Measuring the Impact of Customer Relationships with Social Media

18 11 2009

A few weeks ago I posted a white-paper, Determining the Impact of Customer Relationships, providing some well researched information on social media measurement and analysis. I also created a slide deck outlining the information in much more digestible format. The deck provides a good outline of the importance of measurement as the web continues on its path toward a widely adopted social communication platform. The presentation also provides a good overview of the type of data the social web provides, how businesses can utilize the data to obtain actionable insights, and how to synthesize those insights into a measurable social media strategy. Some case studies are also provided to outline some good examples of social media success stories. Enjoy!


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Social Media Measurement & Analysis

13 10 2009

Organizations continue to adopt social media marketing practices at an increasing rate, yet most still look to create highly measurable social media strategies.   In a period of time when budgets are scrutinized and executives seek proven methods over experimental tactics,  marketers must utilize the plethora of data available via the web to justify large capital investments on social media marketing.   So… What kind of data does exist on the web? How do we measure this data?  What kind of insights does this data provide? and How do we create this so-called measurable strategy?  

In September, we set out to answer all of these questions in an effort to pave a path for measurable social media strategy development.  This white paper covers the importance of creating a measurable campaign, types of data we can measure, how to measure and analyze this data, how we might determine a financial impact of our social media marketing efforts, and much more.  I’d love to hear your feedback.  Enjoy! 

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The Importance of Listening

18 09 2009

Listen UpMajor brands and corporations are beginning to find the value in social media marketing, yet many still do not know how to begin the process. It is easy to set up a Facebook fan page, Twitter account, Flickr photo stream etc. but what exactly does this accomplish and why choose these social media sites? The main-stream buzz around social media has created almost a clarion call amongst executives to undertake social media initiatives. What many do not realize is that social media marketing must be executed with a clear strategy consisting of strong metrics, objectives, and goals. The “ease-of-use” of these technologies has really created a tremendous problem within the marketing world, in which marketers are throwing out traditional long-term planning and strategy development to jump head first into so-called “social media marketing.” One of the most critical components of social media marketing is determining how to effectively engage the target audience before even attempting to do so. This can be accomplished by listening to the conversations that are already occurring online even before building that Facebook fan page or Twitter account, a step that many marketers forgo. As marketers it is essential that we understand this critical step in social media marketing.

WHY WE LISTEN

Today, more than ever, people research products and services online before making a purchase. Social media marketing utilizes a pull strategy allowing customers to reach out to products, services, and brands, relevant to their own experiences, via the web and social media sources. Therefore, it is important organizations know how to engage their audience to provide some sort of value, in a relevant manner. Through the process of listening, organizations can find where/why the audience looks for products and services, and determine how to effectively reach them.

A VIRTUAL FOCUS GROUP

Listening to the online audience essentially serves as a virtual focus group. Conversation occurs across a wide array of social web components such as ratings/review sites, blogs, multimedia sites, wikis, and social networks. Listening reveals insight into satisfaction, brand association, brand loyalty, product ideas, product improvements, demographics, competitor activities, market opportunities etc. Once organizations have gained a deep understanding of the online audience, strategic objectives and relevant success metrics can be defined to develop a measurable social media or marketing strategy.

LISTEN BEFORE ENGAGING

Social media marketing allows organizations to establish meaningful and impactful connections with their target audience that may lead to valuable long-term relationships. Social media marketing works similar to offline conversations and business networking. A dialogue is established in which both parties exchange thoughts and ideas. The exchange allows individuals to find relevant connections, which may then lead to a valuable relationship. It is necessary for companies to begin the process with social media monitoring, to first listen to conversations already occurring online. Listening and analyzing to the on-going social communication produces valuable insights that are then used to effectively engage the target audience. 

What are your thoughts on the importance of listening in social media marketing?

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Gamer 2.0, Exploring the use of Gaming, Community, & Social Media

25 08 2009

The video game industry has always been at the fore-front of using innovative technologies to create unique, fun, and addicting experiences for their ever-evolving tech-savvy consumer marketplace.  That being said, its no surprise the gaming industry has been utilizing social media as an effective means to reach their audience and expand gaming experiences into the online social realm for years.  I remember my first real social gaming experience with Starcraft (another Blizzard MMOG), around the same time that Napster ruled the world and DSL internet connection became wide-spread.   Fast forward to today, and we are see new start-ups like Zynga, Playfish, and Playdom create a multi-million dollar industry from social games via social networks, a burgeoning virtual goods economy, and new gaming experiences that blow my once coveted Sega Genesis out of the water. 

Recently, I worked with Partner and head of Interactive Strategy at Crimson Consulting, Karen O’Brien, to conduct research on gaming industry trends and the use of community and social media.  After completing an extensive competitive analysis across multiple game sites and gaming social networks we narrowed down important industry trends as well as some best practices for utilizing the social web to reach the new Gamer 2.0.  

Where do you see the industry heading?  Will mobile soon outgrow console or even desktop gaming platforms?  Will console gaming be overshadowed by social network gaming? Or, will social games on the console be the first step toward integrating social media and television?


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Will Mass Media Still Exist within Decade?

22 07 2009

Mass Media of the PastWill traditional mass-media still have its place in society 10 years from now?  This is a question I began asking myself after the death of what many consider the last true worldwide pop-icon Michael Jackson.  MJ could have only reached such super-stardom through mass-media, utilizing a limited set of media channels aimed at massive nationwide audiences. Clearly with the rapid growth of the internet, digital technologies, and social media, the so called long-tail of media is in effect.  The clout that mass media companies once had with traditional media is withering away as people continue to interact on the web through blogs, social bookmarking sites, message boards, micro-blogs, social networks etc. searching for more customized, niche based sources of media.   This leaves us with a very fragmented and highly targeted consumer culture online.

What I come to question then is what happens when this sort of consumer niche seeking activity carries over into offline social interaction in the real world.   Ten-Twenty years from now, will each individual become so niche focused and spread across such a diverse set networks that some basic commonality is lost?  If we take this long tail effect to the extreme, we would end up with a society that seems to lack a broad set of common interests. This is why I believe that traditional media or mass media may never completely disappear. Lets face it, in many cases people want to be told what to like.  They need common interest to relate and share with strangers. They want to join the crowd and share in large-scale community experiences.  In some cases push-based marketing may still prove to be successful.

Then again, millions of people are joining social networks each month.  Will Facebook become the next form of mass-media?  What are your thoughts?

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15 Essential Web Tools For The Musician – Say Goodbye to the Record Label

15 07 2009

Here is a short list of 15 useful websites for musicians that I have discovered over the last couple of weeks. Many of these services are still in their beta versions so keep an eye out for them as they continue to grow and offer some pretty awesome products and services. Social media tools have enabled developers to find solutions for almost all facets of the music business, including band & tour management, e-commerce, digital distribution, music promotion, and metrics. Having an arsenal of tools like these may prove to eliminate the need of a record label for the do-it-yourself musician. In the right hands these tools may create some awesome social media success stories for good musicians.

Anyone have any success stories out there yet? 


Band Management

Band Central – Online band management offering some pretty awesome tools that would make any DIY musicians life just a little bit easier. Tools include social media management, gig manager, band finances, easy file sharing, SMS fan alerts, and a centralized message board to help band communication.


Tour Management

Live Music Machine – Connects bands and fans through an online multimedia portal and portable widget. This service makes booking and managing gigs easier than ever, allowing fans, promoters, bar owners etc. to book an artist with the click of a button.


Eventful – Leading events website that enables its community to discover, share, promote, and create events. The Eventful Demand feature allows fans to demand appearances by musicians in their hometowns. Performers are able to use Eventful Demand to make informed decisions about where to appear and can communicate with their Demanders via highly targeted email tool.

Superfan – A social game based on collecting and contributing to all your favorites in order to become a super fan of your favorite musician, actor, comedian etc. This site creates a centralized location for your fan base allowing them to connect, share, and eventually become your #1 superfan.


Digital Distribution

Bandcamp – A free publishing platform for bands, provides artists with the most relevant content management and social marketing tools, with a super clean interface and friendly user management system. Allows visitors to purchase mp3’s in multiple formats – from the lowest quality to the highest – and features some awesome visualizers for streaming music.


Tunecore – Digital distribution across the majority of mainstream digital music channels such as iTunes, Amazon, eMusic, Limewire, etc. with no cut of the royalty percentage


Music Promotion – Discovery Networks

The Sixty-One – Combines the likes of a social network, music portal, and an interactive gaming experience. Members are given different “quests” such as listening to the other users playlists for a set amount of time, or listen to five songs of your favorite new artist. As individuals complete quests, they earn points and credibility, allowing community members to build social capital while also creating a unique, fun, and valuable experience. Excellent for independent artists to gain listeners and build a fan base.

Stereofame – Stereofame is a social music game that brings fans and artists together and empowers artists and listeners to determine what’s hot by creating virtual record labels. Features excellent social networking features, a music store, and monthly contests.

MOGWith thousands of contributions from music lovers and the top 300 music blogs that make up the network, MOG generates over 6,000 music blog posts per week, all hand-curated to deliver the web’s best daily music newspaper. MOG members receive personalized music recommendations and blog posts designed and chosen just for them.

Our Stage – Our Stage is a music discovery network that allows fans to artists to connect. Members are given the opportunity to vote on up and coming artists tracks, allowing the best musicians to be featured on Our Stage charts and streaming radio channels. OurStage also hosts contests and rewards the top artists by connecting them with industry professionals.

Music MogulThe world’s first online music world for independent artists. Musicians are allowed to post video, then promote their music to the online fan community. Every 90 days an artist will be chosen by online peers and a celebrity panel to win a chance to record a three song demo with a Grammy award winning producer. Artists even have the opportunity to preform live through music mogul to the global online audience.


Measuring Success

Band Metrics provides a first-of-its-kind semantic web application for the music industry that collects, analyzes and displays dynamic popularity and trends about musicians and bands from across the web. It’s a great solution for independent artists to understand the drivers of their music’s popularity, and their fans’ sentiments towards their music.

Band Metrics

Echo Nest – Fanylitics – The Echo Nest’s Fanalytics is the web’s first targeted online music promotion system — it acts like a recommendation engine for music marketers. Fanalytics understands the specific tastes of every music writer on the web and helps you find the writers most likely to review your music.

Rock Dex – Powered by Music Arsenal, this tool scours the social web and music sites to judge your bands social buzz, social media presence, fan base, and number of listens. The tool generates grades out of 100 and offers suggestions to help boost your Rock Dex score.

We Are HuntedWe Are Hunted listens to what people are saying about artists and their music on blogs, social networks like Facebook and MySpace, message boards and forums, Twitter and P2P networks to chart the top songs online everyday. Essentially a billboard chart for the social media space.

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Musicians Lead by Example with Innovative Social Media Strategies

14 07 2009

I have been reading a lot of blogs and articles recently about large, well-known corporations who have undertaken social media strategies with really no idea how to utilize social tools to generate, what they consider, a profitable investment. I blame this on a sense of apathy for innovation in exchange for other tried and true business practices such as utilizing mass media and the traditional push marketing strategies. But what happens when an industry is turned upside down, not by choice, but by disruptive technology.

The Crowded Musisphere

Enter Napster of 1999, the iTunes of 2001, and now the almost unlimited number of sources for digital music distribution existing today. With the traditional business model of physical unit sales and terrestrial radio promotion dying, artists and labels are hanging on by adopting digital distribution models, social media strategies, and direct artist-to-fan connections.

Music now thrives on digital and many musicians have led the way with some excellent social media strategies. This shift from mega-distribution to do-it-yourself, has given independent musicians an opportunity to find creative ways to promote themselves as individuals and their music. It is very important for social media marketers to keep an eye on musicians and the music industry — after all we did force them to become early adopters.

Here is a short list of musicians to watch who have used and are currently using some pretty innovative strategies to sell their music:

Umprhey’s McGee:

Using Twitter For a Festival Scavenger Hunt
Innovative CD Release – Word of Mouth Genius

Amanda Palmer:

Using Twitter to Gross 19,000 in 19 hours

Zoe Keating:

Indie Cellist Explodes on Twitter

Josh Freese

$20,000 for Mini-Golf With Rock Stars – Now That’s Engagement

Anyone else to add to the list??

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