Study: Social sharing buttons in email increase click-through rates

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Studies from AddThis and ShareThis have illustrated how sharing trends may boost marketing efforts and how to best use them for marketing efficiency.

The latest research from GetResponse shows the influence of social sharing on email effectiveness. The study which compared social sharing preferences of email marketers, analyzed Social Media sharing via Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn in over 2 billion email sent by customers of the email marketing provider.

The GetResponse study also found that 51.9% only use one social share icon, while 40.6% use two of those, 7.4% three, and only 0.1% four icons. Those companies that offered at least three social sharing opportunities succeeded with a 55% higher click-through rate (CTR). The findings state that the number of marketers who include social sharing buttons in their emails increased to 18.3%. This is an increase of 40% from last year.

It seems that marketers understand the benefit of shirring for their marketing efforts: more reach, more traffic, more engagement, more sales. Email including social sharing buttons had a higher click-through-rate of up to 115%: Emails that included social sharing buttons had a 5.6% CTR which stands against 2.6% CTR for those that did not use social sharing buttons.

The infographic below shows the main results of the GetResponse’s study but also illustrates the importance of connecting all social efforts with traditional marketing to succeed.

Social Business: 84% of businesses have not fully integrated Social Media in their operations

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This report comes as no surprise to me as it justifies our Community Centric Strategy model. The study from InSites Consulting states that only 16% of businesses using Social Media have fully integrated Social Media platforms into their businesses operations. Nevertheless, business leaders believe better social integration will help improve and streamline their business operations. Their hope is that Social Media marketing and internal social apps will boost productivity of their business.

The study concludes that 27% of business executives are on the move to integrate Social Business in 2012. Moreover, another 20% are wishing that the integration of Social Media projects will increase business efficiency. As there are no reliable or established measurement and metrics standards most companies are still waiting to invest big budgets. Still, as competition is high companies start integrating social into their business to be competitive in their market.

The results of the inSites study show that most companies (69%) will invest in Social Media marketing and launch campaigns in 2012 hoping to improve online conversations and their web efforts. For now 64% of businesses have at least one person responsible for Social Media activities and platforms. With a reason: One-third are sure that Social Media is changing their operations.

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The challenge for companies will be to set up the right Social Business strategy as it involves the right understanding of community centers as an external strategy issue. And it needs an appropriate internal company culture with social policies, social training and social commitment and the people. Apart from that, 45% of the respondents said that they cannot find the people for their Social Media efforts. The best option is to start investing in the people you have to integrate social in your business. The Community Centric Strategy could be one starting point…

CMO’s studies: Yes, Social Media is key! – Can someone gimme a plan on “Social”…?

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CMO’s and marketers all over the world and across industries understand the increasing value of Social Media in (their) business. However, I sometimes wonder whether they really recognize how to use Social Capital and Social Business effectively.

How did I get this view…?

Well, studies show me the reality… and many seminars and webinars open eyes. Today, I came across two studies which might illustrate what marketers and CMO’s need to get their heads around. If they are good, they create brand advocate programs, if they act badly consumers will see brands as boring, poor, and even worse… not obeying the rules of social business. And today brands cannot miss out on “Social”. That is a fact, CMO’s understand…

Market Research vs. Social Research
In one of the latest IBM studies of 1,700 chief marketing officers from 64 countries and across 19 industries, 82% of CMOs stated that they will increase their use (or budgets?) of Social Media over the next three to five years. The flipside is that just 26% are currently tracking blogs, 42% are tracking third-party reviews and 48% are tracking the consumer reviews which might help change their market positioning, their marketing insights, their marketing programs. Let’s take the qualitative aspect of Social Research first.

From a quantitative research perspective, 80% rely on market research and corporate benchmarking to rely on as their primary sources for market insights. Obviously, most companies also obey other “non-social” monitoring tools to value the development of their business: 68% use sales campaign analysis for strategic decision making.

In the end, it comes down to numbers. 63% of CMOs believe the ROI on their marketing invest will be the primary measure of effectiveness by 2015. However, almost half of respondents don’t feel prepared to satisfy those business figure aspects. The reason is obvious: CMOs often don’t have enough influence on radical company-wide change processes. Over half of responding CMOs stated they have no impact on pricing process and even less have any impact on new product development or retail channel selection.

Community and Brand Reputation
On the other hand, another new Weber Shandwick study found out how companies understand and plan their social efforts. So, why are some marketers more social than others?

The challenge is to find the key tactics with best possible metric efficiency. Most marketers know about the impact of the 3 “r’s”… reviews, ratings, recommendations on their business efforts. 52% attribute their brand reputation to their online social presence. And even more, 65% project online sociability will boost their reputation in the next three years. However, I would doubt if they act accordingly.

Today, Social Media is part of CMOs marketing mix. The question is, why only 16% consider their efforts as “world class”. This study also makes clear that marketers have trouble establishing clear goals for their social media strategy. Finding the right KPIs is essential. No wonder, companies state they are not well-prepared for the social future in terms of effectiveness. Most o fhtese companies don’t really integrate their social engagement into their enterprise processes.

Spot On!
CMO’s and marketers need to get insights beyond traditional market sources like page impresions, click-throughs and superficial numbers like fans and follower. The good spot is that 54% of global executives experience rewards to outweigh risks – versus 23% the other way round, and some European bosses even focus their attention preferably on Twitter. Although, C-level often does not know how to leverage Social efficiency. The community gives input on the value of products, services and preferrences. When did we have that years ago?

Somehow, marketers are in a poor position as they are working in the transition period. Top down target-group thinking is out, community centric thinking is the future. In some day, we will publish a new strategic theory on this at the IBM JamCamp. Nice coincidence…

Will Millenials cause a headache for IT in the future?

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Credits: Gerd Altmann / pixelio.de

Just a few days ago, I have written about the challenge for IT departments that millenials will want to use their own private devices at work as employees in the future. If this is causing CIO’s and their IT managers headaches then better get some iboprofen now, as there is more to come…

An online study along with in-depth interviews of 400 “Millennials”, ages between 20 through 29, and 200 IT managers the U.S. from mid-sized to large corporations gives some interesting insights in the expectations of the Millenials when it comes to IT. The study was conducted by Isurus Market Research and Consulting with analysis by GigaOM Pro, and underwritten by Bomgar.

Millenials are growing up in an “instantaneous world” of social web conversations, mobile phones, and almost permanent WiFi access. This brings new challenges for IT departments in the future as expectations are these young people are high. Millennials expect more or less immediate answers on IT support questions and all options of multi-channel communication. However, the worst is: Ideally, they could solve their technology issues themselves.

Some key findings what Millenials do…
- 71% state to have done a Google search for a solution finding at least once.
- 61% don’t turn to company support first to solve problems, while 71% say they have done a Google search for a solution at least once.
- 58% prefer to communicate in chat or text messaging, not the phone.
- 40% use a mobile device for work “on a weekly basis.”

So, if Millenials are responsible for their own technology, as it is their private device, IT could get away from the omnipresent IT support issue as they will have less responsibility, costs will decrease for IT, and it is a sustainable Green IT approach. Or who wants to carry around two mobile phones, two tablets, two notebooks, and so on?

The challenge for company bosses? Millennials say that their job satisfaction is “strongly affected” by the type of mobile device their employers provided. Isn’t this great? Just ask them what they want and you can increase personal productivity and work efficiency. Correct?

“Our research highlights the biggest challenges for IT departments: Millennials expect immediate responses, prefer a wider variety of communication channels and, when it comes to problem solving, often turn to Google and outside resources before contacting support,” David Card, Research Director, GigaOM Pro.

Millenials will become difficult to handle though. 60% think that good support time for a technical problem to be solved is less than 10 minutes. Compared to IT managers who think that a reasonable time frame for solving tech problems was an hour or more, this calls for problems between the work forces in the future. No wonder, 80% of IT managers see Millennials as “different or very different than their older peers in terms of technology expectations”.

Spot On!
However, these two studies might sound like a massive IT change process for companies in the future. It has to said that 75% of Millennials rate their IT departments a six or seven on a seven-point scale. Maybe IT should think about setting up IT knowledge wikis instead of letting their employees loose time surfing on Google for a solution. Millenials are not expecting something outrageous, they might just be brighter in terms of technology handling, and show us that collaboration on social networks and in communities works when they are solving their issues without the IT department. They are just another generation. The transition managers need to rate that aspect, too…

What is your view on these new challenges for it?

The mobile workplace is growing (and maybe three reasons still against it)…

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There are only three reasons left why we might have a small workplace or personal roll container in the future (although most UK workers seem to see no reason for having an office by 2021)…

1. Controling still store paperwork as lawyers and tax consultants recomment it (fear of data loss).
2. HR wants to take control of how much time you spend in the office (productivity check – employees check employees).
3. A boss that fears to loose control over your work productivity (better see than hope, hierarchy could change).

However, I have stated in many interviews lately why -except for the three reasons above- I love to work mobile, in hotel lobbies, lounge bars, at the airport or in restaurants as well as coffee shops. And I have not ever thought about my past and how co-workers might have a killing impact on my lifetime. Thanks for sharing the Tel Aviv University study insights, Wired!

OK, I have to admit, I have found bars that call themselves “News Bar” and still don’t offer any WiFi connection for their guests – but hundreds of print magazines. It somehow fits my theme “Talking is Online, Silence is Print!” but business is challenging if you want to work in your mobile office.

Nevertheless, smartphones, laptops, tablets and WiFi offer us a complete new workplace freedom and leverage mobile productivity. We use those devices to finish more and more work from whereever we are.

The wrong use of the mobile workplace is exaggered and extreme mobilie efficiency. Quite often I see people in cars, using the time when commuting to and from the office efficiently (and in a very dangerous way, see the “Don’t text and drive!” Facebook page) checking emails during two red traffic-light periods.

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I am happy that companies like Gist create infographics that put together data explaining the rise of the mobile workforce. It gives insights on device popularity and and the preference of where people love to work mobile.

Managers should start thinking about how they could make the mobile office a flexble solution for their employees, don’t you think?

News Update – Best of the Day

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Although the mobile hype is massive, there are studies that question the power of smartphone mobile advertising and it’s efficiency. A new research from YouGov shows consumers accept placements as part of their day-to-day mobile experience but consider them intrusive (79%) and tend to ignore them altogether. Only 5% think mobile ads are a good idea and welcome them. However, the general apathy smartphone users have toward seems to equal ignorance: 88% ignore ads on applications and 86% have ignored placements on the mobile internet.

The security company Imperva released a study that states “web applications, on average, experience twenty seven attacks per hour, or roughly one attack every two minutes.” Imperva monitored 10 million attacks between December of last year and May of this year “targeting 30 different enterprise and government web applications.” Of the 27 attacks per hour most of them are trying to identify vulnerabilities on websites. If a vulnerability is found, attacks can increase to 25,000 per hour which would be seven attacks per second.

What is the future of Twitter? During a keynote interview at Fortune BrainstormTech in Aspen, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo gave insights in his vision of the company’s business model.

PS: Just in case you ask why Twitter is cool, Steven Winterburn has got the answer: “”Twitter is like a fridge. If you’re bored you keep opening & closing it every few minutes to see if there’s anything good in it.”

Study: Profs see YouTube as most benefitial social platform

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Which social network is more important in the future? According to a study released Monday by the Babson Survey Research Group and the e-learning giant Pearson, there are some social networks delivering more intellectual efficiency than others. The study asked 1,920 faculty profs at various types of institutions.

Testing the uses of nine different types of social media platforms among professors, the study states that professors consider YouTube the most useful tool by far. For both teaching and non-classroom professional use, it is more benefitial. Nearly one third of students that were instructed by their profs to watch online videos as homework, and about 73% replied they thought YouTube videos were either somewhat or very valuable for classroom use. Not saying that they necessarily use them currently.

Other Web 2.0 tools performed less well among the users. Only 2% of the profs said they used Twitter in class, and another 2% responded they used it for professional purposes outside the classroom. However, some more said they could see at least some value in the microblogging site. The portion of these long-sellers still amounted to less than a tenth of all respondents.

The small benefit of Facebook in class or for homework assignments does not surprise me. Although many professors use the site for personal or professional networking, the respondents see not much value from a professional point of view. Faculty rate the site’s long-term prospects in the classroom only slightly above Twitter’s – 15% submitting that it is at least somewhat valuable.

53% (and 46% respectively) of professors think that Twitter and Facebook not only lack pedagogical value but in fact harm classroom courses. It would have been nice to get an explanation herefore but this is not shown from the study results.

Wikis for classroom use seem to be unpopular as well still. Although faculty see their potential value as higher than Twitter or Facebook. 36% saying they view wikis as having some value in the classroom.

Spot On!
These are some more detailed new findings compared to a similar but more limited survey Pearson and Babson did last year. The small difference between professors who teach online and those who teach in person can be seen. However, the question for the future will be how much people will be educated in school on the opportunities and potential that the social platforms can offer. And I personally doubt that all profs are already understanding, or are able to leverage the validity and differentiation between the social platforms. YouTube is easy to use from a faculty point of view: If the prof is standing in front of the class or shown on a screen does not make a massive change from a teaching perspective if Q&A’s are offered along with it. The challenge will be to create and maintain cross-over education between platforms like i.e. Twitter, Wikis, Youtube and Facebook. And the value of social bookmarking sites as reading reference is big. No reason to add these to educational reference value, and to give reading advice to the curriculum? Think about it…

Salestainability – a phrase or a challenge?

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No, the word did obviously not exist before… Or can a phrase come to live with Google not knowing about, nor finding it with their intelligent algorythm? If Google has not indexed one website with the phrase yet, can I claim the phrase as my innovation? Anyway… So, I just created the word today. Horray…

How did I come across it? Let me tell you how I thought about sales and sustainability…

In my eyes the word salestainability defines the future of a successful long-term strategy in business – especially in our social web world… Salestainability. The merger of sales and sustainability could become the formula for clever and intelligent business for the next generation C-level. For those managers who aim to get the balance right between the desire to use social web efficiency and to credit their own customer base for loyalty and advocacy.

Last week, I thought about the challenge for business decision makers to align their web-strategy with new opportunities that social media and social networks offer. And quite frankly, I can imagine that marketers might become kind of “greedy” when thinking about the latest studies. When Deloitte and ExactTarget find that customers are mainly following brands because they want to get benefits, coupons or discounts, nobody would be surprised, if brands are sending rather than understanding.

The social web tends to offer many opportunities to do conversation with our customers without “spaming” them. If customer become Facebook’s Fanpages they declare their open mind to brand activity, and are not only “Likes”, or brand advocates. If people accept Dell’s promotions and let the IT vendor generate 5 Mio. US dollars via Twitter accounts, we need to re-think our sales business and integrate it into our web-strategy to leverage the sales approach to the next level of SocialCRM if they are capable of doing it. And if customers respond to Groupons location-based promotions, they follow the studies results and motivate brands and companies to reach out to them.

Some might pick it up and use their old email tactics – often unpersonalized, uncustomized, unhuman… Feedback might not be valued the way it deserves to be recognized. Companies will start pushing promotions out to them. Why not, if they ask for it? Why not, on a daily basis? Why not challenge their current capabilities at high frequency, harness their brand feedback and hand out permanent sales offers? Why not…? Another study might tell them why

So far, so good…

Sales is the key driver for business. Business can’t live without push, promotion and placement. Upsale is upscale. No gain, much pain. Companies love to take the money from their customers but do they really care about sustainability? But how can a company in a world of quarterly reporting, balanced scorecards and budget pressure pay attention and give credit to sustainability?

The value of sustainability in business from an executive management point of view was just highlighted in the study “Sustainability: The ‘Embracers’ Seize Advantage” from MIT Sloan Management Review and The Boston Consulting Group. Managers who take the sustainability approach as a key strategic metric to their business will improve brand reputation, claims the study. And most companies are “looking towards a world where sustainability is becoming a mainstream, if not required, part of the business strategy”. Thus, having an essential impact on their sales and web-strategy…

Salestainability is where the worlds of sales and sustainability face the competition to understand which customers are the best ones and how to embrace, hug them and treat them. Who are the best…?

Those who don’t follow/fan/like and still get emails, newsletters and direct mail and don’t unsubscribe?
Those who like the brand on Facebook and do conversation around a brand but don’t buy…?
Those who buy through Groupon, take cheap offers and are one-stop shoppers, never seen again?
Those who follow and listen through Twitter for bargains and rate them with a RT or share it?

Who knows the answer? The answer might be: Find the right salestainability!

Spot On!
Salestainability is not a phrase, it is a challenge. Salestainability is getting the balance right between “want” and “wish”, and thinking about diversification and respect. It is an external strategic business attitude towards training the customer on the social web capabilities around a company and brand. Internally, it is about not exhausting the business immanent SocialCRM tactics. Letting the customers breath and take their own decisions without being pushed too hard, without getting under pressure – with the approach of willing to find and give the personal touch from and to the customer. With the pleasure for social shopping leasure.

That’s what I would define as the future salesforce. That’s what I would call… salestainability!

What do you think of salestainability, it’s definition and it’s future outlook for a business that creates a powerful and still customer-centric strategy?

Do we have to talk about “conversation”…?

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It’s the basis of humans living together. It’s the essence of people getting in touch with each other…, and finally doing business together. It builds the fundament of collaboration, of cooperation. It’s the breath of the age of social. What is “it”…? Well, it’s not rocket-science. And still it seems to be the never-ending challenge for companies, for brands, and especially for people who are running the business. It is… conversation.

“Often I wish people understood the word “Conversation” – To start a successful collaboration we must learn to lose fear of networking.”

Do managers really have to talk about “conversations”?
Yes, we do! Don’t you agree? And we all know why. We are getting sad about the way managers (don’t) encourage themselves to engage in conversations. How often do managers not respond to a written letter? How often did they not pick up your phone? How often have they not replied to emails? How often not shown any reaction to Facebook, Twitter and the likes?

Hello managers – wake up! There is somebody trying to have a conversation with you? You cannot argue what somebody wants before having listened to them, can you?! Ignoring is so easy and it happens so often. You can do better. You can participate. And your words have significance when you take part in a conversation.

How will traditional managers get new inspiration? How will they generate new connections? Yes, conversation is the answer…

Do brands really have to discover how to do conversations?
Yes, they do! They need to figure out what they want to be: person or economic construct. Active or passive conversationalists? Motivator or creator? Former sender or modern vendor? Brands might build a consitent dialogue but only value their opinion, playing according to their rules. Listening is where relevance brings brands back in the driver’s seat, and not making them sit still and beg that the driver (who ever that consumer is) knows the way towards to the targets.

Productivity, creativity, innovation, thought-leadership and ROI counts for brands. This M&M philosophy often goes straight against lose conversation. Brands have been shaped and formed around formal structures (organisations and meetings), planned grouping (= not Groupon but agendas), lead work-flows (step-by-step approach). In earlier years, conversations came with a coffee break, some biscuits, a cigarette on the floor. Conversation today comes with an email, a tweet, or a status update on LinkedIn at your desk. And they appear different in character and tonality, “the conversation mode is changing” as Eric Schmidt called it at the DLD11 in his augmented humanity speech.

How will brands find innovation in the future? How will brands get response to products and services? Yes, conversation is the answer…

Do companies really have to reinvent the human dialogue?
Yes, they do! Companies are made from (and made by) people. People always had not enough time in their lives. Conversations cost time. Time builds trust and drive efficiency. Email took us time, too. We had to learn how to communicate online. Not now anymore. We know how it works. It is just a different platform or technology every crucial department of your business will be using in the future, called Facebook, Twitter, Groupon, Quora or blogs. They will control our marketing efficiency, our sales opportunities, our upscale, our revenue sheets. And we won’t even know, when we don’t embrace and value the conversation on the social web.

Power to “processes, people, potential and possibilities” means opening up our mindset to a new way of conversation. A way that shows the value of starting the talk. A way that shows clients how companies rate their review, input and sharing of brand messages and product conversations. Customer just want to get the feeling that it is not a maschine out there they are buying from. They want to see the personal human touch that makes mistakes, laughs about themselves and answers when getting questions.

How will companies renew their strategy, their tactics, their visions…? How will companies build products that their customers want? Yes, conversation is the answer…

Spot On!
Conversations are the basis of your future business-strategy, as well as your web-strategy. This is nothing new, you knew it before. Companies have them multiple times every day. Brand can get engaged in them every minute on a day in the future. And you even more. Every minute you can have the chance to have conversations today. The only difference is that conversation is also happening online – not on the phone, not via fax, not via mail, not on the floor, or in meetings. You just have to embrace conversations… it is that easy.

Study: Social Media still at early stages in companies in 2010

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A recent study by SmartBrief and Summus on the State of Social Media for Business 2010 shows how companies use Social Media at the moment. More than 6.000 business decision makers took part and there are some trends that can be seen here. And what did we expect…? Social Media is still at early stages.

Most companies (66,5%) use Social Media 18 months now. Almost half of them are “playing” with Web2.0 tools, only 5,4% work with them for more than 3 years. Most companies focus on the top 5 Social Media tools: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Blogs. The reason why they use these tools? As most of their clients are to be found at these places. Although they admit that they also use some niche platforms like FlickR.

Publishers knew it before brands: It takes time to make Social Media usage efficient. The study states that after 2 years companies see the value in Social Media and make it an integral part of their business strategy. Nevertheless, most of them predominatly still use it to raise awareness for their brands (no wonder if 60% of Americans and Canadians follow brands as of promotions and coupons, which an Empathica Consumer Insights research tells us). They talk about product or service information, spread their messages, and don’t rate the conversation with the clients. By not listening they waste a lot of energy and leave the real benefit of the user input behind.

One question that could be quite interesting for a discussion is why it takes so long for companies and brands to adopt and get used to Social Media. Is it because they don’t collaborate with Social Media agencies or because they like to work with internal resources? As we can see from the results, it could also be another factor: One third is not in the position to decide about Social Media, 33% see data security as an issue and 15% saw resistance from the managemetn a critical point.

Spot On!
In my eyes the two most interesting topics for hindering Social Media efforts could be minor trust and no understanding of efficiency of Social Media strategy. Only 7,3% see their strategy as very revenue generating. 14,2% rate their Social Media strategy efficient. Just 14,7% said their companies do measure Social Media efforts, while more than 33% don’t measure at all. At least Social Media is not seen as a fad anymore. If companies don’t understand the long-tail of Social Media, the achieved results won’t meet the expectations of the management. Although Facebook and Twitter seem to be the main platforms for Social Media use as of their reach (intensity), the real benefit could be for more companies by understanding the real impact of the community ideology, blogs, bookmarking sites, or in the future location-based social networks.

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