Buzz Case Study — Blog Post Amplification

buzz case study, s3buzz case study, society3After creating over 50 Buzz campaigns and supporting over 150 more in 2013, I have been able to watch the product develop into a robust application with a variety of uses. Campaigns focused on awareness and educating the public tend to fare very well, especially for corporate events and conferences; Buzzes that try to “sell”, or clients that have an expectation of guaranteed sales using Buzz technology, often encounter disappointing results.

One area of proven success in Buzz technology is blog post amplification. Using six original blog posts with their respective headlines as the Buzz Story, I created six different Buzz campaigns to see if I could boost views and mentions of the various articles. Two of them are featured in the comparison below.

Using the recently introduced Buzz Analytics for paid VIP members and campaigns over $500, I found an interesting correlation between the number of CTA (Call-to-Action) URL visits to each post and the setting of the Buzz Repeat Rate, which throttles the campaign at 3, 6, 12 and 24-hour intervals depending on your preference.

This is the first Buzz case study of two that look at the power of Buzz for blog post amplification.

Post 1: “Giving Thanks to the Buzz Community”150,000 Credits

[9 Day Campaign -- from December 2 to December 10 -- 3-Hour Repeat Rate]

This Thanksgiving-inspired post had an unbelievable launch thanks to the Buzz community, but it only lasted for one week. I published it on a Sunday afternoon in San Francisco and launched a “100 Mention” campaign to support it.

For reference, December 2 was the Monday after the holiday weekend in the U.S. — apparently a good day to post. 700 click-throughs in the first day for a total of 1750 click-throughs in about 8 days, with 70 additional (free) visits even after the campaign was complete.

What I learned: my Buzz repeat rate was too frequent (every 3 hours), resulting in several ambitious advocates mentioning the post 3 or more times on 6 different social platforms in just one day. This skewed the overall CTR (click-through rate) heavily, which translated to a concentration of click-throughs on Monday, December 2 and only a tenth of the click-throughs the following Monday, December 9.

Post 2: “How Much Are Shoppers Spending on Gifts?”150,000 Credits

[17 Days -- Dec 5 to Dec 22 with 7-Day Break and 6-Hour Repeat Rate]

This Buzz performed much better for two reasons. First, I chose a 6-hour repeat rate versus the 3-hour repeat rate of the previous Buzz example. By doing so, I spread out the number of available advocate actions (mentions) in a more even manner over time. Second, I reloaded the campaign with more credits 2 weeks later, reviving the viewership on the blog post as we neared Christmas, hitting its highest click-through day of 228 on the last day of the campaign.

But here’s the major find: even though I spent the same amount of credits on this Buzz campaign versus the one for the “Giving Thanks” blog post150,000 Credits – I received triple the number of mentions (1035 vs 345) and nearly double the number of advocates (115 vs 68) within an additional 2 more weeks by spreading out the campaign via the 6-hour Buzz Repeat Rate and dividing the campaign into 2 parts.

Best of all, with the same budget as the first campaign, I maintained a high total click-through count for the Buzz (1402 vs 1750) over a three-week period with a week break in the middle, rather than a heavy concentration of click-throughs in just a few days.

What I learned: A few simple changes to your Buzz can go a long way. Each of these campaigns would retail for about $100, but I certainly got more bang for my buck with the spread-out strategy of the 2nd Buzz.

PRO TIP: With a VIP membership ($199), you get 2,000 credits a day along with Buzz Analytics for every Buzz you create. Highly recommended.

 Please contact Rob Nielsen with any Buzz strategy questions.

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Buzz is changing the way marketing is communicating

In the old days marketing was using a rather brutal language to stimulate customers to talk about their brand. A market was “penetrated” and the key was to “get the message out”. The ‘customer’ was grouped and sorted in demographics, stored in data marts, was sliced and diced to get maximum number of ‘eyeballs’ and increase in ‘traffic’. By the way “traffic” is nothing but a numerical count of IP Addresses visiting a website – no name, no face, no conversation. Marketing automation was about getting the biggest bang for the buck - no matter what the customers actually really thought or wanted.

 

BuzzCloud

With the inception of social engagement, marketing is undergoing a big change for the better.

In today’s world, customers, prospects and business partners have a face, a name. They are real people we can see every day in the online world. We can hear their voice through groups and forms, can get their opinion and feedback in real time and have the most accurate ‘market research’ with a click of a button.

 

Driving revenue with the customer voice

A customers recommendation is more influential than any advertising. This has always been the case but there is an utmost significant difference between today and 5 years ago: Unlike in the past where “word of mouth”  was basically 1 customer talking to 1 other person – in today’s online world 1 customer is talking to thousands of people within a blink of an eye. Understanding this critical difference is the key for understanding the economic importance of viral and Buzz marketing.

 

Making a difference

Instead of hoping that one customers talks to another one – or now, one customer is spreading the word online, why not proactively stimulating those mentions and recommendations. The more people talk about you, your brand, your products and services and your events, the better it is. As the old saying goes: “The worst thing to be talked about – is not to be talked about at all”. Buzz marketing is the technique to stimulate conversations in the market by providing stories that customers or partners are happy to share or craft in their own ways. This is even more important in times where 70% – 90% of purchase decisions are based on mentions and recommendations.

 

The new way marketing is communicating

Prospects are attracted most by what other customers have to say. Smart and highly successful marketers not only don’t fear what’s said online – they actually turn it to their advantage and stimulate the conversation. In other words Buzz Marketing is a technique to work *with* the customers and amplify the customer’s voice and not shouting *at* the audience, hoping the message will resonate. The Buzz Cloud below shows in a nice way which of the marketing terms are of growing importance such as “inspiring, stimulating, mentions, reach, conversations…” and what terms get kind of pushed aside, such as “message, demographics, clicks, eyeballs…”

BuzzCloud

In essence: Marketing is no longer about pushing out a message, but stimulating a market to talk about their experience and what the brand is all about. And so Marketing just stepped up one level in sophistication and got a bit more demanding. Saying “we are the greatest” is no longer working. What you want is that your customers say that about you. In other words is not about your “Message” but about their “story”. And to help craft those stories is the new way of communication for successful marketers. Buzz is exactly that: “Crafting a simple story and providing a few places for your customers to share it”.

How is Buzz doing that?

S3-PublicBuzzLetsS3-Buzz is a product that marketers are using to craft little stories and providing places to share them by their customers. Those stories are crafted in a way that any customer is happy to share it and is also allowed to modify those stories – remember: it is not YOUR message, it is THEIR story. On a buzz page customers can share those stories with a simple click and post it on their LinkedIn, Twitter, Google or Facebook  timeline and other places. Each click is basically creating a mention for the respective brand – and mentions is the new currency in brand reputation. The more people mention your brand, product, event and so forth the more value your brand gets and the more business it can expect.

 

 

Respecting the behavioral changes of our customers

Our customers have changed. They are better informed than ever. They call marketing messages “Bull Shit”. Customers are searching the web for references, customer experience from others and know exactly what a specific product or service will cost, independent of any promotion or advertising. And this is true for a consumer product  such as a cell phone or a business decision to buy a new satellite to power those cell phones. If marketing is not respecting that change, the brand will slowly but steadily suffer in reputation, authority, competency and as a result in business success.

 

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Buzz Campaign – A case study

Businesses of all sizes have the same challenge: How to get more people talk about their brand, products, or events. No this is not really new. What is new though, is the fact that today approximately 80% of all purchase decisions are based on mentions and recommendations. Also roughly 80% of event attendees  join any given event based on mentions and recommendations. And there is no difference between B2B or B2C. Growing mentions and recommendations are now becoming strategic objectives for today’s marketing engagement.

Case Study OpenStack Conference

Cloud computing with open source technology isn’t exactly a consumer topic and it isn’t really sexy either. The job was to stimulate discussions and outbuzz everybody. Easier said than done because there are industry heavyweights like HP and Rackspace competing for attention and mind share as well. And a competing event, organized by 800 pound gorilla Amazon was already introduces as “Cloud War” by the tech press. The Redhat team however was equipped with the new S3 Buzz Technology that was created to stimulate massive engagement in a way that was not possible before. The new technology allows its users to disseminate short tweet size text blocks to business friends, partners and customers with the goal to share those and stimulate conversations. Friends of friends of friends can obviously respond, comment and share it further with others. Everything with a push of a button and a robust management system with analytics to manage the progress of the campaign in real time. With a very agile partner organization that has already

TwetterRS-RH-02

been motivated to engage online, mentions and reach grew instantly

SiliconAnglePost

and rapidly. On the second conference day the discussions reached the „Top News“ status on Twitter and conventional media reported „Redhat steals the show at OpenStack Summit…“.

 

What exactly happened?
Within only three days we created over 100 pieces of content based on known presentations, known speaker and topics and formed them to 140 character long information snippets, ready to communicate. The content was entered into the S3 Buzz System. Every partner and friend of the company as well as speakers and sponsors had access to the Buzz page and could share the content easily with their network, with a single click. The mostly highly interesting content was quickly picked up by others and re-shared. While the conference was in full swing, we communicated live by introducing the current speakers, what they present and also reactions from the audience. The short and fast content distribution was easy to read and easy to follow. Business partners and buzz teams where in stand by for new content and actually provided a never ending information stream throughout the day. Intrigued IT professionals from around the world picked up the news stream on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ and began to ask questions, provided comments and shared the info with their network. In just a few hours over 5,000 people outside the conference were involved in topics and conversations. Obviously, partner and buzz team was busy to engage, respond or re-rout questions to the respective experts all in real time.

S3-RH-Openstack-post-buzz

The conference made history. Not only with the participating parties, but it was a proof of concept for the effectiveness of Buzz campaigns and its ability to reach markets like no other media. After day 2 the conference had a reach of nearly 30 Million.

Summary

Buzz campaigns evolve to a strategic marketing tool that is capable of improving sales productivity by allowing sales teams to point to the customer voice instead of bluntly promoting the product themselves. Brand reputation is taking an all new height when a market is no longer discussing only problems but sharing exciting news and participating in conversations around the world. Compared to conventional awareness creation marketing, Buzz creates real customer engagement with a positive long term effect to brand sentiments and brand reputation. More details are presented at the upcoming webinar Nov 19.

@AxelS

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This morning, Pinterest introduced ‘Secret Boards’, 5 businesses benefits

What can you do with the new ‘Secret Board’ feature?

When expanding the Pinterest boards a few application came to mind. An individual user may have a lot of things they want to keep entirely private, just for themselves, or sharing it only with family or good friends. But what about business users?

5 Ways a business can benefit from ‘Secret Boards’

Secret boards is actually a great feature for business teams. Every company has lots of company confidential images they share internally but don’t want it to be necessarily floating around in the public.

Company Confidential

You wouldn’t want to upload any real confidential information and you shouldn’t – but think about a library of web images that are publicly seen all over your website and you want to make it easy for the various departments to access them. Think about drawing that are used in your brochures and you want to share them with all your local offices. Or think about images that are used in your training material and you want your training centers in all countries have an easy to access repository with out having them access your servers via high secure lines.

Business Partner Partner Integration

In the early 90′s Partner Portals were a big deal. However most portals are dormant or closed down today. it is just way to complicated for a reseller for instance to maintain portal URLs and access information to their 50 or more vendors. This new feature allows channel managers to share a secret board with their partners and partners have no longer maintain a list of user ids and passwords.

Competition Information

You may want to have a repository about information from your competition but not necessarily share it publicly, yet easy enough for your team to access it.

Agency Collaboration

Another very cool way to use it is together with an advertising or web agency. We all know how painful it is to send images via email. Just have a board shared between agency and the marketing team and discuss the required changes over the phone. Upload a new version and discuss again.

Outsourced Development team

If you have an outsourced development team you will very much appreciate the ability to share a board with the dev team without sending libraries of images across the web and make sure everybody has all updates.

 

Obviously all of that was possible before by maintaining a data server with all the images on it, allow people to dial in via VPN, remain security rules and the necessary security protection – but hey way going through all that pain?

What other applications do you envision using the new feature?

Axel
http://xeeme.com/AxelS

 

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Reputation of sales people continue to decline

Is this what your sales guy looks like?

Reputation of sales people has rapidly decliened over the past few year. 20 years ago the sales teams were celebrated heroes in almost all businesses in the western world. Highly skilled and well trained sales people brought a lot of business which was responsible to drive the growth of the respective company. In the 70’s and 80’s the sales teams learned a lot of new techniques such as reference selling, solution selling, they learned to be a facilitator between customer and the experts inside the company they work for. They were wining and dining their clients, and learned to please the customer no matter what. What a great situation and pleasure to buy. But that was going to change: Continue reading “Reputation of sales people continue to decline”

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Creating a Social Media Strategy Handbook

95% of the customers had a choice when they purchased the product or service in the first place, they had a reason for their selection. The single most successful way to use social media is empowering customers to share that reason and turn it into recommendations. The single biggest challenge: make it actually happen.

The Social Media Strategy Handbook

It became best practices to create a Social Media Strategy Handbook for each social media project documenting everything including the ultimate goal and purpose, initial market research, SWOT analysis, strategy, programs, actions, social presence, resources, budgets, reporting and the ROI.

We are sharing two examples of those strategy books that were created by attendees of the Social Media Strategist class. One was for Lindt Chocolate and one for a Hotel & Spa in the Caribbean. None of the information provided here is confidential – everything can be found in the public social web. Continue reading “Creating a Social Media Strategy Handbook”

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Social Media Power & Politics

The presidential campaign in 2008 was a milestone in Social Media history. Where does it go in 2012? As of now President Obama is the clear leader in the race for president in 2012 when we read the emotions of the American people.

In accordance to Overdrive Interactive who managed to accumulate all the data points in the social web, Barack Obama has a higher rank in the US population than all other candidates together. So far so good but what does this really mean?

Continue reading “Social Media Power & Politics”

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Online Advertising Shift – $120,000 for Twitter Trends

The world is rapidly shifting to social media integrated advertising. Twitter's Adam Brain explains: "Promoted Tweets offerings are auction-based while Promoted Trends now cost $120,000 per day – up from $25,000 to $30,000 at launch in April 2010"

ZDnet writes: "Great news: Promoted Trends on Twitter now cost only $120,000 per day!

The obviously surprised ZDnet journalist Stephen Chapman writes: "Yes, you read that correctly. The current cost of a Promoted Trend for a day is a whopping $120,000. For added perspective and emphasis, that’s more than the average American will make in 3-4 years… before taxes!

Continue reading “Online Advertising Shift – $120,000 for Twitter Trends”

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The rise and fall of social media projects

Sorry – I guess we crashed with our social media campaign

Sorry - I guess we crashed with social mediaWhile social media in business is in full swing and many companies are gain a serious competitive advantage – more and more businesses are failing to get any success out of social media. Often times the whole social media engagement is put to bed after a few failed attempts. Quick and dirty social media is no longer working – there is no free lunch. We interviewed a few companies who failed over the last two years:

 

Social Media Failure – Real estate agency:

"We started to create a blog, then a fan page and opened a twitter account. It was pretty motivating for the team and some of our customers actually responded, followed us or liked our page. But now – 12 month later – in retrospect it didn't do anything for us. We are back to email marketing knowing that it doesn't generate great results either but if it brings one new deal per quarter we can at least survive."

Social Media Failure – Technology Solution Provider:

"We had a pretty savvy social media consultant come in – at least we thought so – who built a support forum and our blog and website. We invited our customers to join. Several came and it looked like a good start. But after 6 month we just lost momentum and after a year or so we shut down the whole thing. It just didn't work out. We are still trying to find out why some companies are pretty successful and some are not."

Social Media Failure – Franchise management organization:

"We are still in the middle of the engagement but feel that we will end it. It's a lot of work, takes a lot of time and resources and we just don't see the economic return. We want to help our franchise partners to embrace social media but at the present, we seem to just not be able to figure out how."

Social Media Failure – Furniture manufacturer:

"We basically started because some of our larger competitors is pretty engaged as far as our customers told us. We built a fan page, have an agency tweet for us every week and try our best to pick up speed. But after 6 month with no traction we had to replace the social media consultant. The new consultant promised us to help us get more leads but we had to decide to stop her engagement as well. Maybe we should sue those wannabe consultants. We know there is something – but we just can't figure out what and how."

Social Media Failure – Computer Manufacturer:

"We are known for successful social media campaigns but at the end we have yet to show real success. We created some campaigns where we sold systems through Twitter by getting a special promo code only ion Twitter. But we could have done that on any media and it didn't have anything to do with social. There was nothing that strengthened customer relationships or brought us social media related incremental revenue. The revenue created through Twitter was below 0.1% of our overall revenue and the campaign was faded out. We lately moved away from random tactical measures and became more strategic and that is where we begin to see real impact."

What's wrong – is social media dead?

Not really. There are equally many businesses who are very successful in leveraging social media to grow business, market share, brand reputation, reduce cost and optimize their organization. But there is a major difference: Quick and dirty, trial and error – versus – strategic approach.

If you have a few people do the "social media thing" but the rest of the organization is doing business as usual, what do you expect? Do you think a few people can do the magic and provide 5% increase in revenue to a $100 Million organization – or is able to reduce cost by 5% to make a significant impact on the bottom line? Or do you think that customers are so much more happy because of 3 people tweeting all day long so that the clients start to make references to their business friends and make suggestions in forums, groups and communities? No way.

The days of quick and dirty are over

Social media is now eight years old. LinkedIn started in 2003, Facebook in 2004 and we have 2011. The days where social media was so new and hot that almost anything got people's attention are over. 700 Million social media participants create a noise level that is so high that somebody who is firing up a fan page and hoping somebody will come has just no other way than being ignored unless that someone is creating a robust strategy to engage and create new relationships. Even the largest corporations have a hard time to get fans, followers or any other way of attention. It's time to come to the realization that social media is not about attention creation but about relationship building.

Businesses who don't have a fairly robust engagement strategy will fail – simply because their clients stopped listening long time ago.

How to get out of this dilemma?

1) Invest some time and do a thorough assessment of your brand, your customer presence, your partners and your competitors.

2) Create a social media strategy that clearly describes goals, benefits, resources and actions. Make sure you have a robust strategy framework and not just yet some other tactical thoughts.

3) Develop some initiatives together with your market that will help you and your clients to gain some mutual benefits from the whole strategy.

4) Train your entire team about the social engagement opportunities and ensure that all market facing departments are leveraging social media to improve their respective work

5) Monitor progress and success and continue to work on the relationship process that in turn will help you build ever smarter collaborative initiatives.

Ideally: Pull in a social media strategist who has a 360 degree view of all aspects of social media and is skilled to develop a purpose driven cross functional engagement strategy with you and your clients and partners. As long as you do everything yourself – you are limited to the skills you acquired so far.

Here is a list of skills and capabilities when you are "Selecting a social media strategist"

 

 

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