Sunday, December 14, 2014

Defining Your Audience’s Personality


My previous post outlined the importance of understanding the various personality types in your social community so that you may better communicate with that audience and drive greater brand recognition. Below is a brief definition of each social media personality type along with communication tactics and why you should care about each.

What’s your social media personality? Which do you have in your community?

1. The Status Seeker: Defined by having a sense of self that equates to what he/she owns, has or has associated with their personal brand.

Communication Tactic: Consider campaigns that award badges or other status symbols. Ensure that their value to your business is publically acknowledged and validated. Suggested forum: Twitter, LinkedIn.

Why You Should Care: This personality type collects friends as quickly as they do badges, which provides an opportunity for additional brand exposure and awareness. They will draw out other Status Seeker personalities, thus elevating the overall clout of your community.

2. The Critic: Usually a writer, author or similar creative type, they are focused on the essence or meaning of the content online regardless of the audience that is listening.

Communication Tactic: Allowing them to showcase their intellect, insights and detail are critical. Social “niceties” and convention are secondary to clinical presentation of facts. Provide the option to edit and update posts as this is required by such individuals to satisfy their need to present the most accurate representation of their views possible. Consider blogs vs social networks as main sources of content provisioning.

Why You Should Care: This personality type maintains focus in your online community and tends to keep others “on message”. They will quickly bring the group dialogue back on track and weed out those that are not contributing to the overall health or business’ social ecosystem.

3. The Socializer: Believes in the value of online group activities over individual pursuits and hobbies. Migrates to where friends congregate online and keeps track of other’s activities and actions. Usually seen online even when they are very busy offline.

Communication Tactics: Provide the opportunity for this user to engage in forums or panels. Any format where they can contribute to collective wisdom (such as Wikis) rather than one-to-one communications. Don’t ask them for opinions but to solicit the larger audience’s opinions and report back. Viral and Word Of Mouth marketing campaigns appeal to these individuals.

Why You Should Care: This personality type is critical to maintaining the fun and entertainment aspects of your community. They will drive viral actions and draw in larger crowds to support your community’s awareness and growth.

4. The Lurker: Usually content to monitor public conversations and communicate through private message or e-mail outside of the main conversation; they are emotionally driven and have a strong point of view but are not confrontational. They will not draw a lot of attention to themselves.

Communication Tactics: The Lurker is an information seeker, so ensuring that there is ample content to view, read, watch and digest is critical to engaging them. Where the Status Seekers are happy to gather information from public chatting, this individual will be drawn to the chatter but will look for opportunities to read transcripts, whitepapers, etc offline. Without those offline-consumed resources, they will seek out other communities. Ensure that privacy statements and guarantees are presently prominently. Offer RSS feeds to blog postings, links to transcripts and archives.

Why You Should Care: This community member is critical as they provide support offline to those who seek it. They create content to support others based on their comprehension of the online dialogue and spend time analyzing available content. You may not hear or see them often but don’t think they are not there. They log in often driving up clicks, impressions and search engine optimization benefits to your site.

5. The Creator: Usually a jack of all trades, this personality type can easily comprehend many topics. They create new content by extrapolating themes and meaning from other’s content and news. They see the online world as their home and spend many hours there creating, building and publishing.

Communication Tactics: While they produce content, having an active community and a large repository of data is critical to engaging a Creator. Similarly, you must provide the options and location for them to share their unique content. Recognition is not always the motivation for these individuals, but it doesn’t hurt either. Creators are usually those that make user-generated promotions successful. They are more likely to provide you their opinions on your blog posts than simply sharing or “Liking” it, so be sure to ask for their interpretations, opinions and thoughts.

Why You Should Care: Creators are usually early-adopters in terms of new ideas, concepts and tools. They can lead a conversation and are needed at times when the business leader cannot afford the time to maintain their community leadership.

6. The Pundit: The Pundit takes on the role of community news anchor. They share and promote relevant news and facts sprinkled with a little opinion. They are more interested in sharing the information than interpreting it or creating it.

Communication Tactics: Provide focus for this person by clearly categorizing content into relevant categories or provide them the opportunity and encouragement to gather relevant data from other sources and have them tag or categorize it within your community. Allow them to take on responsibilities for broadcasting and recognize them with some form of status or celebrity.

Why You Should Care: Where the Creator is required to help create conversations and engagement, the Pundit is required to spread the conversation further and attract more people to your community. They drive subscription levels up and spur on links/visits/click-thrus to you site.

7. The Rebel: The Rebel will be seen disrupting online discussions, many times just for the sake of attention. They can latch onto a common convention or belief, a group or even an individual. Many times they become the “heckler” in the group when challenged. While most online comments are meant to disrupt the social order, comments can turn personal when backed into a wall, faced with authority or someone whom they can’t rattle. The person feels superior to almost everyone else and enjoys winning an argument at all costs.

Communication Tactics: Generally very creative, these individuals can show leadership in new fields or technology so providing them a focus is critical. Adept at mashing up information, they can help drive new thoughts. Engage them by asking for their opinions on public news that keeps their attention away from the local community so that those members can feel safe to openly discuss and learn from each other without the threat of being called out by the Rebel.

Why You Should Care: These individuals revel is disorder and can damage the reputation of the community. Further, they can turn off others from engaging. Understanding who they are and giving them an outlet will keep the rest of the community humming and growing.

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I understand that many businesses are still struggling with how to create a community or if they should create one at all. The suggestion that you should be aware of the personality types of online community members may seem too advanced a discussion; however, experience and shown that without a proper understanding of all the elements within your social ecosystem, success will be harder to achieve.

You may wish to consult with or hire a community manager to begin to actively engage your online community. If you can’t classify all members, start by identifying the community’s leaders and those that participate the most and create communication outlets conducive to their personalities.

Have you ever tried to categorize your online audience? Other thoughts? Share your experiences and get involved in the conversation.

Can it really be that hard to create an innovative online ad campaign?


This is a follow up post from “Can the Internet Deliver a Culture-Defining Advertisement?”

The previous post explored my belief that regardless of the Internet and Social Media’s popularity, it will most likely never produce an ad with as much cultural impact as the “1984” Apple Super Bowl ad.

The ensuing Twitter conversation lead someone to forward me a link to this Internet commercial from Motorola:



Apple’s “1984” ad positioned the Mac computer as saving us from the technological fear that had us all imprisoned in a grey, sterile world.  Motorola’s commercial insinuates that since then, Apple’s dominance in mobile music devices and tablets has created a world of “no choice” and “one authority, one design”.  Exactly what it fought to break. Enter the Motorola Xoom tablet, which the ad says will allows us to truly say “Goodbye to 1984”.

This commercial is yet another example of the uninspired marketing that is plaguing us online. Social Media and Web 2.0 technologies were supposed to usher in a new era of innovation and interactivity. Yet ads like this do nothing but recycle the same old ideas.
It piggybacks off Apple’s amazing ad from 1984 instead of creating something new and innovative
It relies on the old David & Goliath concept that Apple’s been using for years
It’s the “I’m the new cool” vs “your Dad’s product” concept the Apple used in the “I’m a Mac” campaign.
I’m not a huge fan of Apple, however, assuming you’ve created a better product is it too much to ask that you please produce a more creative and innovative ad campaign? Really?

When are marketers going to learn how to leverage social media and mobile technologies available to them to do something truly amazing online? Don't get me wrong, there are great Internet-only ads out there. But can you name one that is as epic as this one?

Where’s all the inspiration? Or as yesterday’s post suggested,  is it impossible to achieve the same level of brilliance online that Apple did on TV with it's "1984" campaign?

What are your opinions on this ad? Innovative? Or just more of the same? Get in on the conversation.

Selling Social Media to the C-Suite.


Frustration among company and agency marketers lingers with the continuing hesitation of C-Suite executives to sign off on social media campaign budgets, regardless of the countless success stories to back up the investment. “What about the failures?” chimes in one of my client’s execs.  And he’s got a point. But how is this any different than other business ventures?  There have been unsuccessful billboard, radio/TV or print campaigns in the past but no one questions the value of that marketing?

And while we marketers understand the intangible benefits of social media marketing, the key to upsell to the C-suite is to illustrate the benefits to the business bottom line.  But advocating and trying to measure direct ROI calculations in social media is a slippery slope. ROI is not the correct measurement for social media.

Effective social media campaigns create communities, which enables engagement with and among your audience. Effective marketing and PR tactics can then be deployed to leverage that engagement to increase customer service, lower operational costs, drive loyalty, increase WOM marketing, etc. Increased sales or decreased operational costs are the by-product of that engagement. This is called Return On Engagement.

That is how you quantify and monetize ‘engagement’ to sell to execs. Note that within that model I call for the creation/execution of ‘marketing and PR tactics’, which references offline AND online campaigns. For most businesses, putting social media in a silo will deliver long-term success.

Using this model will showcase how social media interweaves with the rest of the organization but also drives value to intangible benefits.  Watch for my next post on planning and tracking ‘engagements’ in this model.

What are your experiences selling ROI for Social Media campaigns?

ROE vs. ROI - Why engagement is a more powerful goal in driving sales.


In my last post: Selling Social Media to the C-Suite, I discussed the need to illustrate the benefits to the business’ bottom line to get exec-buy in on social media marketing budgets and introduced the notion of Return on Engagement (ROE) measurement vs. Return on Investment (ROI). This post will touch upon setting and measuring those engagement metrics.

I understand measuring ROE can be a challenge with C-Suite execs because it does not cleanly draw a line between dollar-out and dollar-in. However, overlaying your engagement line graph on top of your sales line graph will clearly show the impact – and thus the return – on social media engagements.

Social Media engagements will be defined differently for different businesses but can include:
Number of brand/product online mentions by customers, staff or prospects
Number of customer service issues found and resolved on social outposts
Number of re-tweets or shares of company produced content
Amount of consumer generated content (comments, video/image uploads, etc)
Number of Followers, Friends or Fans on social media networking sites
Number of Facebook “Likes” or Twitter #FF mentions
Similarly, you can chart the overall sentiment (very positive, somewhat positive, somewhat negative, and very negative) of those online discussions and overlay it with your sales graph. Similar to the quantity measurements outlined above, you’ll notice a relationship between the sentiment level and the company’s sales figures.

Before you can track your success of course, you have to create measurable campaigns and tactics. Any good social media campaign must start with an understanding of the needs and desires of target community.

Only then can tactics be created to encourage and promote online engagements. If you choose to push products or ‘offers’ instead of providing value-added information, lessons or support the the community, your efforts will be shunned by the community as self-serving and not worthy of their comments/sharing. I always say: feed your community – not your ego and you’ll reap the rewards.

A good rule of thumb is my motto: ‘start conversations, don't make announcements”. Alternatively – or in addition to – promote your audiences’ work, comments or a complimentary charity or community services that will endear you to that audience.

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My experience has shown that there is a correlation with the amount of online engagement and sales volumes; the higher the engagement – the higher the sales. Using social media marketing tactics to target sales directly – and bypass the engagement – is counter-intuitive to the nature of social networking, which is about community building and sharing. Community members want to share information, learn from each other, discuss life lessons and have some fun. Adding a salesman in the mix is like introducing a wolf into a chicken coop. There won’t be any chickens left to lay eggs.

I’m always interested in hearing your thoughts on ROI vs. ROE. What are your experiences?

Engage - Or Be Swallowed Up By The Online Crowd.


It amazes me that there are still so many C-Suite execs and marketers from both small and large business struggling with the decision to engage their customers online through social media channels. Whether it's the fear of attracting negativity to their doorstep or simply fear of the unknown, ignoring this powerful medium is an incredible business miscalculation.

Businesses must understand that online conversations are not just about your product or your brand. Smart marketers understand the power of listening to their customer's discussions regarding what THEIR businesses or personal troubles are.  Since most B2B and B2C consumers turn to the Internet for research and answers on these issues – ignoring the medium can truly be a lost opportunity for customer insight and R&D. Engaging in these online conversations will help identify how your products and services might be better positioned to be seen as a solution to solving customer's problems or assiting them improve their lives or grow their businesses.

Further, online conversations worth monitoring - and engaging in - should extend to those about your competitors' brand and products and what their customers are saying about them. In many cases, understanding that dynamic is the best tool for a marketer to exploit holes in their competitor's relationships with their clients.

Extending this thought one step further, conider employees online discussions. They are surely online and speaking about their work, it's products, services or co-workers. And if not directly, all their conversations posted in social networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter where their profiles show the business name as 'employer' certainly means that the conversations can be related back to the business.

Believing that online conversations are not occurring about your business, products or services is simply naive. Failure to initiate programs that engage those that are online is setting the stage for negative sales spiral. There are now many sites like http://www.groubal.com that are creating a pro-active online versions of the Better Business Bureau in an effort to publicly air your customer service ‘dirty laundry’. So if you don’t engage, others will and your business will be swallowed by the crowd.

And then there’s the premise of creating or encouraging online discussions from satisfied customers or business influencers who are not current active online, but that requires a more detailed discussion that I'll save for an upcoming post.

You have a simple choice: proactively engage your audience online through open dialogue (blogs, tweets, customer service wikis, etc) or have them find sites like Groubal that will take their cause to the online marketplace where the only impression that will remain is that your business was called out by others.

A business’ most powerful evangelists are usually those individuals who were engaged with authentic, personal efforts to reach out and resolve concerns after their expectations were not met.

What have been your experiences in creating online evangelists from previously dissatisfied customers? Share with the class.

The Evolution of Marketing


 
Social Media's a fad.  Still cannot believe how often I've I heard this belief expressed (and still hear believe it or not) by senior marketing and operational executives over the past years. The misconception by inexperienced marketers that social media is Facebook or other such social networks has propelled this notion to the point where there are still many who question the value of investing in social media marketing.

For those that are still not sipping the social media Kool Aid, I submit for your consideration a quick look at four 'shifts' I've experienced in marketing practices over the past 20 years, which removes any doubt about the value of social media in our world today and for the foreseeable future.

One-to-Many. This was the Mad Men era, where we saw marketers communicating to large crowds via billboards, magazine/newspaper ads or even radio and television commercials and sponsorships. No matter how clever the ads were, it was always one brand announcing what their product represented to the universe. Shout it loud and often and everyone will buy it regardless of any poor user experiences with the product or brand.




One-to-Few. With the advent of databases and data segmentation, marketers were more easily able to identify smaller groups of consumers with similar interest to which they could advertise more specific messages. This includes advertising in niche magazines such as Popular Mechanics to target auto enthusiasts or Bride Magazine to target young women. The cost to advertise to these segmented audiences is usually higher, but has the potential to drive stronger conversion numbers and thus, a bigger Return on Investment.

One-to-One. During the early 2000s this was the popular catch phrase among marketers referencing personalized  direct mail. The popularity of email and email marketing propelled this. More recently, this tactic is seen via commercials or advertisements that are served to you online based on your browsing history or saved preferences; more costly than the practices outlined in 1 or 2 above but with an even higher Return on Investment due to the highly targeted nature of the segmentation.






Many-to-Many.  Unlike the first three in this list, this latest shift in marketing communications does not rely on one marketer or brand to announce what the product or brand's value or benefit is. Social Media, powered by the proliferation of Web 2.0 technologies that enabled online content readers to ‘talk back’ to the advertiser and to/with each other, has created a true paradigm shift in marketing, communications and public relations thinking and tactics.



This latest shift represents the greatest change in that your brand or product is not based on what advertisers announce it to be, but on user's experiences with your product or engaging with your company.  The conversations that were happening around the water cooler or during a game of golf with 4 people are now happening with hundreds and thousands of people online.

No longer can we rely on  the Mad Men to create clever advertisements that when viewed enough, will  convince the consumer to purchase a product. Today your audience will - through their Facebook “Likes” and recommendations, reviews on consumer sites such as Yelp.com, ratings on e-commerce sites and Tweets - dictate what your product and brand quality and value is.

The masses, through social media, have effectively killed the advertiser’s mass-persuasion powers demanding that marketer re-think everything they’ve learned and how they’ve advertised client brands to date. To be successful today, advertising must affect the online conversations, search for - and build - stronger online brand ambassadors and influencers.

Watch for my next post: With Social Media, marketers have come full circle (hint: we’re back to traditional word of mouth marketing tactics!)

Social WOMM: We’ve Come Full Circle.


 
This post will continue my quest to illustrate the fact that social media is not about the technology but the conversations – and that social media marketing is simply good old fashioned marketing delivered through new digital mediums.

Before social media became the talk-of-the-town in marketing circles, my marketing teams understood the value of referrals, cause influencers and brand ambassadors to any business. And there are many consumer surveys to back this up including this one from a Nielsen Online Global Study, which reports that “78% of retail consumers state that recommendations from other consumers are the most trusted form of advertising”.

Enter Word of Mouth Marketing (WOMM), which leverages customers, members, staff or other persons to virally spread the word on behalf of your business or brand. WOMM is more personal than mass advertising, which drove greater response rates. So when you consider the personal nature of social networking, the possibilities of using WOMM tactics online seem to be a no-brainer. Yet, most businesses are stuck in a technology-mind set and simply create online profiles without any thought to the strategy behind them.  They see the masses within online communities and focus on mass-marketing to them (Sell! Sell! Sell!), when they should be leveraging the networking aspect of community.


Today’s hyper-connected world however, has created the infrastructure and tools for ‘instant-referrals’; be they direct (IMs, Twitter, Facebook ‘Likes”) or indirect (comments/rating on consumer sites and online product catalogs), which have created an environment where WOMM can be very cost-effective and very powerful.

Consider how important the combination of social networks and WOMM is to non-profit groups or associations today. Most used to focus their efforts on attracting larger corporate donations to fund their activities and charities since cost of acquisition was too high when targeting individuals through WOMM.

Traditional (or offline) WOMM campaign required the marketer and the referrer to work harder since traditional networking required face-to-face, mail and telephones (or a combination of all 3) to make the referral.

Today, it can be more cost effective – and drive greater results – to leverage online cause influencers or brand ambassadors to drive awareness for you within their online communities as witnessed by the very successful online campaign run by US president Barak Obama during his Democratic nomination run and Presidential election campaign. The now famous example showed how with less initial capital, his team was able to generate more earned media, online referrals and drive a larger war-chest from individuals who gave less than $100/each than his rivals who saw most of their donations come in the from their target audiences (fewer people who could afford the maximum allowed $2,000 donation and businesses).

Since then we've seen many fail at this same campaign tactic, but we've learned that the key is in finding the best online influencers for your product or brand and then provide them the content and tools that will both simplify the process of marketing your business and incentivize them to do so. But that is the topic of a future post.

What experiences have you had with social media word of mouth marketing campaigns? Join in on the discussion.