Participate In Our 2011 Social Data Survey

Do you use a listening platform? Maybe a social media monitoring tool? Or work with a social analytics vendor? All of the above? Well if you do, we need your help. Today we're kicking off the second annual report covering the many ways businesses use social media data. Our goal is to find out who uses social data, how they use it, and for which business purposes. To answer these questions, we've created a survey (available here and below) that will ask you about your experience with social listening tools.

Our survey last year created this report, and I'm eager to see how the market has changed over the last year. For example, last year we learned that most listening platform users conduct fairly basic tasks with the tool — such as brand or competitive tracking, or quick market research, as seen in the graph below. Now I want to see if, a year later, an increased percentage of companies use social data for more interactive tasks — such as sales or customer support.

This is a big annual project for us, and it's great fuel for my ongoing research, so please help us out and take this short (5-10 minute) survey on your use of social listening tools. In return, we will send you a free copy of the research — hopefully publishing in early October — with which you can benchmark your current work against the rest of the market, learn about new ways to use listening tools, and get an understanding of how to improve your social data practices.

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Turbocharge Customer Service With Social Channels

We all know that companies are trying to leverage social channels for customer service. But how can they be deployed in a way that adds value to an organization? Here are my thoughts:

You can’t implement social technologies in a silo within your contact center because you have to be able to deliver a consistent experience across the communication channels you support: voice, the electronic ones, and the social ones. Read my blog post on how you can do this.

Once you get the basics right, you are ready to add social media capabilities. Best practices include:

  • Start by listening to customer conversations. These conversations can surface general issues with products, services, and company processes. Make sure you create workflows to route surfaced issues to the correct organization so they can be worked on.
  • Flag and address social inquiries. Understand the general sentiments expressed in these conversations, but also identify specific customer inquiries and route them to the right agent pool for resolution.
  • Extend your customer service ecosystem with communities. This allows your customers to share information, best practices, and how-to tips with each other, as well as get advice without needing to interact with your agents. But don’t implement them in a technology silo; they should be well-integrated with current contact center processes.
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How I'm Using Google+ (Hint: It's About Relevance)

If you were to glance at my Google+ profile, you’d probably think I’m practically inactive. But what you’re seeing is the public view of a very targeted set of actions, based on relevance.

I like to have different kinds of conversations with different people, so when I share content it’s with circles that designate not only relationship but topics too, and Google+ makes it really easy for me to be highly relevant in this way. Take, for example, politics. I like to talk about it, but I’m rarely interested in fighting, so when I share a politically focused news article, it’s not enough to be in my Friends circle. To see it, you have to be in my Friends-Politics circle, where I’ve included people who I know I’ll have an interesting conversation with that won’t result in insults and multiple exclamation points. 

There is one thing missing if relevance is an aim of the platform. As of today, my relevance-based circles only apply to what I share with others. What would be especially helpful would be a way to limit the content I see from others in that circle to the topic I’ve assigned it. For example, I’m following Christian Oestlien, one of the Google+ product managers, specifically for updates about Google+. So while the YouTube music videos and Onion articles he posts are probably funny, I can’t say I’m particularly interested in seeing them from him. Now, if one of the people in my Friends-Hilarious circle posted them, that’s another story . . ..

So what are the implications for brands?

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How Do You Collect Marketing Data? Tell Us In A Survey Or Join Our #IMChat On Tuesday August 2nd

This is my first official blog post as a Forrester analyst, and I’m extremely excited to be a part of the community. So who am I? Before joining Forrester, I was an interactive marketer, a “traditional” marketer, and also a strategy and analytics consultant on the service provider side. Most recently, I served as director of relationship marketing at the National Basketball Association, where I focused on acquiring, engaging, and monetizing fan relationships through digital channels.

My background centers mostly on interactive marketing and CRM/database marketing, and my research will concentrate on that intersection. Currently, I’m readying reports on innovations in email marketing and developing interactive marketing dashboards. Looking ahead, my research will cover topics such as identifying and targeting influencers, the future of online messaging, converting social media followers into customers, and calculating the value of digital marketing assets.

To help jumpstart new research about data collection best practices for interactive marketers, I’m soliciting feedback through two opportunities:

  1. Take this quick 8-question survey about your data collection practices. We’ll share the results with you.
  2. Join us for Tuesday’s tweet jam to talk about the challenges faced when collecting data for interactive marketing programs.
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