Discount Code for @SMCLA / @SMC_LA Social Media Master’s Course in Social Media Monitoring and Measurement to Determine Business Value and ROI

If you are looking for some detailed information and education on social media, then consider the Social Media Club LA sessions! We have a great line-up of teachers with real-world experience! I’ll be teaching social media monitoring and measurement… The schedule is below!

If there is something particular you’d like to see covered under the section I am teaching – social media monitoring and measurement, please let me know! Here’s the discount code for 30% off: SMCLAX Use this when you go to sign up!

Look forward to seeing you there!
@drnatalie

Learn. Share. Grow!

THE SCHEDULE and MORE DETAILS – where, who is teaching, etc…
Sept 9th, 9:00am – 6:00pm

  • Building Corporate Social Infrastructure with Sam Fiorella
  • Lessons from the Facebook Trenches: Thinking Beyond “Likes” with Matt Hicks
  • Online Community Building with Patrick O’Keefe
  • Social Business, Holistic Strategy with Chris Heuer
  • Social Media Monitoring and Measurement: Understanding How To Turn Data Into Business Insights with Data with Dr. Natalie Petouhoff
  • Are You Prepared to Weather An Online Crisis? How to map your brand’s social graph and identify threats and opportunities with Sally Falkow

Here’s a bit about each course….

BUILDING CORPORATE SOCIAL INFRASTRUCTURE
It’s no secret that C-Suite execs in most large businesses have been slow to acknowledge the social economy or to formalize and fund social engagements across their organizations. But the communication tidal wave that is social media cannot be stopped and many business silos have begun their own individual efforts given the lack of executive leadership in this area.

Be it Customer Service Managers scouring Twitter feeds, HR teams monitoring LinkedIn, Marketers advertising in social networks or PR Professionals engaging social influencers, most enterprises are engaged in social relationships through disjointed efforts initiated by the customer or customer-facing departments. Therein lies the challenge for enterprise leaders; and the opportunity if they accept this call to action.

How does the enterprise adapt to the internal communications changes that are pushing it to be more open? More social? The employee’s adoption of social communication does not translate well to the kind of work groups that are formed in most businesses. So the inevitable introduction of social networking-style communication into an office culture will have powerful implications on how businesses are structured and managed. But you need to understand how to enable it without losing control of your business’ corporate vision. In this session Sam will outline:

  • The challenges that social communications will place on your
    workforce and business silos
  • The needs, abilities and challenges of generational communications
    within the organization
  • Cross-silo methodologies used to embrace and take advantage of the
    changes in how people communicate

Using real examples from the corporate world, you’ll leave the session with a blue print for your own corporate cross-silo social communication plan.

LESSONS FROM THE FACEBOOK TRENCHES: THINKING BEYOND “LIKES”
The power of Facebook for businesses goes beyond the number of people who click “Like” to connect with your Page. It’s about building relationships where people want to engage with and share your content, and it’s about building an authentic persona for your company that talks with people on their terms. This session will explore how to make your Facebook Page and other activities more personal and engaging through a mix of real-world tips, case studies, demos and group exercises. Topics to be covered include:

  • Advanced features for managing and setting up your Page
  • Developing a voice for your Page and creating the best mix of content
  • How to compete for attention in News Feed
  • Emerging opportunities beyond the Page and off of Facebook

MAP YOUR BRAND’S SOCIAL GRAPH AND IDENTIFY THREATS AND OPPORTUNITIES
79% of business leaders in the U.S., Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America say they believe their company is less than 12 months away from a potentially serious crisis fueled by online conversations and the 24/7 news cycle. Most expect it to occur with the next year, yet they admit to being totally unprepared to manage and survive a crisis.

Almost half of those polled say they are not effectively monitoring the online conversations. They have no idea who makes up their social graph and how the nodes in a social graph are connecting and influencing one another. They don’t know who the people who shape the conversation in each social node are, or how to identify them. (Source: 2011 Burson–Marstellar Digital Crisis Preparedness Report)

This session will cover:

  • What the social graph is.
  • How to map your brand’s social graph.
  • How to prepare for the Digital Storm Ahead: Find the right conversations to track, Identify the influencers in each node, Identify threats and opportunities, Build a community of supporters before you need them, Reach the friends of your fans and followers, Train your employees.

ONLINE COMMUNITY BUILDING
The question isn’t whether or not you have a community. Your community – the people who love and support what you do – is out there. The question is how you engage with them. In this session, we’ll talk about community management and engagement in spaces you control and spaces you don’t, from Facebook and Twitter to forums and blogs. This is the art of community building on the web, both the good and the bad, steeped in real world experience.

SOCIAL BUSINESS, HOLISTIC STRATEGY
After spending the past 12 years on the top of search results for “holistic business strategy”, Chris Heuer believes the day has finally come for his insights to become part of mainstream management thinking. As the disruption caused by social media reverberates across all aspects of organizational operations and culture, market leaders are turning to social business to transform the enterprise and seize a competitive advantage. The rise of social business is not only the sucessor to eBusiness, it signals the dawn of the post digital era. Today, being digital is expected, it’s the price of entry. If you can’t think holistically, collaborate across traditional organizational boundaries, optimize your organization to act as one and earn the trust needed to truly serve your market, your business may soon be extinct.

Chris will share his insights on how to think and act like a social business along with the perspective from his colleagues at Deloitte Consulting LLP on the dawning of the post digital era.

 

SOCIAL MEDIA MONITORING AND MEASUREMENT: UNDERSTANDING HOW TO TURN DATA INTO BUSINESS INSIGHTS
With Social Media and Digital Communications becoming part of how business gets done, businesses are wondering how should they use social media to enhance their business. When social media first started, companies reacted by putting up Facebook pages, signing up for a Twitter handle and adding a blog to their website and other basic social/digital interactions. Now the game has gotten far more complicated. Without a lot of knowledge or framework around how to make sense of all the social media and digital interactions, professionals from all walks of life—PR, Marketing, Customer Service, Production Development, Engineering, etc… want to know, “How does social media affect my business? Does it:

  • Increase Marketing conversion rates and Sales?
  • Reduce Marketing and Sales costs?
  • Reduce costs for building and maintaining brand reputation?
  • Shorten Product Development cycles?
  • Increase positive word-of-mouth and awareness?
  • Decrease agent-assisted calls in Customer Service?
  • Decrease overall costs by reducing items like return merchandise (RMAs)….

Yes, it does. And the question on everyone’s mind is How.” This session will use real-life case studies to illustrate with examples so you’ll leave with tools, tips, strategy and tactical capabilities to monitor and measure the success of your social media and digital communication programs. We’ll cover the how’s, the what’s and the why’s to social media monitoring and measurement:

  • Monitoring: What to monitor and why. Who and what to monitor. Where to find the audiences to monitor. Understanding what your audiences want and care about. What free social media monitoring tools to use. What paid social media monitoring tools to use. How to set-up social media monitoring searches to make sure you get what you need.
  • Measure: Once you have the data, how to turn it into business value. Secrets to taking data and turning it into insights. What metrics, key performance indicators (KPIs) and measurements you need. How to connect metrics, formulas and calculations. Social media ROI calculations, models and methodologies to show business value.
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More marketers use social networking to reach customers

SAN FRANCISCO — Ford Motor has high hopes for Fiesta, a popular model abroad launching in the U.S. next year.
So how does it introduce the subcompact car to Americans? A massive ad blitz on TV? In-house promotions at dealers nationwide?

Nope.

In April, Ford tapped 100 top bloggers and gave them a Fiesta for six months. The catch: Once a month, they’re required to upload a video on YouTube about the car, and they’re encouraged to talk — no holds barred — about the Fiesta on their blogs, Facebook and Twitter.

“It’s extremely important to this company’s history,” says Scott Monty, whose job as head of social media at Ford was created about a year ago to take advantage of the growing social-networking wave. “It’s about culture change and adapting to this ongoing way of communicating. The bloggers are fully free to say what they want.”

Social-media services, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and countless other websites, have had a profound effect on how millions of Americans — especially those under 35 — interact with others (or don’t), shop and view brands. It’s a real-time digital lifestyle, powered by smartphones and netbooks, that often colors what products they purchase, how they view brands and where they spend most of their waking hours.

Marketers have noticed. Social-networking services increasingly are indispensable business tools, says Forrester Research. According to its survey of 1,217 business decision makers worldwide late last year, 95% use social networks to some extent.

And 53% of more than 300 marketers planned to increase social-media marketing spending this year, according to a Forrester presentation in April.

Some of the biggest companies — Ford, Levi Strauss and Chevron, to name a few — are reengineering marketing operations to embrace digital tools to more nimbly brand products, support customers and cash in on the social-media wave. In doing so, they are creating online communities and aggressive outreach programs, and being brutally honest in talking directly to their customers/followers/fans/friends.

“It was an easy call. This is where our customers are,” says Megan O’Connor, director of digital marketing at Levi’s. The more-than-150-year-old company last month launched a social-media program on Facebook and Twitter along with a larger “Go Forth” traditional marketing campaign. Its goal is to burnish its brand name among young men.

Grown up digital

At their core, social networks are fostering a blistering number of personal connections and chatter online. The share of Americans 18 and over online who use a social-networking service more than quadrupled to 35% in 2008 from 8% in 2005, according to Pew Internet & American Life Project.

“It’s the modern-day version of knitting — to kill downtime,” says Kaitlin Villanova, 26, a social-media strategist in Brooklyn who is an avid iPhone user. “I use social networking to communicate, bank, comparison shop, everything.”

Facebook is up to 250 million members, 50 million of whom joined in the past three months. In April, they spent 13.9 billion minutes on Facebook, up 700% from April 2008, says Nielsen NetView.

More than 300,000 businesses — one-third of them small businesses — have a presence on Facebook. Members of its fastest-growing demographic — those 35 and older — have enormous purchasing power, a powerful incentive to marketers.

Twitter has about 40 million users who each day produce a staggering amount of tweets, Twitter’s quaint word to describe short messages. Its users spent nearly 300 million minutes on the site in April, 3,712% more than in April 2008, Nielsen says.

Increasingly, consumers don’t search for products and services. Rather, services come to their attention via social media, says Erik Qualman, author of Socialnomics, a new book that explains how social media have changed how companies do business.

Social-networking-savvy businesses have appointed social-media directors to help:

•Add customers quickly. When software maker Intuit built a site for small businesses in late January, it integrated elements of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, the social network for business professionals. After 12 weeks, it generated more than 1 million visits and helped spike QuickBooks unit shipments 57% in June, year-over-year.

“Social (media) is one of the key trends driving our business,” says Kira Wampler, social-media marketing leader at Intuit. “It’s more than pure marketing. It’s about fast connections with customers and building an ongoing relationship.”

National pizza chain Papa John’s added 148,000 fans on Nov. 17 through a guerrilla marketing campaign on Facebook. It offered a free medium pizza to anyone who signed up to be its fan on Facebook. The promotion gained it thousands of customers and drove its Web traffic up 253%. It now has more than 300,000 fans and hopes to top 1 million by the end of the year.

•Word-of-mouth marketing. Sometimes a company’s best advocates are its customers. Just ask Best Buy and MyFICO, the consumer division of Fair Isaac, which invented the FICO credit-risk score used by lenders. They’ve built specialized online communities where their customers freely evaluate products and services.

Those who visit MyFICO’s community website are spending 41% more than other customers, says Lyle Fong, CEO of software Lithium, which helps build online communities for more than 150 companies, including MyFICO.

Nine in 10 consumers trust their peers more than marketers, according to a recent survey of 25,000 by Nielsen.

The Federal Trade Commission is in the process of amending guidelines that would require bloggers to disclose their relationships with marketers whose products they endorse, says Mary Engle, associate director of advertising practices for the FTC.

•Enhance customer service. For more than a year, Comcast has pioneered the use of Twitter to talk directly to customers. Its Twitter page, @comcastcares, has 28,000 followers.

Comcast’s blueprint for unfettered customer support — no more waiting on hold on the phone — fomented a movement. Software maker Sage North America, to cite another example, routinely receives instant feedback from hundreds of people within an hour on specific products and services. “It is a living, breathing, 24/7 think tank of users and employees,” says Ryan Zuk, a company spokesman.

Besides being instant, such feedback is cheap. Typically, companies have relied on third-party focus groups that let them observe the reactions of customers during a two-hour session that can cost $10,000 to $15,000, says Natalie L. Petouhoff, an analyst at Forrester Research.

Lenovo has seen a 20% reduction in call-center activity in the U.S. over six months because nearly 50,000 customers go to its community website for information about laptops.

•Speak directly to customers. Blogs, Twitter or Facebook can be an ideal forum for CEOs to offer customers a candid viewpoint.

When a hack attack disabled Twitter’s service for hours this month, co-founder Biz Stone gave up-to-the-minute updates on the company’s blog.

The Carphone Warehouse, Europe’s leading independent retailer of mobile phones and services, has a simple credo: It says, “I’m sorry” when necessary on its Twitter page for customer support.

“There is no gap between the CEO and customer. They now talk directly to each other,” says Promise Phelon, CEO of UpMo, a career-management website. “The network is so connected, there’s no need for a middleman.”

“These customers want honesty, and quickly,” says Shiv Singh, who wrote a report on social-media marketing for ad agency Razorfish.

Challenges ahead

But with rewards come risks.

Reaching out to millions of consumers who thrive online around the clock requires an investment, a different type of thinking and some courage, says Petouhoff. She spent six months on a just-released report on monetization of social-media tools at 20 companies, including Lenovo and Intuit.

Many companies — reflecting the general public’s sentiment toward social media — fall into two camps: Those who embrace it and those who eschew it. “Those that don’t know how to get their arms around it seem to be held back by worrying about the legal implications of customers helping customers, and about being too honest with customers,” Petouhoff says.

Most corporations are still wedded to a traditional marketing approach, based on TV, radio and print ads, says Charlene Li, partner at technology consulting firm Altimeter Group. “Ford and Levi’s are at the avant-garde of social-media use, but they are not typical,” she says.

A social-media plan is hardly a guarantee of success, Li and others say. While some companies — especially market leaders such as Starbucks and Nike with consumer products — are predisposed to the medium, others aren’t. Tightly regulated health care providers, for example, may think twice about making the public’s comments readily available on Facebook or Twitter.

“Social media is not the messiah,” says Michael Brito, social-media strategist at Intel. “It is one of several tools.”

Still, a growing number of marketers can’t afford to ignore millions of potential customers who are consuming media in new ways.

Three-fourths of men ages 18 to 34 say they spend most of their time in front of a computer screen vs. 18% in front of a TV screen, according to a survey of 50,000 by AskMen.com, a lifestyle website. Those who don’t have a social-media plan don’t at their own risk, say marketing experts.

“Companies have no choice. This is where their customers are going,” says Shel Israel, author of the forthcoming Twitterville: How Businesses Can Thrive in the New Global Neighborhoods. “Companies have no choice. This is where their customers are going.”

source: USA Today

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Customer Service? Ask a Volunteer

HERE’S the job description: You spend a few hours a day, up to 20 a week, at your computer, supplying answers online to customer questions about technical matters like how to set up an Internet home network or how to program a new high-definition television.

The pay: $0.

A shabby form of exploitation? Not to Justin McMurry of Keller, Tex., who spends about that amount of time helping customers of Verizon’s high-speed fiber optic Internet, television and telephone service, which the company is gradually rolling out across the country.

Mr. McMurry is part of an emerging corps of Web-savvy helpers that large corporations, start-up companies and venture capitalists are betting will transform the field of customer service.

Such enthusiasts are known as lead users, or super-users, and their role in contributing innovations to product development and improvement — often selflessly — has been closely researched in recent years. There have been case studies of early skateboarders and mountain bikers and their pioneering tweaks to their gear, for example, and of the programmers who were behind open-source software like the Linux operating system. These unpaid contributors, it seems, are motivated mainly by a payoff in enjoyment and respect among their peers.

But can this same kind of economy of social rewards develop in the realm of customer service? It is, after all, a field that companies typically regard as a costly nuisance and that consumers often view as a source of frustration.

A look at the evolving experiment that Verizon Communications began in July suggests that company-sponsored online communities for customer service, if handled adeptly, hold considerable promise.

Mark Studness, director of e-commerce at Verizon, is a software engineer by training and an avid consumer electronics tinkerer whose home projects have included installing high-end audiovisual systems. In those projects, he has often visited Web sites where users offer one another tips and answer questions. Verizon, Mr. Studness determined, needed to find a smart way to try to tap into that potential resource for customer service.

In talking to people and surveying the research on voluntary online communities, Verizon concluded that super-users would be crucial to success.

“You have to make an environment that attracts the Justin McMurrys of the world, because that’s where the magic happens,” Mr. Studness said.

Natalie L. Petouhoff, an analyst at Forrester Research, said that online user groups conform to what she calls the 1-9-90 rule. About 1 percent of those in the community, she explained, are super-users who supply most of the best answers and commentary. An additional 9 percent are “responders” who mainly reply and rate Web posts, she said, and the other 90 percent are “readers” who primarily peruse and search the Web site for useful information.

“The 90 percent will come,” Ms. Petouhoff said, “if you have the 1 percent.”

Verizon explored the alternative of building the Web site and managing the forums itself, but it decided to call on outside expertise. Several suppliers, including HelpStream, Jive Software and Telligent, offer corporate social networking software with customer service features. Verizon chose Lithium Technologies, a fast-growing start-up based in Emeryville, Calif.

Lithium comes to online customer service from a heritage in gaming. Its chief executive and co-founder, Lyle Fong, was a founder of GX Media, which developed a leading Web site, Gamers.com, and created technologies for professional rankings and tournaments.

Lithium’s current roster of 125 clients includes AT&T, BT, iRobot, Linksys, Best Buy and Nintendo.

The mentality of super-users in online customer-service communities is similar to that of devout gamers, according to Mr. Fong. Lithium’s customer service sites for companies, for example, offer elaborate rating systems for contributors, with ranks, badges and “kudos counts.”

“That alone is addictive,” Mr. Fong said. “They are revered by their peers.”

Benchmark Capital, a venture capital firm that invested $12 million in Lithium last year, was impressed with the company’s gaming background and its focus on catering to super-users to build communities. Peter Fenton, a Benchmark general partner, said that many of the most popular consumer Web sites and services, from Wikipedia to Twitter, are animated by a relatively small percentage of avid users.

“In customer service, it’s still very early, but I think it’s likely the same pattern will play out,” said Mr. Fenton, who serves on the boards of both Twitter and Yelp, a site where users post reviews of restaurants and other local businesses.

At Verizon, Mr. Studness says he is pleased with the experiment so far. He calls the company-sponsored customer-service site “a very productive tool,” partly because it absorbs many thousands of questions that would otherwise be expensive calls to a Verizon call center.

But the online forums, he added, also provide customer ideas for improvements in hardware and software for the company’s fiber optic service, as well as a large, growing and searchable knowledge base online.

“One answer can help thousands,” he said.

Mr. McMurry, who is 68 and a retired software engineer, is supplying answers by the bushel. He joined the Verizon-sponsored forums in August after reading about them on another technical Web site. A scan through his lengthy list of posts shows a range from the straightforward (programming a DVR remotely by computer) to the arcane (the fine points of HDMI technology, for High-Definition Multimedia Interface).

As a software expert, Mr. McMurry has taught training classes. “Seeing the light turn on in their eyes when they understood was exciting,” he said.

His online tutoring, he observed, brings a similar satisfaction.

“People seem to like most of what I say online, and I like doing it,” he said.

MR. McMURRY has a lofty ranking as a “Silver II” contributor to the site and as a community leader, denoted by “CL” in a red box next to his name. Community leaders also have their own forum, have direct access to Verizon technical staff members and get early glimpses of new products — all a part of cultivating super-users.

“Who knows how long I’ll keep doing this,” Mr. McMurry said, “but I’m enjoying it now.”

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: May 3, 2009
The Unboxed column last Sunday, about online volunteers who perform customer-service work for companies, misstated the amount that Benchmark Capital invested last year in Lithium Technologies, which supplies software for customer-service communities. It was $12 million, not $9 billion.

source: NY Times

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