Social Media Managers Keep Failing

Society3-SM-keep-failingNo question, those who studied the shift in our socioeconomic landscape come all to the same conclusion: Social Media holds a massive change for our society and our businesses. The change will be as profound as the industrial revolution 200 years ago.

Introducing that change to executives who run their business with a huge daily pressure is so overwhelming that it is a very natural behavior to go into denial. You hear “The more things change, the more they stay the same”, “I don’t see an immediate ROI”, “My fellow executives from other companies aren’t using Social Media either”… The reasons to ignore it are most likely equally diverse as the reasons to ignore the development of cities and companies 200 years ago.  My personal prediction is that it may take well another 5 to 10 years for the majority of businesses to recognize the impact of that change and what it means to their business. And the more people warn “If you don’t adopt, you will fall through the cracks”, the less likely business executives will even listen.

Denial is a mechanic of our psyche that sets in when the amount of information or the degree of danger is so large that the brain is not able to comprehend it.  So here is why Social Media Managers keep failing:

1) Thousands of people – like you and me – have gone through a learning curve, comprehending the seismic shift in our business society. But it took us a year or more of learning and thinking to get there. Most who began to recognize the shift are pounding on business leaders to recognize it too and get ready for change.

2) A business executive who is very focused on keeping the company or their division afloat and fighting on all ends for growth and profitability, competing in a taught global economy, has probably less time to even start comprehending the change. And the more people talk about apocalyptic business erosion the more those managers go into denial.

Even though people get hired to ‘manage’ Social Media – to many have zero pull through in their respective organizations and remain to be an alibi function for executives to be able to say “Oh yes, we did invest in social media, we even have a management position and doing it for quite a while. We are totally covered”.

In a recent research we asked 100 companies about their social media engagement and 72% confirmed that they are very active and happy with their results, 21% are exploring social media but will not engage before middle of next year and 17% stated that they don’t see a benefit and therefor have no plans to engage.

Now – checking out the level of engagement of the 72%, is very easy because everything is public and very transparent. We realized that nearly 80% of those 72% have only a very rudimentary presence, very low engagement level with customer and inquires or questions unanswered for weeks. Only a small group has actually recognized the opportunity and developed a highly engaging online presence with apparently very active customers.

The larger part of social media managers apparently work heads down, trying to keep a low profile (and the job) and don’t making any major inroads helping the business to make significant progress in this highly transparent and communicative world. They simply keep failing. We recognized this by seeing an increasing churn in social media positions.

The key reasons for failing are:

  • Lack of a profound social media strategy
  • Lack of comprehensive experience what it means to build a customer engagement
  • Lack of market research skills and reporting
  • Lack of management skills to present a business relevant plan without overwhelming executives with details and technical aspects
  • Lack of skills aligning social media activities with overall business objectives

 

Axel
Http://XeeMe.com/AxelS

 

 

 

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80% of purchase decisions based on recommendations

Society3-networked-worldSocial Media has changed the way consumer and business manager alike make their purchase decisions. The web has become the most influential resource in figuring out what to buy. Depending on the research, target audience, product or service, the percentage of new purchase decisions based on mentions and recommendations range between 72% to 90%. That is true for both B2B and B2C customers.

It is hard too imagine a manager making a  purchase decision purely based on advertising inputs and conversations with vendors. In the Tech industry estimations are that those purchase decisions are even at nearly 100% based on public mentions, reviews, and recommendations.

A business executive cannot stay put and just hope that their solutions are good enough and be recommended. They have to be proactive and stimulate mentions and recommendations. And in today’s wide open online world it is not too difficult to do so.

Smart executives focus on four business units.

1) Marketing
Marketing being the obvious one. Marketing was always the group that was responsible for sparking demand, responding to market changes and stimulating interest. A marketing department that is able to stimulate mentions and recommendations represent a huge competitive advantage over those who do not.

2) Partner Networks
Distribution channels, including resellers, broker, dealer, alliance partners are highly influential channels directly addressing certain market segments or geographies of a given vendor. Like the general marketing those channels need to be aware of the shifts in purchase behavior and able to address those changes with smart ways to stimulate conversations around their brands

3) Sales Organization
Sales people are typically the most social teams in an organization. However they are not automatically web savvy. Most have been trained over years, even decades to follow specific processes and have the hardest time to bring their sales processes in alignment with the new buying pattern.

4) Customer Experience Management
CX or CEM is a relatively new discipline in most businesses.  However, it has just become a very significant investment when it is coming to mentions and recommendations. Businesses providing a good customer experience are obviously much ahead of their competition that has only mediocre or even bad customer experience.

The ultimate Social Media objective

In today’s extremely competitive world being mentioned and recommended is one of the most important aspects of business success. Companies like Zappos, Star Bucks, Jet Blue, Virgine, SalesForce.com, BMW, SAP, coming from all kinds of industries covering both B2B and B2C, have outperformed their competition mainly due to the fact that their customers are happy and say it across the Internet.

It isn’t “Social Media” per se that makes any difference – but the way Social Media is leveraged in a globally competing world. A rock solid social media strategy is paramount to leverage the web to a degree that it positively affects the bottom line.

Axel
http://XeeMe.com/AxelS

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By 2017 the CMOs may spend more on tech than CIOs

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Laura McLellan, Research VP, Gartner predicts: “By 2017 the CMO may spend more on technology than the CIO”

Laura will be presenting a Key Note at the “Marketing & Tech Partnership Summit 2013″ June 20 in San Jose California.  Do you think it is possible? And if so what does that mean to the IT world and their own sales and marketing channels? And what about the skills development of current, rather well settled CMOs?

Let me share some additional thoughts:

Big Data is NOT an IT job.

Big Data for instance sounds like an “IT” topic. Not at all – not even close. Big Data is ALL about marketing, demographics, customer profiles, user behavior….  Today we know so much more about everything including markets, market dynamics, demographics, decision evolution and every aspect of a buying process – only if we understand how to extract and use the information that is out there.

Are CMO / CIO careers are on the line?

Not right now – but like always in the past it only takes 2 years when emerging technologies flip to a mainstream topic. Online Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Social Technologies, Big Data, Near Real Time Market research… all require rather high sophisticated technologies to make a serious business impact and a difference to the bottom line. 1.3 Billion social media users are not all kids or freaks. Direct marketing to this influential while outspoken group requires a degree in sophistication that goes way beyond traditional eCommerce or direct mail. CMOs, who are not able to fully comprehend the impact of the new technologies on the brand development of their companies, are high risk candidates.

Marketing & Technology Partnership

All the above makes this years Marketing& Technology Partner Summit especially interesting. I very much look forward to it.

Axel
http://XeeMe.com/AxelS
(my entire social presence)

 

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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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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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Digital Sunrise Conference, Cannes Nov 22-23

The Social Media Academy is one of the official DSC12 sponsors.

Alternative Growth Strategies

The two day event is addressing alternatives to traditional and rather costly growth models. As we all know, the global economy influences health and wealth of even the smallest local businesses. “Globalization” is no longer an enterprise level topic but highly relevant for local manufacturer, farmer and producer of almost any good or service.

As a result executives, business owner, social media manager and other business people joined forces and developed alternative growth strategies leveraging Social Media as an inexpensive and more humanized way to expand into new markets.

The Conference Objectives

The Digital Sunrise Conference is about three major aspects of business growth:

  1. Get managers and business owner from all over Europe meet and network
  2. Learn about alternative growth concepts as a way to overcome economic slow downs
  3. Rationalize the potential of Social Media based business strategies (not marketing campaigns)

Details & Registration

It would be great if you can join the conference and also help spread the word.

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Thousands Of Social Media Agencies/Managers At Risk

I recently wrote a post “Over 70% of Social Media initiatives FAIL“. I received more personal responses on that one post than on all posts I wrote in the past 5 years together. It inspired my to write this response to the overarching question: “What shall we do“.

No project success – No Reference

The consequence of failing projects – beyond the fact that it failed: here goes a potential reference customer.
Agencies have to come to a bitter realization:

Taking a print brochure to the web was an important transition
Taking a webpage and share it with friends is meaningless

Tens of thousands of agencies and social media consultants struggle to run their business. The social web is just NOT what so many people think: “just yet another marketing channel”.

10 things successful agencies do differently

Successful teams think entirely different and help their business clients to think through the entire chain of implications of a social engagement rather than just selling followers, fans and a page. And this is no different whether it is a 25 people small business company or a 25,000 employee global enterprise. Continue reading “Thousands Of Social Media Agencies/Managers At Risk”

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NEW: Social Presence Methodology

After three years we are updating our methodology set. While our methods are all technology independent and don’t need an update whenever a new tool comes in or one goes out, we still fine tune our methodology set.

What has changed

1) Presence Management

Managing a social presence has grown to a very critical point that we call it now strategic. While in the  past years defining and managing the social presence was a rather easy task – it has grown in complexity in just the last two years. Today almost every department has their own page on Facebook, their own twitter account in parallel to personal accounts and the same for Pinterest, Facebook or LinkedIn groups and so forth. In addition, businesses realized the enormous brand power their teams can contribute when more and more of their employees are getting active. The presence related questions that need to be answered include: Continue reading “NEW: Social Presence Methodology”

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Over 70% of Social Media initiatives FAIL

Here is what happens:

Customer: We need to get our number of fans up, some more follower and some really hot buzz campaign. We need some agency who can really deliver.

Agency: We can do that for you. We have people who setup your presence, tweet for you and do some blogging. We upload a few photos and take care of feedback. We also do social media monitoring.

Customer: Great – here are $3,500 per month and I expect you double my followers, grow my fan base, steer up some noise and generate solid leads for me.

Agency: Done deal – we’ll start tomorrow morning. Continue reading “Over 70% of Social Media initiatives FAIL”

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Social Media Acceleration with Partner Channels

Expanding market reach has always been one of the biggest advantages of indirect partner channels. And in the Social Media age this is no different. It is actually an advantage like no other if that force can be unleashed.

We all learned, Social Media is not just another channel to blast a message out. Social Media is primarily about Relationships. And one of the biggest challenges is to leverage the new media with existing Resources to be as approachable as possible and build customer Relationships that are valued and lead to Recommendations and at the same time extend the company’s Reach.

Continue reading “Social Media Acceleration with Partner Channels”

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