Your competitors are feeding off your ecosystem.

Twitter Lists is not as well known or used by some folks as some other twitter features but it is an important function. It allows Twitters users to create custom groups of Twitter accounts. It is indented as publically available groups: “My favorite friends”, “Best Sports News Sources”, etc. It is something that can tell my friends about other Twitter users. In reality it is mostly used as a heavy promotional tool, with its core ability to feed off other user’s ecosystem. Let’s say you have a competitor. You have a twitter account with 10,000 followers. You are doing really well. Lots of engagement: mentions, RTs – things are going great. Your competitor on the other hand is not that known, yet he does understand that the 10,000 followers that you have is his prime target. These are the folks that have shown interest in what you do and thus will be extremely interested in what he does. Hmm, what can he do to attract this crowd effectively? He can try to follow each one of the folks that you follow. Might help some – but doubtful to have massive impact. It is quite direct too and may not result in much attention. There is something very sneaky that he can do however! He can create a Twitter List and add you to it. Seems innocent enough, but now he is tapping into your ecosystem, you and him now belong to the same group of “Best Companies in Business” or whatever name he decides to give to this list. The two names will now be mentioned in the same sentence. It will come up in the searches, etc, etc.

Dealing with this tactic is easy but does require timely reaction. You can simply block that user. That removes you from that list and removes any notion that the two entities are somehow related to one another.

This is one of the features we offer at Social Report. You can monitor your twitter lists all the time. We also send you a daily email with a list of new groups via email.

Metrics That Matter: Social Engagement Defined

Social Report

We have spent quite a bit of time looking at dozens of data points through-out social networks: posts, comments, likes, follows, check-ins, etc. These data points then make their way onto our dashboard and this is how you can keep track of them. We call these matrices ‘social activity’ and it is a valuable source of information. Let’s give ‘social activity’ a formal definition:

“Social activity represents any events within social networks that are either involving your directly or indirectly”

For example – your friend updating his employment status on LinkedIn is social activity. So is your friend mentioning you or perhaps liking your post.
While this level of information is quite helpful one can easily spot a problem – the noise level is quite high – lots of events that don’t necessarily require my immediate attention. There is a subset of these events of very high interest – events that involve you (your business, your customer, etc). Examples of such events include – gaining a new follower, or getting a new comment on my page, etc. This is really what you want to get a lot of – having people engage you! Let’s define “engagement” phenomena:

“Engagement is a social event that involves your directly and/or has impact on your social presence”

Examples of engagement include: new comments, RTs, check-in to your venues, likes of your videos on YouTube, clicks on your links, etc, etc.

The more engagement you have the better! Why? Because engagement leads to getting your community (your friends, fans, followers) to do things you want them to! For example, if you are a business – this is your way of getting your community to buy things from you. If you have a person who got interested in your post and went out of this way to comment on it – clearly – this is a prime customer candidate.

There is one more element to this equation however. Once you got engaged – you need to engage back! This is where you get to be creative! Let’s take a comment on your page as an example. Even if the comment did not require a response – you should still consider responding. Keep the conversations going! Don’t forget you are not just chatting with this user. You are talking to all of his or her friends! That might be hundreds of people!

After a while you might have an “action plan” for every engagement event that happens. This is your “social strategy”. Let’s define that as well:

“Social strategy is an action plan for every engagement event that happens and a set of regular activities that you perform to foster more engagement”

So, where do you start? You can start with properly maintaining your social presence – keep it up to date and informative. Once you get some engagement in your networks – make sure not to overlook it! Keep the conversation going!

Customer Service using Twitter. A good idea?

Customer Service using TwitterHere at Social Report we use a basic ticketing system that allows customers to us ask questions and allows us to track our response to them. Each ticket is a conversation. This setup is quite standard and simple to manage.

With emergence of social networks as means of communication many companies communicate with their customers using Twitter (among other options).

A customer may tweet “Hey @SomeCompany – I having a problem with my account” and the company may respond “Hello @TheCustomer, sorry, can you let us know what specifically is not working?”. You get the idea.

The problem is that unlike traditional form of communication (did I just call email – traditional? J) – this chat ends up being seen by all of your followers. Is this ideal? Your customer’s question was not visible to your followers. Your response is however! If you are using your Twitter feed as means of communicating with your followers about your product, latest news, news features. When someone follows you on Twitter in some ways they are entrusting you with being respectful of their privacy. The will most certainly stop following you if you start abusing this trust. This customer support inquiry response may be the noise that your followers simply don’t need. They may also get annoyed. So basically while you were trying to help one customer you just annoyed all others.

Would you be interested in hearing about another person’s issue? Probably not! It is obviously somewhat subjective – some may argue that fostering conversation is a great community building tactic. This is what may get others to take part in discussions. Others may however say that information overload is a big issue already – that figuring out a way to only see information that is relevant to you is difficult as it stands.

To be completely fair however certain questions and responses are great for all to see. This may indeed be appropriate for us and not appropriate for others. Just considers all pros and cons when deciding to support your customers using any social media platforms.

Social metrics that don’t mean anything.

We have been recently asked about adding Twitter reach and impressions to our analytics. We had all the data already so it was a no brainer – we went ahead and added it. We did however took a moment to see what these numbers actually meant as it seemed like these two measurements (reach and impressions) were widely used and accepted by many.

According to TweetReach.com – reach and impressions are defined as follows:

Simply put impressions are a total number of people that have potentially seen your message and reach is a number of unique people.

We should emphasize the “potentially” part.  Love it! Hypothetical marketing! Perhaps payments for these marketing efforts should also be hypothetical :)

Twitter feed is a drive-by. If you happen to be there when the message is passing by – you will see it. If you are not, you will never even know about it. As a matter of fact even if you try to find it later – it will take you enormous amount of time. Twitter has little in terms of historical search. It is a though twitter only wants you to see “the present”.

It seems that the premise for reach and impressions is coming from web impression measurement. Just like there are impressions in the web analytics world – these social metrics are trying to do the same. These are hardly analogous though. Web impressions are a result of one’s physical action – clicking on the link, typing the address, etc. When someone tells you that you had 1000 impressions on the web – you know what that means – 1000 actual people (give or take a few bot hits) saw your page. When you are told that you had 1000 twitter impressions – you can’t even begin to estimate what that truly means. Clearly only a fraction of these folks really saw it. How many? No one knows.

Perhaps the only way to truly figure this out is from twitter. Hopefully one day they will make Twitter Insights available to all. They certainly can tell if a tweet has been served into a user’s timeline.

All other attempts at measuring impressions and reach are completely off the mark.

 

Business Reviews and TripAdvisor

The popularity of consumers using the net to share their experiences with various businesses continues to grow. For the travel industry, both large and small business owners utilize these opinions in their everyday operations. Most businesses are closely monitoring any mention of their brand and services on twitter, facebook and other popular social media platforms. Although data gathered from social networks should not be ignored, not all travel related information can be harvested off these sites. Each page of the TripAdvisor site is dedicated to useful information on many of the world’s destinations.  TripAdvisor features more than 100 million travel reviews and opinions on places and businesses around the world. With 60 new contributions posted every minute, a future traveler can easily determine which stops to include or exclude from their itinerary, where to dine, or at which lodging to stay.  TripAdvisor mentions over 2,500,000 businesses. The site covers over 116,000 destinations and more than 1,100,000 accommodations of which 700,000+ are hotels and 400,000+ are vacation rentals. To further aid in making the best travel decisions the site hosts over 14,000,000 candid travel photos. TripAdvisor branded sites make up the largest travel community in the world, with more than 200 million unique monthly visitors**.

Customers’ satisfaction in the travel industry is a key to business success. Millions of people will go through the rotating doors of a hotel; some have to take their everyday world with them while others wish to leave it behind.  Satisfying the needs of so many different customers makes the industry so much more challenging.  In addition, the trip is not just governed by a single venue. A poor treatment at the traveler’s place of lodging can set a negative precedence for all of their activities in the area. This very well may result in negative reviews for a nearby restaurant, a shopping center, a spa, hair salon and other businesses. It is crucial for these business owners to monitor their performance and that of their community.

Utilizing Social Report tool to monitor TripAdvisor, a business can be in the know of all the reviews coming their way.  They can also set up campaigns to monitor the reviews and other viable information of the nearby businesses. For example if you are a restaurant owner that constantly get great reviews, yet you find your sales on decline you might elect to use Social Report to monitor TripAdvisor activities of the nearby businesses along with your own.  It is possible that a nearby hotel is constantly receiving poor reviews, such as “Accommodations are too high, will not be returning or recommending this place to others”. This loss of a customer will not just affect the quoted hotel but your business as well.  Being aware of this situation you may make concessions and pair up with this hotel to offer lodging and dining packages.  This way a consumer will leave satisfied and draw more business your way by leaving positive reviews.

With Social Report you are also not just limited to monitoring TripAdvisor activities. You can continue to scan for mentions on twitter, facebook and many others networks. The benefit of Social Report over any other tool is that you don’t have to go out and search for data and then compile it into meaningful information. The experts at Social Report had already done this for you, by presenting you with a complete picture of how you, your industry and your geography stand out as a whole among other competitors.  TripAdvisor is one of many sites that Social Report is offering for your monitor and analysis needs. Our research team is constantly scouting the net in effort to bring other sites into our network and to ensure that you are not missing out on any valuable information that can be used to make your business a success.

 

*Source: comScore Media Metrix for TripAdvisor Sites, worldwide, April 2013

**Source: Google Analytics, worldwide data, May 2013

 

Location Aware, Geocoded Social Publishing

Geosocial networking

Geosocial networking

When publishing to social networks we often find ourselves focused on the content and target audience. These factors are clearly important – we want our message to be meaningful and interesting to our communities. Most social media managers also realize that spicing up a publication with an image or perhaps a video also makes a big difference with respect to message penetration and reach. More beautiful posts get a lot more attention than their “design-less” counterparts.

The one thing that we often overlook is that there is one element to our post that can help us tap into a very different subset of our community – those who are interested and follow local events. The boom of location based networks such as Foursquare and Gowalla is a testament to a very large number of folks being very interested in local events or events in or around where they are now.

This is called – geocoding. It simply means that you can add invisible ‘tags’ to your publications – something that none can really see but something that networks use to deliver location based information to those who are interested.

Takes a second to do and gives you, the publisher, much better chance of reached your target audience more effectively and precisely. You might be located in Texas or Wyoming but still have ability to reach out to folks Boston or New York.

You can utilize Social Report‘s Campaign Manager and publish geocoded message to variety of networks and study the impact of publishing location aware tweets, statuses and page updates. Very simple to use and comes with powerful reporting.

Social Report in under 3 minutes.

Social Report something for everyone who is actively using social presence to achieve certain goals. Social Report is the platform that will enable you to get a much firmer grasp on metrics around your social campaigns and accounts.

Increase your brand exposure with vanity short links

Any time you post on social networks your links come out shortened. Some popular link shorteners are bit.ly, goo.gl and many others. There are 2 main reasons for wanting to shorten links that are included in your posts:

  • Shortening your links gives you more space on places like Twitter where you have a hard limit of 140 characters in your message.
  • You also can easily track quite a bit of data from shortened links. Things like clicks, referrers, geo, etc.

Most tools available on the market today, free and commercial would offer you an automatic link shortening using a short link company that they have integrated with. So know that you are happily using short link service of your choice there is one more thing you can do to take advantage of this functionality even more. Make those short links read something related to your brand and domain.  So instead of people reading your message and having to click on the link that says something cryptic like this: http://bit.ly/derkSY – what is this? Ah! It is a link to Social Report. Clearly you can’t tell that from the link. Only when you click on it you are taken to SocialReport.com. But what if you can make that link be a bit friendlier? This is very simple!

Here is a brief tutorial on how you can get that setup in 1 hour:

  • Find a domain name extension that you like: .ly for example is something that many folks are used to (Don’t ask me why! J). Go to http://www.101domain.com and search for something simple. Say your business name is “Flowers by Natalie” a cool short name might be “nat.ly” – buy it!
  • Now login to your Social Report account and under White Label enter this domain name
  • We will take care of the rest!

Now every time you post something using Social Report campaign manager (an awesome publication tool that not only tracks click and simple interactions but also conversions and customer acquisition) – the links we produce will be using your own link shortener!

Simple yet impressive! Powerful simple tweak that improves the quality of your social presence!

Your Social Data Archive

Your Social Data Archive

Your Social Data Archive

We all spend a lot of time communicating with others using Social Media. In many ways this is slowly replacing many other forms of traditional communication. I had come across an interesting problem recently. One of my colleagues needed to find replies to a tweet he did in September. Just 6 month ago. It took him over an hour to scroll through the timeline on Twitter. On Facebook he couldn’t even go that far back. Many of us use Gmail. Imagine not being able to find a conversation that happened 6 months ago on Gmail.

Twitter does not offer any export facilities. The one on Facebook is quite useless. And that’s just Twitter and Facebook! How about all other platforms – YouTube, Foursquare, Digg? Imagine the pain of having to go network by network and somehow copy paste the data out to an independent storage. Yikes!

We’ve built Social Report as a social analytics platform, but have since realized a hidden feature that is so powerful that we often hear from our customers that this is the biggest reasons they are using our product.

Here is how we got there. To compute analytics we have to download all of your social data on regular basis. Not just your chats and friends, but also many other elements that provide more in-depth information about your network such as employment, education, and interests. We grab related elements such geography, videos, photos, etc, etc. All of this data is downloaded, neatly stored and subsequently processed to build reports. Reports are great but having this personal warehouse of your social data is amazingly useful. At any point in time you can export all of your data for further analysis, backup and customized reporting.

We are trying to highlight a very important issue – having a record of your social communication is a must! Just like having your emails backed up and available in case you need to go back and find a conversation, or find an attachment you sent, etc, etc. There are many reasons to seriously consider this: legal obligations, archival, creative and intellectual property rights just to name a few!

Tell us about your favorite feature – Social Style!

RecordConfirmation.com

We’ve been looking for a way to capture customer video feedback on our Facebook page for quite some time. I found a number of free tools that allow you to simply direct your fans to their service where they can enter their responses. None of the tools offered video options. I really wanted to have something more integrated and interactive. A tool that would enable us to capture folks recording their feedback on video right on our Facebook page. Something that would be easy to setup.

I think I found a solution. Here is our feedback page – note how well it integrates in our overall Facebook page and how simple it is to record a response:

http://www.facebook.com/socialreport?sk=app_190322544333196

We’ve been able to:

  • Create an introduction message
  • Embed video recording plugin
  • Capture videos from our fans and view/download them later

Usages are endless:

  • We can now capture customer feedback.
  • We can ask questions and have folks record answers.
  • We can setup video contests!
  • We can request one off confirmations from users!

If you want to give it a try, here are the steps of how to get it setup:

  • Create a Free account at Record Confirmation (http://recordconfirmation.com)
  • Create a “Confirmation Request”. For example “Feedback”. Make sure to select “Multiple” responses – so that multiple responses to your request can be recorded.
  • Once you create it, save the link it generates.
  • Now go to your Facebook page and search for “Static HTML by Thunderpenny” app.
  • Install it – it will add a link on the left hand side – a new menu item.
  • Click on it – it will allow you to enter HTML. You will put it something like this:
    <iframe src=”the-link-that-you-generated-in-step-3?nt=1&amp;sct=0″ frameborder=”0″ scrolling=”no” width=”450px” height=”340px”></iframe>

Done! Your page fans will now able to leave you video messages! Let me know if you have any questions.