7 Elements of a Successful Buzz Campaign

S3Buzz, Society3 Buzz, Buzz Advertising, Axel SchultzeBuzz is a powerful way to let your customers tell their story about your brand. When you provide them with a launching pad for positive mentions and recommendations in their own voice, across many networks, good things happen. But it’s not all magic — there are key elements in making a successful Buzz.

Here are 7 things to keep in mind as you craft your Buzz campaign.

1) Define Your Objective

Identifying the core objective of your Buzz campaign is a crucial first step. Are you looking to drive awareness for an event? You might want to link back to a landing page to capture signups rather than link back to your home page, and ensure the word “signup” is clear and prominently represented within your Buzz description.

Your story should be easy to understand at a glance. The flexibility of Buzz technology allows you to craft any story you’d like, and it can point back to any online presence. It is an instant amplification of your customer’s voice. They can customize the story to fit the tone they would normally use with their own audience, so provide them with a story to share that allows for flexible language.

Setting campaign milestones along the way will help you better understand how your story has resonated with your audience.

2) An Enticing Headline

The headline conveys the concept of your Buzz to the customers and friends who will support it on their social networks. It is displayed prominently at the top of the “Buzzlet”, but it is not included in the actual story of the Buzz unless you decide to include the same wording within the message. The shorter the better — we know that attention spans are ever-decreasing. Feel free to spice it up to draw more attention.

Society3, S3Buzz, Buzz Marketing, Rob Nielsen3) A Well-Constructed Story

For the story you want your customers and friends to share about your brand, event or product, what are the most meaningful words you’d hope they’d say? Make that your description, and summarize it in your Buzz story. Give your advocates suggestions — up to 10 with the new Multi-Story Buzz feature, which rotates the story in your Buzz every 3 hours to keep the conversation varied as the campaign is fulfilled.

4) A Mobilized Buzz Support Team

As you can see in the “Buzzlet” below (lower-left corner, below the words “Buzz Page”), each Buzz campaign has its own corresponding URL which can be easily emailed to any and all of your customers, employees, friends and family. If you give them a heads-up before it goes “live”, they’ll know to look out for the link you’ll be sending them.



5) Hashtag Research

Each Buzz campaign has its own corresponding hashtag of your choice, which is included each time your story is shared. This enables ease-of-tracking with a variety of tools (including our own proprietary Buzz Analytics feature), so be sure to choose a hashtag that is relevant and unique. Tip: search it on Twubs.com to see if you can register it, and enter it in Twitter search to see how often it is used, if at all.

6) Be Ready to Respond

The good news about Buzz: it rapidly ignites conversation. But if you’re asleep at the wheel, you might miss some fantastic opportunities to connect with your core community. Be sure to track your hashtag on Twitter using the Topsy tool, or keep an eye on mentions in HootSuite, and thank those who support you in real-time. Maintaining the conversation solidifies the bond your brand has with your customers and grows the reach of your story.

7) Timeline

Timing is the most important element in a well-executed Buzz campaign. Decide how long you want your campaign to run so that you know when to monitor activity. Plan a small timeline in the days leading up to the launch of your Buzz campaign so that your supporters are well-informed about what is expected of them. Alert your Buzz support team in a clear, coordinated manner so that everyone is on the same page.

HINT: You can use the “Buzz Repeat Rate” to spread out the number of actions your supporters can take (every 3 hours, every 6 hours, etc) and lengthen the campaign before all of the Buzz actions are depleted.

Please reach out to us on Twitter with any questions, or contact Marita Roebkes at +1 (650) 384-0057 to learn more about purchasing and setting up a Buzz campaign.

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Buzz – The New Advertising

Society3-Buzz-BuzzLetIn times where consumer power increases and influence from traditional corporate advertising is decreasing, businesses will need to find new ways to win the minds and hearts of new customers.

Our research shows that roughly 80% of purchase decisions are based on mentions and recommendations for both consumer and corporate buyers. This is leaving only a small percentage to spontaneous or advertising driven purchases.

Smart businesses found a way to actually leveraging the effects of the customer voice and stimulates mentions and conversations. New customers are trusting existing customers more than sales teams and advertising. The new marketing and advertising is taking those mentions and recommendations and amplifying them across the web.

As a result, successful corporate messaging is replacing blunt self promotions with authentic customer opinion which is highly trusted and leads to more sales, as well as a better brand reputation.

Society3 has carefully studied consumer behavior and buzz dynamics over the past two years and created a product that helps business teams to stimulate mentions and recommendations and then amplify them across the Internet with very high velocity. Experience with over 200 Buzz campaigns showed three interesting dynamics:

1) Velocity: Unlike traditional word of mouth, S3 Buzz spreads almost instantly and can reach millions within a matter of hours. A well designed Buzz spreads faster than traditional promotion mechanism.

2) Mentions: Customers are happy to share their opinion, but brands need to provide some inspiration and a place to share. If provided, hundreds of customers help spread the word within 24 hours of asking for support.

3) Reach: Due to the networked nature of the social web, sharing and amplifying mentions and recommendations allows a much higher reach than traditional advertising. While even the largest media outlets barely crossing the 10 Million mark, Buzz campaigns can reach 100 Million and more.

Businesses can’t just hope the old advertising paradigm comes back and people just buy because the producers say so. Successful businesses know that the customer voice is a key contributor to business growth and more revenue. Agile marketing will need to incorporate the user voice in their go to market strategy and amplify information that helps a new customer to decide.

 

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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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Trust or not to trust?

Society3-ChannelTeamThis post was inspired by a post in Forbes Magazine from friend Louis Columbus, former AMR Research Analyst and a recent CSI Insights report.

I’d like to share a perspective we are working on since several years that just now lead to the development of Buzz and its official announcement next week. Marketing and sales are stuck in deep dilemma of trust. Even if vendor and customer have an excellent relationship, both know that one has to fulfill a quota and the other needs to optimize terms and conditions. Not exactly a perfect playground for limitless trust. And while knowing they need each other, there is this membrane between them just can’t be removed.

On the other side there are almost always enough, often times hundreds or thousands of customers, alliances and business partners who made the decision to work with the respective vendor long time ago. And many are willing to share their experience and be able to fill the gap between the two parties with authentic information. However most brands have the hardest time to get even their most loyal customer to talk. NOT because they don’t want to talk – the customers simply don’t know exactly what to say, what the questions are and where to say it. Stimulating those information exchanges seem to be still one of the bigger challenges. And in the past few years we recognized those challenges time and time again.

Eventually it lead to the development of Buzz. A new platform where brands can ignite some of the above mentions conversation based on what they know are frequently asked question and share the buzz page for their business friends and advocates to work with. All of a sudden sharing the information is just a few seconds adjusting some test or even just a simple click.

Making it extremely easy for customers and partners to speak and that way increasing mentions and reach with authentic clients and partners rather than the a corporate marketing department manufactured “message” can make all the difference in creating trust in an all new way.

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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Social Media Engagement – How much value?

Still today, many business leader struggle understanding the impact of socially engaged brands and their teams. Is it just a faint background noise in a world of meaningless chit chat? Well it is if you don’t know how to use this new communication mechanism.

Democratization Of Influence

Brands just can’t any longer “control” the communication. If communication is controlled by a legal department and marketing preventing a free flow of open communication will die as much as businesses died who had one owner and 200 slaves working for him.

Understanding democratization of influence is the key to success. Massive noise level like in the case of Red Hat for example is not created, dominated and controlled by the brand, but created by the audience around that brand. By people who care, people who build on the conversation, take it as learning on steroid and share what they learn instantly. Mastering the conversation is by letting it go – an oxymoron? Not at all.

Red Hat and their teams mastered the conversation by providing highly interesting content, sparked conversations and never stopped engaging with their audience – but neither controlling it nor dominating it. As a result not only engineers cared about what is going on but all kinds of business or finance related groups.

This is the beginning of the end of dominance as a singularity, a brand or an individual. Influence is created when information spreads nearly at speed of light and many join the idea or effort. The drama in Boston crossed that stream paused it and very quickly the decision was made: no terror can any longer control our lives.  We all sent prayer to the victims and worried about loved ones. YET the terror couldn’t dominate any of us – not any more. Purposely we did not allow their “message” to disrupt our lives despite the tragedy. Not because we got ignorant, because we care about our freedom more than anything.

 

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Social Media and Customer Experience Management

Social Media is widely used in businesses for all kinds of aspects. It typically starts on the marketing side to spread the word and get fast customer feedback. The experience with the customer feedback often times triggers new ideas in market research and Social Media becomes an interesting real time market research instrument.

Service And Support

The other aspect of market feedback are obviously product related questions, complaints or issues. Needless to say that service and support departments are requested to take care of those issues and begin to discover Social Media as a support vehicle. Comcast Cable for instance reported they responded to over hundred thousand support requests on Twitter. Why is that important? Because a support person can read a support request written in 140 character much faster and also respond much faster than in any traditional media.

Product Management

With all the inputs, requests, wishes and ideas compiled in the social web, product management is discovering a new world of product feedback, market research and feature request sources to build better products. Crowd sourcing is the key word. Not only does product management reduce the risk of creating a product release nobody really wants but gets free additional requests that make users happy as they get build. Dell, SalesForce.com and others are leaders in that development.

Sales

Now all that engagement obviously brings sales people into the scene who want to know more what people want, hoping they can offer an even more tailored solution. And as recommendations play an ever more important role, sales people begin to introduce prospects to existing clients in a rather informal and social manner to stimulate those recommendations.

Full Circle Customer Experience

If we look at all this – this is pretty much the full circle customer experience a person can have when dealing with a company. For customer experience management teams social media has become a very strategic playground. Obviously there are still areas that has no touch points with social media like the invoicing process or logistics, but interestingly enough those are rarely strategic problems in the eye of a customer. On the other side, support, product influence and product quality, exchange with other customers, approachability of a team are key items and they are all part of the social media landscape.

 

Understanding the criticality and how to deal with that new field is a big challenge for many CX managers. That’s why we created the CEM training program. http://academy.society3.com/s3-ccems/ The core of the program is developing a CEM strategy leveraging social media that can be implemented in any size company.

Axel
http://XeeMe.com/AxelS

 

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New programs, new training center

With the new structure and the new name, Societ3 Academy also made some significant enhancements to both, the training program and also the way we deliver the education.

Enhanced Education Program

New Classes

Certified Social Media Manager

Certified Social Presence Designer

Certified Social Media Partner Manager

See the complete program overview 2013

Enhanced Education Model / Delivery

While the biggest advantage of our Academy was always the hands on experience right inside the social web, collaborating online and acting in real cases, in the real environment, we did recognize the need for onsite training class room education.

Online Only Training

For the more advanced users we continue to offer online only classes. Meaning the entire program is delivered in a “hybrid model” of self paced online learning and instructor lead online workshops.

Class Room Training

Most of the new classes are a combination of two day intense training in our training center in San Francisco or Cannes (France) and then 3 to 6 weeks hands on experience. All project exercises are performed in teamwork and online collaboration and  participating in weekly instructor lead online workshops.

Business Relevant Education

Social media is neither complicated, nor technically challenging. You will find thousands of free webinars and lists of tips and tricks online. Some of the more challenging business aspects can easily be learned through any of our $49 online lessons including exercises. But at some point in time you want to get real world project experience, without using your customers as ginny pigs.  You will want to do things right at the first time. When it comes to social business strategies, social media marketing concepts, crowd sourcing initiatives, improving customer experience, service models, and many other business aspects, a solid   education becomes mandatory. S3 Social Media Academy programs assume that attendees have been through a first series of experiments and now want to get a professional and effective education.

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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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