Posts Tagged ‘social marketing hub’

In the last year, the popularity of foursquare, and location-based services in general, has grown significantly.  Last weekend foursquare hit another milestone by passing the three million-user mark.  This is less than two months after they topped two million users. With the growing popularity among users, brands have been trying to figure how they can leverage foursquare as part of their marketing mix.  Several brands have run programs on foursquare featuring branded custom badges, unique check-in tips, and custom landing pages featuring lists of to-do items. While user adoption of foursquare is growing at a staggering pace, many brands are taking a “wait and see” approach before adding foursquare to the marketing mix.

Yesterday, Awareness launched the foursquare Social Marketing Toolkit, which is collection of five pieces designed to help enterprise marketers understand how to leverage foursquare as part of the marketing mix. It’s designed to help sophisticated and novice location-based marketers alike and contains some great sources of information. You can download the foursquare social marketing toolkit here.

For me personally the most informative piece is “foursquare for the Enterprise”, a 45-minute webinar featuring Jason Keath.  Jason weaves actionable advice with real case studies giving marketers an overview of how they can begin to use foursquare in their marketing efforts immediately.  Below is a list of the other pieces included in the toolkit.

  1. “Top 10 Ways Enterprise Marketers Can Leverage foursquare” – graphic eBook
    All the salient points of a 45-page eBook boiled down into an easy-to-consume PowerPoint-like document. Included in the eBook are not only the Top 10 Ways Enterprise Marketers Can Leverage foursquare, but also the top 4 challenges of marketing with foursquare.
  2. “The State of foursquare” eBook
    foursquare is a social network focused on connecting users and allowing them to broadcast their locations using mobile devices including the iPhone, Blackberry phones, and Android phones. In this eBook we will discuss foursquare and how brands can leverage the network as part of their marketing mix. The report features data gathered over the course of the last two months and observational analysis of key brands running marketing programs through the channel.
  3. “foursquare for the Enterprise, A Brave New World” webinar with Jason Keath
    foursquare and several other location-based services (LBS) are the new pretty girl at the party. This webinar breaks down how your business can leverage foursquare and other LBS platforms, reveals emerging foursquare marketing best practices, and how these LBS technologies can improve your other marketing efforts.
  4. “Chapter 21: The Social Marketing Compass, Creating a Social Media Plan” — complimentary download of an entire chapter from Brian Solis’ Engage!
    Brian Solis, author of Engage!, defines the Social Marketing Compass as pointing, “…a brand in a physical and experiential direction to genuinely and effectively connect with customers, peers, and influencers, where they interact and seek guidance online.” He goes on to state, “At the center of the compass is the brand; essentially, everything you do will revolve around it.” He details how the players, platform, channels and emotions all tie together with an enterprise brand to provide you, the Enterprise Marketer, with a Social Marketing Compass to lead you through the new web to help build, cultivate and measure success for your business.
  5. “Chapter 1: Word of Mouth Goes World of Mouth” — complimentary download of an entire chapter from Erik Qualman’s Socialnomics
    Erik Qualman, author of Socialnomics, describes the current social media movement as a time when, “It’s important to free your content from being trapped in a “walled garden” because people have quickly grown accustomed to the news finding them, and there is no turning back,” and, “Businesses don’t have a choice on whether or not to DO social media, their choice is how well they DO it.”

Facebook has 500 Million users, spread across every continent, and the user base is growing by the hour. It has developed into an all-in-one solution for enterprise marketers looking to connect with audiences quickly and easily. With this tool brands can advertise, hold conversations, share content and present an organization in an easy-to-manage, structured environment.

Better still, companies say Facebook marketing works. “Facebook is the most effective social networking platform for brands to get their marketing messages across to consumers, say 80% of companies.” (Source: Sense Internet Study.)

This week Awareness launched the Facebook Social Marketing Toolkit which is the first in a series of toolkits designed to help enterprise marketers learn about specific social marketing channels.  The toolkit contains 5 educational pieces focused on Facebook marketing best practices and is intended to be a one-stop shop for inspiring you to do more with your Facebook presence and leverage the Facebook marketing opportunities that exist for you and your company. Regardless of whether you are a Facebook novice or an expert, we think you will take away some great tidbits of advice and next steps from these Facebook resources.

There is a ton of information included in the toolkit.  A highlight for me is Cappy Popp‘s webinar titled “How Enterprise Marketers Keep up with Facebook“.  In 60 minutes Cappy taught me more about Facebook than I thought existed.  Personally, one of the best (if not the best) webinars I have ever heard.  In additional to Cappy’s webinar, there is a bunch of additional content including great peices from Erik Qualman (Author of Socialnomics) and Paul Gillin (Author of the New Influencers and Secrets of Social Media Marketing).  Below is a full list of what is included:

  1. “Chapter 1: Getting Started with Facebook Fan Pages” eBook
    As an enterprise marketer, you have already decided Facebook is worth your time. You have established a presence for your brand and now you are looking to extend that presence and drive deeper engagement. A Facebook page (sometimes referred to as a “LIKE” or “fan” page) is the perfect place to start.

  2. “10 Tips for a Solid Facebook Fan Page” eBook
    This eBook will give you a quick-hit list of Facebook tactics and business process considerations for maintaining a solid Facebook fan page. For example, did you know that thinking multi-channel is the way to go? If you are only publishing content to your Facebook fan page, chances are, you are missing the boat.

  3. “How Enterprise Marketers Keep Up with Facebook – Understanding the Latest from the Most Powerful Platform on the Web,” with Cappy Popp, Founder of Thought Labs
    In this webinar recording, Cappy Popp covers an overview of the platform (where we have been/where we are going), a detailed chat about the “Like” feature (and whether or not it has been successful), privacy changes, the long tail of Facebook and how social plugins impact you.

  4. “Social Marketing Goes Multiplatform” — a whitepaper by Paul Gillin
    Businesses began dipping their toes into the social media pool as early as 2005, but the last two years saw them jump in with both feet. One development in the social media landscape was that marketers warmed to the idea that using multiple social media channels together, and coordinating messages between them, combination collectively achieved a greater impact than if the tools were used in isolation; this realization drove the rapid expansion of marketers’ activities in the social media space. This conclusion is only one of the preliminary results of a multi-client research study undertaken by Paul Gillin Communications in early 2010 that is included in this whitepaper.

  5. “Chapter 1: Word of Mouth Goes World of Mouth” — complimentary download of an entire chapter from Erik Qualman’s Socialnomics
    Erik Qualman, author of Socialnomics, describes the current social media movement as a time when, “It’s important to free your content from being trapped in a “walled garden” because people have quickly grown accustomed to the news finding them, and there is no turning back,” and, “Businesses don’t have a choice on whether or not to DO social media, their choice is how well they DO it.”

If you have some time and are interested in learning more about Facebook marketing, take a minute and download the toolkit.  Also, please let me know if there is any other content you would like to see us include in the toolkit or if you have ideas for future toolkits.

Today Awareness announced that the Social Marketing Hub, our latest software innovation, became generally available. During the development of the Hub, Mark Cattini (our CEO) and I traveled to over 50 of the largest brands in the world to get their feedback on the new product.  We spent time collecting feedback on every aspect of the solution from functionality to pricing to market positioning.  While we spent time discussing the product we also spent a significant about of time talking with each company about their approach to social media, their objectives, their successes and their challenges.

I have to admit that I was surprised by some of the findings and was even more surprised to learn that most of the organizations we spoke with face similar challenges despite being of different sizes and in different industries.  What are those challenges you ask?  Below is a summary of what we learned.

1. Inability to scale

The inability for organizations to scale – to quickly and easily manage, maintain, and measure multiple social channels – was a top theme coming out of our meetings. Jeremiah Owyang of Altimeter Group recently published a post that discusses the pain of scaling social media programs in more detail and breaks down the Social Media Management Software market. A real life example of this pain came very early on in our tour. We sat down with the interactive marketing team at a large retailer who explained that they needed to drop MySpace as a channel because they didn’t have the resources to manage and report on it in a meaningful way. Because it had become too burdensome to maintain, they opted to stop spending time updating and managing MySpace and, in their words, “break-ties with our 30K+ MySpace friends”.

The issue for them boiled down to scale. They are not able to utilize and promote additional channels because managing their primary outposts – Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube – requires a huge commitment in terms of resources. They would like to be able to easily add and test new channels but don’t have the time or energy to expand on their current strategy.

2. Security & Control

Raise your hand if your organization shares passwords to your social sites via an excel spreadsheet? If you are guilty, trust me when I tell you that you are not alone. In fact, of the brands we met with only a handful were not using excel to share passwords.  In one of the more uncomfortable moments from the tour, we met with the marketing group and a representative from the IT team at a large consumer electronics company. We mentioned controlling passwords was a challenge for many organizations and they went on to explain how they share passwords through excel. When someone leaves the company they change the password, update the spreadsheet and resend to nearly 30 people who “may” need access to manage updates (this includes resending it to their multiple marketing agencies). Needless to say, the rep from IT was not happy and that resulted in a heated discussion about internal security protocols.

This example is just the tip of the iceberg for security and control. Many organizations have Facebook Pages, YouTube Channels, Twitter Accounts, etc controlled by individuals within the company, outside of the team responsible for controlling messaging. This makes it very difficult to control messaging and posts and makes it almost impossible to retract assets that may be out of date or contain obsolete messaging.  It’s also impossible to report on who published what, where and when.

3. Lack of resources and buy-in

Many of the top brands – some of which have received kudos for their social performance and strategy – are operating with an extreme lack of resources and next to no buy-in from senior execs. A contributing factor to this is a lack of meaningful reporting (see point 4) but it is still shocking that social media has not been fully accepted in the highest levels of some of these enterprises.

Take for example a large, multi-billion dollar retailer who has two individuals managing multiple twitter accts, a few Facebook pages, multiple YouTube channels and a recently launched Flickr page. The management of these channels is only a small component of their everyday jobs which makes prioritizing them very difficult.  While meeting with the social media tandem they needed to continually excuse themselves to respond to support issues on Twitter. The challenge they face is resources are difficult to get. In their words “…  from the executives perspective, we are executing on social media and doing a great job. The question we get is ‘why do you need more resources, everything is going really well’. The problem is we are working 16 hour days to make this happen and are spending large portions of our day arguing with other departments about access, controls, messaging, etc.” This is a good segue to point #4 – reporting…

4. Reporting is Ad-Hoc

Reporting on social media is the single biggest hurdle faced by large organizations because it impacts every other point on the list.  Without reporting, it’s difficult to scale, get exec buy-in, maintain control and centralize your social media strategy.  What surprised us is that pulling general reports from the big channels – Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube – is a manual process that people are spending a great deal of time on. We have seen everything – interns hired specifically to pull stats and aggregate data, marketing agencies getting paid top dollar to pull data on a weekly basis, departments forwarding weekly reports to an individual who aggregates data on specific channels and pieces of content and a myriad of other ways to resolve the issue.  The point is there is a big hole to fill around reporting. Organizations want and need a central place to collect data from multiple channels and have simple way to manipulate data to see how assets are performing and which channels are providing the best bang for the buck.

5. Centralization

Organizations are looking to centralize social media efforts across the organization. What we found is that most organizations handle social media in silos. Different departments create pages and accounts for their division and this makes it difficult to deploy a centralized strategy.  Another large retailer we met with is experiencing this issue on a global scale.  They have over 200 physical retail locations in the United States and Canada and many of the local outlets have taken the initiative to develop and manage their own social outposts to target individuals within the local geography.  The problem comes when one of the local offices decides to promote a sale too early (or not at all), promotes a new product before it’s announced by corporate, uses incorrect messaging and generally doesn’t conform to corporate guidelines.  This is a huge problem faced by not only retail organizations but also inside large multinational corporations with departments that are dispersed across the globe.  Centralizing the social media strategy is something that is gaining a lot of momentum within large companies and most are moving to bring social media to one department who controls all engagement and interactions.

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We used these interviews and the information we collected as a guide to help us develop the Awareness Social Marketing Hub.  By listening to our customers we gained a deep understanding of their approach to social media and built the system from the ground up based on their needs.  With the market constantly evolving we wanted to make sure the system met the needs they have today as well as be capable of supporting needs that develop over time. We are continuing to gather more knowledge about enterprise social media needs and are always using our learnings to innovate our offerings.

What do you think?  Did we miss any challenges?  Are these the same ones that you face on a daily basis?  I’d love to hear your thoughts…

All photos used under a Creative Commons license.  Photo credits:

  1. Scale: Hanson Bros. Scale 04.06.09 [96] by timlewisnm
  2. Control: No Controle (in Control) by renatotarga
  3. Lack of Resources:  089/365 Money…What Money by stuartpilbrow
  4. Reporting: AAAARRRGGGHHH by evilerin
  5. Centralize: Collegiate Church, Salzburg by andreakirkby