Last week I was asked to talk with BBC World News Anchor, Adnan Nawaz, to talk about the controversy around Big Papi, David Ortiz, taking a selfie with President Obama during the teams trip to the White House. In my opinion there really wasn’t much of a controversy, as you will see from the interview below. What do you think? Was Big Papi right or wrong for taking his pic with the President?

Social Media has grown to become a major channel for B2B marketers.  The team at RealBusinessRescue put together a very telling infographic that highlights the trends of B2B social media usage in 2013 while offering advice for B2B use in 2014.

Here are some interesting statistics pulled from the infographic:

  • Social Ad spending will grow to become an $11B+ industry by 2017
  • Linkedin and Facebook are tied as the most popular B2B social marketing channel at 86.4%
  • B2B marketers plan to increase their social marketing budgets in 2014
  • 2 of the top 5 goals for B2B social marketers are lead generation and customer acquisition

The entire infographic is below.  I’d love to know your thoughts on the infographic.  Do any of these stats and figures presented surprise you?

Social Media Marketing For B2B

Social Media Marketing For B2B

Spring is in the air and that means MLB Opening Day is right around the corner! In honor of the big day (which will feature my Boston Red Sox receiving their 2013 World Series Championship Rings – just sayin’), the team at Facebook has put together a map that highlights team allegiances – measured in terms of likes – across the United States.

You will immediately notice that the Yankees, Brave and Rangers (which is a bit of a surprise) take up a majority or the map. Red Sox Nation is also up there as well! However, Facebook notes that there is not a single county in the US that aligns with the A’s, Mets or Blue Jays (sorry to all my friends up in Toronto).

It’s an interesting breakdown. Click on the map to get the larger view. (Courtesy of the team at Inside Facebook)

Facebook-MLB-Fandom-Map

Top Social Marketing Lessons from Leaders in Sports, Retail, and Services (Infographic)

 

In our latest marketing white paper, Social Success Stories: Marketing Lessons from Industry Leaders, we analyzed the top social brands in retail, services and sports to identify and share their best-in-class strategies for success. We reviewed their social presence and analyzed the content strategies used by social marketing leaders such as Converse, Whole Foods, NBA, ESPN, Farmers Insurance, and American Express, on the two most popular social networks, Facebook and Twitter. We left no strategy unturned – and we shared the answers to the following questions: What do these successful brands post? How often? What kind of imagery supports their brand? What content makes their audience tune in and take action?

 

This infographic distills some of the best practices to help quickly jumpstart your marketing campaigns. For the full set of strategic lessons, be sure to download the free paper.

 

Click to expand:



 

We want to hear from you!


With which brand to you most closely identify? Will you apply some of these learnings to your own campaigns? Let us know on Twitter at @awarenessinc.

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One of the main complaints I hear when talking to companies about social marketing is lack of control. They don’t feel that their content distribution is systematic, they don’t understand their audience and influencers, and they don’t feel they are agile enough to deal with functional changes. Luckily, Ric Dragon presents a process approach to social media marketing in his new book Social Marketology: Improve Your Social Media Processes and Get Customers to Stay Forever.  Ric is the CEO of DragonSearch, a regular speaker for Google at their Get Your Business Online seminars, a regular columnist for Marketing Land and Social Media Monthly. In anticipation of our Social Marketology webinar next week, we sat down with Ric for some Q and A.Social Marketology

What can readers expect to learn from reading Social Marketology?

There are two major aspects of the book: The first and most fundamental is that Social Marketology provides a framework for social media marketing. We can all get caught up in the constant and rapid changes taking place in the tools and platforms. By having these main building blocks in place, you’ll be able to adjust to whatever changes come along.

Secondly, the book provides a glimpse into the myriad areas of knowledge that come into play with social media. The discipline is touched on by ethnography, psychology, neuro-science, game theory, business history, and more. The book touches on these things enough to guide the reader to deeper reading if they choose.

In Social Marketology you write “In some types of organizations, and at a certain scale, it makes sense for an entire organization to be social.” By that you mean social being used for product development, customer service, and sales messaging. What organizational types and scale were you referring to?

I once asked Ford’s head of social media, Scott Monty, how much of Ford was social-enabled, and he proudly stated something to the effect of about 24 percent. He added that it just wasn’t practical for line workers. So, in manufacturing, it isn’t difficult to imagine the hurdles you’d have to jump to have people who operate machinery, for instance, to be tweeting.  In knowledge work where people are already working on a computer throughout the day, it might not be so difficult.

Large organizations, of course, have their own challenges – but there is often bandwidth in each employee’s day for social communications. In smaller companies, resources are often stretched so thin that for everyone to engage in social may not be practical.

Claiming real estate on social platforms is one of the basic activities you cite for social marketing. How do you know which to claim and should you claim them before you are ready to fully utilize them?

There really isn’t much risk in creating a social profile, and then not using it. There is an enormous risk, however, if a platform takes off in popularity, and you don’t own your own brand name. For that reason, I advocate for the creation of profiles on as many social platforms as possible.  At the very least, you usually have the opportunity to brand the profile, and to create a link back to your own site, which is minimally helpful for search engine optimization.

One of the main premises of the book is that social media behaviors follow patterns. What dictates these patterns? Do these patterns change?

The patterns in social media platforms have emerged through the rapid growth of the web. It’s possible that elements of these patterns are hard-wired into our brains, or reflect how we already operate in the physical world. On the other hand, we see new patterns, like those demonstrated in Pinterest, arise quickly. People are even making websites that mimic the image board interface of Pinterest! So, I have no doubt that new patterns will emerge, and through a type of Darwinistic winnowing, many will pass by while others will dominate.

You are the cofounder of the firm DragonSearch, which manages SEO, SEM, and social marketing for clients. What do you see for the future of the relationship between search and social?

We’re already finding that the distinction between the two becoming fuzzier and fuzzier.  A major component of our work in search marketing lies in the research we do to better understand how people think and how they use language to filter out the overwhelming pool of information available. We deal in the realm of “what’s relevant.”

In social, we’re dealing with the context of how this information is shared. These two things, relevance and context become our domain in which we work.  Social boosts search with links, and search helps us understand how our communities think.

This is exciting to think about: in digital marketing, our job is to help organizations have a deeper context and greater relevance with their markets.  Marketing is often relegated to being a component of sales – but if we assume the digital marketing approach; we become a part of a larger business purpose.

 

For more insights from Ric Dragon, be sure to attend our upcoming joint webinar: Social Marketology: Process in Social Media Marketing. You can also download chapter 1 of Social Marketology: Improve Your Social Media Processes and Get Customers to Stay Forever.

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Wondering if LinkedIn or Pinterest are right for your brand? You are not alone – marketers have been focusing their efforts on the Big 3 (Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube) but increasingly are looking to LinkedIn and Pinterest to build a presence and connect with their constituents. As a follow-on to our latest white paper, Five Killer Strategies to Dominate Social Media’s Big 3: Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, which offers insights into how the leading social platforms can be used for marketing success, we turn to dissecting the best social marketing practices on Pinterest and LinkedIn, among the most popular social platforms of our days. LinkedIn boasts 147 million users and Pinterest recently hit 10 million unique active users. These two social networks hold untapped potential for reaching new customers waiting for your brand to make connections with them. Here are some ideas on how marketers can approach the social platforms along with some suggestions for tools they can use to get the most of their efforts. We also bring two great examples of brands doing it right on Pinterest and LinkedIn.

How to Use Pinterest and LinkedIn

While the social channels may seem different, marketers can successfully apply the same strategies to each by using different specific tactics. For example, successful use of Pinterest and LinkedIn requires great content, but on Pinterest it’s best to “avoid self-promotion” (see Pinterest’s terms and conditions), while LinkedIn content focuses heavily on company and product updates. Pinterest and Linkedin can be used by brands to effectively achieve key marketing goals such as:

  • Increase social reach
  • Engage fans through effective content
  • Identify and engage with influencers
  • Increase lead generation
  • Integrate activity with analytics

Pinterest How-tos:

Although Pinterest is still in its earlier stages, it’s clearly here to stay. Tools are popping up left and right to help marketers increase the effectiveness of their Pinterest efforts. Tools such as PinReach and PinPuff make identifying influencers easier and more efficient. Content development tools for Pinterest, such as Pinstamatic, Snapito, and Pinerly, allow brands to be creative and visually stimulating with their pins.

Chobani, a yogurt brand, uses Pinterest as a way to tap into their customers’ lifestyles and create a sense of brand loyalty. The themed boards are based on their target audience’s interests, such as recipes using yogurt, nutrition, and being active. Chobani uses creative titles, such as “Chobani Fit” and “Chobaniac Creations”, a clever strategy that have helped the brand gain over 6,000 followers on Pinterest.

Chobani Pinterest campaigns

Chobani used Pinterest to tap into their customers’ lifestyles.

 

LinkedIn Success:

LinkedIn has gained a reputation for successful lead generation, with marketers ranking the platform as 277% more effective than other platforms in a marketing study conducted by HubSpot. The “Products and Services” tab that displays customer-generated recommendations make LinkedIn an extremely effective lead generation tool. Embedding the “Recommend on LinkedIn” widget on your homepage is one way to encourage customers to actively promote your brand.

Juniper Networks, a business-to-business company that offers high speed, reliable switching routers to satisfy ISP-level performance, has a great LinkedIn company page. With over 40 products and services listed, Juniper Networks has 215 customer recommendations on their “Products and Services” page. The “Overview” tab is effectively utilized with widgets that give the most important and updated information about the company.

Juniper Networks LinkedIn company page

Juniper Networks uses LinkedIn for promoting products and services and customer recommendations.

 

With the right strategies, LinkedIn and Pinterest can be powerful platforms to add to your social media toolbox. If you are looking to the make the most of your Pinterest and LinkedIn efforts, download our complimentary whitepaper, Beyond the Big 3: 5 Killer Strategies to Dominate LinkedIn and Pinterest. To learn more about how to boost your brand’s success on Pinterest and LinkedIn, download our recent white paper, Five Killer Strategies to Dominate Social Media’s Big 3: Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

 

As a marketer, you probably daydream about impressing your CEO with unforgettable statistics from your social media campaigns that clearly articulate the ROI. There is a budding business discipline around social analytics, which aggregates and analyzes online conversations and social activity generated across social channels and enables organizations to act on the derived intelligence to drive business results. But how does one get to the ultimate state of social media bliss? To achieve social analytics Zen, you have to marry the yin and yang of social media analytics. Here’s how you can do that.

Learning from External Data: Social Analytics Yin

The path to achieving social analytics Zen begins by analyzing external data. Marketers must analyze industry, competitive and consumer conversations to have a solid understanding of the industry landscape. To properly understand your Yin:

  1. Identify key data sources and determine the frequency with which you’ll collect data: Create a benchmark of what’s currently being discussed at an industry and competitive level.
  2. Separate the information by audience type: You may have several different key buyer segments and corresponding influencers. Identify your keyword set by audience type and perform social listening to determine where digital conversations are happening.
  3. Develop goals by audience: Define what action you want each audience segment to take (e.g. gain awareness of your company, influence others, purchase your product/service, engage with you). Your audience goals should be driven by your overall business goals.
  4. Monitor by audience type: At this point, you’ll have a sense of whom you want to monitor. Create lists of top targets, influencers, and new customers to quickly scan for conversations that may require your participation. Create triggers for specific user intent that is tied to business goals.

While having a finger on the pulse of your industry enables you to understand key industry trends and drivers, this is only part of the story. You also need to analyze data from your own social campaigns.

Learning from Internal Data: Social Analytics Yang

Analyzing internal campaigns allows marketers to continually get smarter, more effective and more productive. As we learned from Travis Unwin, director of media strategies for Awareness partner agency Sitewire, a full service digital marketing and interactive advertising agency you can’t ‘set-it-and-forget-it” when it comes to social media (LINK to Travis’s post). It’s important to learn from your own content. To arrive at your Yang:

  1. Determine your content and platform mix: Test on various platforms to find the right marketing mix for your company. Remember, the goal is to drive new customers to your marketing funnel.
  2. 2.     Measure your successes and failures – Get Granular: Which campaigns performed the best? On which platforms? Which posts or tweets stood out from the highest-performing campaign? Allow these learnings to guide future campaign development.
  3. 3.     Develop benchmarks: Ideally, you’ll want to invest in a toolset that helps you gain intelligence over time. You’ll want a social analytics platform that’s a one-stop destination for social intelligence.
  4. 4.     Incorporate Social Media into your Marketing Mix: Social media shouldn’t be performing alone in a silo. Make your marketing efforts more effective at driving business results by integrating all available channels (email, website, mobile, ads, and social).

Achieving Social Analytics Zen

With the knowledge gained from your social analytics yin and yang, you now have a solid understanding of your landscape. The marriage of the yin and yang (or Zen) is where your external and internal intelligence meets. This happens when you can identify and act on specific sales opportunities. The ultimate measure of Zen occurs in the Social Marketing Funnel, a sales framework we developed to help marketers monitor, identify, classify and respond to prospects and customers in social channels. Research consistently shows that the likelihood of purchase increases when people have a social connection with a brand or product – for example, fans of brands are 51 percent more likely to buy. With 90 percent of all purchases subject to social influence, and 90 percent of consumers trusting recommendations from people they know, marketers need to recognize the social marketing funnel is vital to overall prospecting activity.

The WordStream 150 - Top Internet Marketing Software Companies[Infographic]

© WordStream, a Pay Per Click and Search Marketing software tools vendor.

In our latest white paper, Actionable Social Analytics: From Social Media Metrics to Business Insights we unveiled the Social Analytics Framework for Marketing and Sales Effectiveness. Use this framework to determine KPI’s according to marketing objective.

Actionable Social Marketing Analytics

The Shopper EconomyThere is a new economic model – one that rewards the consumer for behaving a certain way that has far-reaching repercussions for your brand online. Companies that understand this new method of currency, value, and reward can reap the benefits of higher recall and increased consumer loyalty. Liz Crawford provides an analysis of this new model in The Shopper Economy: The New Way to Achieve Marketplace Success by Turning Behavior into Currency. With 20 years of experience as a brand manager and consultant focused on strategic innovation, Liz is uniquely qualified to identify this new shopper behavior-driven economic phenomenon. In anticipation of our Shopper Economy webinar next week, we sat down with Liz for some Q and A.

Your book, The Shopper Economy, describes an emerging economy where behavior is currency. What led you to investigate this topic?
I thought it was fascinating that digital technology, especially mobile technology, was enabling new kinds of transactions between buyers and sellers.  In addition to shoppers purchasing brands, brands were purchasing shopper behavior.  I believe this is a relatively new phenomenon.

In the book, I try to make clear that I am not referring to a conventional buy-more-get-more promotion.  And I don’t mean a deferred discount, like a cents-off-next-purchase.

Instead, I am pointing out a new dynamic where a shopper can actually earn value in exchange for one of four behaviors: paying attention, participating, advocating, or committing.  None of these behaviors directly involve purchase. The shopper can earn value by simply behaving.

This earned value can come in various forms – Shopkick Kicks, Facebook Credits, miles, points, etc. You will notice that this value is digital scrip (not straightforward fiat currency in most cases). The digital scrip is currency in that it is – 1. recorded,  2. stored and banked, and 3. redeemable at the discretion of the shopper, across channels. Shoppers can aggregate all manner of scrip in a clearinghouse website like www.points.com. This website allows shoppers to exchange hundreds of forms of scrip for fiat currency (dollars and cents), which may be deposited into a Paypal account.

Which industries are leading the way in understanding this new activity-based marketplace?
At this point, I believe that retailers are leading the way, along with financial services.

Retailers who are rewarding behavior are reaping the benefits.  There are various platforms which effectively use shopper participation to drive traffic and conversion.  These platforms include: http://www.scvngr.com/ , www.checkpoints.com/ , http://shopkick.com/ among others. These are platforms, which shoppers download onto their smartphones as apps.

American Express, of course, is a leader in the area. Their points system is both the granddaddy of digital scrip, as well as the continued frontrunner. One of the big reasons for their massive success is their extensive network of partners.  Shoppers who acquire points can redeem them in virtually any way they please, including simply using points to supplement/replace payments at a digital point of sale (www.americanexpress.com). I believe that with Google Wallet or ISIS type technologies, we will see frictionless, fungible exchanges of scrip with fiat currency, for everything. This really opens the door to the Shopper Economy.

How can small businesses take advantage of the concepts in The Shopper Economy?
Many smaller or independent retailers can begin to experiment with incenting behaviors by signing up with one of the platforms already mentioned (Checkpoints, Shopkick, SCVNGR, etc).  These mechanisms are used by hundreds of local merchants to drive traffic. In some cases the rewards are simply deferred discounts, like Foursquare rewards (“free coffee next visit” for example).  In other cases, the earned value is scrip which is redeemable at the discretion of the shopper.

For small business, advocacy is an important behavior to reward. Groupon and Living Social both reward shopper-to-shopper advocacy, and of course are used extensively by local merchants, like salons and restaurants.

In this new economy where shopper behaviors create units of value, how can marketers quantify a specific value to a shopper behavior?
This is a detailed subject.  The book devotes a chapter on valuation for each of the four shopper behaviors.  Some behaviors like Attention and Participation should be evaluated in comparison to more traditional communication and promotional expenditures, respectively.  So, if a shopper is watching an ad in exchange for scrip, does that shopper score higher on recall and persuasion scores?  It is the effectiveness of these efforts that need to be assessed. It is a trade-off of investment dollars.

The same evaluation process can be used to assess Participation programs.  For example, how effective is a SCVNGR game at driving store traffic, in comparison to other efforts?  This will help a business owner optimize marketing investments.  Participation also usually has a conversion component. That will help with understanding the financial return of the program.

The book also cites specific formulae to quantify some behaviors such as Advocacy.

What does the future look like in the shopper economy?
Shoppers will become increasingly sophisticated in understanding the worth of their labor.  This means that they will evaluate transactions with brands and retailers with a sharper eye to their own advantage.

For more insights from Liz Crawford, be sure to attend next week’s free Awareness webinar: The Shopper Economy. You can also download chapter 1 of The Shopper Economy: The New Way to Achieve Marketplace Success by Turning Behavior into Currency.