Study: Value of social media analytics tools still not understood

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The findings of a study by Demand Metric and Netbase sound positive – but not on a second glance. Although most marketers seem to have understood why they need to work with social media analytics tools, they still haven’t figured out how it helps them to find the social ROI. At least, 61% of responding marketers use social media analytics tools, and of those 53% started working with the tools in the last two years.

The study based on 125 marketers (70% B2B-focused, 13% B2C and 17% split) shows that marketers find social analytics tools most valuable for helping with campaign tracking, brand analysis, and competitive intelligence. 60% of the reponsing people use social media analytics tools for campaign tracking, brand analysis (48%), competitive intelligence (40%), customer care (36%), product launches (32%), and influencer ranking (27%).

Demand Metric SM Use Case Optimization

It still surprises me that the majority of respondents (66%) states that social media analytics tools are most valuable to help assess and quantify the degree of engagement. Is there more in it like understanding where engagement of the company is needed, leveraging content for production and curation, spoting the mentality and value of influencers, identifying engaged communities or platforms, or detecting features and traffic of personal brand advocacy? Obviously, most marketers are still far behind in understanding how to use and leverage social media analytics tools.

Demand Metric ROI SM EffortsSpot On!
Although most marketers see the opportunities to leverage the social ROI, most are still in their infancy in converting data in findings, and leveraging social media in their daily business. The findings show that most of those marketers (70%) still cannot quantify their social media ROI. The question is why they cannot do so? Do you have any ideas or experience where the main challenges are? Is it a problem of resources, of technology misunderstanding, or simply not clear which social KPIs make sense to meet the overall business targets? Let us know what you think…

SEO: Increased importance in companies (Infographic)

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Search engine optimization (SEO) „owns“ an important role in marketing tactics. Whether companies had a clear understanding of what it is, or in many cases not. Still, many companies had kind of the same goal. Getting their search engine advertising (SEA) costs down.

Now, when we take a look at an interesting infographic by Mavenlink, it becomes clear that SEO eats quite a significant budget of marketers: 66% of marketers said that their budgets grew in 2012. It would have been good if the infographic could tell us more whether these increased SEO budgets convert into content marketing in the end. As far as I understand the trend, this becomes an interesting development.

However, the stats tell us that 60% of marketers see their search team headcount increase in 2013 (versus 45% in 2012). Again, almost two-third (63%) of executives replied their teams say their familiarity with SEO business and metrics has increased in 2012.

The top 5 search goals for marketers according to the Mavenlink infographic?
12% Improve content development strategy
11% Scale keywords
11% Improve on measuring ROI from search
9% Increase social presence in the SERPs
8% Get deeper analytics

SEO, Boy!

Social Business still far away for companies? B2B Execs see Social Media reputation as a corporate blind spot

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Is Social Media really so far behind in the mindset of executives, especially in B2B? Well, according to the Zeno’s Digital Readiness Survey conducted by Harris Interactive it is. The poll asked 300 U.S. corporate executives of various industries and titles of VP or higher, including C-suite executives (primarily B2B) with annual revenues of at least $1 billion. The study comes to a conclusion that surprises us: Many executives fail to consider Social Media reputation when making business decisions. Over one-third of executives (36%) stated that the CEO of their company does not care or cares little about the company’s reputation in Social Media.

Although many companies out there like us advice the leading management how to work with Social Media and how to turn the company into a Social Business, the findings show that still 10% of organizations do not take any action at all to engage with audiences online to address a damaging article or Social Media post. And when it claims that managers would at least take some action to respond to an online crisis, it tells me that Social Media is still not a hotspot for companies and brands.

The main findings of the survey…
– B2B executives (43%) say their CEO largely ignores their company’s online reputation (B2C only 30%) when making business-decisions.
– B2B executives are slower in response. Only 45% of business executives see their company can respond to a negative online post within 24 hours (B2C 63%)
– B2B executives are twice as likely (13%) to say that their firm would not engage an audience online at all to defend their reputation (B2C 6%)
– Executives in larger firms (10,000 employees+) are more likely to say their CEO always or sometimes considers their company’s Social Media reputation versus those in smaller companies (71% versus 55%).  
– Executives in smaller firms ignore Social Media reputation when considered business decision-making more than larger firms (45% versus 29%)

„Given the explosive growth of today’s digital platforms, the Zeno Digital Readiness Survey shows a much larger percentage of companies than one would expect turning a blind eye to valuable customer views and insights. (…) These businesses, regardless of sector, risk serious reputational damage, as well as miss out on important stakeholder feedback, when they ignore social media conversations about their companies and their industries.“ Mark Shadle, Managing Director, Zeno Corporate Practise

Spot On!
The study claims that Social Media is a „corporate reputation blind spot,“ especially for B2B companies. From our work in 2012 we can only agree with these findings. Although this is surprising when considering that Social Media accounts for almost 25% of people’s time spent online, and that consumers allow companies and brands a response time of 60 minutes for customer service. Companies that don’t want to ignore their online reputation, meaning their business community from clients to partners to employees, should think about the 5Cs of Social Business and how to turn their companies around in order not to put their business reputation at risk.


Study: Big brands could do better on social customer service

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Some weeks ago, we have written about the importance to be fast on response time on Social Media platforms. We made clear, based on some research by Convince & Convert, that companies need to react in not more than 60 seconds on complaints, customer enquiries and questions that appear on company’s and brands‘ social platforms.

Now, a recent study of some of the biggest brands in the U.S., like Coca-Cola, McDonalds, Visa or Starbucks shows that providing a top standard of customer support on Twitter is not really as fantastic as it seems. Although some readings of all those good posts about these brands and their Social Media efforts might assume the companies do whatever they can in Social Business terms.

In the study, four Software Advice employees used their personal Twitter accounts to address customer service tweets to 14 consumer brands in seven industries – McDonalds, Starbucks (Fast Food), Coca Cola, Pepsi (Soft Drinks), Visa, Mastercard (Credit Cards), Wells Fargo, Bank Of America (Banking), Walmart, Home Depot (Retail), Apple*, HP (Consumer Tech), Gillette and Colgate (Personal Care).

They sent each brand’s Twitter account one tweet per weekday for four consecutive weeks, from „Urgent, to Positive/Negative, or questions about FAQ or technical issue. Then, brands were evaluated on their average response time and rate. See the results in the following infographic…

Social Business Studies: The Status Quo and how to leverage the Social ROI

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Credits: ©

Although IBM is doing a lot to make people understand the differences between Social Media and Social Business, managers are still struggling to suvive in the social web era. As companies are trying to understand and find the secret sauce of social ROI, only 13% of IT professionals were said to be successful with their internal networks. It even goes as far as companies giving away incentives in the amount of 10.000 USD for those that can provide positive ROI from their social business efforts.

Now, the IBM Institute for Business Value published a report, called The Business of Social Business: What works and how it’s done. The study surveyed more than „1,100 businesses around the world and conducted extensive interviews with more than two dozen widely recognized leaders in social business“.

And these guys had some answers, basicallly 3 main topics came out as their main ROI aspects:
a) creating valued customer experiences
b.) driving workforce productivity and effectiveness
c.) accelerating innovation.

And the final numbers? How about the ROI? Well, there are two other studies that need to be mentioned when quoting this study: the works of Deloitte and McKinsey. The McKinsey Global Institute study found that the top-line growth for Social Business can improve between 3 and 11 percent, while productivity can be enhanced by 2 to 12 percent.

The other study by Deloitte explains that 41% of responding business executives believe social networking helps to build and maintain workplace culture. Compared to the just 21% of employees with the same view, these results illustrate a massive perception gap between business leaders and their employees. Furthermore, 45% of business leaders think that Social Media has a positive effect on the workplace culture (vs. 27% of employees) and 38% believe it allows for increased management transparency (vs. 17%).

Still, it also suggests that most companies have best prctise guidelines in place but still worry too much about those guidelines in these changing times that comes alongside the employees‘ use of Social Media. They demand a better workaround process concerning the risks.

However, these might sound obvious to those people familiar with Social Busines in general, all studies emphasize the importance of the cultural aspect of Social Business.  Reading through them, they give straight hints to how to make your business culture become social-driven…
1. Figure out how to incorporate social metrics into traditional efficiency processes.
2. Be clear on the risks involved and how to manage them.
3. Although managers hate this word: change management. It still is one! nevertheless, it will nonetheless require tried and tested techniques to influence corporate culture and performance.

With a sub-sample of Social Business savy companies the IBM study makes clear that the percentage of companies using Social Business for promotional benefits will increase slightly (from 71% to 83% in two years). The amount of businesses that use Social Business to generate leads and revenue will increase dramatically (from 51% to 74% in two years). Another massive benefit will come from post-sales support which is expected to increase form 46% to 69%.

B2B Study: Impact of Social Media and Industry Analysts on B2B Technology Sales

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The long discussion whether Social Media impacts sales in the business-to-business (B2B) space gets some new basis. According to the Technology Decision-Maker Study by Hill+Knowlton Strategies, many executives and IT managers are in exchange with their peers when it comes to making B2B technology purchases. The study shows the increasing role Social Media plays in driving revenue and reputation for technology companies. Although traditional media is still leading the bunch in tech, word of mouth drives B2B technology revenues in terms of comments from peers and experts.

The research conducted by Research+Data Insights (RDI), a division of H+K Strategies, interviewed 813 IT purchase decision-makers in the US and UK. The basic intend of the study was to understand which communications channels had most impact on purchase decisions, and tried to figure out how much participation theses decision makers put in Social Media, and what makes them contribute content and opinions online.

These were the main findings from the respondents…

– The top two drivers of technology purchase decisions are word of mouth from peers and industry analyst commentary.
– Financial analyst reports, corporate web sites and traditional media sources (both online and offline) followed close after.
– 48% responded that word of mouth from peers frequently changed their decisions about their business priorities, not just their purchase decisions.
– 76% said they actively post opinions and comment on what they read online at least a few times per month, with 49% saying they actively comment at least weekly.
– If marketers want to generate most effective online commentary from B2B decision-makers, the best option is to publish a thought-provoking question related to current events.
– Most impact on final purchase decisions have analyst commentary and consultations.

„We’re seeing a change in how technology purchases are being influenced. Word of mouth from peers and industry analysts has grown in influence significantly since the 2009 study, and social media is the carrier signal for that influence. These findings lead us to strongly recommend communications programs for B2B tech companies that integrate reputational research, social media, analyst relations and traditional media.“ Joshua Reynolds, Executive Vice President, H+K Strategies.

From external to internal – Social Business is the evolution of Social Media

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For most companies Social Media is still the main tool to leverage external communication in a modern world. it is seen to be the integral part of modern business playground. However, a study by FedEx and Ketchum called „From Social Media to Social Business“ define the internal transformation that enterprises are going through with their internal communication.

The study asked 85 executives and communication „thought leaders“, people like Jeremiah Owyang or Brian Solis, and different executives from enterprises like AT&T, IBM, Bank of America, or G.E. among others. The executive came from large companies. Most of them (88%) have 2,000 or more employees, and the majority showed annual revenues of more than $2.5 billion.

It makes clear that the external versus internal divide in how Social Media is executed definitely exists. The external point of view shows that 69% of executives aim at increasing brand awareness among clients, and 68% said they aimed to increase brand awareness versus general public as their major business goal when using Social Media. And when, 51% think their companies foster Social Media best ways to improve relationships with customers, it shows the power execs expects to arise from online conversations.

The funny thing is that, although 88% monitor online conversations, 84% also doubt the effect that measurement offers. Still, they believe in it. The target executives are predominantly looking at is 84% engagement, 69% impressions, and 53% influence.

From an internal perspective, 85% of respondents find an increase in employee participation through Social Media in the last year. Sharing expertise and collaboration is for 44% the main aim, but also internal programs and initiatives get their boost for 38%. For 64% of executives Social Media changes the way companies’ communications, marketing, or HR teams is executed by their employees.

Spot On!
Although companies are not quite clear about the challenges (data privacy, transparency concerns or legal issues) that arise from Social Media engagement in both ways, internally and externally, many companies see the benefits. The study comes to the conclusion that „the impact, value and reach of social tools is expanding beyond the realm of consumer/brand management, and transforming organizations into social businesses. Social tools are increasingly being leveraged inside organizations, impacting internal interactions, culture and structure.“
Would you agree with that? Or what are the challenges that arise from fostering social business?

Study: European B2B Buyers use Content Marketing & Social Media for their purchase process, process complex though

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The „2012 Buyersphere Report“ conducted by The Base One Buyersphere Team interviewed 800 B2B customers in the France, Italy, Germany and the UK. The study reports that B2B buyers in Europe are actively using supplier-produced content and Social Media in order to speed up their purchasing decisions. It defines the importance of combining content marketing with inbound marketing tactics like (social media, search, or PR) for revenue generation.

The study concludes that B2B buyers find most whitepapers (86%) and blogs (71%) via web search. However, seminars and videos (44%) get recognition via e-mail. Still, search (71%) is the most important purchasing information sources, followed by word of mouth (55%) and Social Media (20%). However the general use of vendors’ web sites (73%), articles in the trade press (47%), supplier e-mails (39%), and downloaded white papers (20%) suggests that the world has not massively changed in the last two years.

Nevertheless, for the B2B world, face-to-face is again a key element in the influence process. Offline events and webinars get more and more influence on the information gathering and purchase process.

Mobile is on the rise: Accessing information from mobile devices is increasing. 13% are using their tablets and smartphones to access buying data. The way information is shared is still quite traditional though: 90% emails and 44% company intranet. Seems it is still a long way to become social.

In terms of Social Media the study made clear that B2B buyers are more selective when using modern media. LinkedIn generates half of the social media mentions with an increasing trend. When using Facebook for business only 5% were using the platform in 2012 compared to 15% last year. For the under 30 year olds Social Media was more useful than word of mouth. The report suggests that Social Media is WOM to this group which I would fully understand as well.

Spot On!
In the buying process B2B buyers use different information sources at different stages, the study reveals. First they are relying on white papers, industry press articles, and press advertising when they are defining the demand. When it comes to detect suppliers, web search, Linkedin and supplier websites become important. And when the final supplier is selected, supplier emails, Twitter, Facebook and word-of-mouth lose their importance. Interestingly enough, the importance of communities are almost stable in their influence throughout the purchase process. The study makes clear how important a multi-platform communication and clever content marketing strategy becomes in the future.

How people see it – The state of social at work

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The technology service provider Appirio published some findings that most business people are more social personally than they are at work.

The findings show that twice as many managers are engaged in Social Media compared to the people they have in their teams. What the survey did not tell us is the reason why the people are using social platforms and features less than their managers. Are they not allowed to engage on communities at work? Are Social Media policies too much black and white? Or do they not see the benefits Social Media offers?

The positive outcome is that there is some understanding of culture and ownership of the social business as the driving factors for success. Although marketing seems to be owning the social business transformation, the question remains if this does not make space for a new position in companies like chief web officer or chief culture officer. Another question that could be raised in companies in my eyes.

Appirio State of Social eBook from Appirio

Interview: „Social Business = Creating a smarter workforce & a proven solution to business challenges“

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One-on-one interview with Ed Brill

Ed Brill is Director, Social Business and Collaboration Solutions, at IBM. Brill is responsible for the product and market strategy for IBM’s messaging, collaboration, communications, and productivity products, including Lotus Notes and Domino, IBM SmartCloud Notes, IBM Sametime, Lotus Symphony, IBM Docs, and other related social business solutions. Brill’s focus is on extending and growing the success of these solutions through customer engagement, partner ecosystem development, and harnessing the breadth and depth of the IBM organization.

The Strategy Web spoke with him about the relevance and future of Social Business.

Why is Social Business not only a buzzword?

Leaders in every industry are leveraging Social Business technology to disrupt their industries and create competitive advantage. They are improving productivity and unleashing innovation by tapping into the collective intelligence inside and outside their organizations. With social, they’re creating a smarter workforce and proving that social business isn’t just a buzzword, it’s a proven solution to business challenges.

According to Forrester Research, the market opportunity for social enterprise apps is expected to grow at a rate of 61 percent through 2016. According to IBM’s CEO Study, today only 16 percent of CEOs are using social business platforms to connect with customers, but that number is poised to spike to 57 percent within the next three to five years.

What does it take to make a business „social“?

Organizations have quickly learned that a Social Business is more than just having a Facebook page and a Twitter account. In a Social Business, every department in the organization has embedded social capabilities into their traditional business processes to fundamentally impact how work gets done to create business value. A Social Business utilizes social software technology to communicate with its rich ecosystem of clients, business partners and employees.

Social business is a strategic approach to shaping a business culture, highly dependent upon transparency and trust from executive leadership and corporate strategy, including business process design, risk management, leadership development, financial controls and use of business analytics. Becoming a Social Business can help an organization deepen customer relationships, generate new ideas and innovate faster, identify expertise, enable a more effective workforce and ultimately drive its bottom line.

What does it mean to change the culture of a company?

Changing an organizations culture to embrace social must start from the top. Senior leadership must buy in and promote a culture of sharing, transparency and trust. Recent studies by IBM see this shift, today’s C-Suite recognizes the potential of social. Consider this, according to IBM’s 2012 CEO Study, today only 16 percent of CEOs are using social business platforms to connect with customers, but that number is poised to spike to 57 percent within the next three to five years. Similarly. IBM’s 2011 CIO Survey of 3,000 global leaders indicated that more than 55% of companies identified social networking as having a strategic significance to their company’s growth. And finally, 2011 IBM CMO Study reports that CMOs are using social platforms to communicate with their customers, 56 percent view it as a key communication channel. These senior leaders are the key to social business adoption and there’s a real shift occurring, social business is now a business imperative.

What role is the flexible workspace playing in the process?

Companies are able to build virtual teams out of expertise and leadership, regardless of their physical location or title on the organization chart. Today’s workforce expects to be able to share, post, update and communicate with colleagues, customers, and ecosystem using social tools to get real work done. Through those tools, employees who work remotely, use flexible „hot desks“ in company offices, or open floorplans can leverage tools for instant e-meetings, video and audio tools, and embedded applications to process knowledge and activities faster and deliver more value to the organization.

What’s your advice for companies to become a „social business“?

Companies around the world are now focused on becoming Social Businesses, Forrester Research estimates that the market opportunity for social software is expected to increase 60% annually. But perhaps the most daunting part of becoming a social business is how to start the journey. That’s where creating a Social Business Agenda plays a vital role. In order to become successful in social business, an organization needs to create its own personalized Agenda that addresses the company’s culture, trust
between management and employees and the organization and its constituencies, engagement behind and outside of the firewall, risk management, and of course, measurement. The sponsorship for such an activity can be driven by leadership, lines of business, or other organizational catalyst roles.

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