Social Intelligence Guide for Marketing

Your brand Turning social sentiment into opportunity Social Intelligence Guide for Marketing

2 Deliver amazing customer experiences. Let me just say, we don t think your brand sux, but in today s social and mobile world you may encounter this type of sentiment at some point during the life of your business. Coming from a global company that just underwent one of the biggest branding overhauls of the century, we know how hard it is to build a brand and to face the critics of your most heartfelt work. One thing we ve learned, however, is that even negative sentiment can be turned into an opportunity to improve your marketing, sales, and service teams. Ultimately, social offers an unprecedented ability to drive more personalized, authentic customer experiences. In the following pages, we focus on how to reap the rewards of customer feedback on social, even if it isn t always positive (and trust us, it won t be ;) ). Nobody is perfect and the best of us are always on the lookout to improve. This first ebook on social listening for marketing also accompanies the launch of Microsoft Social Listening and Social Insights, powered by InsideView. Both are now available in Dynamics CRM at no additional cost and can be used by anyone with a professional license*. This type of affordable, democratized social insight is set to change the game for our customers, and we ve only just begun. We hope you find this series valuable to your business, and we look forward to hearing about how you deliver amazing customer experiences on social (the good and the bad!). All my best, Fred Studer GM, Microsoft Dynamics CRM *Social Insights, powered by InsideView is currently only available in the US. 2

3 TABLE OF CONTENTS In case of Emergency, skip to the end! page 4 5 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Your Brand: It s What They Say It Is Tracking Brand Sentiment Tracking Product Feedback Measuring Social ROI Social Listening Metrics 101 Best Listening Practices for Global Brands In Case of Emergency: Mitigating Social Metldowns Avoiding Emergency! Managing Social Risk Turn Sentiment Into Opportunity Insights from the Experts

4 YOUR BRAND: it s what they say it is?! While traditional marketing is still important to communicating your brand, engaging with the voice of the customer is becoming more important than ever. When a customer searches for your brand, they won t be searching for what you say about your brand they ll be searching for what other customers like them think about your brand. When someone shares something on social, it s there for the whole world to see and customers today increasingly focus on peer reviews over marketing material. Customers today increasingly focus on peer reviews over marketing material. For savvy brands that want to reach customers at the point of influence, social marketing is the new mandate. Furthermore, social listening plays a critical role in bridging the gap between your digital campaigns and the conversations they spark. Think about it for a minute. If you aren t listening to social chatter, you can t hear negative comments about your brand or put the fire out before the complaints go viral. You also can t see the full effect of your marketing messages or ads when people respond. Social listening is vital to understanding how your messaging, products, and brand are resonating with customers so you can adjust them before you ve spent your entire marketing budget on a campaign customers don t care about. Are you ready to hear what consumers are saying about your products and services? Read on for tips, tricks and best practices for tracking brand sentiment, product feedback, and ROI on social as well as managing the risk of brand damage on social. 4

5 Tracking BRAND SENTIMENT Accurately tracking brand sentiment how people feel about your brand on social is vital to strategic marketing. A sentiment analysis which analyzes the thousands of tweets, likes, posts, updates, discussions, product ratings and reviews, and so on can offer quantifiable metrics that reveal how your products, promotions, and marketing messages are resonating with target audiences. By accurately tracking how various audience segments feel and react to your brand, you can make adjustments to build deeper and more profitable relationships 1. Don t just monitor the main social networks: Social is much bigger than Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. It also includes blogs, forums, and other types of online communities. 2. Look for sentiment trends over time: Just as you wouldn t make product decisions based on one day of web page traffic spikes, don t make marketing decisions based on one day of sentiment good or bad. Generally, you should look for trends over time to better gauge how consumers really feel about your brand. Of course, there are exceptions: if your website crashes or breaking news about your company or its partners emerges, your marketing and PR teams may need to move quickly in the name of reputation management or corporate responsibility. 3. Use negative sentiment as lead generation: Listening to what people are saying about your competitors can showcase weak spots in their offering. Think of it as an opportunity to help, and have the appropriate salesperson send the customer something useful. Are people dissatisfied with a competitor s product? Can your product pick up the slack? Monitoring the competition can help you create tighter messaging around their weaknesses and drive more leads for your sales team. 4. Sort posts by sentiment type: Set up a social listening tool to rank the sentiment of each post so you can quickly scan the good, the bad, and the urgent and respond accordingly. TIPS FOR GLOBAL BRANDS: Social listening on a global scale brings challenges from responding across time zones, speaking multiple languages, and prioritizing your monitoring. Make sure your social listening software can analyze posts in the native language. Translation software doesn t always capture local sentiment. Include global social media sites: find the most popular social media sites in the countries your customers are in and include them in your social listening efforts. RenRen is popular in China, for example, and Orkut is especially popular in Brazil. 5

6 TIPS TO IMPROVE ENGAGEMENT An Internet Advertising Bureau study revealed 90% of consumers would recommend a brand to others after interacting with them on social 1. Ask a question: Ask what your customers like most about your new product. When you ask questions you get 100% more comments, according to Kissmetrics 2. Keep it brief: Twitter makes you keep your posts to 140 characters or less, but keeping it short on Facebook also drives more conversations. According to Buffer, posts below 250 characters can see 60% more engagement and posts under 80 characters can see 66% more engagement 3. Post a photo: According to Kissmetrics, photos get 53% more likes, 104% more comments and 84% more click-throughs on links than posts with only text 2. Use emoticons: An AMEX Open Forum infographic revealed emoticons make a big difference in engagement rates getting 33% more comments, 33% more shares, and 57% more likes 4. 1 1 3 4

7 Tracking PRODUCT FEEDBACK Customers are talking about your products and services on social networks, blogging sites and, of course, product review listings all over the web. Social gives you immediate feedback that helps you stay agile. The challenge is tracking it: You are dealing with unfiltered data and the volume of data is rapidly growing. With 55 million Facebook status updates a day 1 and 400 million tweets a day (and Facebook and Twitter are just a couple of networks) it s easy for valuable feedback to get lost in the social noise. Here are 4 best practices for using social listening to track product feedback: 1. Filter out the noise: With millions of conversations about brands and brand categories online, you need to filter out the noise before you can tap into relevant customer feedback. 40% of accounts and 8% of messages on social are spam. 2 Social listening software can cut out a lot of manual work. 3. Turn insight into action: Most customers are posting on social about the products they use, yet 56% of customer tweets to companies are ignored. 3 That s a lost opportunity, since 85% of consumers favored using online information to help a dissatisfied customer. 4 Many of today s product leaders have recognized the power of listening to customers on social channels in real time, and have created processes to quickly make improvements or additions. As you listen to what your customers like and don t like, consider the criticisms. That s where you ll find product innovation ideas that could grow your business. 4. Monitor your suppliers: For some companies that rely on global suppliers to help create their products, it s important to actively monitor public sentiment for them as well. For example, if one of your suppliers is criticized for human rights violations, you ll want to be the first to know. 2. Monitor strategic keywords: Once you ve filtered out the noise, you can drill down into product feedback by monitoring keywords and phrases. Examples include: decided not to buy [your product name]; [your product name] needs more; or don t buy [your product name]. Do the same around your competitor s brands and products and gain competitive intel. 1 2 3 4 Consumers-Companies 7

8 Measuring SOCIAL ROI As social transitions from being a cutting-edge business tool to a business necessity, the focus on ROI for social will increase. Whether your goal is to drive more traffic to your social media sites, build brand awareness and engagement, or drive sales, these 5 best practices can help you drive value from social: 1. Benchmark your performance: Before you can truly measure growth, you need to understand where you re starting. For example, how many followers or fans do you have before you launch the campaign? How many new leads are you currently generating? Gather these metrics as a benchmark, then collect them again after your initiative. 2. Set social goals: Determine what you want your social program to achieve. Do you want to gain new followers and fans? Increase share of voice? Develop brand awareness and reputation? Drive more web traffic? Generate leads and sales? Set social media goals at the onset of a campaign. With a benchmark and clear goals, you can accurately measure success. 3. Identify metrics to measure your goals: The metrics you use depend on what you want to measure. If you want to measure engagement, track comments, replies, retweets and participation. Want to drive traffic? Measure clicks, conversions and URL shares. Seeking more awareness? Measure amplification, exposure, volume and reach. Finally, if you want to measure your effectiveness in boosting your brand s share of voice, measure your volume compared to your competitors volume or the overall industry. 4. Tracking leads through forms and landing pages: Creating and optimizing landing pages in order to drive leads and conversions is part art and part science but there are best practices. In a nutshell, you want to maintain brand consistency with the same language, tone and content or promotional offers that caused your social media followers to click through in the first place. If you are generating leads, you ll want a simple form. If you are driving sales, you ll want a strong call to action and a prominent buy now button. There are other general rules of thumb, like keeping the content simple and the design clean, using contrasting colors, and displaying your logo. Of course, your web analytics will show you how many visitors to the landing page came through your social media campaign. 5. Measure at appropriate intervals: Now that you know what you want to measure, set up your analytics to capture those metrics. Although you can check daily stats, don t make snap decisions based on a good day or a bad day. Similarly, pick a time frame to measure over that makes sense. If you measure your impact too soon or for too short a period after you launch your program, you may not get credit for the full benefit of your program. The key is to look for trends and benefit over time. 8

9 Social Listening Metrics 101 1. Conversation Volume: The number of social interactions (blog posts, forum discussions, tweets, etc.) discussing a topic. Volume is a stronger metric when measured over time marketers use conversation volume to set baselines for future campaigns. Here s a tip: When you find a topic that works, work it. In other words, talk more about what your followers want to talk about and you ll drive more conversation volume. 2. Demographic Metrics: The collection of metrics making up the background details of online consumers. Social listening tools can collect data on consumer location, gender, and age. Marketers use demographic data to determine whether their campaigns reach targeted consumers. 5. Sentiment: The positive or negative attitudes consumers express, generally scored as positive, negative, or neutral. Although many online brand mentions are neutral, containing no sentiment, social listening tools track adjectives around keywords to determine consumers tonality about a topic. 6. Share of Voice: The ratio of discussion volume among multiple brands often represented as a percentage and depicted in a pie chart. Many marketers track their brands against competitors to determine which company has a larger share of voice. 3. Level of Influence: The authority of an online consumer, measured by his or her overall reach online. A consumer with a highly read blog and thousands of Twitter followers is assigned a high influence score, while a commenter on a small forum has low influence. Your marketing team needs to engage with high influence followers. You can do that by following them back, interacting with their posts, and maybe even sharing their content when appropriate. 4. Message or Ad Reach: The number of total impressions in an online discussion. Measured by the number of different sources covering a topic and each source s potential page views. Many discussions start small, but once picked up by a larger source, will reach a large number of consumers. 9

10 Best Social Listening Practices FOR GLOBAL BRANDS If your brand is global and you could argue that every brand is global in the digital age your social listening strategy needs to span the world. Social listening on a global scale brings challenges from responding across time zones, speaking multiple languages, and prioritizing your monitoring. 1. Include global social media sites: Do your homework to find out the most popular social media sites in the countries you do business and include them in your social listening efforts. RenRen is popular in China, for example, and Orkut is especially popular in Brazil. 2. Check your web analytics for clues: If you aren t sure in what nations your brand is making an impact, check your web analytics. Web analytics tick down a list of how many visitors from which countries are frequenting your site. This helps you prioritize your social listening efforts. 3. Listen in their language: Set up your social media software to listen and respond in the languages your target audiences speak. That means setting up keyword queries in multiple languages on multiple social media networks. 4. Listen carefully for content feedback: The content you create for Russia isn t likely to resonate with audiences in China. Cultural nuances could cause content to thrill one audience and offend another. 5. Create a global strategy: Your best next step is to take the time to create a global strategy because managing multiple social properties around the world will become more difficult and more vital in the years ahead. 10

11 In Case of Emergency: MITIGATING SOCIAL MELTDOWNS We ve all seen the stories of brands that have been damaged on social: Hackers seizing control of owned assets to mock the company and brand values Employees posting inappropriate, joke videos Executives making off-color comments on social channels Customer complaints going viral, getting auto-tuned, and ultimately, becoming fodder for mainstream comedians that inform millions of your company s faux-pas Any one of these scenarios is enough to give a marketer nightmares of one day waking up to a PR storm and pink slip. Nevertheless, the way a company reacts in the aftermath of such a scandal can sometimes say more about the company than the original misstep and help rebuild trust and relationships with your most important stakeholders. Here s an emergency checklist to keep handy if and when you ever cross that bridge: Keep your cool: Don t get emotional instead, focus on taking the right steps to remedy your situation. Most people are reasonable and will understand that, while you re not able to reverse the mistake, you re doing everything you can to make it right. Apologize: Everybody makes mistakes. Whether poor security practices allowed a hacker to distribute nasty messages or your social chatter is painting your brand with a negative brush, you have to deal with the situation head on. The worst thing you can do is ignore a situation, cover it up, or try to silence someone. Simply acknowledging a situation and taking responsibility can go a long way: Hey, sorry to hear about your experience. We re looking into this and will reach out as soon as possible. If you re at fault, don t wait to apologize. It may not solve everything right away, but most will respect you for doing so. Be transparent: Promise to gather and share information as it unfolds. Then keep people informed with timely follow-ups. Build an FAQ page create a site where you can post all the information you have on the crisis at hand. Incoming questions can then be answered with a quick link. 11

12 Avoiding Emergency! MANAGING SOCIAL RISK (continued) We all hope never to have to deal with social hackers cracking your Twitter password and sending out damaging messages that hurt your brand and alienate your customers. In reality, we need to do a lot more than hope. Whether or not you get hacked, it s likely that you will have to deal with controversial posts at some point along your social marketing journey. If you do your homework and have a plan to avoid and react, you will be better positioned to handle any controversies and ideally avoid the worst. Create a social emergency task force across departments: Get together with your sales, service, and marketing department leaders to develop an official response strategy to social emergencies. Come up with a list of guidelines for various situations, including issues with suppliers, hacked accounts, and accidentally offensive posts. This can make all the difference when dealing with social emergencies. Create and communicate guidelines: For many companies, the list of topics and language that does not represent the values of the brand are similar. Religious, political, or offensive language are good examples of general things to avoid. long. Combine letters, numbers and symbols, and mix upper and lower cases. Use words that you can remember but are difficult for others to guess. Avoid repeated characters, like 123 or adjacent letters on your keyboard. Choose different passwords for each social account and assign one person responsibility for the keys to your social kingdom so the passwords don t get into the wrong hands. Learn to identify a controversy in the making: An unfavorable comment about your brand does not a controversy make. When you are learning new, negative information about your brand; when serious new criticisms arise; and, most importantly, when something has the fuel to start a brand fire you have an official controversy on your hands. Invest in social listening software: You can t possibly keep up with social controversies by refreshing your Twitter page and hoping you catch brand-damaging drama before it goes viral. Get equipped with social listening software that can help you head off controversies at the pass. Then make sure to set a listening schedule. In other words, someone needs to monitor the social listening software. Practice password wisdom: It sounds simple, but it s often overlooked. Make sure you choose difficult passwords that are hard to crack. Your passwords should be at least eight characters, and ideally 14 characters 12

13 Turn Sentiment INTO OPPORTUNITY Social listening is an important part of your social marketing strategy. Even if you aren t allocating significant spend on social marketing, consumers are still talking about your brand on social channels. In other words, you don t control the conversation your customers do. Social listening offers actionable insights that can help you prevent brand disasters and tap into new market opportunities. Every company has something to learn, and whether it s welcome or not, social feedback provides a lot of opportunities to identify areas of improvement. Whether it s a product glitch or a service issue, take each complaint and each negative post to get better. Wait, there s more > 13

14 Insights FROM THE EXPERTS We published these responses from some of the world s most influential social thought leaders, raw and unfiltered. While the views expressed here may not necessarily reflect the views of Microsoft or endorse Microsoft s products, we are all about diversity of opinion and open dialogue. We believe this is the best way we can support our customers. As we continue to build on this series to discover how companies are creating amazing customer experiences on social, we d love to hear from you. Who should we reach out to? How should we look at this differently? Let us know at @MSFTDynamics. Regards, The Microsoft Dynamics CRM Team 14

15 JASON MILLER Senior Content Marketing and Social Media Manager, LinkedIn Marketing Solutions, LinkedIn @JasonMillerCA What are three key elements of an effective social strategy? Good question. From my experience it would be: Social Intelligence (Listening). Having the right tools in place to monitor conversations around your brand, where they are happening, and who s saying what is essential. Taking it up a notch to measure sentiment, share of voice and share of conversation is where some of the best insights can happen. Continual Source of Content (Fuel). Content fuels social; without it, your business objectives will likely fail. Budget to Promote (Extend Reach/ Targeting). 2014 is the year of pay to play. If you are serious about social media, then you need to have a serious budget in place to support both headcount and native advertising, with an emphasis on mobile. How has engaging your customers on social benefited your company or your clients? First and foremost it shows that your company is paying attention and communicating with them where they choose to be. Social has changed everything in terms of how customers and prospects buy. They are now in control of their journey and will go on it with or without your company being involved. Engaging in social very early on is essential for building relationships with these folks and staying top of mind so that when they are ready to buy, your company will likely be their first choice. What are some tips on dealing with negative sentiment on social? It s all about responding promptly and sincerely. Social media gives everyone an equal voice for both praise and complaints. Many times they simply want to know that they are being heard, and responding quickly and offering to help can very often turn a negative mention into a positive one. Who are the top 5 people you follow on social? Ann Handley: Brian Clark: 606/b5a Mike Stelzner: Jay Baer: Nichole Kelly: What are your top 3 tips on how to get up to speed on social? 1) Put together a plan. Have a 30-60-90 day plan in place so that you don t get overwhelmed up front and give up before you start to see results, and stick with it. Social media success does not happen overnight. 2) Set Your goals. List the goals that you are looking to achieve with social: lead gen, brand awareness, customer service etc. They should be aligned and support your overall business goals. 3) Don t over complicate things. It s going to take time, effort, budget and headcount but you don t have to do it alone. There are a ton of great consultants and agencies that can help you get your social strategy up and running and into a good place where it will be delivering value. What are your top 3 favorite educational resources for social listening? Social Media Examiner, Social Media Explorer, and the Hootsuite Blog. How important is social listening to your marketing team or marketing teams in general? Extremely. Customers and prospects expect responses in near real time. Arriving late to the conversation means you have missed your opportunity. How important is social listening to your sales team or sales teams in general? Extremely. Again, I cannot stress this point enough. These are not only conversations, but opportunities for both sales and marketers to interact with customers and prospects. If you are not listening, you are simply missing opportunities, and ultimately sales. How important is social listening to your customer service team or customer service teams in general? Extremely. The voice of the customer is bigger and louder than ever before. Social is their telephone which can quickly turn into a megaphone. If your customer service team is not monitoring the conversations closely and responding promptly then your brand/ product and or service will suffer. 15

16 CLARA SHIH CEO & Founder Hearsay Social, board member of Starbucks, author of The Facebook Era @clarashih What are three key elements of an effective social strategy? Focus on customer rather than on functional silos Clear business goals and metrics Executive sponsorship How has engaging your customers on social benefited your company or your clients? Product ideas and feedback Word of mouth Close connection with the customer voice and stories which are incredibly compelling to all of our employees What are some tips on dealing with negative sentiment on social? Be honest and responsive. Diffuse and move the conversation offline if possible. View it as an opportunity to get even better. Who are the top 5 people you follow on social? Aaron Levie: @levie Jeff Weiner: @jeffweiner Bill Murray: @billmurray (parody account) Linda Descano: influencer/204274949 Mohamed El-Erian: influencer?authorid=34334392 What are your top 3 tips on how to get up to speed on social? 1) Use social like a consumer first to learn the etiquette, lingo, and customer perspective, and only then start using it for business. 2) See how the best companies do it and adapt the best ideas for your business (e.g, Starbucks, AXA, Lululemon). 3) Start small and keep iterating. Social media is a long-term commitment, not a one-off campaign. Don t be afraid of failure or not getting it exactly right the first time around. How important is social listening to your marketing team or marketing teams in general? Extremely important to listen first before responding or taking other action. How important is social listening to your sales team or sales teams in general? Extremely important. Sales is the next frontier of social business. At Hearsay Social, we started our entire company on this premise and have seen record growth year after year since we founded the company in early 2010. How important is social listening to your customer service team or teams in general? Very important. Depends on the industry you are in and whether your customers want to be serviced through social media channels. 16

17 JESSICA SMITH Senior Marketing Director, @JessicaNow What are three key elements of an effective social strategy? Defining what success looks like and being able to clearly articulate it to the organization. Setting a baseline and then mapping metrics to that success so the team can pivot and optimize appropriately. Developing tactics to support and then testing, measuring, and tweaking those tactics to reach established goals and benchmarks. How has engaging your customers on social benefited your company or your clients? A job search can be very personal for a lot of people so we identify their pain points and address them through a robust content strategy that aims to be helpful but still respects that this is a personal experience for them. By measuring engagement, we have also realized that jobseekers like to hear first-hand experiences of other jobseekers so we regularly featured job seeker success stories. These get a lot of great responses across our social channels. The benefits of having strong content and different voices represented is that our content is shared across various social channels. Unlike other job boards, our paying customer is the jobseeker versus the employers, so our conversations and content are based on what they, the jobseekers, want and what they have expressed that they need. What are some tips on dealing with negative sentiment on social? There are varying degrees of negative sentiment that companies will deal with on social. For example, a customer complaint that is easily and quickly resolved is a lot different than a crisis situation where the impact to business is large and hard to contain. Here are 5 things I recommend when faced with negative sentiment on social. Even if you don t have an immediate answer or solution, acknowledge the frustration/anger/disappointment immediately so that the person (or people) know they have been heard and that it s being addressed. Do this publicly on the social channel where the negative sentiment was initiated. Next step is to have them privately send you their preferred method of direct contact information such as a phone number or email so that you can take the conversation offline. You will accomplish more one on one. With that said, remember that anything you say through private channels can easily be relayed via social. Be especially careful with what you send via email as screenshots can be taken and shared within minutes. Make sure every communication you have demonstrates your commitment to resolution. If the person or people insist on continuing the conversation via the social channel versus one-on-one, don t panic. Use this as an opportunity to show the public how well your organization handles their customer experience and how responsive you are via social. Sometimes you will run into people who do not want to resolve the issue and really just want to drag your name through the mud. This is unfortunate but not unusual. Take the high road, offer reasonable solutions, and be clear and concise in your communication. If you remain reasonable and fair, you will find that you will come out more respected by your existing fans and might pick up a few new ones because of your professionalism. Who are the top 5 people you follow on social? John Andrews: David Meerman Scott: davidmeermanscott Maggie McGary: Amy Vernon: Don Bartholomew: What are your top 3 tips on how to get up to speed on social? Don t overthink it. Just remember it s two-way communication, so don t use it like a bullhorn. Think about your personal favorite brands, and see how they are using social. Be active on LinkedIn; there are lots of really good influencers sharing their expertise. 17

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