATEGY: Strategy for a Community Manager built upon Recommendations derived from Insights found through Social Intelligence gathering. Scripting of initial content, creation of a campaign or two, and clever content development are ALL actions to be created at this stage.
3. HR: Hiring of the Community Manager. Agreement on policies.
4. GO: Action! On-going training and deepening of the content and community. Target specific user-groups, such as Mommy Bloggers, through organic community growth via your Community Manager. You need to think of the social networks as parties/gatherings that your Community Manager is walking into and conversing within.

COMMUNITY MANAGER TRAITS AND ACTIONS: The BEST Community Managers are a combo of a Journalist (who writes on the fly, does excellent research and is an investigator) AND a Socializer. Your content-marketing strategy is critical here.

a. Sequence a chronology of content-marketing that makes sense and follows a kind of story.

b. Be a story-teller. Involve people in the story of an employee’s climb to manager, for instance. Or a love story between patrons. Or in the value of having a “third-space” at retail outlets for students OR businessmen. This is where you get creative and give your Community Manager some wings to fly. Sticky content is passed on.

c. Your Community Manager should be involved in conversations, watching for trends in Twitter using monitoring tools and producing attractive content. The result will be an engaged following getting to know one another and forming a positive community around The Brand. Quality Content IN a Quality Context!

On a final note, hierarchies are being replaced by circles EVERYWHERE!!! Start within…you’ve got a hierarchy WITHIN yearning for a circle’s embrace right NOW!! Bring the gift of that inner circle to yourself, your loved ones, your social circles, your work!