Archive for ‘social media planning’ category

Don’t Just Measure, Measure *Everything*

1 February, 2013 | | No Comment

OK, maybe Ivana wasn’t talking about social media metrics, but I like saying the title to this post in my best Ivana Trump accent.

Managing a large federal social media program has been a learning process. It’s all well and good to think up clever posts and tweets, monitor daily, and engage with fans. But if you can’t demonstrate the value of your program to management, then eventually nobody will see the point in keeping your program around.

There are lots of conferences and Web seminars that promise how to teach me how to demonstrate ROI to management (for a hefty price tag). I’ve been to some of these, and they’re a waste of time. There is no “one size fits all” method to metrics, it’s really all about what matters to your management.

For example, one of our clients is all about numbers, she really likes the solid quantitative metrics. Her boss is more interested in the larger buzz trends and the top influencers. And yet another program has very high visibility (and is a critical client for us.) We always need to be ready to show wins there.

So, how do we prepare for the periodic (inevitable) call to present our success? We keep track of everything. Because you never know exactly where the wins are going to show up and what trends are going to emerge. One month we might see a record number of Facebook clicks. The next month might be the biggest jump in YouTube views ever. Another month might be the highest Twitter reach…you get the idea. And those are just the quantitative metrics, there’s also the anecdotal. We constantly take screenshots of interesting user comments. Sometimes we’ll use them, sometimes we won’t, but we never know what we will be able to use.

I have a monster Google Doc spreadsheet that I keep updated every month. Some of the running metrics I tally are:

  • Number of tweets per month
  • Total reach of tweets that month
  • Average Reach Per Tweet
  • Number of Facebook Fans Talking about us this month
  • Reach of Facebook Posts this month
  • Facebook clicks
  • YouTube minutes watched
  • YouTube engagement
  • Bitly clickthroughs
my monster spreadsheet

My monster social media metrics spreadsheet: it keeps growing!

“Do Social Media” = “Collect Underpants”

31 January, 2010 | | 4 Comments

The hype around social media just seems to be growing. But as the initial glow of this new medium wears off, it’s going to be up to us to prove the ROI of social media. (Thanks to Steve Mann for showing me some great case studies about smart companies who are doing it right). But the trick is finding the formula that clicks for each individual company. There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to social media – you need to tailor the solution to your particular needs. This is not an easy task and it’s not easy to demonstrate ROI while you are formulating and executing your strategy.

Have fortitude, my social media kindred. Refuse to let your stakeholders consider number of HITS a metric (they are “How Idiots Track Success,” according to K.D. Paine). Help them understand the real social media metrics like buzz volume, buzz sentiment and engagement (Mike Manuel, social media genius, can teach you more about metrics). But at the same time, realize that as cool as it is to show how many followers you have on Twitter, how many fans you have on Facebook, and how much buzz you’re generating, at the end of the day, the people who write your paycheck will want to see the impact to the bottom line.

**Speaking of one size fits all…

The daily influx of invites to Webinars and conferences promising to show me the Holy Grail of Social Media Success remind me of the South Park episode about the “Underpants Gnomes” that are stealing Tweek’s underwear. One of my favorite South Park moments is the Gnomes’ business plan:

We all get the endless invitations to paid Webinars claiming to teach us how Social Media will make us successful. The truth they don’t want you to know is that nobody can give you the magic formula to “do social media.” STOP WASTING YOUR MONEY. You just need to figure out how to listen to what people are saying about you, and then how to join the conversation. Yes, there are lots of ways to do this, and it’s not always easy to figure out which way is the right way. It takes some time and effort. There is no quick fix or easy salvation — if anyone suggests you do a “viral video” run the other way – FAST! With all the tools and technologies out there, the task is daunting. But if you go for the quick fix, you may as well use this as your business plan:

Capturing Leads and Tracking Conversations on Twitter

19 July, 2009 | | 2 Comments

Here at VeriSign, we’ve proven that Twitter can be used to capture sales leads and make sales. But we are also seeing all kinds of other interactions that happen on Twitter. These include:

  • Requests for information / help with products
  • Suggestions for product features (e.g., “VIP iPhone app should work on iPod Touch!”)
  • General industry questions
  • Media inquiries and commentary
  • Customers needing some TLC
  • Interesting news articles or Tweets to share

Getting Started

Before you start, you’ll need to do a search on your brand to see what kind of mentions it is getting. http://search.twitter.com will find all mentions, which you may want to catalog in your own spreadsheet because it only seems to archive about a month’s worth of data. But you can still find a Tweet using more specific keywords on Google to find tweets, because, much like a diamond, a Tweet is forever! (even if you delete a Tweet from your Twitter stream, it’s going to show up on Google!)

Tools for Tracking Conversations

1. Bit.ly: Bit.ly can be used for shortening any URLs. You can even create custom Bit.ly Urls, but keep track of what you create because Bit.ly won’t track those for you. And beware the inflated Bit.ly stats which do not filter out hits from bots / spiders, etc. More on that here from Hutch Carpenter. And Tac Anderson is a great blogger to follow if you want to keep up on the latest cool tools – he is great filter for the (too much) information that’s out there.
2. Tracking Codes: We use Visual Sciences on our VeriSign.com so if we append an “SL code” to a URL that we send out, and someone visits the VeriSign.com site, we know where they came from. So, the URL we send looks like this: www.verisign.com/industrybriefs?sl=12345. Using these helps us keep track of traffic that we send over from Twitter.

Capturing Sales Leads

Our leads from Twitter were getting lost in the Siebel Sales database becuase we had no way of tracking. The “traditional” way of capturing leads is that a prospective customer fills ut a landing page. We persuaded the Direct Marketing team that people engaging with us on Twitter are in no mind set to fill out a form if they wanted more info, and they are allowing us to fill in the form ourselves, as long as the potential customer approves it. Now that’s progress! Now all we need is our own cool little “Twitter Leads” form. I’ll keep you posted on how it’s going.

Keeping track of Resources

Many of the interactions I mentioned above need to be shared internally with the right people, and then communicated back out. We’re talking a serious time commitment here. But how to show the “higher ups” what resources are necessary? I’ve worked with my colleague (@AllenKelly) to come up with a system that should help us with this. More on this after we try it out for a bit.

Reaping the Rewards of your Blogging Efforts

6 July, 2009 | | 2 Comments

You’ve been valiantly foraging through the social media wilderness, publishing blog posts and Tweeting your heart out. Wouldn’t it be nice to see the fruits of your labor? Here are a few tools I use to track blog success. I started using these methods for our Corporate Social Media efforts but they work for personal blogs and Tweets, as well. Don’t forget: the key social media metrics are sentiment and level of engagement (e.g., number of blog post comments, trackbacks.) Or are you simply wondering “why do I need a Web site, a blog, and a Twitter account?

Tracking “Micro-Metrics” for Blogs

1. Feedburner allows me to see how many subscribers I have, enable blog subscription via email, and add the “share this” feature for each post. They provide a snippet of code for me to insert into the blog template, and instructions for Moveable Type and WordPress.

2. Google Analytics offers a myriad of data, but I usually focus on the following data points:

  • Percentage of readers arriving through search. If it’s below 30% we need to better optimize the blogs for search: I remind bloggers to focus on the keywords in the post title and body, leverage the “categories.”
  • Keywords bringing people to the blogs. This data usually provides a nice ego boost for our bloggers, since the primary keywords bringing traffic to each blog are usually the bloggers’ names. Ideally the top keywords would be industry / product terms. Or simply “VeriSign.”
  • Time spent reading posts. Less than a minute means the user found little value in the content. I like to see readers spending at least 2 minutes on each post. One blogger had readers spending about 6 minutes on each post, which I shared with all of our bloggers. Another blogger (jealously?) pointed out “his posts are really long.”
  • Referring sites. Is there some site helping you out that you did not know about? Where are users coming from? This will help you tailor your content to appeal to those folks.
  • Bounce Rate and Exit rate. A high bounce rate means the content on the page the user landed on was not interesting to them. They came, they saw, they left your domain. Conversely, the exit rate is the measure of how many people left a page, and then went elsewhere on your site – that particular page was not too exciting, but they were interested enough to look further. You should worry about a consistently high bounce rate and consider how to make that landing page a little juicer. This is why it helps to know what keywords people are searching on, and what the referring sites are. There is a nice explanation of these terms on SEOlogs.com.

Coming soon… “Capturing Sales Leads and Tracking Conversations on Twitter”

Making sense of the social media landscape…

5 May, 2009 | | No Comment

In February, a friend who is an excellent personal trainer asked me how she could use social media to improve her business and attract clients. “What’s the difference between a Web site, a blog, Facebook, LinkedIN, and Twitter?” she asked me. She already had a Facebook account to connect with friends and family. I remembered an anecdote I heard at a conference, a clothing analogy for some of the social networking tools:

LinkedIn is like your “business attire” for your professional contacts. Twitter is your “business casual” wear. For example, you can use it to make informal connections with colleagues you meet at conferences to get to know them better. And Facebook is “weekend wear” — flip flops and shorts, meant for your friends and family.

“Well why do I need a Web page?” She asked. I had to think about this one. Did she really need to register a domain name and set up a site, with all these tools at her disposal? The answer is a definite “yes.” I judge a business by the quality of their Web site. Maybe I’m a bit of a snob, with my roots in Web content development, but I usually choose the restaurant or a hotel with a higher quality Web site unless I have a strong reason to do otherwise. I don’t think I’m alone in this. So I explained to her that as a solo practitioner, she needed to establish her professional presence with a Web site. I even suggested “TrainWithJess.com” which she loved.

Then she asked, “why do I need a blog?” So I gave her another analogy. “Your Web site is like your office building, it’s your home base. Your blog is like the landscaping / garden out front that shows that this building is occupied and cared for.” And then, the final question:

“Why do I need Twitter?”
“Twitter serves as a way to meet new prospects and attract them to your manicured blog and professional Web site.”
“Got it.”

That was two months ago, and since then Jessica has created her own Web site, complete with a blog and Twitter feed. She even found some new communities to join, hosted on Ning. I am amazed at how much she learned on her own, and she is already attracting new clients who are finding her Web site via Twitter and Google, and complimenting her on “how professional it looks.”

Jessica is obviously a very smart, ambitious lady, but the fact of the matter is that in a Web 2.0 world, ANYONE can self publish and have a voice on the Web. All it takes is the desire to learn and the willingness to spend some time doing it.

Steal This Social Media Plan!

21 October, 2008 | | No Comment

I recently put together a Social Media Program plan for 2009. My hope was to expand our existing blog program into a larger entity that would coordinate and oversee the social media efforts of our disparate business units. There is a need for proper processes and policies, and especially for education around the “dos and dont’s” of social media. I caught wind of some rogue marketers who plan to spam the blogosphere with their messages. I quickly pinged Amy Paquette of Cisco, who has been a great source of knowledge and advice. She advised that training and education should be a primary focus of any social media program. Well, here is my proposed plan. I’m not sure how well it has served my purposes, so I encourage everyone else to see if there is any value in it for them. Then at least I won’t feel like I have wasted my time.

Company Culture at HP creates an Integrated Social Media Program

8 August, 2008 | | 5 Comments

Part one of an “interview” with HP’s Tac Anderson

Tac Anderson is a the Web 2.0 Strategic lead for HP’s Imaging and Printing group. HP is one of the brands that I benchmarked for blogging best practices in 2005, so I was curious to find out what they are doing today with social media. Tac has been a student of social media since back in the 90s when we used to call this stuff “Community.” He truly loves his work, saying:

If I wasn’t getting paid to do this, I’d be getting in trouble for doing it too much at work.
– Tac Anderson

Does HP have the Three “Success Indicators” For Social Media?
As I have previously blogged, there are three factors that are present in Enterprise Companies that are successful in the use of social media:
1. A top-down driven approach
2. A robust internal community
3. A company culture that encourages openness and trust.

At HP the hierarchy is flat, with small, empowered work teams and managers who control their own budget. There are 3 business units, Tac works in Imaging and Printing (IPG). Tac’s BU is advanced in their use use of social media, mostly because their executive Vice President was a key driver of Web 2.0 technologies inside HP. So, just like we saw at Cisco, Intel and SAP, there was a top-down driven approach at HP

Tac described a strong internal community at HP, with hundreds of blogs, and an Internal Wiki called “Pligg” (like “Digg.) There are many more social media tools used internally than externally.

The motivated, empowered workforce at HP creates a culture that is conducive to embracing social media. The business units are independent of each other; there is no Corporate Social Media Team. There is a lot of social-media-related activity at HP, but it’s more about integrating Social Media into existing Corporate Communications or product launches.

A Comparison to Dell’s Unified Corporate Approach
It’s critical to understand this company culture if you want to understand HP’s approach to Social Media. It’s different than — for example — Dell, which has a unified approach to marketing and social media. (All the Tweeters use “@Dell” as part of their name.) But let’s remember that at Dell, someone wrote a blank check to get the company out of “Dell Hell.” And Comcast, now the darling of every Social Media presentation, had to do something to erase the memory of the technician sleeping on the couch, didn’t they? Does it really take a major Brand Disaster to get Enterprise companies on the Social Media bandwagon?

How Did Social Media at HP Evolve?
HP’s social media program was originally driven out of marketing, and began with a handful of corporate blogs. HP Communities
Seems to be the “official” HP Community, complete with employee-contributed video that you can vote on, podcasts, a link to the idea lab and to the “Wet Paint” wiki, which is a community for members to show off their creativity. And 50 “official” corporate blogs.

Then there are 60 HP “Employee Business Blogs” that are hosted on HP Platform, written by various business groups. A few executives even have their personal blogs. The number of blogs is growing weekly, recently they launched their first foreign language blog.

But the real jaw dropper is that there are links off to the employee’s PERSONAL blogs. I love this! My legal team would keel over if we tried to do this. But HP’s Legal team was apparently satisfied with the following disclaimer.

How Does HP Mitigate the Risks of Blogging?
1. The HP Blogging Code of Conduct is posted front and center on the Community site.
2. HP has an organization called the “Core Community Council” that reviews blog applications and approves them. But they don’t follow up or monitor the bloggers in any way.
3. Legal advises bloggers on how to protect themselves from risk, but unless it’s an obvious violation, they don’t interfere.

So, in other words, employees are trusted to not act like idiots. As Tac puts it:

“We hire the right people and we let them do their job”
— Tac Anderson

Nicely done, HP. Your unique company culture seems to work pretty well.

Cardio or Weight Training? Social Media is a Lot of Hard Work…

26 July, 2008 | | 2 Comments

After meeting with other Social Media professionals at Cisco, Intel and SAP, I have noticed three distinct characteristics that appear to contribute to the success of Social Media programs:

1. Social Media Initiatives came from “the Top:”
At Cisco, John Chambers’ blog post about the iPhone lawsuit set off an avalanche of external blogging. At SAP, the CMO requested a social media strategy.

2. Internal Community Helps: Both Cisco and Intel have a robust internal community that allows potential bloggers to try out the medium and find their voice.

3. Company Culture:
Cisco and Intel (especially Intel) both have an internal environment that is receptive to social media. Here is what I wrote about their cultures: “Social Media at Intel” and “The Evolution of Social Media at Cisco.

I just spent a week at our corporate headquarters where I met with execs who are supportive of social media initiatives for our company. As I think about how we should move forward, I am working with a PR agency that specializes in Social Media. They have lots of good ideas for me. But I still have a lot of work to do on my own…

As I vividly recollect how hard it was to drag my butt in to the gym this morning, this analogy of Social Media to personal training by Jim Durbin reminds me that we still have a lot of “heavy lifting” to do internally — and the agency can’t do these things for us:

Paying Sven to do your workout for you isn’t going to help you, it’s only going to enrich Sven. And for far too many of us, purchasing a 3 year membership at the 24 Hour Fitness of Social Media hotspot is a subsitute for actually exercising.

So, while our agency (a.k.a “Sven”) can help with some efforts (like monitoring the blogosphere), we have to continue to lay the groundwork of a social media program. I still need to persuade legal to open up the blog program, and update our policies so that employees won’t feel scared to start a blog. And finally, there are our marketing folks, whose favorite phrase is “viral video.” : – )

Am I a Social Media Martyr?

14 July, 2008 | | No Comment

Even though it is not yet part of my job description I am determined to show my company “the light.” I believe that it’s in our best interest to plan and strategize around a social media program. How do I balance that with needing a “quick win” to gain executive support of our program? Something that justifies my job title?

I met Steve Mann of SAP thanks to Gia Lyons. We scheduled a call (all using direct messaging on Twitter, it was cool). I was expecting to converse on the usual topics, like how many blogs SAP has, or the struggle to get legal on board.

Instead what I got was a revelation. Steve described the process he went through to set in motion a long-term Social Media strategy for SAP. He was asked “Why do we need a Social Media Program?” One big reason “There are already pockets of activity throughout the company, potentially incompatible technologies, cost to standardize.”

It’s time to stop looking for quick wins that “show the value of social media.” It’s time to take ownership and build a strategy for company for the long term (even if that’s only a year.) If I don’t act now to satisfy the needs of our stakeholders, the more advanced folks will move on and find their own resources. A year from now we’ll have a variety of tools and platforms that may be incompatible. I need to do research around what each stakeholder can benefit from social media. And that’s not just marketing and external communications, social media can add value for other stakeholders as well.

Here are the departments that could benefit from Social Media:

  • Customer Support
  • Internal Community
  • Product Innovation / Research Community
  • Human Resources / Recruiting
  • I think that Jeff Moriarty missed a title in his list of social media titles:
    The “Social Media Martyr: s/he who sacrifices job security for the greater good of the company.” : )

    “What the F**K is Social Media?”

    10 July, 2008 | | No Comment

    This slideshow contains the Social Media messages that many of us have heard over and over (and agree with).

    If it takes the “F” bomb to get this the attention it deserves, then so be it. ‘Cuz I am getting tired of explaining it : – )

    So, see it for yourself, first hand.

    And btw,I think Marta Kagan really is a genius (and she does too.)