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Paul Gillin: Social Marketing Goes Multiplatform.

SLIDE: Social Marketing Goes Multiplatform

Mike Lewis, Vice President of Marketing at Awareness (ML): Welcome everybody who’s on the line today. We really appreciate it, today’s a great session. We’re really excited about it. It’s called Social Media Goes Multiplatform and I’m actually here, live and in person, with Paul Gillin. We’re actually recording this not only on WebEx, but we actually also have a video camera set up too. So, there are actually a bunch of different ways you can view this after the event. We’re really excited about it. So welcome to everybody on the line.

NEW SLIDE: Your Presenters

ML: Before I go ahead and introduce Paul, my name is Mike Lewis, I’m the Vice President of Marketing here at Awareness, @bostonmike and @awarenessinc on Twitter, feel free to follow me. And like I said, I’m here with Paul Gillin, who is @pgillin on Twitter. You may have read his most recent book which is the Secrets of Social Media Marketing. And we’re really excited about the presentation today. One, because, well, the biggest reason is Awareness and Paul have been working on some research that Paul put together that is just absolutely unbelievable. The research talks about multimedia marketing, how to use social media, and what he calls the multiplier effect. So, it’s really cool information that he’s gonna share with you. Before we get into it,--

NEW SLIDE: Got Questions?

ML: --I wanted to quickly give you just a couple housekeeping things. One is, if you have any questions at all, if you have anything going on that you’d like to ask Paul or just make any comments on what it is that we’re talking about, go to Twitter, and use the hashtag "#awarenessinc". Again, pound sign, awareness I-N-C on Twitter. Just submit your questions there, and we’ll go right ahead and start checking them out from there. The other thing you can do is, if you have any technical issues at all, any technical problem that comes up, you can contact WebEx customer support directly and they’ll get right back to you. And if you get on that panel, WebEx interface, there’s a button right at the top that you can use to communicate with them directly. You can also submit questions through the chat or the Q and A button on WebEx. We’ll be monitoring those as well. But we’re definitely going to be paying the most attention to Twitter, so anybody on Twitter, feel free to jump on and chat with us. We’d love to hear from you.

NEW SLIDE: Who is Awareness?

ML: Before I introduce Paul, I want to give some quick background on Awareness. You’ve probably been hearing a lot of stuff about us lately. We’re really excited about what is it that we’re doing. We just released a brand new product on the market that I’ll be talking about. For those of you who have attended our sessions before, you probably know Awareness as a company that offers a white-label community solution. That’s been kind of our heritage. If you think back to when we took our first round of funding, that was initially the big push out there, you know, that there weren’t a lot of social networks and they certainly weren’t as pervasive as they are today. So, a lot of organizations were looking to build out really broad community platforms to help generate leads and help marketing efforts. And that’s what we provided to large organizations like McDonalds, Kodak, Marriott...I won’t go into reading the whole list, but, a lot of really large organizations were using us to help with that. And what we realized was the biggest issue that organizations were facing was managing their other social networks. The Facebooks, the Twitters, the MySpaces, the LinkedIns, the YouTubes, all that stuff, is really where they were challenged. And that led us to develop our newest product, which is the Social Marketing Hub. And I’ll be talking about that in a little bit. You may have read some releases on it recently, but we have some great early experience partners and organizations that we’re working with, like Best Buy, USAToday, Kayak, Sony, the list goes on and on with it. They provide some really great feedback on the product and we have just an absolutely, really cool application that we’ve released and it’s actually going to general availability in April- mid-April, sorry, it’s April today, that we’re really excited about. So, let me just give a quick sense of what we’re thinking.

NEW SLIDE: Social Marketing Adoption Lifecycle

ML: When you first heard of Awareness, you probably heard the about the community platform, and that’s what we’re started. But what we realized is that a lot of the organizations that we’re working with were doing much broader marketing programs. They’re involved in Facebook pages, Twitter, corporate blogs, that kind of stuff. And, a lot of them had started to do that. Some of them grew sophisticated enough to have a community. Very few were actually measuring, mining, and acting on data that they were collecting from social networks and that’s where Awareness would step in. We add a lot of value to what organizations were doing. And if you think about the way--

NEW SLIDE: Social Marketing Today

ML: --marketing that’s been done today in large corporations. Take, for example, a company, let’s say they’re launching a new product. Typically, what they’ll do is put in a video to support that new product. But what they’ll do is send it out to their own corporate communities, that their corporate marketing, has the ability to control. They’d put it up there and they’d start promoting it just in the communities that they own- corporate branded communities, the ones that Awareness typically has been powering for them. And then what they’d do is work closely with some consumer communities, and from a corporate marketing project manager perspective, that’s really where their influence kind of ended, so on Facebook and Twitter and Youtube, it was really difficult for them to go over to any other channels. And as a lot of people on the line know, a lot of organizations are really decentralized around social media, so if we wanted to take that same video and promote it to other fan pages that we have, it required a lot of manual effort. That meant that an organization would have to go out, they’d have to send out an email that they want this message to be included in it, make sure they send it out to the other networks that they control, and what would happen is, it’s really difficult to control--they need to know, did the message get sent out, is it posted, when did you put it up, did you take it down, what type of feedback are we getting--but it’s even harder to get statistics on it. So, to have to go back to people and ask what happened on your Facebook page or Twitter account, was it reTweeted, that kind of stuff, is difficult, and it's really difficult to control. And that kind of stuff is just the tip of the iceberg. Those are just the channels that they know about, there are even more that are out there.

NEW SLIDE: Social Marketing with Awareness

ML: What Awareness is powering is the social marketing hub that allows organizations to 1) publish and centralize their social networking distributions. They can go out and send out that same video to multiple channels using one hub and actually be able to manage that and exchange content through the hub itself, so they have the ability to update different videos that they have out there, pictures, that kind of stuff, and they are able to send it out in a really uniform fashion where they control the message. 2) The other really cool part is to actually measure, to be able to aggregate the quantitative data that’s coming back from these multiple social networks and have it in one place so that when you need to record it and you need to see how effective your program is, it gives you the ability to do that as well. So if you have any questions on the social marketing hub, let us know. I know I kind of blew through that, but I wanted to get to Paul as well.

NEW SLIDE: The Next Step

ML: The last thing is, you can see (laughs) that we’ve already started. We start with our own best practice communities which is what Awareness has always provided. We’ve added a bunch of different channels to that and you’re gonna see as we go up a bunch of different channels moving forward. Including things that are really hot in a lot of organizations right now, like Foursquare. We’re gonna be able to tips and comments and stuff like that so when people check into a retail location, or maybe your store, you can actually power what they see. So, we’re really excited to be offering this to our customers and our prospects. And if you have any questions about it, feel free to give me a buzz. Like I said, my name’s Mike Lewis, and I'm the VP of Marketing at Awareness, so feel free to just reach out to us directly.

NEW SLIDE: Connect With Us!

ML: Now with that, I’d like to turn the ball over to Paul. And if you’ll just give me one second, I’m just gonna pull up this one slide here.


ML: Like I said, I’m really excited about this session. Paul’s done some really cool research on what’s called the Social Media Multiplier. For me, the really cool part of it, Paul, is that not only did you get results from people who are filling out surveys online, but you were able to actually talk to some of the largest brands and do case studies about how they’re using social media.

Paul Gillin (PG): Yeah, that was one of the gratifying things, Mike, is I was able to contact through Twitter people like Adam Brown and Coca Cola and Ford and Cisco and they consented to do extended interviews about what they’re doing with multi social media channels. These people are on the leading edge, they’re doing some fantastic stuff with—

NEW SLIDE: Social Media Multiplier- a Research Report

PG: --going what you can say is “beyond the blog” and really spreading themselves over every channel that makes sense to their market. And they were willing to be open about what they were doing.

ML: And that’s really cool, because I think a lot of times, well, for me, anyway, all the conferences I go to, I hear about the same, the usual suspects. You hear about what Jet Blue has done, you hear about what Comcast has done, not that they aren’t great stories, but I feel like I’ve heard them a lot. And what was great about the research report is when you dug into the back end of all the case studies, you heard there were new companies. And you were hearing new things about them. I mean, we heard some great stuff about Coca Cola. I think Adam’s quote, and I’m forgetting the exact quote, forgive me, it was something like, "We need to fish where the fish are". So we actually need to be in these social networks, and to hear about just the challenges they had—

PG: And also across the range of companies, because the companies that I interviewed, I interviewed about 12, were pretty much an even mix between B-to-B and B-to-C companies. And I mean, they’re both doing the same things. B-to-C is not leading this market. There’s very creative stuff happening really all over the social mediasphere.

ML: Yeah, absolutely, so, we really appreciate you coming in today. It’s great that we’re here live which is really cool.

PG: It’s nice to be here. Mike. I’ve been pleased that you've enabled this research to go forward. So we’ll just jump in?

ML: Yeah.

PG: Well, alright. Thanks for being on--

NEW SLIDE: Go Where the People Are

PG: --today. You see from the slide here about where the people are that they’re not on your website anymore. They’re on all kinds of other websites and communities, and I think that’s the big shift we’ve seen in the market. The Facebook one by the way is inaccurate, it’s over 400 million members now. The big shift we’ve seen in the market over the last few years is the emergence of all the new destinations where people are gathering of their own volition, and marketers are learning that they have to go there. You have to fish where the fish are. Remarkably, you know, in my first book, three years ago to the day, in fact, there’s only one passing reference to Facebook in the book. It’s remarkable that three years ago, Facebook, being the 800-pound gorilla that it is, was hardly even a footnote in the social media story. And now it’s, of course, the latest statistics, 6 billion minutes, that’s 100 million hours a day people spend on Facebook. And it’s just one of many. You gather in Flickr, Twitter, YouTube… YouTube, which is now, as I understand, posting, a statistic I heard the other day, 22 hours of videos uploaded to YouTube every minute, and some newcomers, like SlideShare, that are taking different kinds of content, using different kinds of content as a source of conversation. And what we find is that companies are looking hard at all of these different venues as a way to find their right customer. It’s not a matter of broadcasting everywhere, it’s a matter of finding your right channels and reaching the people with a message that customized to their—

NEW SLIDE: Top-Line Findings- Interim

PG: --needs. So here’s what we did. We conducted a survey, it’s a really detailed survey, about social media options across all those platforms. This is an interim report. We had 55 responses to this survey, which is not a huge number, but what we’ll be building that out. And the results, however, were so strongly skewed in one direction that I think it’s fair to say that there’s a clear sense, a clear statement, that we’re getting from the market with this survey. We’re rebuilding it out to over 100 in-depth responses over the next few months. Conclusion: social media has reached critical mass in corporations. It seems a few years ago we were talking about “whether” and now we’re talking about “how much”. I think the recession has something to do with that. Marketers are looking at new channels, more cost effective channels, and social media, with the volume of success stories that we’ve seen, is clearly catching attention. So, I think it’s gone mainstream. Organizations are turning their attention to popular gathering spots. It’s not so much about drawing people back to your website anymore. Is your website still important? Yes, absolutely. But, we have seen companies, like Honda, for example, they’re really breaking the mold, they have moved the corporate presence primarily onto Facebook, at least for their consumer audience. And, the goal is to get people there because Facebook is where people are. What we’re seeing is that a few companies like Coca Cola, like M&M Mars that I spoke to, are gathering their disparate Facebook fan pages, some companies have over 300 fan pages on Facebook and try to pull them together into one integrated whole. That’s going to be a big opportunity for someone in software development to make that happen. However, this could introduce a whole new host of issues about multiplatform employment. How do you avoid spamming? How do you avoid endless repetition? How do you customize a message to the audience? And this is where companies like Awareness are providing platforms to enable that to happen. Surprisingly ROI is still an ad hoc process, and I asked everybody about what metrics they use. The metrics were all over the place, and while there are probably a handful of metrics that are popular, including things like page views and unique users and followers, I really didn’t find a sense of clarity or consensus on what ROI metrics should be used. I think that this indicates that it’s gonna be a long time before those metrics are in place, and they’re situational. They depend really on what your objective is, so don’t hold off on metrics because I don’t see standards and agreements on that anytime soon. We did start up on a study to identify a multiplier factor. By that I mean, if you, for example, post a blog entry and then Tweet it, is there a percentage increase in traffic or visitors and comments or whatever metric you may choose? What percentage increase do you get by using the Tweet? What percentage increase do you get by using two Tweets? And I had thought that we would find more consensus on this, that people would be measuring this more carefully, and in fact, I didn’t. What we found was a lot of people still working on a leap of faith believe that this is the right thing to do. And that’s a good thing, because that means the company’s not being stymied by waiting for a rigid set of metrics to emerge. They’re just trying, they’re experimenting, and they believe channels are a good thing to do although they’re not really measuring it closely. Twitter is clearly the killer app, and I’ll show you a number on that. I think Twitter has been a turning point for the industry and for a couple of reasons. One is that it’s so quick and easy. People get it immediately, the cost of entry is very low, the time required is very low, and so corporations, even companies like Caterpillar now, are on Twitter. We’re seeing them jump onto Twitter now, because well, why not? It’s not a big deal to do it. Another reason, I think, and this is maybe a more hidden issue, is it’s hard to get in a lot of trouble on Twitter. And a lot of the early consternation about social media has been around getting ourselves in trouble. What will employees say? How will we deal with negativity? Disclosure of corporate secrets? And it appears that Twitter, there’s only so much damage you can do in 140 characters. It’s a safer entry way, a safer on-ramp, to the social media highway. And this came to me very clearly—

NEW SLIDE: Credibility Through Validation

PG: --in the survey results. Today, of course, credibility comes through validation. It’s not by having the Wall Street Journal mention you, but by having a whole bunch of online sources linked to you, and Google really epitomizes this. Visibility in the Google search engine is measured by, or determined by, in-bound links and high quality in-bound links. And so companies are realizing that to raise their visibility, they need to have a lot of validation through third party links. And the use of multiple social media platforms is a way to do that. A remarkable statistic I read in December: worldwide there were 4.7 billion searches conducted every day. Think about that number. 4.7 billion every day. Clearly, search engine marketing and visibility on search is essential to have visibility in your marketplace these days. And, of course, increasingly, the goal that we look for in an interaction with a prospect or a customer is a click. So, you want to get people to your website. How do you do that? You do that through the universal homepage, and that universal homepage is Google.

NEW SLIDE: Social Media Platforms in Use

PG: Ok, so let’s get rid of some of the data here. Social Media Platforms in Use.Yeah and this is based on 55 marketers who filled out this detailed survey. And as I said earlier, Twitter is the killer app. Everyone who responded to the survey is using Twitter, and just about everybody is using Facebook. And business blogging, I was surprised to see, is actually very prominent in the results as well. Beyond that, Youtube, and then it moves down rather quickly. It’s interesting to see, when you look at the--and I’ll show you numbers on this in a minute--the adoption of platforms, actually, some of the less adopted platforms are some of the more effective platforms, so we may see these numbers change over time as people begin to measure their results. But I’m not surprised in that I think that we can see the outlets, the tools, that we would expect to lead the way are leading the way at this point. Surprisingly, Facebook groups did not do very well in this survey, but Facebook fan pages did--

NEW SLIDE: Who Are The Principal Audiences For Your Company’s Social Media Efforts?

PG:--extremely well. So who are the principal audiences for your company’s social media efforts? Not surprisingly, it’s prospects and existing customers. Although, in channels turned up very high, particularly in B-to-B companies who have a hybrid model where they’re recording both a channel and an in-user customer, social media does well. I was surprised that media didn’t come up higher. I thought that since media will tend to follow the social media activities of the companies that mattered to them, that this would be a primary audience. But, it was not all that hot. I don’t think it’s surprising that customers were at the top.

NEW SLIDE: Platform Adoption By Year

PG: The number that really hit me out of this research was the platform adoption. We asked people, we asked respondents, to tell us what year they adopted each platform. And you go back to 2006. We have 55 respondents, again we have less than 1 social media platform per company in 2006. By 2009, we have more than 8. And that is a phenomenal growth rate in just a period of 4 years. And you can see the knee of this curve really hit in the 2008 time frame, tripling, between 2007 and 2009, tripling the number of social media platforms that are adopted. So, clearly, not only has social media been accepted as a marketing tool, but also the use of multiple platforms has quickly moved into the mainstream as people realize that what they’re doing on one is just as easy, in many cases, to do it in several places.

NEW SLIDE: Effectiveness Compared to Expectations

PG: These are interesting numbers. When you look at Effectiveness Compared to Expectations, what we did here--and I’m sorry for the density of this chart, but I hope you can make it out--is the top bar, the brown bar, is the effectiveness rating, by the respondents, on a 1 to 5 scale from most positive to least positive. And the gray bar is their expectation for that platform. So, this chart is actually arranged by the variance between those two. The result at the top is the tool that had the greatest delta between delivery and expectation. You can see, interestingly, it’s Virtual Worlds, which in a different chart was actually at the bottom of the adoption curve. Companies actually found it very effective. Twitter, again, is at the top of nearly every metric in this survey. Twitter comes up as the killer app. Employee blogs, video podcasts, Facebook fan pages, very popular. Mobile applications, very low adoption at this point but good effectiveness. And if you move down to the bottom, you see public communities, private communities, LinkedIn pages actually trailing where the effectiveness was lower than the expectation. And here, less of the people at LinkedIn take umbridge at this. I do want to point out that the numbers for those, and particularly for the community responses, those numbers were quite low, so don’t draw too much of a conclusion from this. I do think it’s interesting though that Virtual World has exceeded expectations due to that degree. Again, these results are based on a low number, but I find that expectation and reality are often not in sync.

NEW SLIDE: ROI Perception

PG: Also some remarkable results, I think, of ROI. We asked them about their perceived ROI on their social media investments and, I mean, the numbers speak for themselves. It’s pretty much off the charts.

NEW SLIDE: Planned Changes in Social Media Activity, Next 12 months

PG: The marketers feel that they are getting very good results. And when we look at how that’s translating into spending over the next 12 months, again, the numbers speak for themselves. In fact, out of the 55 responses, not one person said that they were planning to decrease their social media investments over the next 12 months. And most everybody is increasing, about half of them significantly.

NEW SLIDE: What Has Been The Business Impact Of Your Company’s Use Of Multiple Social Media Platforms?

PG: So, the bottom line always, of course, is what is the business impact of your company’s use of multiple social media platforms? And again, the numbers speak for themselves. That’s why I say, despite the rather low response pages we have in these interim results, the numbers are so strong in terms of ROI and business impact that I think we can draw some conclusion that at this stage, marketers say it’s working. And that was born of the results of the in-depth interviews that we did, and I will give you some of those details in a moment.

NEW SLIDE: Verbatims: Most Common Metrics

PG: As far as verbatims for the metrics, we did not present people with a long list of metrics. What we asked for is a verbatim. What metrics do you use to measure success? And as I said, they were all over the map, but these were the most popular metrics measured. Sales, I think, is a good one. The bottom line is, you can track a customer from a social media outlet through a sales site. Ultimately, if you were investing more in social media and your sales went up, there is probably some correlation there. Particularly, small companies prefer to use this as a metric. Conversions and lead generations are also popular metrics, particularly among smaller, mid-size companies. Search, rank, and conversations were interesting. How many conversations do we have going? A lot of companies, I learned, actually count Facebook conversations. They look at how many responses they get on Facebook. They count, not so much, Twitter followers because the number of Twitter followers is a screwy number. There are ways to juice your followers on Twitter numbers artificially. They look for the number of conversations that are being generated by the Twittersphere. Cost per lead, and ReTweets, is an interesting metric, and I think a good one. What you’re doing is finding an audience and it’s interesting if people want to tell their friends about them. And comments on the blog is an old favorite, and still a popular way of—

NEW SLIDE: Verbatims: What They’re Doing Now

PG: --measuring results. Some of the tactics that they’re using--and again, they’re all over the map--we asked also in the verbatim, what are you doing now to leverage multiple social media platforms for your business? Several people indicated that they do blog entries, and also communicate them through Twitter or post it on Facebook. Those are the main tools now that automate that. But that seems to be the no-brainer application of multiple channels, if you will. “We leverage content that we produce across all of the social networks- and then engage in each conversation that follows”. Also many companies indicated that they are using their email newsletters. They’re actually using the email newsletter as a way to tie together not only the content they publish but also the feedback they get from their users. "All product launches now have a social media component." Several people said that, notably Scott Monty at Ford, who has a great disciplined approach to any new press releases. They, almost by requirement, have to have social media components. And it includes a social media press room, but also, they encourage their product groups to build video images and audio into any new product release so that they can serve the audience in whatever way it chooses to be served. And when you think of that, you think of the value of a press release. Why do you do a social media press room? Well, because people choose to communicate in multiple media. There are some folks who are video bloggers. Some people love to podcast. Some people are text folks. You want to give them the tools that they need to publish because not everybody prefers to communicate in text. And I think the real value of the social media press room is to encourage companies to think in multiple media when they publish- getting beyond the press release, getting beyond the strict text announcement- and find ways to add a multimedia component to that. "We repackage everything through our content marketing site in industry-specific Linkedin groups"; that's interesting too. Linkedin, by the way, although it turned up rather low in the survey in overall adoption, is very popular with B-to-B marketers. If you look at the difference between business to business, business to consumer channel, I think the adoption of Linkedin versus Facebook is probably the biggest delta we see there. Linkedin is the Facebook for business, and a consumer company is clearly finding Facebook to be the place to be. But Linkedin, and actually Slideshare is the dark force in that range that’s coming up as a B-to-B communication mechanism. We’re finding that things like that are a great way to reach the business and the channel customer.

NEW SLIDE: Typical Multi-Platform Scenario

PG: So, what does a typical multi-platform scenario look like? Well, it might look like this, where the blog is the foundation for all information. You use your blog to consolidate your press releases, your corporate announcements, as well as comments and entries from, multiple people around the organization. So we now find that many companies are adopting the approach of having a master blog, and then they’ll have multiple blogs that are organized along vertical areas, or areas along different customer sets. And all of those entries will be rolled up into the master blog, and that’s sort of the basis, the font of information about what the company is, the conversation the company is having with its customers at any given time. And then you have many ways to move that out into the social sphere. Tweeting it and Facebooking it, and social bookmarking is also popular and then you have the RSS feed that you can use to feed your corporate website automatically, feed aggregators, which are a good way to get the message out. Vertical aggregators you can use as well, for example, if you’re in the B-to-B space, it might serve electronics manufacturers, or it might serve companies in the channel. So feed aggregators are, again, a great way to spread that message, and affiliate with partner websites. So it really is becoming an automated process. At this point, it’s not very automated. A lot of people said that they are still cross-posting manually to multiple sites. But we’re seeing tools rapidly entering the market that are gonna automate this. So there are benefits from this not only from a visibility perspective but also from a search engine awareness perspective. Cross-posting in multiple places will not actually improve your search engine visibility, but the links from those places can’t hurt you. I mean, there are additional ways to find the customers where the customers are already gathering, whether it be on Facebook or on one of these aggregation sites. And then we will see multiple blog entries that are collected and sent out as an email newsletter. Again, Scott Monty, I thought, had one of the more interesting comments in the interviews. He said that Ford is vaulting up its investment in email this year because it’s finding that that’s still the way that people choose to receive information. And in that case, social media activities become a way to feed the email stream and create new opportunities for customized newsletters.

NEW SLIDE: Sodexo Recruiters

ML: Actually, Paul, we have a couple of questions. Before we get to all questions, which are awesome, someone asked, and it’s a really good question on Twitter, about it being a killer app. It’s definitely one that brands are adopting more and more. But, Twitter, does it actually build brands and help increase sales? Do you have an example of that?

PG: Well, there are, and Dell is the most famous example of this. Twitter contributes about 3 million dollars to Dell Outlet a year. Now, that's a small number for Dell, but it’s incremental business that they get with very little additional effort. I think that when you look for increased sales you have to look for customer paths. There are cases when you can offer incentives and discounts only for your Twitter followers. And, in those cases, you want to send people to a custom landing page, and you should be able to identify that we got this many numbers, we achieved this many sales from promotions specifically on Twitter. I think anybody in the retail industry should be experimenting with that kind of program right now because it’s very easy to measure. You can also look at Twitter as: how does it bring traffic to your site, and how does it monetize that traffic? And you should be using custom URLs, unique URLs for everything. And if you’re sending people just back to the home page of your site, you’re doing yourself a disservice. You should be using custom landing pages that are trackable so that you can see when people land on your site, where do they come from? And what is the effect of that promotion, ultimately on sales? You can use analytics to track those customer paths. So is Twitter resulting in sales? All I can say is, why are so many companies using it if it’s not delivering value? Whether it’s direct sales or not, I don’t know, but there’s a feeling, and it came from the interviews very strongly, that Twitter just keeps delivering and delivering, it's a traffic gusher.

ML: Yeah. And just to build on what you're saying, some of the companies that we’ve talked to, and they’re software companies, you know, B-to-B companies you mentioned, they embed LeadSource IDs in URLs so they’ll track, and I always make the joke that, they’ll track right right when it becomes an opportunity. So the peak difference is, when you're at a board meeting, the marketing guy says, we got 3,000 Twitter followers last quarter, it's awesome, but then the guys on the board say, "What the heck does that mean?" And it means, of the ones that we tracked, it resulted in 5 pipeline opportunities, it resulted in 2 closed deals, all through Twitter. That’s a big difference when you’re at a board meeting. So for you guys sitting out there at small software companies or wherever, I've done this before. Trust me, it sounds a lot better when you follow through.

PG: Yeah, absolutely. You’re absolutely right, Mike. Again, you should be using unique URLs for all your marketing, you should be tracking stuff, and if you can show results, that’s probably going to get funded. So, Twitter is, and again, the cost of entry is so low, the easiest way for people to get started with social media. Any other questions?

ML: There’s actually one that touches on this sort of thing as well. It's actually about Dan Torrello's research. There’s actually a few comments on it, I don’t know if you’ve read the research or—

PG: I have not read the research on it, but I’m sure gonna get a hold of it now.

ML: In about two minutes, you’re gonna get Tweeted to read it.

PG: Let’s look at a few case studies. Sodexo, one of the companies we talked to, has eliminated their budget that they were spending on recruitment advertising and moved it all into social media. Sodexo hires about 1,000 people every year. They have about 50 recruiters who hire on different markets, one hires dieticians, one hires cooks, one hires servers, and they are all using Twitter as the main way to engage in conversations with their prospects, and really have moved out of using online advertising. And the reason is, not only has it improved traffic to their career site, which has almost doubled in the last three years, but it has also improved applications and it has improved the quality of applications. As Carrie Nguyen at Sodexo says, “It’s the quality that counts.” It’s like the recruiters get to know people before they get into a recruitment process and that makes a more engaged prospect and, ultimately, a superior hire. This is a terrific application of social media. And it’s not just Twitter, by the way, they use every other social network out there at their fingertips. And their recruiters are encouraged to use whatever networks work for them. There’s no requirement of what they have to use.

NEW SLIDE: Ford’s Content Factory

PG: Ford as I mentioned, I think, is doing just phenomenal work. I think I saw Scott Monty, again, received an award just a week or two ago for what Ford has done with what is called their content factory. I think that Scott’s comment is interesting because they really view themselves as content providers. They make few distinctions between what they are doing in marketing and what a media outlet would do. In fact, they're structured like a media outlet. They see themselves as a news service. They are constantly bringing news about the company reinvention. If you go to the Ford story, it’s a phenomenal collection of multimedia content about not only the Ford company, but also every brand within the Ford company. And the whole image of Ford portrayed on this website, I think, is just positive, energetic, youthful, technology-focused, and moving in the right direction. And it doesn’t hurt that Ford has had a positive business story as well. Everything is shareable that Ford puts out. Their press releases are paired, whenever possible, with video or audio content. They combine bottom-up with top-down for maximum impact. And although messages spread faster from below than they do from above, they really spread the fastest when you combine the two. It ultimately comes back to email. It was an interesting quote in the conversation with Scott. He said, “At the end of the day, the people we’re trying to reach, the average car buyer, prefers email.” So everything else that is going on with social media at Ford eventually works its way into email campaigns. It’s a great integrated program.

NEW SLIDE: AskPatty’s Syndication Wizardry

PG: Ask Patty, I encountered when I was writing my first book almost 4 years ago and she is just a model of multiplatform syndication. She started her company, AskPatty, a B-to-B company that trains auto dealers to be female friendly, out of the theory that, the fact, that women determine more than 60% of auto purchases in this country. So they are focused on making auto dealers aware of how to sell to the female market. Now, they have about 25 people there now, but she started as a one-person company, starting with the blog and now through every other channel. They just push their content out to every channel possible. And she has multiple syndication arrangements with every website such as TwitterMoms, Blogger, and Parenthood.com where her content is automatically cross-posted to those sites, and that multiplies the awareness of what she’s doing. She’s had phenomenal success being the spokesperson for the company and she actually built a side business as a social media consultant to auto companies. She’s been in Oprah magazine, on every major TV network. She is actually the only person I interviewed who was willing to put a number on the multiplication effect. She used social media to multiply her content about 100 fold. And she’s getting 10 million quarterly impressions with almost no money spent on advertising whatsoever. I encourage you to look at this site, AskPatty.com, if you want to see really how to leverage multiplatform life.

NEW SLIDE: Coke’s Global Expedition

PG: Coca Cola is doing some amazing stuff. This company was almost blindsided 3 years ago by the Coke-Mentos experiment by doing nothing in social media, so now they’re in every possible channel, they totally bought into the concept. Adam Brown is the one who’s driving a lot of this. He’s a young guy, very dynamic, but he also understands the importance of moving a big company like Coke in a new direction. One of the more remarkable programs they have is called Expedition206, which they started this year. It consists of 3 ordinary people who were chosen by a crowd source process to visit all 246 countries in the globe this year and to document their travels through video blogs, through Twitter, through podcasts, and through every social media channel available. It has gotten off to a rip roaring start by Adam’s estimated 400 million media impressions in the first 22 days when I interviewed him back in January. They have done no advertising. Coke is not supporting this program with any advertising at all. Those 400 million impressions are entirely word of mouth. They have welcoming committees that are forming spontaneously in countries around the globe, they have invitations from welcoming committees that have formed and sent out invitations to these ambassadors to come visit them. Go check out Expedition206.com. They are using every form of media and they’re very, very active. It’s a very youthful audience, the ambassadors who were chosen are all young people, and they’re communicating in the medium that young people choose to communicate. Coke is measuring purchase intent. It is a very metrics-driven company. One of the comments that Adam also made had to do with how you communicate though multiple channels. He was very emphatic about this: don’t blast the same message out through every channel. And Coke has a presence on Linkedin and they have a presence on Facebook. They couldn’t be more dissimilar. The message that Cokes sends out- it’s blogging and Tweeting activities are customized for the audience they want to reach. They have a young audience, they also have a very mature audience they want to reach. Those people are accessible through different social networks in different media, and Adam was very strong on, you have to speak to people in the language that they expect to be spoken to. And I don’t think you can emphasize that enough. Simply repeating the same message can actually do you harm. If you’re sending a message intent to 25-year-olds to someone who is on Linkedin, you may actually get a backlash from that.

NEW SLIDE: Management Challenges

PG:So hopefully a lot of things right. So let’s look at what’s coming up, sort of, what we found so far. This is a huge trend, clearly, with the numbers I showed you earlier in terms of the number of social media platforms adopted in the last two years, the trend's gone from cautious experimentation and "dipping the toe in the water" to "everybody’s in the pool" now. This actually creates some interesting challenges going forward. Who speaks for the company? These are governance challenges, and these will be issues that I think we’ll be dealing with for the next several years. We have businesses, like Dell, for example, who has dozens of people on Twitter. Cisco has about 30 people on Twitter, Comcast, I think, has about 50 through their customer service organization. What do these people say? What can and can’t they say? What is their role as an official spokesman for the company? And this needs to be addressed through governance. I would refer you to, there’s a website called Social Media Governance, where Chris Boudreau is putting together a fantastic database of corporate social media policies. I think he’s got more than 120 of them last time I looked. And it’s really getting into this issue of who really does speak for the company. And I don’t think it’s clear by any means at this point. One thing that is clear, is you need a policy. And the bigger you are, the more you need a policy. What kind of restrictions should you put around what people can say? How responsible are you for what your employees may say in social media when they’re on their own time and when they’re acting on behalf of the company? Questions come up about personal versus a corporate presence, and I hear this question a lot, particularly from smaller companies: We are, on Twitter, for example, and should we use a corporate Twitter account, or should we use individual Twitter accounts? And, unfortunately, the answer to that, like so many things, is that it depends. This question comes up if you want to speak about issues that affect the company. For example, iContact is another company that I spoke to for this survey, and they have an iContact corporate Twitter presence that they use to notify people about announcements and also services outages. They had a couple of service outages over the last year, and when the service has been out, they turned to Twitter as a corporate presence to tell their customers that they’re working on fixing the problem. They also have a lot of their individual employees speaking to people on Twitter, usually on specific topics of expertise such as small business marketing, email optimization, metrics, or measuring email metrics. They will have designated experts within the organization who will speak to customers who are interested in that topic. So I think it’s perfectly fine to have both. I think when this issue in fact occurs is when you try to speak personally with an account that has a corporate moniker. Who takes action? And this is an emerging issue for a lot of companies--Comcast spoke to me about this, Dell spoke to me about this--they have messages and comments that are coming in through multiple channels to their people. Who’s the person who has to respond? Who’s the person who has to take some action about fixing a problem or a suggestion for a new product, or a new customer opportunity? And we’re actually going to see some tools that will emerge, internal management tools, that will begin to organize this and make rules-based procedures for routing messages to the right person for a response. How do you scale real-time public service? This is an issue that I call Twitter-based consumer terrorism. Consumers are finding that they can get their problem solved more easily by broadcasting them publicly on Twitter than by calling the 800 line. Companies, I think, should be nervous about that. You don’t want to train your customers to be complaining in public before they complain to you. So we see companies, like Comcast of course, who have about 50 people now doing customer service over Twitter, have used this to great effect. But this is not a scalable approach to customer service, because it is so human intensive. And I think we’re gonna have some interesting governance issues to resolve over how do we incent people to resolve their questions offline first before they take them to a public forum. How do you deal with negativity? Do you engage? Do you ignore? Do you shout down? What's interesting is that one company told me that they will engage with a person who is persistently negative. They will try to engage with that person twice, and after that, they don’t bother any more. That person is not going to be convertible. Your experience may vary. How do you organize for continuous online interactions? For example, particularly in a global company, you’re gonna have comments from customers coming 24/7. You’re gonna need people who are conditioned to respond 24/7. You can’t wait until Monday anymore to respond to a message that comes in from Japan, and when you have a big business in Japan, you’ve got to have people on the street there. How do you avoid problems like this graphic, which was, if you see, the graphic on the right was put up by an enthusiast, who tried to create a case for why the iPad should support Flash, and he created several examples of the benefits of using Flash, including a pornography site. And the people at Adobe had to pull this down rather quickly, and it was embarrassing because this guy actually was a designated spokesman for Adobe on this topic, but clearly let his enthusiasm go over the line. That is just one example of how do you dictate, how do you put rules around what people can say without instituting an approval process that’s gonna prevent them from talking at all.

NEW SLIDE: Marketing Challenges

PG: Marketing challenges, audience segmentation. We have so many new ways now to segment all the audiences, and there are only gonna be more, because of the vertical networks that are forming. My current work is on a book about B-to-B media. I’ve been talking to people who run social networks for dentists, anesthesiologists, plumbers, food and beverage professionals, and believe it or not, these are big and active communities. So you now have ways to segment your audience very specifically, and that means you have to choose which audiences are worth getting your time. So Facebook or Linkedin or Twitter may be a no-brainer, but you also have to think how are we going to address some of these vertical communities that are emerging. Make your message appropriate to your audience, as I mentioned earlier. When do you start pitching? When are you helpful and when do you make that transition over to making the pitch? One person’s rule of thumb is 1 promotional messages for every 9 non-promotional messages. So, on your Twitter messages, 9 out of ten you can be helpful, and 1 out of ten, it’s ok to promote. That’s one person’s view. I wouldn’t say that there is any clear consensus on that at this point. Metrics and ROIs I mentioned, and integrating with marketing, this is a big issue. Email marketing, your print and your broadcast marketing, how do you integrate social networks? So, we saw early this year how Honda, really in sort of a groundbreaking move, started writing it’s Facebook.com address on its TV ads instead of its business address. How far do you go in making a social network essentially your home page? You’re gonna find more people there than you will on your own website. Roles in governance, I think this is gonna be the big issue for the next several years. We are gonna be wrestling with the open organization, the organization that has many talking points, many areas of expertise where people can communicate directly with their customers. What can they say? What is the liability of the company, particularly in regulated industries, this is gonna be a big issue. What do you not say? What issues do you not address? What customers do you not respond to, and, of course, how much we’re gonna spend on all this. At this point, we don’t have any consensus on budget figures other than, there are more. There’s more money being spent on it.

NEW SLIDE: Thank you!

PG: So with that, we’re nearly at the end of our time. I hope you got something out of these results. Mike, are there any more issues, any more questions we should respond to, or...

ML: Yeah, just really quickly before I get to the Q and A--because there’s a lot of great questions out there, and keep them coming in, just Tweet them and we’ll get to them--I just wanted to let you guys know about the next session we have coming up, which is USAToday.com, one of our early experience customers, and it’s a case study. They’re gonna be doing it with Brian Dresher, who is their marketing manager. The case study is called “More Than Just the News: A Social Media Case Study”. So, check out bit.ly/BDresher, again, he’s the marketing director at USAToday.com. His session is gonna be great, I’ve already seen some of his slides. It’s gonna be a lot of fun. That’s April 7th at 2 PM so be sure to check it out. Finally, this is gonna take one second to come up, but if you’d like to meet with the Awareness team, you can come check us out at the New Marketing Experience. We’re gonna be out there in San Francisco, California on April 13th. So you can check out event.nmlevents.com/sf. Finally, before we get to the Q and A, I just wanted to remind you that if you haven’t had a chance to read Paul’s research yet, it’s a great e-book that you can download from our site, just go to awarenessnetworks.com. Great research, you can download it, read it on your own time, and it’s great, it’s a lot of detail, a lot more detail than we were even getting to on the phone today, so it’s a really cool page that I’ll think you’ll like a lot.

PG: We’re about out of time here, Mike, we’re not gonna have time for a lot of questions, so I would say that if anybody has more, keep asking the questions, I will monitor the hashtags and will respond to them on my blog, to all the questions. We’ll Tweet out a URL to the people that ask them.

ML: One last question, though, when do you think the new book’s coming out?

PG: Oh, that’ll be probably in December. Actually, my new book is called The Joy of Geocashing, and that came out about 2 weeks ago the next one will be for social marketing for the business customer and that will probably be December or January.

ML: We really appreciate your time, and thanks for coming in today. And like I said, we’ll have this recorded, we’ll put it out. If you have any questions for Paul, keep Tweeting them, and he’ll get back to you, and we’ll make sure we’ll get any questions that came in through the chat for Paul. So thanks everyone for joining us today, our next session is in a week, so, hopefully see you there!

(End of audio)

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