Build Social Compliance Bridges, Not Blockades — For Your Own Sake

Nick Hayes

Compliance pros, try to recall your last interaction with your marketing peers about social media: How did it go? Was it productive? Who initiated the conversation?

If you’re like many organizations today, your answers go something like this: “Not well,” “no,” and “not me.”

Do you see a pattern? Now to be fair, marketers’ responses end up looking pretty similar. Just check out the questions my colleague Erna Alfred Liousas asked her marketing peers: Even hearing the word “compliance,” marketers shiver, sigh, or break into hives (or all three). This is the problem. Compliance turns into a roadblock, and you become the pariah vetoing valuable, brand-boosting marketing initiatives. Worse yet, the projects don’t go away; they come back and create more work, more reviews, and more wasted time and resources.

You can turn this around, and the benefits go far beyond work reduction. How? By building strong marketing partnerships and compliant initiatives early on. This allows you to:

  • Eliminate burdensome future compliance work. Social marketing initiatives that avoid compliance either result in live scenarios that put the organization at risk of costly fines or they end up on your desk at the last minute. Either way, you end up with more work. Or, you can partner with marketing at the beginning, identify compliance issues and propose suitable alternate strategies that reduce future friction.
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Start Silo-Busting: Strengthen Your Relationship With Compliance

Erna Alfred Liousas

What comes to mind when you hear the word “compliance”? Do you shiver, sigh, break out into hives, or all three? Believe it or not, your compliance colleagues are crucial to your social marketing success. This is especially true for marketers in regulated spaces such as financial services, healthcare, and pharmaceuticals. I can share from personal experience that my social marketing success at American Express was in part due to the relationships I fostered with compliance, legal, and even outside legal counsel — in fact, I’m still in touch with those former colleagues. Given the importance of breaking down the marketing compliance silo, I partnered with my colleague Nick Hayes on a new report, Bridge The Divide Between Social Marketing And Compliance. And though the intention of this report is to help marketers in regulated industries, Nick and I both agree that all marketers can benefit from it. 

Below are three takeaways to help you elevate your relationship with compliance:

  • Don’t make procrastination an option. Yes, it’s true, most healthcare or pharma social media-related regulations aren’t consistently updated. But that doesn’t mean you can or should procrastinate about initiating a conversation with compliance. Your social marketing success rests upon a few factors, including your relationship with your compliance colleagues.
  • Create structure around your approach. Our “research, align, implement, and optimize” approach is a repeatable process that can jump-start your compliance conversation (see below). This will eventually help you establish a solid relationship and, ultimately, trust with your stakeholders. In addition, you’ll have a clearer understanding of their perspective on social.
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Brands On Social Crisis: "The Sky Is Falling!"

Jessica Liu
Much ink has been spilled over United Airlines' latest public incident and social media's role in rapidly spreading video of a passenger being dragged off an airplane. Today's consumers are more polarized than ever and increasingly expressing their opinions and showing their own values in the way they spend their money. Brands worry about making missteps on social media and falling out of favor, prompting them to ask: "How can my brand respond to a social crisis?" In reality, the question they should be asking is: "How can my brand plan for any social crisis so that when it hits, our response is clear and automatic?"
 
Navigating today's social environment requires returning to crisis management basics. Brands with established and rehearsed crisis management plans — no matter the channel — will rise above the fray. In our latest Forrester report, "Social Crisis Management: Get Back To Basics," we discuss social crisis management 101:  
 
  • Let your brand pillars be your guide. Your brand's values should be the foundation for how your brand behaves in all situations, including on social media. Sure, brand values can be malleable but they should be strong enough to prepare you for worst-case scenarios. 
  • Document your tolerance for brand risk. Companies must also have a stated and widely-known policy for brand risk, such as a willingness to take chances with brand reputation or a threshold for negative publicity. 
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Don’t Let That Social Post Pass You By

Jessica Liu

Social marketing often feels like running a race against an unlikely competitor: your own customers. In the social media world, consumer behaviors and technical functionality evolve so quickly that the minute you feel good about your social presence and perhaps have even pulled neck-and-neck with your customers’ social media behaviors, they surge ahead and leave you in the dust. What’s your technique to keep up with this superior runner in this course-shifting race? Do you have a methodical training approach before the big race or do you improvise after you push off from the starting block? Most runners will tell you that it’s preferable to be in the former camp and not the latter.

The pace of social technology change and the volume of short shelf-life content make social networks a real-time media channel. Yet, marketers have trouble managing social content at the speed that it demands. Unlike traditional media channels (TV, print, and even digital banner ads), “social media” and “we’ve got months to do this” are rarely uttered in the same breath. As part of our new Social Marketing Playbook launch, the Processes chapter gives marketers a structure for managing social content in real-time and striking a balance between inbound inquiries and outbound messaging. Marketers ultimately need:

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Make Your Social Efforts Count With The POST Process

Erna Alfred Liousas

Marketers face continuous uphill battles when it comes to social media. Whether it’s an emerging social network, an algorithm change within an existing social network, or the technology that enables social across an enterprise, change is constant. And these changes don’t even account for behavioral changes among our prospects and customers. The situation will only become more challenging, so we urge marketers to embrace the POST process when developing marketing initiatives and to figure out where social can bolster your initiatives.   

POST — which stands for people, objectives, strategy, and technology — is a tried-and-true process to create relevant marketing initiatives. Don’t get lost in the chaos of constant changes in social media. Samantha Ngo and I have written a new report to reinforce the benefits of POST; it highlights how to think through the process and shares details and examples to help you develop social tactics that further your marketing efforts.  This report will help you:
 
  • Understand your customer’s view of social media before developing your marketing initiative
  • Define your marketing objective and its impact
  • Determine the best tactics to tie your audience and objective together
  • Find the right social technology to help you implement your cohesive strategy
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The Data Digest: Forrester's Social Technographics 2016

Gina Fleming

To build a successful social media program you need to understand your audience’s social media behaviors and preferences. We just released our 2016 results for Forrester's Social Technographics model, and it does just that. It shows how important social should be in your marketing plans based on how important social tools are in your customers’ life cycle. We group consumers into four groups: Social Skippers, Snackers, Savvies and Stars—the Skippers spurn commercial social interactions and the Stars demand it.

What did we find this year? In 2016, the average US online adult receives an overall score of 40 and fits into our Social Savvies category. Social Savvies consider social tools a part of their everyday lives. On average, US online adults score highly for explore and discover— they use social tools to discover new products and also to explore them when they’re considering their purchases. Compared to last year, US consumers are slightly more social media savvy in 2016: The Social Technographics Score for the average US online adult has increased from 37 in 2015 to 40 in 2016. 

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Who Am I Really Talking To On Social Media (And Do They Even Care)?

Jessica Liu

Don’t worry; you’re not the only one wondering.

Forrester’s POST methodology for social marketing success dictates four steps: 
1. People
2. Objective
3. Strategy
4. Technology

Often, marketers lead with T, but they need to start with P. The $64,000 question about People is not whether customers use social media, but rather if they want to engage with brands on social media at all, and if so, how. That’s right, the first and most important question is not whether your competitors are on social media or if the latest social network has the coolest ad format; it’s what your customers want from your brand. Marketers need to know this to guide how (or if) they add social to their overall marketing strategy.

As part of our new Social Marketing Playbook launch, the Landscape chapter explains how Forrester’s latest Social Technographics® model helps marketers answer:

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"Social Marketing" Strategies Are Holding You Back

Melissa Parrish

Social marketing is at a crossroads.

The explosive popularity of social media over the last decade led many B2C marketers to launch social programs, often without any strategy or even an understanding of what they hoped to accomplish. Since then, nearly all marketers have jumped on the social media bandwagon launching Instagram accounts and influencer programs, putting UGC on their websites, buying listening platforms and ads, and, yes, maintaining a Facebook page -- but many are struggling to articulate the value of all this “social.” What’s going wrong and where do marketers go from here?

In order for marketers to take back the reins on their social practices, they must realize two fundamental things:

First, that “social media” is not one single channel. It is a collection of technologies -- from social networks to blogs; ratings and reviews to full-blown communities; and everything in between -- that allow people to connect with each other, whether that’s friends connecting with friends, consumers connecting with brands, or employees connecting with each other.

And second, since it’s not a single channel that you can turn on and off with the flick of a switch, it’s not something for which you need a single dedicated strategy. Instead, you need a marketing strategy in which social tactics and technologies are employed and deployed where they’ll help you make the most progress toward your goals.

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Snaps for Snapchat

Jessica Liu

Bloomberg recently reported that Snapchat surpassed Twitter in daily active users. Kudos to Snapchat, which is only half as old as Twitter, but why do we keep comparing Snapchat to Twitter? Or to Instagram? The industry is desperate to neatly categorize Snapchat under social media, but I would argue that Snapchat is equal parts messaging app and social network, putting it in a class of its own.

Let's break it down:

  • Messaging apps are built on the premise of private conversation: 1 to 1 (yes, group chat exists, but it's contained). You send specific messages tailored to the individual recipient. See: WhatsApp, WeChat, Skype, Viber, LINE, Telegram, Kik. With the exception of Asia's sophisticated app hybrids, today's messaging apps are not intended for blanket broadcast messaging.
  • Traditional social networks are built on the premise of broadcasting: 1 to many. You build up a network of friends (and, in some cases, the general public) and you blanket spam them with your post. See: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest. While they accommodate private conversation (Facebook Messenger is its own rightful messaging app, Instagram's and Twitter's Direct Message, LinkedIn InMail), it is not their primary foundation.
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Boomerang: More Than Just a Weapon

Melissa Parrish

Forrester has a long tradition of boomerangs— former employees who re-join the company—and I joined their ranks back in January. It’s been an incredibly busy first few months, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. The quick re-immersion has meant that I’ve started to solidify my coverage area (social marketing primarily with a bit of overall marketing strategy sprinkled in), had some great collaborations with the rest of the social team (Erna, Jessie and Sam), and already have an updated piece of research to share.

We’ve just published our updated Vision report for the Social Marketing Playbook, Integrate Social Into Your Marketing RaDaR. With the near-ubiquity of social—both in consumers’ lives and marketers’ plans—it’s more important than ever to ensure that you have a strategic, measurable approach to social marketing. This updated report has new data and examples to help you make the most of social across the entire customer lifecycle, making the just-checking-the-box style of social planning as unnecessary as it is obsolete.

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