Reminder: Deadline For The Forrester Groundswell Awards Is August 3rd

Every summer we play host to the Forrester Groundswell Awards, a contest to find the best examples of social media success. This will be our fifth year running the awards (and my fourth year helping organize and judge entries), and I'm eager to see how far we've come in the industry. To see highlights of previous years, check out this earlier post on past Forrester Groundswell Award Winners.

These awards are a great opportunity for you (or your clients) to get recognized for your work. We publicly highlight the best applications here on the Forrester blogs, announce the winners at Forrester Conferences this fall, and often use many of the winning (and runner-up) entries in our research throughout the year. So if you want exposure for your success, it's an easy way to get your work in front of the masses.

So entering is easy, but how do you win? Here's a list - borrowed from the Forrester Groundswell Awards' creator, Josh Bernoff - to help give you the best chance:

1. Put numbers in your entry to demonstrate that your applications created business value.

2. Include a link to an online site where we can see how your application works.

3. Enter in a category where you can stand out: B2C, B2B, international, or corporate applications, with clear objectives.

4. Start now. The best entries take a while to prepare, and you may need to get your client's permission.

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How To Use Social Data - And How Not To!

We work with a lot of different types of marketers at Forrester, and we always customize the recommendations we deliver to different clients based upon their unique situations and needs. But over the past few years there's one piece of advice I've found myself giving nearly every company I work with: "Hire a listening vendor."

I love listening platforms and the social data they create; it's a powerful source of information that, used correctly, can make marketers and their programs more effective. But not enough marketers are taking advantage of these benefits.

No matter what type of company you work for -- indeed, whether you work directly with social media or not -- you should be using social data right now to:

  1. Develop your messaging. If you want to create messages that resonate with your audience, you need to know what they care about. Many of our past Forrester Groundswell Award winners have used private listening communities to craft their marketing messages; increasingly, we're seeing companies use data from public social media to guide their messaging as well.
  2. Source your creative. We know that consumers trust what they hear from other consumers more than any other source of information -- why not use listening platforms to identify positive social content that can be included in campaign creative? I've even seen a UK bank, First Direct, use social sentiment data in an outdoor advertising campaign.
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