the socializers

The Power of the Listening Hub for the Enterprise

The purpose of this post is to outline a few best-practice actions as related to set-up and the early months of running a Social Media Command Center (SMCC) within a major brand headquarters. Such pilot programs demonstrate the types of insights and recommendations possible through the implementation of a SMCC.

First, let’s start with some definitions:

DEFINITIONS:

Social Media Command Center (SMCC) – A centrally located space where monitors (or signage screens), PCs and desks are configured for research of social data (and other data as prescribed) by in-house employees and 3rd party vendors. The SMCC provides a way to visualize data in various configurations relative to the needs of the corporation. The focus of research at a SMCC is social data.

The phrase “command center” has become common due to the central data research function relative to a brand’s outlets or regional offices. Insights and recommendations relative to past events, current initiatives and/or future opportunities are distributed from the command center.

A SMCC can be used for actions by various silos (upon approval). Such actions can include Marketing Campaign planning & engagement, PR response, HR discovery, Sales prospecting, Customer Service, Call Center integration, Competitive Intelligence, Customer Intelligence, company overview for the C-Suite and much more.

A fully realized SMCC is more than just a research center. The SMCC can be populated by representatives from each silo/department. The representatives can be authorized to take immediate action on critical issues. Policies can be put into place that give these representatives acceptable parameters for action and response.

For example, Customer Service representatives present within the early-stage SMCC can demonstrate an enhanced response time to resolving customer needs. Other names for a SMCC include Social Listening Center, Listening Center, Social Analytics Research Facility, Web Intelligence Center and Data Research Facility.

Social Data – Data specifically derived from the Internet and social networks, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, Pinterest, Slideshare, Instagram, blogs, online forums, websites, and other online communities/networks. The data is public information, meaning it can be accessed by anyone.

VALUE:
The value of a SMCC to a brand or corporation includes:

– provides the possibility to view all mentions of the brand online
– provides the possibility to view all mentions of competitors online
– provides the possibility to discover key influencers as related to the brand, market space and competitors
– provides the possibility to monitor actions by competitors online
– provides customer insights based on conversations online
– provides recommendations for action to be taken in multiple silos at the brand/corporation
– provides recommendations for research projects related to customers, competitors and corporate initiatives

SAMPLE RESEARCH PROJECT SUMMARIES:
The following sample projects demonstrate just a few types of research possible through the use of a SMCC.

Brand Audit – An overview of mentions and sentiment related to the brand. An overview related to brand initiatives using specific search terms. A comprehensive audit of where the brand is being mentioned and by whom. Discovery of key influencers driving opinion about the brand, the maret segment and competitors. A study of competitors’ to the brand and a comparison of mention volume, sentiment and other factors.

Product Launches – As specific new product lines are launched, the SMCC staff can provide key internal decision makers with valuable insights based on mentions.

Marketing Planning Projects – Planning as related to marketing can be enhanced through the use of a SMCC. Specific marketing projects can be created as a result of listening to customer and competitor conversations and noting trending topics. Creatives from the brand & third-party agencies can collaborate in a SMCC while viewing visualizations of mentions and complex query results.

Example: Monitor conversations during brand campaign launches and create on-the-fly sub-marketing campaigns for specific regions/cities based upon mentions. Discover influential voices online (individuals and/or specific sites) that are either detracting or celebrating the brand.

Sales Prospecting Projects – Sales directors can discover prospects for sales teams, along with detailed on these prospects. A SMCC can be used by sales strategists to created finely segmented lists of prospects. The SMCC can also be used to gather and append valuable contact and demographic data to each individual prospect.

Example: Monitor specific regions and deliver B2B prospect lists to enterprise sales staff in those regions. This is based on conversations in those regions by ideal B2B prospects. Deliverable includes a list of B2B prospects in a region with appended contact/social data and intelligence on each prospect (why this is a good prospect for brand business services in that region, along with suggested ways to gain advantage with specific example). The ultimate goal with this project is to demonstrate the efficacy of social data in helping sales leaders close deals for brand Business Services.

Human Resources Discovery – Human Resources can quickly discover ideal candidates for positions within the corporation. Insights on employee sentiment within the brand can be delivered to HR from SMCC analysts. Insights on sentiment of employees at competitors can be delivered to HR also with the SMCC program.

Example: Identify lists of ideal prospects for specific positions at brand and/or brand franchises. Demonstrate how social data can yield ideal prospects for HR purposes. Monitor employee sentiment related to specific initiatives, discover ratings by ex-employees or current staff at sites like Glassdoor.com and LinkedIn.com. Monitor employee sentiment at competitors and discover opportunity for recruitment/head hunting/competitive intelligence. Monitor partners and vendors. Discover core differences between existing partners/vendors and their competitors.

PR Response – Analysts at the SMCC can provide valuable and quick insight into mentions of the brand online. Response times to positive or negative mentions online can be greatly reduced by having one central research hub. In addition, the ability to quickly visualize threats/opportunities, along with ability to append valuable conversation and contact data, will greatly enhance critical PR efficiency. Monitor “watchdog” reports related to specific products at brand.

Example: Monitor specific regions and/or franchisee locations for mentions and sentiment. Develop insights for these regions/franchisees on what customers/local inhabitants are saying about those store locations. Monitor global sentiment relative to competitors – what PR issues are our competitors dealing with. Discover specific threats to the brand. Discover specific social proof (positive trends & mentions) related to the brand.

Customer Service – Customer Service is perhaps the most valuable action within the SMCC. The ability to aggregate/analyze customer sentiment as demonstrated in online conversation and respond quickly to the needs of one’s customers is greatly enhanced in the context of the SMCC. Again, a fully realized SMCC is more than just a research center. The SMCC can be populated by representatives from each silo/department. The representatives can be authorized to take immediate action on critical issues. Policies can be put into place that give these representatives acceptable parameters for action and response. The Customer Service representatives present within the early-stage SMCC can demonstrate an enhanced response time to resolving customer needs.

Example: Monitor specific regions and/or locations for mentions and sentiment. Develop insights for these regions/franchisees on what customers/local inhabitants are saying about those store locations. Monitor mentions related to specific brand products and competitors’ products. Discover venues for providing swifter service, product complaints and other online arenas where brand brand word of mouth is spreading. Recommend specific programs or amendments to existing programs at the brand.

Competitive Intelligence – The SMCC can provide insights related to activities by competitors online, and also to the customers, vendors and employees of these competitors. As a sub-set of this research, we can monitor partners and vendors.

We signed up in order to fix the world

Many of us signed up for this social media experiment in order to know one another and ourselves more deeply. And many of us began to share the goal of working together on a massive scale to fix the world. The large organizations that understand this, and work with us, will win our favor and loyalty.

The New PR – How to become a Brand among Friends

The New PR – How to become a Brand among Friends
Eleftherios Hatziioannou and Nathaniel Hansen
Nov 7th, 2012. Rebirth of PR Conference in Portoroz, Slovenia.

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

THE NEW PR PROFESSIONAL: Employees in PR departments and agencies worldwide should be interested in people and relationships. The excellent PR leader possesses a high social and emotional intelligence. He/she is aware of the needs within a community, including complaints, desires, trends, overall sentiment. Today, we have deep access to communities – because people interact publicly in the rapidly expanding online eco-systems. The new PR pro understands the power of communities and is actively engaged within these settings. PR has traditionally been in charge of letting the world know the corporate view on any given issue. Nothing has changed in this respect – except that we use a new means of communication – namely, the social networks. The New PR pro is ideally suited to nurture and guide the communities forming around brands in social networks. The core activitiy in this process is LISTENING.

The most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. Just listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention…. A loving silence often has far more power to heal and to connect than the most well-intentioned words. ~Rachel Naomi Remen

SOCIAL BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE: The value of Social Business Intelligence is primarily related to strategic planning and action steps based on sophisticated listening technologies. When a “Chief Listening Officer“ sees a pool of friends chatting about product-related interests, he reports this to leadership (along with possible conversations and content-marketing tactics). Marketing, Sales and PR are called in and the pool of friends is discussed. Every division can learn from the resulting insights of these cross-division collaborations.

INSIGHTS & ACTIONS: In business, we can save a lot of time and money when we are listening. For example: We can be much more precise and targeted with our brand messages. And we can add real value by approaching our prospects and existing customers with helpful answers, solutions and relationship-building actions. A strategy built upon intelligence is much more effective than one built upon leadership’s assumptions and gut feeling. Certainly experience is vital. But matching experience WITH observable behavior in the market is an even more effective way of developing strategy. In terms of PR planning, we have an excellent map showing how the US Army listens and responds to blog visitors: http://thesocializers.com/pr_algorithm.html At each stage of this PR chart, we listen, plan respond and then act.

INTERESTS & INFLUENCERS: To understand the value and function of an influencer in social networks, one must understand the nature of Communities of Interest. A community of interest is a community of people who share a common interest or passion. These people exchange ideas and thoughts about a specific passion, making their connection primarily Interest-Based. Twitter is an excellent example of an Interest-Based network. Participants return frequently and remain for extended periods in Communities of Interest, due to compelling conversations and sticky content.

An influencer within a social network is someone who leads a community of interest. When an influencer sends a message into his community, many members of the community take action and re-send this message to one another. An influencer can turn the tide of opinion within an interest group very quickly to one side or another. The value of gaining an influencer’s attention for a brand, a governmental agency, a publication or a service is HUGE!! The reason for this is that, typically, an influencer has a significant following of other influencers who are interested in a specific topic.

There are many ways to ascertain influence in social networks. The most basic of these is to use Google Ad Planner and Google Analytics to measure the unique visitors to a website associated with a particular influencer. One may also look at the “Talking About This” metric within Facebook Insights, the number of lists a specific Twitter user is on, the number of comments made in YouTube on a specific channel, the job title one holds/company one works for in LinkedIn, the number of re-pins in Pinterest, etc…

There are also a growing number of solutions for taking all of this information and scoring a person’s influence in particular social networks and topics. Klout, Kred, PeerIndex and Empire Avenue are all examples of such Influence Scoring Solutions.

INLUENCERS AS YOUR FRIENDS:
When you find out who the most influential people in your industry are and when you listen to them and study who they are and what they do – you will be well prepared to reach out to them. Your main goal must be to build relationships with them and make them part of your network – just like you did with journalists at press events. But you have to careful about how you do it. You cannot gain their trust and credibility without investing time and efforts first. But once you have established these relationships and “made new friends“ it will help you spread your message much faster and further than ever before.

CONCLUSION: In PR, we want our community to know we care and that we have heard their needs — just like good friends do. In the ideal PR department/agency, we have already assigned listening to a specific staff member (Chief Listening Officer).The rebirth of PR means, we have ideally integrated what we’ve learned through listening solutions into our day-to-day operations. We have ideally distributed our findings to the management and all divisions with the goal of creating a tighter corporate team, focused on the customer as a friend. Through listening, PR has the ability to nurture communities in social networks by feeding them with precise and relevant answers and engaging in conversations. The New PR delivers real value to the customer, the stakeholder and the market as a freind would. And of course it’s about associating yourself with the right people (influencers) who can help you spread your message much faster and further.

If you are interested in learning how the New PR can be integrated in your daily efforts and how you can get the most out of it for your own brand/corportation – come and join our lecture on Nov 7th, 2012 at the Rebirth of PR Conference in Portoroz, Slovenia. There we will share our experiences with international clients from various industries and we will together take a look at the strategies, practical tools and methods we have developed in the past years.

Of course, we are also looking forward to making new friends.

Social Business works for the Hearts of your customer first

Brands belong to everyone, not just any specific leader of a corporation or a government. ~Peter Economides

Take your passion and make it happen! ~Irene Cara

I once met a CEO who asked his CFO and CMO, “How much money and when?” I met another one, who asked, “How many hearts won and when?” If you want to build a community, try starting with Relational KPIs. It is NOT about automation. It’s about humanization. The most perennial of brands, the ones we all love, found connection via relationship.

Economic systems are often solely attached to numerical growth whereas social systems are attached to depth of connection and meaningful relationships. Perennial business is focused on social psychology vs. pure numeric results. Organically grown business is real and deep and, in the long run, far more lucrative in all respects. Humanity needs this now.

I grew up within the system of America – I am a son of corporate America and of the Church of America, both. I also grew up all over the World – I respect the spiritual and cultural traditions of the nations. The greatest organizations and individuals I met during my travels were human. H-U-M-A-N. I’ll fight to my dying breath for the mammal, for the sweat, for the emotion, for the heart. And I’ll work to my dying day for technology to be driven BY and work FOR the heart of humanity.

Karen Gritter writes, “Getting out of the “factory” and “numbers” mentality is also critical for our planet. Factory farming is destroying our soils.” Paul Farmer writes, “I work in manufacturing and I have a couple hundred people working for me and production can occur with a few mechanics and laborers because the machinery does the rest. But production done well occurs with trust and encouragement!” I would add that “factory farming” mentality is ALSO destroying our hearts.

Kate Carter of Life Chronicles (http://www.lifechronicles.org/), writes, “We at LifeChronicles love that we use technology for compassionate service to humanity-our student volunteers love that we call them Compassionate Technologists.” The robotic and the numeric MUST be “overgrown” now with flesh and filled with blood. We are human and we MUST use technologies for human ends.

Is the end goal really about numbers then? Let’s go into that mansion built by the one’s focused only on numbers and see how happy its inhabitants truly are. Now, let’s make a similar journey to the farm built by those who were focused on the heart. My hunch is that life on that farm, in spite of all the human issues, is a happier and more abundant place. And that’s the place our World needs now. A circle of Love and Trust. Not a Hierarchy of Numeric achievement.

THE FUTURE:

2012: The year the CCO (Chief Customer Officer – http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2011/04/the_rise_of_the_chief_customer.html) replaced the CMO, the CCO (Chief Collaboration Officer – http://www.zdnet.com/blog/collaboration/chief-collaboration-officer-hansens-cxo-challenge/1644) replaced the COO and the CSO (Chief Social Officer) replaced the CEO. We need a C-Suite that gloats over hearts won and worlds bettered vs. dollars banked and pockets lined. Once again, If you want to build a community, try starting with Relational KPIs. It is NOT about automation. It’s about humanization. The most perennial of brands, the ones we all love, found connection via relationship.

Webcast: Social Intelligence and Foresight by Recorded Future and The Socializers

Recorded Future (http://www.recordedfuture.com) was joined by Nathaniel Hansen, CEO of The Socializers, to discuss how temporal analytic technology supports in-depth social web research. We discussed how identifying key web sources and potentially catalytic future events supports social intelligence research.

The presentation includes an introduction to Recorded Future’s technology from CEO Dr. Christopher Ahlberg, a brief a live demo of our analytic tools, and discussion of how the Socializers map and measure the most influential online figures.