15 May

Become a Monitoring Master and Generate Leads

Listen to your competitors customers, you might learn something! Getting honest and unsullied opinions from consumers regarding your competitors has never been easier.  In fact, you don’t even need to ask them!  Traditionally, surveys and focus groups have always been useful sources of measurement on customer sentiment. Neither, however, offer the currency and (arguably) the honesty of some discreet social media monitoring. By now many businesses are using social media monitoring tools.  The most obvious application is what some call ‘Ego monitoring’.  ’Ego monitoring’ is listening for any mentions of your own company online, be it positive or negative. This style of monitoring can be useful, but instead, why not take things up a notch?! Become a Monitoring Master If you read yesterday’s blog on determining your competitor’s KPI’s, then  you have a perfect framework for zoning in on their strengths and weaknesses. One example we enjoyed reading about was from Harley Manning’s book ‘Outside In’.  Accor Hotels (owners of the Novotel and Sofitel chains) prepare daily reports from head office for their individual managers, these reports contain up to the minute customer sentiment online.  This way they can detect potential problems, branch by branch, and can then act to nip them…

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08 May

Communities gang up to love their brands

As we showed you yesterday, clued in consumers have formed communities online. They tell each other about what they want from life, what they have, what they need and what their favourite goods and services are.  Seth Godin calls these communities “Tribes” and you can learn a lot by interacting with your tribes. Idea-mining your customers Working with customer communities involves more than just support and troubleshooting.  You can also use them to mine for potential ideas and innovations.  Large companies done this to great effect. Some examples are Dell’s Ideastorm initiative, My Starbucks Idea forum, and of course Microsoft’s ‘I’m a PC and I designed Windows 7’ campaign that lifted them from post-Vista blues.  They admitted that consumers hated their last product, that they needed to take advice from users more and made it their launch campaign to great effect! Strategy formation Listening to your communities can help you switch your marketing focus from ‘push’ to ‘ pull’. I.e. in future your brand won’t push itself onto potential customers, instead you’ll be there to help customers when they are ready, pulling them in. Listen to the problems they have, what they expect from you and how they use your…

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07 May

Finding Customer Communities Online

Anywhere that people gather online creates a community, whether its a handful of enthusiasts swapping tips on fly-fishing equipment, to giant consumer and business forums sharing ideas and experiences. Recent Neilsen reports state that over 90% of consumers trust peer recommendations for purchase decisions, whereas just 53% of people trust content written by your company about your own product or service. What has changed of course is where this discourse takes place. Facebook is the new watercooler, Twitter is the chat over the garden fence, message boards, forums, even blog comments are the gathering place where every manner of product, service, business and brand are discussed. The good news however, is that these conversations aren’t taking place in a hidden consumer clubhouse that your business will never learn the secret knock to enter. You can find these customer communities and listen to their discussions to enhance your own product offering. Open Sesame… Finding the Door Online communities are there to connect data and people, so naturally people will congregate where this data exists in easy to find pockets. This can of course mean that the usual social media platforms of Facebook, Twitter, blogs, forums etc are hotbeds of these types…

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01 May

Preventing Disaster – How to avoid a social media crisis

A social media crisis can strike like lightning, and can feel like a tornado flying through your business and your brand .  Of course, once it hits you can manage it with a strong and consistent plan to calm the storm and come out on the other side without too much damage.  Like any trouble on the horizon however, good forecasting can help you sidestep the problem to a large degree.  This is where active social media engagement, and more importantly, studious social media monitoring can save the day. They prevent a light breeze from becoming a howling gale of negative opinion against your brand. Monitor The practice of listening to the market. Depending on the size of your company, this can either be self managed or outsourced. There are a plethora of great monitoring tools that you can use to look for any mere mention of your company online.  Google alerts, and more focused tools such as Sproutsocial and Mention can scour the internet for any mention of your brand (you decide the search term the program looks for).  It will pick up everything said about you whether its good, bad, or indifferent.  Once you see something negative, don’t stick…

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24 April

The Death of HMV – Why social media killed the music store

There are many reasons why a business can fail but the majority of them are due to a failure to change the business to changing consumer needs. It’s affects can be seen in businesses of any size, be it a startup or a large corporation, like HMV or Kodak, that just failed to innovate and change with their consumers. These failures could have been avoided had they been prepared to capture and act on the market intelligence. The Death of HMV - Why social media killed the music store HMV is an organisation that chose to ignore the disruptors. Despite their huge customer base and access to a treasure trove of content, they failed to innovate and accept that their product range was ideal for online distribution and marketing via social media and digital channels.  They were destroyed by changing consumer behaviours and the emergence of many new music players like iTunes, Spotifty and Last FM. The Death of Kodak – Gone in a flash A series of bad decisions sealed the fate of Kodak. Despite knowing that change was coming down the line they failed to respond. While their competitors were grappling with disruptive technologies, they chose to ignore them, despite being the ones who had developed…

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19 April

Trapped in a lift with your competitors and a hot lead, what happens next?

We’ve all heard of the ‘elevator pitch’. It’s the bite size, 10 second pitch that all businesses and brands should have at the ready. It boils down your offering to it’s simplest, stand out terms.  Let’s say you and your competitors are trapped in an elevator for real and a huge potential customer is there and ready to deal. You open your mouth to wow them and then you and your four competitors recite the exact same thing.  This may get you thinking ‘Wait, how exactly ARE we better?’  You’re ready to find your key differentiator… Repeat after me… How to bottle your lightning Complete these simple sentences to see if you can narrow down your differentiator “We offer …….. that other competitors cannot match” “We aid customers that need …. better than anyone else” Maybe that wasn’t so easy?  Don’t worry, you’re not alone in having to think a little deeper to capture that elusive spark of advantage.  In the modern market,  it is increasingly difficult to differentiate yourself clearly on product superiority alone.  Sure, companies like Apple can, but mostly it’s the intangible elements that fit together to make a company the leader, or an also-ran.  In other words, often…

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12 April

Why listening to your competitors audience on Social Media can greatly improve your online business

We’ve all done it: eavesdropped on a conversation on a train, in a restaurant, on the street – it’s human nature.  Sometimes though, we’ll over hear some nugget of information that we can use to our advantage. A bit of ‘right place, right time’ opportunism can make all the difference!  This certainly applies to your business and its position of the digital marketplace. Monitoring your competitors’ dealings with their audience can gain you valuable insight into how the larger market works. Broadening/sharpening your appeal Do you know who your audience is yet?  If not then you’d better get started. You can use tools like Facebook Insights or Tweetreach to get some starter information.  Once you know the vital statistics on your audience, eg. gender, location, age, look for segments where your competitors have a foothold and you do not. Ask yourself, how did they get them, and how do they interact with them?  Use this information to tweak your own message, this will give you access to this untapped customer segment. Pre-empt problems before they occur Monitoring your competitors can be used to future proof your business against upcoming problems. Customers can now escalate complaints and service issues with ease, and…

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11 April

The TOP 3 things you can learn from your social media audience

Are you listening to your audience? You should, they’re the people that want your product or service. They are your market and they have more power than ever before. Here are 3 things you can learn from your audience that will keep your business alive and adaptive. 1. Find weak links in your marketing, then fix them Look for links and services that your audience frequently ignore. For example, links that never get clicked, or pages that have high bounce rates. Then go out there and talk to fans/customers directly, ask them what they didn’t like about the content or why it didn’t interest them. This will give you a strong insight into what works and what doesn’t. It’s far more effective than a generic questionnaire and it delivers real results. Armed with this knowledge you can quickly fix the weak links, ensuring your brand message is working. 2. Highlight pain points in your service Sentiment analysis will give you a good idea of how people feel about your brand or product. It’s not an exact science, but it is a good indicator of pain points/potential problems. To use it effectively, listen to what your audience says to you. Categorise these messages by sentiment…

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30 May

8 Tips for Success with Social Media Monitoring and Measurement

    A 2011 Awareness report identified ‘monitoring social media’ as one of the main challenges facing businesses in 2012. At the same time, social media budgets are expanding with 75% of marketers planning to increase their social media budget this year. No one can afford risk in a trembling economy. To achieve success you need to measure and monitor your social media efforts efficiently. Here are some tips to de-mystify measuring, monitoring and metrics and help you achieve success:   1. Plan to succeed   Establish a strategic social media plan by setting measurable goals that correspond directly with the goals and objectives of your business. The best way to set effective, measurable goals is to establish a series of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). There is no fixed set of KPIs that any one business should measure. However, important KPIs may include: the number of unique visits to the website, customer lifetime value, the number of comments and shares per post, engagement durations, conversion rates, number of downloads, traffic driven etc. Focus on SMART objectives ensuring that your KPIs are specific to your business, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound. 2. Listen to the conversation   Are you listening…

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