Guest Post: 1202 Social Media Alone is Not Enough. Your Small Business Needs a “Big” Website

Social Media has truly been a game changer in how businesses connect with their customers. What used to be a cumbersome and expensive activity has been made very easy, but at the same time it has also become a constant battle for customer attention.

Social media has also helped the customers. It is much easier for them to connect with businesses. No longer do they have to rely on the traditional 1-800 number, enduring long hold times. They can simply post a question and then the business can answer them (within the same day hopefully). On the flip side, angry customers can post their scathing reviews for the world to see. Over all social media has really become a necessity for business if they want to stay valid in this world. And many businesses have been milking social media for all its worth, some even going as far as using it as a substitute for having a professional website. While social media is necessary for achieving success, especially for small businesses it can in no way substitute a business website. In order to truly milk social media, you have to pair it with a website.

Why do you need a big website along an efficient social media presence?

Recently Facebook added the sell feature on to pages, in short turning business pages into small business online stores. This feature again raised a slew of questions that why do we need a website anymore? You can even have a proper e-store running on a Facebook page. This question is especially asked by small businesses or start-ups who have limited budgets. Why should they put a strain on what are often shoe-string budgets to make a website, when they get almost the same level of functionality from a social media presence alone?

The market is not what it was 15 years ago

15 years back you could do without a website till you got to a level of financial success. However the market dynamics have considerably changed since then. Internet penetration in first world countries is especially at levels we had never nearly considered. And the speed at which the online world is expanding puts it a level where we can say that the virtual online world is one that exists in parallel of real one. It is that vast.

So if your business does not have a concrete presence in the online world then you do not appear as a credible business. Before we go anywhere, we Google it. If I only get Facebook page results, that makes your business look like an amateur set-up and makes it lose its credibility. Just like it is expected for a store to have a billboard, consumers expect businesses to have their own websites, just for the sake of contact details and address if not anything else.

Many years ago it used to be a shop front that served as the first impression of the establishment. Now it is the website that makes for the first impression. You need a good website to ensure you grab people’s interest and convert that interest into a sale.

A website is effectively your businesses own branch on the virtual world

You can put up your products up for sale on Facebook, but that is just like putting your products on some other store’s shelves. You cannot influence the environment of the store to shape customer experience. Your products are the mercy of someone else. You cannot control customer shopping experience on Facebook. Facebook even changes the themes when and as they wish. But a website is somewhere you are in full control and give the customer a shopping experience you feel would be the best way to market yourself. For example some e-stores do not opt for a traditional slider and go the “Tinder” way that is the customers view one product at a time.

Also a basic feature that having your own website gives you is recommending customers their next possible purchase, based on their present viewing history. This is something that you lose your products on social media.

Social media has also restrictions on photo sizes that you can upload. This may be a drawback as intricate details may be lost when you compress file size.

Also many people might not want to buy from Facebook, so not having a website means lost sales. And a website along with a brick and mortar store is the perfect combo. Your brick and mortar store gives the customers who want to “feel and buy” what they want and online customers get the feasibility of buying from wherever at whatever time they want.

A website is a business you control and shape

Unlike Facebook you are in complete control. How your business works in completely on you. Just like Facebook gives you a free “shelf” to display your products, businesses with successful e-commerce website have gone on to sell “shelves” on their websites. A website has a huge potential for revenue making and is only limited by your imagination. A small business gains by investing in a website as they gain the option of multiple income streams from one smart investment!

One last thing to mention is that it is very important you choose a professional company to do the development for you. This is because you might require after-sales services, and freelancers are not that reliable.


About the Author

Rachael Everly is an undergraduate student who loves to write on the topics related business, finance, technology and education. Follow @RachaelEverly for further updates



Salesforce Announces Salesforce for Messenger Platform

What’s The News? Salesforce announced Salesforce for Messenger Platform which will empower companies to create entirely new sales, service, marketing and app experiences for customers on Messenger. Salesforce for Messenger will enable companies to leverage existing business processes to make customer journeys even more relevant and personalized than ever before. This is the latest innovation in Salesforce’s ongoing strategic partnership with Facebook.

Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 2.18.39 PM

Together, the companies are empowering companies to engage their customers through dynamic experiences around products, brands and moments—all connected to their business. Powered by Salesforce Lightning, this is a proven platform for more than 150,000 companies and millions of users, in which Salesforce for Messenger will deliver personalized engagement at scale with CRM data.

What’s Happening With Messenger Facebook: Messenger’s growth is skyrocketing with its monthly active users growing from 500 million in 2014 to 900 million today. Often Marketing “owns” the Facebook page and had not worked out what to do with Customer Service issues. Nothing worse than getting a #fail in the middle of marketing campaign. For those companies that do have good relationships between Customer Service and Marketing, this will only help them to do an even better job of serving customers. For companies that don’t have this relationship worked out, the connection with Facebook Messenger may be the missing piece they need to connect the dots between Customer Service and Marketing.

And this is perhaps why so many companies are so eager to embrace it as the new channel to extend customer engagement and create conversations. Salesforce extends its leadership in CRM with the launch of Salesforce for Messenger. Companies will be able to leverage Messenger as a customer engagement channel to deliver entirely new 1-to-1 experiences across sales, service, marketing and apps.

Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 2.17.07 PM

Adding Facebook Messenger to the Checkout Flow in eCommerce: And because it is connected to the world’s #1 CRM platform, each Messenger interaction can be specifically tailored based on the context of the entire customer relationship. For example, a retailer will be able to embed a Messenger plugin on the checkout workflow on its website so a customer can ask any final questions before making a purchase.

Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 2.18.04 PM

Since this Messenger exchange is also connected to the customer’s previous sales, service and marketing account records, the company can take a more personal approach to exceeding customer expectations. Companies will have an invaluable opportunity to use Messenger as a channel to build brand loyalty and deepen customer relationships by delivering seamless experiences across marketing, sales and service with Salesforce.

Comments from Salesforce Executive, Alex Dayon, President and Chief Product Officer, Salesforce: “Now with Messenger, Facebook is inviting companies to engage their customers in new ways on its platform at scale. With Salesforce for Messenger companies will be able to easily connect their businesses to Messenger, creating deeper, more personalized and 1-to-1 ​customer journeys within the chat experience.”

Salesforce has been on a continuous journey to completely re-imagine CRM for the digital era and the launch of Salesforce for Messenger is the latest example of how it is expanding the market. With Salesforce, companies can ensure that every interaction with a customer is an opportunity to create a memorable experience. In a world where the customer wants to get personalized, seamless care, this is an interesting step in the right direction.

@DrNatalie Petouhoff, Constellation Research

Covering Customer Service and Customer Experience


Facebook Audience Optimization Capabilities: What Does it Me To You?

Audience Optimization is a new tool that reveals the hundreds of thousands of categories Facebook divides its users into, but also the number of people who belong to each one. The tool allows any official page manager to identify the “Preferred Audience” for a post by searching for and selecting interests relevant to the story. To help make sure these interests are just right, i.e, not too niche nor too broad, Facebook auto-completes interests and displays the total audience size for each one. This is not as a subset of your page’s followers, but as a subset of all Facebook users. Most interests are sorted into broad categories like Lifestyle and Culture, People, or News and Entertainment. It is the closest complete, ranked list of every interest on Facebook.

Facebook says there are 839 million interested in love and 571 million in happiness. These are larger compared to the 88 million interested in categories like the 28 million interested in envy, 41 million in crying, 81 million in boredom and 88 million interested sin. These categories and interests are formulated algorithmically from popular Facebook open graph pages (the articles, music, and videos being shared), Facebook Ads tags, and other Facebook data sets. The list suggests that the algorithms are scraping keywords from people’s posts. (Facebook says Messenger was not included.)

If you want more info, take a look at What the Verge did: they created the top 10 biggest audiences in a few categories: celebrities, 2016 presidential candidates, positive and negative emotions, gadgets, and a sampling of the most bespoke hipster interests with fewer than 30 followers. Note that audience size does not take into account sentiment. So just because Donald Trump has 20 million may not mean it’s all positive or flattering. They have extracted the top 2,001 interests here, or you can download the exhaustive 18.2 MB list. They even made an interactive Facebook popularity quiz.

These lists show us what Facebook is learning about people who post there. Facebook was clear that Preferred Audiences are not (necessarily) the same as its advertising tags. However, but they both rely on similar algorithms to sort users and target us with content. So if you are wondering why you see certain ads, this may help to explain some of that. Will this be helpful or hurtful to agencies? For marketers, this could be very helpful in target marketing. As a regular person, be careful what you post. You’ll probably see more of the same; these platforms we all use are definitely into collecting our data.

@DrNatalie, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

Covering Customer-Facing Applications That Deliver Better Customer Experiences


How Companies are Building the Green Internet: GreenPeace Report

The GreenPeace Report puts technology companies into groups of energy use: Dirty Energy, Middle Of The Road and Green Innovators. As an analyst, we talk a lot about the newest types of software, computers and gadgets of which need energy to run. And there is real resurgence of entrepreneurial spirit, where people are looking to feel satisfaction from the work they do and make the world a better place, rather than just tolerating brain-numbing work for the sake a of paycheck, only to find enjoy somewhere else. With all the enthusiasm also comes a great deal of energy use that we may or may not be aware of.

According to the Kaufman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity (KIEA), the entrepreneurial rate in the U.S. is already well above the bubble of 15 years ago. From social media to music, streaming video, email and commerce, we are increasingly moving much of our lives online. But which companies are storing all of that data, and how are they getting the energy? Here’s who hosts some of the internet’s most popular sites and services in their data centers – and whether those companies are using dirty or clean energy. Find out how you can participate by following the hashtags #clickclean and download the full report and take action for a green internet.

Three Types of Energy As the expansion of technology is continuously accelerating, we are also creating a world where more and more energy is be required. There’s a term called Dirty Energy, which means the focus is only on efficiency and the company has taken few or no steps to switch to renewables. And the there’s the Middle of the Road, which are the companies that are taking steps toward a greener internet, buy not leading the way. And then Green Internet Innovators are the groups that are committed to 100% renewable energy. Their leadership is helping to make our lives, online and offline, greener.

Clicking Clean How Companies are Building The Green Internet

Clicking Clean How Companies are Building The Green Internet

The Green Internet Innovators Here’s one of the companies that is on the side of the green internet innovators.  Apple’s aggressive pursuit of its commitment to power the iCloud with 100% renewable energy has given the company the inside track among the IT sector’s leaders in building a green Internet. Apple has made good on its pledge by building the largest privately owned solar farms at its North Carolina data center, working with its utility in Nevada to power its upcoming data center there with solar and geothermal energy, and purchasing wind energy for its Oregon and California data centers. Apple’s commitment to renewable energy has helped set a new bar for the industry, illustrating in very concrete terms that a 100% renewable internet is within its reach, and providing several models of intervention for other companies that want to build a sustainable Internet. Download the full report. (Full disclosure: I have a relative that works at Apple.)

 Apple Energy Source 2013

Apple Energy Source 2013


How Facebook Uses Energy    Facebook continues to grow and dominate the global social media landscape with 1.23 billion monthly active users. Facebook has made huge strides forward since 2012 to become one of the clear green internet leaders. Radical improvements in transparency and efforts to deliver significant wind energy investment in Iowa have helped drive Facebook into the top tier of companies creating the green internet. By building on the advocacy it has started with energy utilities to drive more clean energy investment, and continuing to find ways to bring renewable energy to scale to power its data centers in North Carolina and Iowa, Facebook is setting a clear bar for other major social media networks and internet companies to follow.

How Facebook Uses Energy

How Facebook Uses Energy

How Google Uses Energy Google has continued to lead the major internet brands in purchasing renewable energy at scale to power its massive online ecosystem. The company is now reporting electricity consumption of 3,315 GWh, with 34% of its operations powered by clean energy. Google’s use of power purchase agreements to procure clean energy has been adopted by others in the sector, like Microsoft, and it has successfully influenced utilities in Oklahoma and North Carolina to offer new renewable energy options by using its immense business clout. As Google expands its footprint to Latin America and Asia, it will need to maintain its innovative edge to make sure that it continues to source clean energy even in countries that feature dirty electric grids.

Google Energy Sources 2013

Google Energy Sources 2013

Twitter falls between the types of companies that are clearly innovating in their use of energy sources and those that fall into the dirty energy collection. Twitter’s has changed the way people around the world communicate. Twitter does not yet own any data centers of its own, instead renting data center space from others. The microblogging platform has remained silent about the type and amount of electricity that is powering those data centers. Twitter remains at the bottom of the industry for energy transparency, disclosing no information about its energy footprint. Twitter lags behind its competitors in social media, Facebook, which took significant steps to increase transparency and increase its use of clean energy soon after it went public.

Twitter Energy Sources 2013

And on the side of the spectrum are copies that fall into the Stuck in dirty energy past ways of providing and using energy. One example is Digital Realty Trust (DRT)  which is the largest digital landlord in the world, with 131 data centers worldwide, roughly three-fourths of which are located in the US. Digital Realty operates on the wholesale end of the colocation spectrum, providing both entire data center properties to large customers like Equinix and Amazon Web Services, and also renting portions of facilities to meet the needs of large online properties such as Facebook, Rackspace, Salesforce, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo.

Digital Realtiy Energy Use 2013

So the question really is – as we build all this technology, are we really making the world a better place? We need / want technology to scale. But at what cost? CEO’s need to consider not only their new innovations in products and services, but also how they are leaving the environment. Are they leaving it in a better or worse state and at the end of the day, what’s the cost in the long run to these decisions.






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Excerpt from my book “Like My Stuff”: Driving Sales with F-commerce

Driving Sales with F-commerce

The key to f-commerce ROI is to make sure incentives resonate with ambassadors, influencers, and customers so that they drive sales on the brand’s behalf. That’s why I recommend as one of the first steps in social media strategy is to put yourself back into the mindset of being in school. Go and study some brands that are doing it.

Brands that are in the midst of social commerce have found that when they use some of the same techniques as in regular sales processes, there is an increase in interaction. Those techniques can be:


  • Specific calls to action
  • Creating a sense of urgency through limited availability or blackout dates
  • Incentivizing social actions by offering discounts or special access


Here’s an example of how this can work. Let’s say you offer a coupon for your product. The catch is that 500 coupons have to be redeemed before I can get my deal. If the brand creates a way for the customer to share the deal with their Facebook connections, then more people will see the deal. If you have targeted the right demographic with the right offer, within hours or days the 500 coupons will be redeemed. It’s the action of one customer sending the deal within Facebook to hundreds of their connections that makes the f-commerce recommendation distribution process profitable.

Brands can increase their return on their investment by integrating e-commerce functionality with the word-of-mouth strategies we talked about in Chapter 13. What’s great about the social networking software is that the tools to implement those strategies are there. Some tactics are:


  • Offer contests where when the customer clicks on the Like button, they land on the Facebook store
  • Post ads, promotions, flash sales, pop-up offers to Wall and link those to the Facebook Shop
  • Combine “deals of the day” or product announcements with links to product details in the f-commerce shop


The Value of a Facebook Fan

There have been a couple of companies that have calculated the value of a Facebook Fan. In part, the reason why this had not been calculated before is because we needed more data to understand what dynamics affect other dynamics. It takes a while for a social network to get set up before it can be monetized. That is something that has stumped many business people who look at the investments that have been made in social networks. Millions and billions get poured into it, with the rest of the world wondering when they will begin to make money. In addition, to have enough data to watch for patterns also requires that the social network have some legs under it.

A company called ChompOn released a study on the calculations they did on the value of shares, Tweets, likes, and follows in the context of e-commerce. ChompOn works with 50 partners including Blackbook Magazine, JDeal,and Beyondtherack to offer Groupon-like crowdsourced coupons.

They used data from these daily deals to examine the conversion rate and action for deals they shared on Facebook and Twitter. They found the value of a Facebook share is $14 and the value of a tweet is $5.

For shares and tweets, ChompOn was able to directly attribute sales to the original action and took the total revenue attributed to each action and divided it by the total number of shares/tweets.

By comparison, ChompOn says the value of a Facebook “Like” is $8 and the value of a Twitter Follow is $2. For likes and follows, ChompOn estimated attribution by looking at traffic references and subtracting out purchases made through shares/tweets as well as purchases made through direct traffic. Of course this data is a bit tenuous and anecdotal. And it’s important to note that this analysis does not capture the long-term value of customers over time or the customer lifetime value we were talking about early in this chapter.

Syncapse is another company that calculated the value of a Facebook Fan. They looked at the differences in behavior and motivation between fans and non-fans to understand the true value of a fan. They looked at:


  • Product Spending: The ability to understand the methodology of increasing product spending
  • Loyalty: The ability to understand the available means to influence and promote brand loyalty within a target audience
  • Propensity to Recommend: Probability and propensity for word-of-mouth recommendations leading to sales
  • Brand Affinity: The impact on brand perception and recall
  • Media Value: Efficiencies of earned reach and frequency via the Facebook platform
  • Acquisition Cost: Efficiency of fans in enticing others to participate and drive organic membership



They polled 4,000 people who were self-identified as fans or non-fans of Nokia, BlackBerry, Motorola, Secret, Gillette, Axe, Dove, Victoria’s Secret, Adidas, Nike, Coca-Cola, Oreo, Skittles, Nutella, Red Bull, Pringles, PlayStation, Xbox, Starbucks, and McDonald’s.

The results were that consumers who are fans are more valuable to organizations across all variables than those who are not fans:

  • On average, fans spend an additional $71.84 on products for which they are fans compared to those who are not fans.
  • Fans are 28 percent more likely than non-fans to continue using the brand.
  • Fans are 41 percent more likely than non-fans to recommend a fanned product to their friends.


They also found that no two brands fan values are the same. But what is reassuring is that because they were able to track behavior, they could see the trends that make a fan more valuable than not.

They noted that fan value can vary widely by company and product. Factors influencing this variability include product purchase price, purchase frequency, product purchase cycle, product category, brand equity, and underlying brand strength.

A fan base is unique and comprises different levels of influencers and customers. Syncapse observed that how much a fan participates with a brand can change the value. For instance, an average fan may participate with a brand ten times a year and will make one recommendation. But, an active fan may participate thirty times and make ten recommendations. The impact this has on fan value can be quite dramatic.

In the case of Coca-Cola, the best-case scenario for fan value reaches $316.78. But it is $137.84 for an average fan. This degree of variability in the value of a fan must be a major consideration in determining how brands address different types of fans in efforts to move them up the value ladder. The strategy needs to be focused on how to reduce fan variability while moving the average fan value to the active end of the range.


Facebook Can Be the Decisive Factor for  Commercial Success


The Social Commerce IQ™ Genius Index was created with analytics data and the accompanying survey findings. Facebook figured prominently in the results. The social commerce index was broken down into four levels of social commerce maturity. Genius level included brands that represent the most socially-advanced on Facebook, typically having the highest engagement rates and offering shopping offers that were relevant to their customers in the brand’s news feed. In next lower category, Superior Level, the brands typically had fewer status updates and moderate engagement on their Facebook pages. The next category Challenged The brands in this category typically had few status updates, low engagement and little to no shopping status updates or applications/ tabs on their Facebook page. And the lowest category, the Deficient brands had no engagement, new fans and rarely sent updates to their fans. The top-scoring retail brands with Social Commerce IQ™ scores according to this study are: GameStop, Victoria’s Secret, Walmart, Sephora and Clinique.


All the top scorers in this study were shown to maintain a high level social currency for their brands through Facebook. Based on the data collected, here are three of most significant takeaways:

  • Status Updates Increase Sales– publish news about sales events, not coupons as a primary driver of fan engagement on Facebook. This is especially true for luxury retailers.
  • Ask Customers to “Like” After Buying—People buy then “Like”, not “Like” then buy – most Likes come from people who have already bought the product, i.e. liking is a post-purchase activity.
  • Likes Drive Sales— Facebook has driven at least 22 million sales transactions in the U.S. as a result of customers “liking” their products.  In general, 35 percent of consumers on Facebook tend to buy a product if it has been Liked by other members.


The power of keeping engaged with your customers is key to social commerce success.  Facebook is clearly the leading platform for managing a productive dialogue with customers. With its newly empowered f-commerce tools and platforms, it not only affords brands a wide variety of the opportunities to stay connected to the marketplace but also to collect and incorporate customer information to make the conversation even richer and more profitable for all concerned.


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Video 1: Building the Business Case for Social Media
Video 2: How to Measure the ROI of Social Media
Video 3: How Social Media Benefits the Whole Company

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What we do: We work with companies to deliver increased revenue and decreased costs:

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Pew Study: Social Fatique is Here – Less People Spending Time of Facebook

Facebook Pew Study: Americans scale back time online because the amount of time it takes… As a social media advocate, I personally spent many hundreds of hours building my social media brand over the last 10 years, in particular the last 5 years.. There wasn’t anything in my job descriptions that said how to do this or direct compensation. It took a great deal of time and energy. I’m not complaining, I’m just saying — social media takes a lot of time. What I found as a thought leader in social media that I was getting exhausted from years of being online. I had predicted that if I felt this way – despite how important I think it is,  that is would not be sustainable. If you follow me – you’ve probably noticed that I don’t post as much as I used to. This is not for lack of passion or desire. It’s because I am tired. Social fatigue has set in. What’s interesting is that the study by the PEW institute says I am not alone.

Two-thirds of online American adults are Facebook users, and yet more than half of them say they have taken breaks for a period of several weeks or more, and 27% plan to cut back on usage in 2013, according to  the Pew Institute.

Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project indicate there is considerable fluidity in the Facebook user population:

  • 61% of current Facebook users say that at one time or another in the past they have voluntarily taken a break from using Facebook for a period of several weeks or more.
  • 20% of the online adults who do not currently use Facebook say they once used the site but no longer do so.
  • 8% of online adults who do not currently use Facebook are interested in becoming Facebook users in the future.

They asked the 61% of Facebook users who have taken a break from using the site to tell them in their own words why they did so, and people mentioned a variety of reasons. The largest group (21%) said that their “Facebook vacation” was a result of being too busy with other demands or not having time to spend on the site. Here’s some more reasons why using social media isn’t at the top of people’s TO DO LIST:
-Wasn’t interested/didn’t like it 10%
-Waste of time/content not relevant 10%
-Too much drama/gossip/negativity/conflict 9%
-Was spending too much time on the site 8%
-Only an intermittent or infrequent user 8%
-Went on vacation/trip/deployment 8%
-Just got tired/bored with it 7%
-No real reason/just because 6%
-Concerns about privacy/security/ads/spam 4%
-Did not have computer/internet access 2%
-Prefer other ways to communicate/Facebook not “real life” 2%
-Health or age issues 2%
-Took a break for religious reasons 2%
-Didn’t like posting all the time/didn’t want to share 1%.

About the Survey

The PSRAI December 2012 Omnibus Week 2 obtained telephone interviews with a nationally representative sample of 1,006 adults living in the continental United States. Telephone interviews were conducted by landline (601) and cell phone (405, including 191 without a landline phone). The survey was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International (PSRAI). Interviews were done in English by Princeton Data Source from December 13 to 16, 2012. Statistical results are weighted to correct known demographic discrepancies. The margin of sampling error for the complete set of weighted data is ± 3.6 percentage points.

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LIVEOPS Engage Press Announcement

LiveOps® Engage™ is the industry’s first single, integrated, multichannel desktop, built with both the agent and the customer in mind. LiveOps Engage simplifies the user experience to increase agent productivity and improve customer experience across all channels on a single screen: phone, email, live chat, SMS, Twitter, and Facebook.

Inspired by modern web design, LiveOps Engage is a browser-based cloud application that’s available at no additional cost to customers of the LiveOps Platform. The contemporary design, color palettes and typography of LiveOps Engage create a highly intuitive user interface that’s easy to learn and use. Agents using LiveOps Engage need less time and fewer clicks to complete the most common functions, since everything is contained in a single, integrated agent desktop.

Results of a recent survey of traditional multichannel agents indicate that the use of LiveOps Engage creates the potential for agent productivity gains, efficiencies and cost savings including:

  • 25% to 50% increase in agent productivity
  • 25% to 50% increase in agent “happiness”
  • 25% overall cost savings
  • Improved first call resolution
  • Reduced average interaction handle time
  • Reduced customer churn
  • Increased Customer Lifetime Value

“LiveOps Engage is very appealing. The look and feel is clean and a lot less cluttered than the user interfaces that many other vendors are showing,” observed Dan Miller, Senior Analyst, Opus Research. “It masks many of the unavoidable complexities and lets the agents focus on what’s most important without having to spend time toggling between multiple applications and browsers.”

Industry experts estimate that the time delays created for agents by disconnected applications can cost companies more than $5,000 per year in unnecessary spend per agent. These delays also lead to inconsistent service across communications channels and ultimately a fragmented brand experience for the consumer. Contact center agents are critical brand ambassadors, but they are often not empowered with the right tools they need to effectively manage their work flow or track customer engagement across an increasing number of channels.

“Agent experience is directly linked to delivering superior customer care across multiple channels. As such, it’s imperative that businesses focus on empowering their agents with tools that help them easily access unified multichannel information,” said Omer Minkara, Research Analyst, Contact Center and Customer Experience Management, Aberdeen Group.”Best-in-Class organizations enable agents with the ability to handle multi-channel customer interactions through a unified agent desktop on a single screen. These unified agent desktop tools, such as those provided by LiveOps, enable increased agent productivity and improve customer satisfaction results by 39.9% year-over-year.”

Whether the customer initiates a phone call, email, chat session, SMS, Facebook post or Tweet, the message and phone panels in LiveOps Engage are integrated within a single screen. This single screen integration enables agents to receive a 360 degree view of the customer to ensure that the most relevant information is seen at the right time alongside a history of past interaction. Plus, the integrated user interface of LiveOps Engage helps agents to quickly and easily respond to customers in the channel the customer prefers, or seamlessly pivot to the channel best suited to resolve the customer’s issue. This empowers agents to resolve customer inquiries faster and with greater accuracy, and can improve customer satisfaction.

As a company with more than 10 years of experience running the world’s largest cloud customer service contact center, LiveOps knows how agents work and how their performances are measured. This unparalleled expertise has shaped the vision at LiveOps that the future of customer service hinges on brands not only having a complete view of their customer and their interaction history in one place, but also the ability to pivot customer interactions across multiple channels in one application.

“There is little doubt that for customer support operations to improve performance in today’s complex environment, a unified agent desktop is an essential tool. It improves the customer experience, increases accuracy, supports more personalized interactions and reduces processing time,” said Elizabeth Harrell, Vice President, Principal Analyst, Constellation Research. “LiveOps demonstrates solid innovation in this area that will attract more customers and help sustain its strong year-over-year growth in cloud customer service.”

“At LiveOps we have a saying: ‘the agent experience creates the customer experience.’ It really is that simple,” said Kieron Lawson, Chief Technology Officer of Applications, LiveOps. “Driving agent productivity and efficiency are still the foundation of any contact center. LiveOps Engage lets today’s Internet-savvy agents interact with customers on their channels of choice, with a user experience that’s as simple as any other consumer application. By providing agents with a 360 degree customer view and all the tools they need to manage both social and private channels in a single desktop, they are more productive, more efficient, and ultimately provide better customer service. At the end of the day, that’s what matters most to contact center decision makers.”

About LiveOps

LiveOps is the global leader in cloud contact center and customer service solutions. More than 300 companies around the world, including, Symantec, Royal Mail Group, and Amway New Zealand trust LiveOps’ technology to enable effective multichannel, social and mobile interactions with their customers. LiveOps’ award-winning platform has processed more than 1 Billion minutes of customer interactions and managed operations for the largest US-based cloud contact center of 20,000 home-based, independent agents. With 10+ years of cloud experience LiveOps is the partner of choice for companies wanting to migrate to the cloud. Headquartered in Redwood City, California with European regional headquarters in London, UK, LiveOps supports a wide range of industries including financial, health care, insurance, retail, and high tech. For more information visit
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@DrNatalie L. Petouhoff

For more info on my work:
:Social Media ROI

Social Media ROI YouTube Videos:
Video 1: Building the Business Case for Social Media
Video 2: How to Measure the ROI of Social Media

Video 3: How Social Media Benefits the Whole Company

Book on Monetizing Facebook: Like My Stuff: How To Monetize Your Facebook Fans

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The Five Business Secrets of Facebook’s Improbably Brilliant CEO Mark Zuckerberg

With over one billion users, Facebook has become the world’s largest social networking site. Its story is incredible: from its foundation only nine years ago it has changed the way people communicate, connect and share information. Facebook has become part of our daily lives and routines. How has Mark Zuckerberg created such a successful company and become one of the great business leaders of our time, and what can we learn from him? I discuss the answers to this question in more detail in my book “Think Like Zuck: The Five Business Secrets of Facebook’s Improbably Brilliant CEO Mark Zuckerberg”, but in this post I wanted to share some quick insights around the five key elements of success. This is a Guest post by Ekaterina Walter.

Image representing Mark Zuckerberg as depicted...

Mark Zuckerberg via CrunchBase

1. Passion

“Find that thing you are super passionate about.” –Mark Zuckerberg

Successful entrepreneurs come from all walks of life and from all personality types. But one thing they all share is passion. Passion is what drives you to keep trying despite all the setbacks you encounter and to turn failure into a learning experience.

Mark Zuckerberg’s passion is using technology to bring people together; Steve Jobs’ passion was to build revolutionary products; Richard Branson’s passion is to build companies he is proud of; Oprah Winfrey’s passion is communication. Passion is essential for success, no matter what type of business you create.

2. Purpose

“People don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it.” Simon Sinek, Start with Why

Long-term customer loyalty comes from your company’s purpose. Having a purpose drives the choices a company makes, from the people it hires, the way it markets a product, the materials it uses, as well as the products it makes. Apple’s products are not the cheapest on the market, but they have inspired great customer loyalty because Apple’s purpose – to create stylish, intuitive products that change the way we use technology – is so clear in everything they do. Ben & Jerry’s have a similarly clear purpose: to create ethical, imaginatively-flavored ice cream, and fans eagerly await their next product idea.

Facebook’s purpose to connect people in the simplest way possible has driven their most popular design innovations and turned social networking into a daily habit for hundreds of millions of people.

3. People

The most innovative companies allow their employees the freedom to develop their interests and to take risks. Facebook have an interview process that only selects new employees who are the right fit for the company’s culture. Once they are in, they take part in intensive training that teaches them the ‘hacker way’ of fast, creative coding that Zuckerberg prizes.

Companies like Facebook, Apple and Zappos have created a culture that empowers courage of conviction, freedom of speech, and action. This comes from strong leadership that leads by example.

Herb Kelleher, the visionary behind Southwest Airlines, puts it this way: “Employees come first and if employees are treated right, they treat the outside world right, the outside world uses the company’s product again, and that makes the shareholders happy. That really is the way that it works and it’s not a conundrum at all.”

4. Product

Mark Zuckerberg has created a product that fulfills his passion for connecting people, one that is changing the way communities communicate. Successful entrepreneurs build their product on three principles: their passion, the purpose of the company, and the right people and partnerships. The fact that Zuckerberg walked away from lucrative offers to buy his company early on shows that he believed in his long-term vision for his product, a vision that has driven many of the changes to Facebook over the years and kept it relevant to the needs of its users. As Zuckerberg continues to say to his critics and stakeholders, “I’m here to build something for the long term. Anything else is a distraction.”

5. Partnerships

Partnerships that work are based on clear expectations, shared values, mutual trust, a fair exchange of value, complementary strengths, commitment, and mutual respect. This can be seen in the partnership of Mark Zuckerberg and his COO, Sheryl Sandberg, who has been key to Facebook’s prosperity.

Image representing Sheryl Sandberg as depicted...

Image via CrunchBase

Strong partnerships have been the foundation for many successful companies, from Ben & Jerry to the Warner Brothers, Hewlett and Packard, Sears and Roebuck, McGraw and Hill, or the team behind CollegeHumor. Partnerships could be based on two or more founders, or else finding the right suppliers, distributors, or investors.

Mark Zuckerberg has challenged the traditional blueprint for successful business leadership, and become the 29th richest person in the world with his company. As the way we use the internet around the world continues to change, Facebook will continue to be at the forefront of social technology, ensuring Zuckerberg’s success into the future.

About the author: Ekaterina Walter is a social media innovator at Intel, a speaker, and an author of the book “Think Like Zuck: The Five Business Secrets of Facebook’s Improbably Brilliant CEO Mark Zuckerberg”. Walter was named among 25 Women Who Rock Social Media in 2012. She sits on a Board of Directors of Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA). You can find her on Twitter: @Ekaterina and her blog



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Secret to Obtain a Higher ROI On PR & Marketing Initiatives : Competitive Engagement Reports

Did you know that there are over 3.5 billion pieces of content shared each week? And its only going to get worse. In the midst of all this sharing, Like-gating and social media madness, PR and Marketing Professionals need to make sense of it all. This Keynote Presentation is about the transformation of brands- from static icons to social, digital experiences. Its’ about how companies need to reconsider their strategic and tactical approach to how they go about not only traditional marketing but also how to address the need for social media as part of that mix. This speech reveals a 6 steps process to follow – and where to get the data – to obtain a higher ROI on your social media initiatives. The free Competitive Engagement Reports are the key to not only to benchmarking your own engagement performance but also to compare to your competitors. These reports provide strategic intelligence and tactical planning guidance that can not be easily obtained in any other fashion.

These free reports help you to learn where your engagement strategy &tactics rate.

Strategy Intelligence:
• Am I effectively deploying my marketing spend?
• What are my competitors doing?
• Is my engagement better or worse than my competitors?
• What can I learn from other brands most relevant to my audience?
• Is my content marketing a competitive differentiator?
• Do I know how to use real-time data to make these decisions?
• Are my expenditures being wasted or are they highly effective, compared to competitors?

Tactical Intelligence:
• Do I know the themes of content that are getting the most engagement?
• Am I creating enough of the right type of content?
• Am I releasing content on the right days and times of a day?
• What channels does my content perform better on?
• What can I learn about my competitors and improve my engagement?


FB-EdgeRank (Photo credit: malharbarai)

And did you know 85-97% of your fans don’t see your Facebook posts? That’s due to Facebook’s EdgeRank. Facebook themselves admits the average brand page only reaches 16-17% of its fans. Data from PageLever shows brands with millions of fans are only reach ~3% of their fans. “If you want to speak to the other 80 to 85 percent of people who signed up to hear from you, Sponsoring Posts is important.” — Gokul Rajaram, Head of Advertising, Facebook. One way to combat EdgeRank is creating better posts. EdgeRank gives greater exposure (reach) to posts that are more engaging. Boring posts decrease your reach and thus your bottom line. The solution is more interesting posts. But the question is, “What makes a better post?” Without the right data, you can’t possibly know and are flying blind. What would your CEO or CFO think if they knew?

Here’s the video from the OMMA Conference, where I go into more detail:

By studying and applying the insights in the Competitive Engagement Reports brands see at minimum a 30% increase in engagement> TCBY saw >300% improvement in engagement.

For more information on the Vertical Industry Engagement Performance Reports:

For more information on Dr. Natalie, connect with her here:

Dr. Natalie’s practical client experience and her proven ability to help businesses –get started in social media, fast track, measure and optimize social media initiatives, vet and choose from top social media software, as well as optimize change, organizational alignment and deliver training—are the key ways she guides her clients to optimize their social media ROI and business results.

As a Forrester Analyst, Dr. Natalie led the pack by creating business cases for social media by writing the world’s first social media ROI model for PR, marketing and customer service. As a sought after thought leader, her work is the subject of four books and hundreds of white papers on business, marketing, public relations, and social media and is featured in numerous articles in USAToday, New York Times, Business Week, FastCompany…

As a guest lecturer at UCLA’s Anderson School of Business and as an accomplished keynote and speaker where she enlightens, empowers and entertains executives.

In addition to helping brands with social media initiatives she develops strategic, competitive marketing reviews and messaging for social media /software companies, prepares them for MagicQuadrant’s and Waves, as well as writes white papers, e-books and accompanying webinars so the vendor rises above the noise and customers clearly see how the software’s unique capabilities help businesses reach the business goals.

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