Some years ago, I have written about the Retweet button being the “killer of positive blog comments”. Over the years in many seminars and speeches, I have stressed the point that the ROI of the social web is not about generating high quantity in “thumbs up” on Facebook or Retweets on Twitter, or anything automated that comes along with similar meaning.
Retweets, Repins & Co. are only of value for your business, if…
- you accept those automated response generators as the pillars of your ROI system.
- you are a marketer who builds their business on proving the capability of accelerating reach rather than relevance.
- you are a brand that struggles to understood the value of building a community-centric business.
Still: Are ratings as insightful as a written comment – be it on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or any other community platform out there in the social web?
I definitely agree that the Facebook “Like” has become confusing, and in some way worthless. Many users just click on the Like button out of a pure and immediate emotion, nothing sustainable, lasting or resilient. Some are expressing their solidarity with it. Some are missing the dislike button, and click the Like button.
Do those automated responses tell us what they really feel? Do they tell us what people really think? Do they help us to evaluate our position? Fair enough, these automated response creators are some word-of-mouth catalysts. Well, I admit by adding these five star ratings, there is at least some specification in the differentiation of generating feedback.
Obviously, the new rating system puts Facebook in a different position and moves it more to the likes of Foursquare, Yelp and traditional trend shop systems. Furthermore, it allows users to be more concrete in defining their opinions. Users might get better orientation in why a coffee shop or a business or restaurant deserves to be tested.
But does it really help us? What is a 4.2 with twelve votes compared to a 4.9 what two people have build up? Do we know who gave the votings, and if these people have the same interest and preferences that we have got? Doesn’t orientation get even more confusing? What will we book on travel websites when there are less and less reviews and recommendations?
The 3 Rs of the social customer (ratings, reviews and recommendations) might make our lives interesting and exciting for new stuff. But maybe there is too much new trends and products out there to get our heads around. Maybe a real review or recommendation will sometimes help (one positive and one negative like Amazon does it already). Still, automated feedbacks -be it stars, RTs, Likes, etc.- are the least valuable insight creation generators on a relevance scale that helps defining internal and external social web ROI.
PS: If your managers are still happy when your numbers of Likes go up, be happy and tell them nothing about this post. If not, let’s discuss further how social networks should constitute in order to deliver deeper insights in the mindset of our customers.
When I started my blog some years ago, people in my industry were shaking their heads and wondered what the benefit was to be a “social media professional”. Some asked why I was wasting time on social networks like Twitter, Facebook & Co., and what the ROI is in writing blog posts and then sharing them. Some wondered how I managed to stay on top of the main trends and developments in the “social web” world. Well, time is passing by and people start to be getting answers.
In the last years, many companies have thought about hiring a social media specialist, or have even given it a proper job description. Still last year, we went into companies and found some young interim or part-time freelancer being responsible for the feedback on the 3R’s (ratings, reviews and recommendations!) of their own social customer. Often these people earned nothing but a smile from their colleagues.
These days seem to change. Can it be that companies understand the value of engaging with their customers on the social web – the place where they not only spend a lot of their spare time? They actually do marketing, sales, customer service, employer branding and much more for companies and brands. Some companies still have not understood though…
Now, the social marketing platform Offerpop has created a nice infographic based on data from LinkedIn that shows a staggering 1,357% increase in social media jobs posted on LinkedIn in the last three years.
We discussed this topic in many panels at dmexco this year, and in the last couple of years I assume not many buzz words have made their way through so many blogs and articles: Big Data. Some see the value of it in measurement and analytics for marketing purposes. Others try to identify new potential and hire Corporate Data Scientists for their web strategy to leverage the potential of unstructured data. And some are still on their way to understand how their data can be embraced to exchange with the data of some partner or even their clients.
The topic Big Data will stay. Just look how much data is generated daily: 2,5 Exabyte. A number that doubles every year according to an infographic the guys from Elexio have put together. It illustrates the potential for companies and how Big Data might generate bigger opportunities in several sectors. Especially, in retail or e-commerce where Big Data let’s brands analyze customer behavior and deliver more personalized messages in order to create an exciting user experience, more engagement, and sure i the end more sales. However, sometimes you wonder if they are doing it right.
As Big Data also let’s us analyze offline data, some clever marketers might combine those with online data to get a clearer view of consumer activity. On the one hand, this might be good as it keeps them from delivering the wrong banner or engagement outdoor advertisement and content to the wrong customer. On the other hand, there might be people arguing that Big Data is still in its infancy as long as companies cannot extract critical and unstructured data from the valuable data that creates a new customer journey experience.
The main challenge will be how we bring Big Data and security together in the future. Consumers get stressed these days as they realize that promotion banners and branded content are following them across channels – with products and services which are often not wanted, or already bought. But how can companies deliver a seamless customer experience? How can they make use of Big Data that boosts their lead generation or sales numbers while still showing careful approach that consumers appreciate?
With all the social media sharing and curating of content via social networks and their buttons, does it really make sense talking about Big Data and security? Or, do we need organizations that audit how companies handle customer data? What rules do companies and brands need to obey to enable a social and secure shopping experience? Many questions that we will discuss on a panel at the ChapmanBlack “Future of Digital” event in Berlin next week. Sure, I will change those afterwards…
Please find the infographic of Elexio with latest insights into the new opportunities that Big Data can offer to brands and companies.
Incorporating a strong SEO strategy into the design of an ecommerce website can greatly improve its chances of success. For an online shop to succeed, customers must be able to easily find it using a search engine. Whether you’re using an expensive SEO consultant or simply relying on a subscription ecommerce platform, you’ll want to take heed of the following common mistakes made by ecommerce websites.
1. Not Including Product Descriptions
High quality photos are essential for ecommerce websites, but if there is no accompanying description the product stands a low chance of being picked up by search engines. Be sure to add descriptions to each product in order to help give each product page an SEO boost. In addition to the description itself, the navigation, text, sidebar, and footer all count towards the final word count. With unique, descriptive content you can help market your wares while becoming more visible by the search engines.
2. Duplicating Product Descriptions
One common mistake that ecommerce sites make is copying the manufacturer’s product description word-for-word, usually in an attempt to avoid making mistake #1. While this will give you an accurate product description, it can work against you in the end. If your site uses the same manufacturer description, there’s a high chance that other rivals are doing the same. This creates the problem of duplicate content. Either rewrite the description, or add your own editorial underneath it. The same rule goes for listing your products on 3rd party sites such as Amazon or eBay. If you use the same content that appears on your website, you’ll run into the problem of duplicate content.
3. Lack of Related Content
Product descriptions are a mainstay of any ecommerce website, but they are not the only facet of ecommerce SEO to pay attention to. Many buyers are interested in finding out more about your products and company. Include information about your business’s history, along with shipping and return policies. Keeping a business blog is an easy way to rejuvenate your site with fresh content, as is opening up the site to customer reviews.
4. Using Non-Targeted URLs
You may have beautifully written unique content on your ecommerce site, but what about your URLs? If these are a jumble of letters and numbers it can not only be confusing for visitors, but it misses out on a chance to incorporate keywords into a clean, descriptive URL.
5. Not Targeting Content to Keywords
As you work on revising your content, it’s helpful to keep the keywords that your customers are typing into search engines in mind. These can be easily followed using analytics tools and are important for promoting the right terms for your audience. Keywords and search terms can also be incorporated into your off page SEO strategy. When you create content that links back to your main website, if it includes these same keywords it will draw in the type of readers who would be interested in your shop.
6. Not Using Robots.txt
Using the robots.txt file gives ecommerce website owners a way to give instructions to search engine spiders. This helps you make sure that you have control over which pages you wish to be indexed and which you don’t. For example, you can use robots.txt to block areas of the website with duplicate content, such as tags or archives. Not using this can hinder your SEO presence.
By avoiding these six common mistakes, you can improve your ecommerce website’s chances of standing out from the crowd online.
But what if reviews are simply wrong, or bought from people that don’t flag these reviews as hidden content marketing derivates? Years ago, we might have asked our friends or close people where to go for dinner, what music tape to buy, or which book to read, we now just go online and read what some foreigner might have said. No matter which mentality this person has, which preferences, which background, which age and gender. The 3 Rs make our decisions easier, we think.
Although we might have all guessed it, the proof of wrong online reviews now comes with a study from the MIT and Northwestern University that examined over 400,000 reviews in 6 months. The study states that many reviews were simply deceptive, untrue or even written by people who never tested or bought the product or service. In 5% of all negative reviews people get paid to hype products. Most of these people are writing bad and often untrue reviews but are actually newcomer to the business they are talking about.
The good part of this study is that the study offer some advice for us and tells us how to detect deceptive story-telling.
“What is most compelling is most reviews tend to be too detailed. Another easy clue look for is repeated use of exclamation points. Two, three or four for emphasis, is often associated with deception,” Eric Anderson, Northwestern University Professor and co-author of the study said. “At the end (of the study) we concluded that many of the negative reviews came from customers who were trying to act as self proclaimed appointed brand managers.” Anderson summed up.
However, many reviews might be untrue or bought, it is probably a good way to try to understand what negative reviews are basically saying and balance it against positive reviews. Seeing the positive reviews makes us get out of the bad tonality which often is simply based on anger and frustration around bad services and untrue or bought reviews. And the more people are trying to dive deeper into the intention and personality of the reviews, the faster they might detect if the review is deceptive.
“Really what you have to do is read a lot of them. Don’t just read the 2 or 3 negative ones which may or may not be real–read alot of the reviews.” Ken Bernhardt, former Professor of Marketing, Georgia State University
After yesterdays moderation of the dmexco Night Talks in Hamburg on “Mobile – The new first screen”, a recent study grabbed my attention this morning. It makes clear that users really are more into apps rather than mobile websites. According to the findings of the global study from Compuware Corporation, a technology performance company, 85% of consumers responded that they prefer mobile apps over mobile websites.
Although the latest InMobi study gives insights how people react to mobile advertising and why apps get into the centre of attention of the mobile user, the study from Compuware states that the reason why apps become so popular these days. The respondents said that they are “more convenient, faster and easier to navigate.” Furthermore, it adds some more findings…
“Mobile applications are thought to make life easier by streamlining calendars and grocery lists (…) offering entertainment while in line and making it easy to collaborate with co-workers. Consumers now associate apps with banking, paying bills, shopping, booking hotels and travel, as well as with staying productive and connected with both home and office tasks.”
The 3Rs of the social customer also become apparent in the choice of which apps will be downloaded to their mobiles. 84% of users say app store ratings are important in their decisions to download and install a mobile app. And there are some obvious reasons how apps need to deliver in order to be be benefitial…
- Easy access to product and store information
- Help planning and navigating trips
- The ability to communicate in real time
However, the benefits seem quite clear, there are also some complaints about mobile apps. The mobile users mentioned that they had…
- 62% a crash, freeze or error.
- 47% slow launch times.
- 40% an app which just would not launch.
Still tolerance is high when the app does not work immediately. 79% said, they would retry a mobile app only once or twice if it failed to work the first time. Still, companies and brands should be aware that the competitor is not too far away with their mobile app offering.
“With consumers expecting greater experiences with mobile apps now more than ever, fulfilling those expectations doesn’t just happen — it takes a conscious effort throughout every stage of the design and development process to get it right. Performance is a crucial contributor to providing a dependable mobile app user experience, so performance should be considered a key driver in the design process. Mobile applications need to focus on a core utility, and they need to be fast and reliable in order to be valuable.” Stephen Pierzchala, Technology Strategist, Compuware APM Center of Excellence.
It would be interesting to get your expectation on a good mobile app or website? What is your normal reaction when mobile apps don’t deliver to your expectation?
Year after year, Edelman is publishing their Edelman Trust Barometer. The 2013 version just came out and it is offering some helpful findings, pictures and illustrations how C-level managers, employees and brands can build trust. Edelman polled 31,000 people in 26 countries and as they have the comparison of the last three year (2011-2013), it is interesting to see the changes in the “Edelman Trust Index”. From a global perspective, the positive signs are that the global trust index goes back to normal after some bad development in 2012.
Definitely, one of the main messages the report gives, is that the general public and better “educated citizens” don’t really trust government officials (13%) and business CEOs (18%) to tell the truth. Business CEOs ended up second to last with 43% only. So, it is not only the marketers that lack credibility in the eyes of their CEOs internally – externally the CEOs seem to be the people – employees, customers and partners – just the human brand economy CEOs need to become successful with their business. The most trustworthy people seem to be academics and experts, followed by technical experts.
The study offers an interesting list of 16-trust building attributes (named “trust performance clusters”) every organization should pay attention to, and live and breath. All points make sense and every single one seems worth-while being considered and double-checked with your own organization.
Leadership seems to face a crisis at the moment. The study makes clear that people distrust their company leaders, or don’t seem to get what they want from their bosses. Globally, the employees expectations in the areas business performance, integrity, products, purpose, and services always score low numbers and don’t hit public’s expectations. Especially under engagement, when it comes to how leaders are taking care and treating their employees, the leaders fall short in their ratings: just 24% feel that businesses do what ever they can to meet the employees’ demands.
“We’re clearly experiencing a crisis in leadership. Business and governmental leaders must change their management approach and become more inclusive… They must also pass the test of radical transparency.” Richard Edelman, President & CEO, Edelman
From an industry sector’s point of view technology wins in building trust (77%). Banks and financial services (50%) as well as media (53%%) rank lowest in trust scores. Edelman thinks that transparency in their business processes might help. Also, the way these economies are explaining their businesses could improve trust building as shareholders want to know how these companies operate and make money. Social Media could play an important role.
As long as people don’t understand how organizations operate, what companies and brands do with the money they invest in their products and services, they will doubt that they really get best value and service for their money. Even more, when companies don’t take their responsibility to open communication serious which most companies do when they don’t respond internal and external comments through social platforms. The more companies become social businesses and open up their communication, the more they create an atmosphere of transparency and collaboration, the more customers will engage with their community centers, the more people trust that companies really do whatever they can – WITH the help of employees, partners and customers.
“This confirms the democratizing trend of recent years with influence and authority moving away from CEOs and government leaders to experts and peers,” finds Edelman. And we agree with them.
Watch their video summary and then start checking on your own trust building tactics. And let us know if you experience the leadership issue in some way as well, or not…?!
There were days when I thought it is better to stay out of the discussions around the changed terms and conditions for Frequent Travellers and lounge access. A long time did my trips hit the airports with the lounges where Lufthansa still values the status of a Frequent Traveller (FTL) as a “superior customer”. “Acces granted for FTL passengers!”
Now, in just some weeks it happened to me twice that I got the answer: “Access denied for FTL passengers!” I think, it is time to write some words in order to give Lufthansa the chance to reply to all the clutter that goes live on the Web. So, Lufthansa – please listen up.
Amsterdam Schiphol and London Heathrow! In both airports Lufthansa cancelled their contracts with the lounge partners for FTL passengers. However, there are rumours going on that in 2014 when the new Terminal 2 opens, that situation might change. True? Wrong? We don’t know! Lufthansa, is not monitoring or listening it seems.
The lounge access topic might have some financial background. Still, I wonder if Lufthansa knows what kind of economical impact this might cause. Lufthansa, do you believe in the power of Social Media? Seeing your massive activities on social networks I assume you do. But, why do you not answer the conversation that is led by some link in position 1 on Google for the quest: “Lufthansa FTL London Heathrow”? Doesn’t that show how much Lufthansa values FTL passengers? Sorry, Lufthansa! In my eyes, you want to get rid of the FTL status. Correct…?
And let me give you another reason why I believe that. I am just illustrating briefly the situation of a business man traveling around Europe quite often, and in my eyes approx. 50 times is often.
If I am allowed to have access to the lounge, I don’t lose time. Time is money, is efficiency, is essential for doing my business. Access means: No need to find a quite and comfortable place, buy my drinks and food, or ask myself why I pay your Bought Media. Lufthansa, understand that FTL passengers think about the benefit of paying you the extra thousand year-on-year to get to that status?
Amsterdam, London, or anywhere else. The lounge is the main value for FTL passengers to continue flying more often with you than with other airlines. No access to the lounge means, I will fly i.e. British Airways, one of you biggest competitors for the UK region. And there are many obvious reasons for this i.e. in London Heathrow: Cheaper flights, newer terminal, nice gates, better shops with more popular brands, a Fish restaurant, and, and, and… Do I have to continue the list? No? Thank you, Lufthansa, for making my time efficient and my critic spot on. That’s what I want you to understand!
In the end, the “lounge-access-thing” is just a numbers game. I doubt that your stakeholders at Lufthansa is good in understanding how to scale the business. Sorry Lufthansa, but I doubt you are clear about the long-term effect this “multi-level-lounge-access-nonse” might cause. Why? Let me tell you what happens, if I don’t have access to the lounge. Quite frankly…
No revenue for Lufthansa
Revenue for BA:
(without tax, petrol & stuff – average deal, booked early in advance, etc.)
Personal or Company Win: 80,- EUR
Result: Me or the company can safe money or be drunk & data addicted (ok, I am…), if I spend that on a bar at the gates in Heathrow!
I don’t believe the lounge rent, my two drinks and one sandwich costs those 80 EUR, right? So, not granting access to lounges for FTL passengers on different airport makes me think whether…
a) Lufthansa is testing whether you kill the FTL status.
b) Lufthansa doesn’t appreciate the money of Frequent Travellers.
c) Lufthansa has not made their business homework.
Lufthansa, please tick!
Taken it from an Earned and Owned Media perspective, I would suggest you know how often people fly with you, how much you could do with that, how you could engage on networks, how this would catalyse your brand perception, what that would do with people usually flying some oither airline, how this scales in sales. If not, contact The Strategy Web and we will tell you how Social Media scales your business, Lufthansa, predominantly if it comes along in a positive way.
Did I make the benefit of lounge access clear to you, Lufthansa? Next time I am flying, I will make sure I get my travel assistant check the lounge access before booking the flight. I cannot believe you are not interested in our business (feeding you), our needs (scaling your business) and our money (enabling acceleration and growth)?!
Gimme some arguments why I shall still fly with you when I am busy…??? Come on, Lufthansa!
Most professors might answer in a diplomatic manner: “There is always two sides of the coin!” Smart bloggers love to look into the future and prefer outlooks to reviews. However, those always rely on findings and insights which bring them to life in the end.
So, I have dared to head for an outlook in 2015, into the future of web strategy. As many managers are not quite familiar with the term “web strategy”, let me define it our way. In 2012, we have often realized that there is quite some misunderstanding what web strategy really means:
“Web Strategy translates the organisational targets and values in roadmaps for the top management and their teams in terms of all generated and doable business processes via the Web. Web Strategy creates a picture of the future of client communication which connects the networking trends of the Internet and the tools of modern web development with the individual business tactics of a cooperation in order to develop a superior company vision. ©The Strategy Web GmbH 2012″
Bearing this in mind, I have written a blog post that defines a futuristic view on some new job titles. It shall illustrate which old job roles might become critical as well as which new challenges arise in companies when changing or restructuring organisational frameworks in companies. So, let me define some new job roles that clever managers should be thinking about. Each top management should be thinking carefully whether or not they will need one of these job roles in their company. I am quite sure that these job roles will become important in the future on web strategy.
And don’t be surprised when I give those job roles kind of a hierarchy. The formula behind it is quite simple…Knowledge x Data x Content x Culture x Clients = Company Success
a.) Corporate Knowledge Officer
The main challenge for any HR department is to tie the pearls of the corporate value chain long-term. These employees are the knowledge of the company, the pillars of productivity. If one of those pillars leaves the company behind, the person takes the knowledge with them, and often all of their knowledge gets lost. But what if employees understand that the feeding hand of a company offers less pension protection by 2025? What if by 2020, Millennials, the generation that will make up almost 50% of the global workforce, will deny the traditional workplace mentality and start making their knowldge available more on a project basis? What if knowledge workers stop working for one company but prefer to share their knowldge in a “buy-my-brain” mode?
Leaders who believe in Social Business, those who want to secure knowledge and make it “always-on” available shall consider the position of a Corporate Knowledge Officer. They are game changers for analysts, market researchers and leading consulting corporations.
b.) Corporate Data Scientist
The world speaks Big Data. Buzzword or biz value? There were not many words you could hear in 2012 at web events, where “web stategy” still often is a foreign word. Why Big Data rules? Well, just look at how much data is being generated in 60-Minuten on the web, or how fast reactions and conversations evolve. That’s why data is becoming a challenge for the whole value chain of the company. However, which business is able to accomplish a job role which is said to become one of the sexiest in the future according to Harvard Business Review? Where is this person located in the excel sheets of businesses that unites the capabilities of a logician, explorer and mathematician in one person? There are not many avalaible yet. Corporate Data Scientists are those brains who know how to turn the process of 0 and 1 upside down in order to draw some conclusions for new content and values.
Leaders that don’t want to stop at data mining or business intelligence processes should figure out the value of the Corporate Data Scientist. They are challengers for PR and marketing decision makers who need to prove their credibility by showing facts to their CEOs.
c.) Corporate Content Officer
Content forms data. The problem? Content is the weakest production department of companies. In most cases PR experts or publishing houses have taken over the content production. Although most media companies are struggling themselves with unique content generation. But who is meant to do the content research? Who is able to write and schedule stories? Who can prioritize, aggregate and curate content? And where will companies find the publishing expertise to become a media company? If content marketing is the future, who will pioneer on the path from PR and marketing to the journalistic hybrid of corporate publishing and community management in the company?
Leaders who see conversations as an opportunity and understand the sense of integrated communities in websites will evaluate the position of Corporate Content Officers. They are the media coaches and editors-in-chief of businesses who bring all company departments to produce content for their special business area.
d.) Chief Culture Officer
The modern development in content and data generation as well as a new understatement for knowledge management is walking on the stage of change management. A stage that Grant McCracken featured in his book. Employees need to find the deeper sense in the evolution of new platforms in business processes. Employees need to understand the complete benefit of tools and tactics before they will be forced to make use of them. Especially, for those employees who do not like email communication but shall start working with communication streams and updates all of a sudden. Stream-Working is a culture of openness and transparency which is not everybody’s friend. And sometimes the best lighthouses might not embrace those changes.
Leaders who know about the challenges of working with multiple project platforms will appreciate the additional benefit of a Chief Culture Officer. This job role will be the prolonged arm of the management team, the “personified culture geek” and at the same time working very close with the HR team.
e.) Chief Customer Officer
Customer change the rules of the game via open communication, praise and critic. What was top-down is now bottom-up. Customers are kings. A sentence that made people cry some years ago. Today, the 3R’s of the social customer -Rating, Review, Recommendation- make managers and leaders start crying. They let whole revenue streams start shaking at times. Those managers who get their experience from digital conversations with customers, who appreciate when data becomes content, and who create a culture of cooperation and collaboration, then you live and breathe the values of empathy that customers are longing for. Then companies create the right fascination for brands, products and their own company.
Leaders who accept the community of customers as the ecosystem of perception, and who believe in brand advocates, critics and moaners as equal process partners will think about integrating a Chief Customer Officer as an institution that is meant to drive business growth. They will be game changers for sales people and customer service employees.
Never before have I spoken about and discussed so much about new job definitions and job roles in my life like in 2012. On congresses as a moderator, on B2B events as speaker, or as a rebellious start-up panelist.
Will one or some of these job roles become reality? You decide…
A recent study by Curata identified the main drivers of content marketing activities in B2B companies. The findings are based on Curata’s poll of 465 B2B marketing professionals in October 2012 from business owners, VPs of Marketing, CMOs, managers, marketing consultants and agencies.
The study explains that content marketing continues to become more and more important for B2B marketers. However, the drivers for content strategies are shifting towards thought leadership and market education.
The results show that 87% of responding B2B marketing professionals use content marketing for business goals targets (5% increase to 2011). Content marketing gets followed by SEO (67%) and event marketing (60%) as further leading channels in marketing strategies in 2012.
Further findings of the study show that although engaging customers (81%) has top priority for their content marketing efforts, thought leadership and educating the market are increasing in their importance for the business. More than half of B2B marketers (56%) state thought leadership as a key objective (13% increase to 2011). Also, educating the market (47%) increased by 3% to last year. Just 24% see SEO as a key objective (still a 5% increase to last year). Former top marketing tactics (print/TV/radio) went down from 32% to 26% this year.
Lead generation is still one of the key marketing goals for B2B marketers according to the survey. Most B2B marketers (82%) see driving sales and leads as their top marketing goal. Establishing thought leadership (42%), increasing brand awareness (40%), or increasing Web traffic (32%) follow in the next places. Content curation is also getting traction as the next step in content marketing. 57% of B2B marketers see it as an important evolution step. However, content curation is in it’s infancy when only 34% of curating content marketers have done it since six months or less. Quite scary I found that a staggering 43% of B2B marketers don’t measure the efficiency of their content marketing efforts. I found interesting that the topic brand advocates was not on the spot in terms of content marketing in this study.