What is almost as important for business travelers as water and food? Smartphones and tablets. They are slowly placing themselves as top necessities. Being accessible at airports, at train stations, or on the tube is simply improving by mobile tools which make them the most connected power users of these tools. The question is whether mobile devices make them more effictient in their business efforts? I think they do…
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The challenge for all B2B companies is to find the balance between inbound and outbound marketing today. And the main question is how to generate leads with Social Media. A new study conducted by Aberdeen Group sponsored by Silverpop and Eloqua, offers some insights in how Best-in-Class B2B companies generate leads through Social Media platforms.
The findings of the study “B2B Social Meeting Marketing: Are We There Yet” show that on average 17% of the Best-in-Class B2B companies generate their leads via Social Media channels. Compared to their peers, this is almost 230% more marketing-generated leads through Social Media than other companies (5%). 84% of the responding B2B companies were using social marketing in some form.
The study differentiates between Best-in-Class (top 20% of aggregate performers) versus the industry average (middle 50%) and laggard (bottom 30%) organizations by using the following metrics…
1. The average annual company revenue growth of 20%, compared with 8% for Industry Average and -3% for Laggard firms.
2. An increase of 10% year-over-year improvement of marketing leads in average resulting in closed business – versus 3% for the Industry Average and -1% for Laggard firms.
3. A lead pipeline of 44% in sales-forecast generated by marketing – versus 10% for Industry Average and 5% for Laggard firms.
4. A 73% annual customer retention rate – versus 27% for Industry Average and 7% for Laggard firms.
The Best-in-Class companies show an outstanding adoption of various social technologies…
– 51% use website social sharing tools, versus 36% of Industry-Average firms.
– 49% use keyword-based Social Media monitoring, versus 39% of Industry-Average firms.
– 21% use social sign-in, versus 8% of Industry-Average firms.
Best-in-Class companies have experienced the opportunity of utilizing Social Media for the sales funnel, and know how to generate leads through social engagement.
– 80% of Best-in-Class companies are more actively engaged in Social Media marketing – versus 73% of Industry-Average firms and 60% of Laggards
– 47% of Best-in-Class companies see expanding lead generation as their primary strategy with Social Media marketing, and 13% cite generating leads as their secondary strategy.
– 23% of Best-in-Class companies said developing clear business processes for social marketing as their top strategy, and 8% cite process development as a secondary strategy.
All-in-all, the study shows the challenge of creating the right Social Media strategy for business when you want to succeed with lead generation via Social Media. But it is not only strong engagement the company needs. It is also the clever combination of using Social Media alongside the right communication techniques like email and SEO, and how Best-in-Class companies succeed here. They are 27% times more likely to integrate email with Social Media than Industry-Average firms, and 33% more likely than Laggards to do so. And they are also 24% times more likely than Industry-Average firms to integrate SEO with social media (even 69% more likely than Laggards).
What is your experience in lead generation through Social Media? How did your company perform, and what else could you add? Looking forward to learning from you…
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We all want to know how the future looks like? What are key trends? What is the next bid thing in technology or our industry? The challenge is… How can the future be foreseen? Well, maybe there is a way if collaboration succeeds as the new imperative of humanity…
A new European research project by the EU Commission is challenging the unforeseeable future. The platform iKnow Futures aims at interconnection knowledge via an “innovation, foresight and horizont scanning system”. And ideally it will help companies, societies, political systems, science but also individuals to identify upcoming risks and dangers as well as potential opportunities long before the next economical crisis, the next virus, or the next weather desaster.
The platform is meant to give insights in new tools and technologies which could change the future. It displays latests projects and research which could foresee trends in science. And it shows first signals via “weak signs” when there is some danger, threat or risk on the horizon that might affect a country, a county or a just some cities that already can be made out as critical.
The long-term EU project collects insights in academic research and collects data to make the world easier for interpretation and economical planning. Whether this is a new form of common knowledge that might revolutionize the world’s approach to common intelligence needs to be seen. Nevertheless, everyone of us can participate and help to make this place a better world with less unpleasant surprises.
Collaboration for a better world sounds somehow fantastic, and the project is definitely deserves a closer look. Imagine someone could have predicted 9/11 attacks with a Wild Card? And what if they become Weak Signals? Would this have saved the world from a nightmare, and would this have changed the ecosystem of planes and traines? How could collaboration platforms become the next “chaos prevention radar”?
PS: And let’s hope Apple won’t try to claim and aim for the name…
A while ago, ShareThis shared their insights why people share content. And also this year, bit.ly stated in a research they did that the half life of a link is approximately three hours.
Now, AddThis (1.2bn monthly users) is following their approach with an infographic on their 5th birthday to visualise user behaviour around Social Media sharing trends across the social web.
If you plan your next viral campaign you might consider time and day: 9:30am and Wednesday are said to be the best peaks for shareable content. Most users share content within the first 2 minutes. And 75% of shared content occur within the first day of a share. Interesting though is the fact that cut and paste sharing can still be up to 10x more used than the well-known social sharing tools.
PS: The average Twitter user shares half a tweet per day, according to Twitter CEO Dick Costolo…
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For years now, the world has become a very high-tech place, and just like with everyone else, criminals are also becoming more astute and coming up with more technological ways to break the law. Ever since the Internet started seeing widespread use, Criminology and law enforcement officials have been playing catch-up to try and monitor all of the offenders that are currently on the web. Now, as social media has taken hold, it seems that officials now have a new tool in fighting crime.
Social media has allowed the world to become interconnected and interface with one another through the digital format of social media. More and more of our connections are going through online forums, but it’s also having the side-effect of keeping track of everything we say. Law enforcement agencies around the country are beginning to realize the power of social media for their own purposes.
Police blogging has become relatively popular lately, and it’s beginning to allow police stations across the country to keep up on the events of the day. Many people are already familiar with the police sergeant sitting at the registry desk, but now a station can keep track of Twitter feeds, blogs, and updates. It offers officials and the public a real-time way to see the crimes that are being committed in their area. These blogs are publishing crimes and arrests and keeping track of the real-world activity through online avenues. This is becoming a very useful tool to keep an open dialogue and exchange of information between citizens and police. Average citizens can also post on these blogs to let police know about what’s going on and it’s quicker than a phone call.
There have been sites where people could go online and see the latest wanted criminals, but now different law agencies are beginning to use Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms to update and keep people aware of local criminals that are at large in their area. The great thing about social media is that it’s instantaneous, and officers can keep the public aware of what’s going on up to the minute. This has been done through fan pages as well as local and district specific pages. Their usage has become more fine-tuned over time, and it’s increasing in regularity. It’s another example of how much social media is changing our everyday lives.
Many aren’t aware of the term, but social media stakeouts are becoming a popular tool to find criminals in every background. Some social media advocates argue that this has become a sort of invasion of privacy but police and law enforcement officials aren’t hacking into anything, they’re merely listening in. Whether you agree with it or not, it’s given police the ability to track important information and search real-time for offenders and key words and phrases that are of particular interest. This social media monitoring is a preemptive measure that’s getting a lot of attention. There exists the possibility that these social forums could be abused by officials but there’s no doubt that it has helped them to keep up with the times.
It’s not clear as to how much control different offices of enforcement really have over our personal and social media accounts. There’s been a lot of speculation over Facebook’s complicity in working with companies and governments and sharing personal information. Currently, it’s only through accusations. People are worried about “big-brother,” but it’s essential that we give our law enforcement officials the tools they need, within reason, to combat crime in an evolving society. Otherwise, we could run the risk of giving criminals a better ability to curtail the law and hurt others.
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What’s your guess? What is the leading social network for journalists? And what does this mean to business decision makers, managers and PR professionals?
The answer by far is LinkedIn with 92% – with a remarkable increase of 7% compared to 2009. However, this does not mean that it is their main source of information. At least, this is what the latest study tells us which is called 2011 Arketi Web Watch Survey: Inside BtoB Media Usage of Social Media.
For me it was a bit of an eye-opener as I thought journalists might prefer to use Twitter to monitor sources for trending topics and breaking news. Probably, the statement has some value still. For Mike Neumeier, Pricipal, Arketi Group was not surprised…
“It comes as no surprise more BtoB journalists are participating in social media sites, especially LinkedIn. (…) LinkedIn provides an online outlet for them to connect with industry sources, find story leads and build their professional networks.”
The second largest still is not Twitter. It is Facebook. 85% of journalists are on Facebook (increase by 30% to 2009). However, Twitter comes in nearly at the same result (84%) and with the highest growth of 60% to 2009. And nearly half of the responding journalists (49%) say they blog or read blogs regularly.
“When compared to the 2009 Arketi Web Watch Survey, this year’s results show significantly more journalists are using social media tools (…) This means companies have more online channels through which they can reach media targets. This is both a blessing and curse for today’s PR professionals.” Dr. Kaye Sweetser, associate professor of PR, University of Georgia’s Grady College
Findings where journalists have their news sources…
– 80% via public relations contacts
– 77% rely on news releases
– 74% turn to newswires (i.e. BusinessWire or PRNewswire)
– 71% get from email pitches
– 56% from blogs
– 44% from micro-blogs (such as Twitter), and
– 39% from social networking sites (such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Myspace).
More than nine out of ten journalists responding (96 percent) say they prefer to receive news releases via email from companies they know, and 95 percent of business journalists say they prefer to receive news releases via email from companies they don’t know but are in industries they cover.
Journalists get crucial information regarding breaking news from the following sources…
– 85% Industry experts
– 81% Company website
– 80% Industry website
– 80% Other interested parties
– 57% Industry blog
– 53% Company blog
– 41% Industry Twitter feed
– 33% Company Twitter feed
Although LinkedIn is very popular among journalists, it does not seem to be the centre of attention to get a big story. Still, the direct contact and company websites have massive power and as they are probably the most trusted sources, they still lead. Still, social networks make it easy for journalists to get in touch with relevant people for good quotes. It should assume that investigative journalism is on the rise. Reading newspapers and websites today, I personally get the feeling that blogs have far more to offer.
What is your view?
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What will companies say if employees want to bring their own devices to work? How about security issues and support opportunities for companies? A real challenge for the future when we look at an Irish study that interviewed 164 students in secondary school and at third level in order to understand how this generation is communicating these days.
The study by IT distributor Data Solutions on behalf of Blue Coat Systems shows that more than 60% of young people expect their employers to allow them to use their own personal devices (i.e. smartphone, laptop, etc.) for work purposes in the future.
The argumentation behind their expectations are obvious: They know how to use our private devices, so they don’t need to learn new technology which saves the company time and money. The challenge for companies will be to establish a set of new policy and security guidelines, as well as data safety and storing options.
“More than 85% of the students surveyed own or have access to a laptop, and almost 40% own a smartphone. This facilitates the trend towards ‘bringing your own device’, and every business is going to have to learn to accommodate this trend while ensuring security (…) When today’s students enter the workforce they will be completely in tune with the new ways of communicating and collaborating online, as most are already using social networking sites, blogs, Skype or instant messaging. Employers now need to look at new ways to facilitate their needs and expectations.” Michael O’Hara, Managing Director, Data Solutions
The study also shows the bluring use of email comunication. 75% of Irish students favor social networking sites like Facebook as their main channel for communicating online these days. Just 6% prefer to use email.
The study findings illustrate that social media sites continue to be on the rise in popularity, and it indicates how older traditional online communication tools like email become less attractive. When 88% have a Facebook account, it is not surprising that they are not swappping to Outlook anymore when communicating with each other, not matter if business or private. And it seems that this will have the same effect on the hardware and devices they want to use. Maybe we just need a separate login on our computers in the future? What is your view on this development…?
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The second annual “Burson-Marsteller Global Social Media Check-up” shows that 67% of of the Fortune Global 100 are on Twitter, and they are actively using such interactive tools as the “@reply” function. They respond directly to other users, and the “@mention” tool to gauge brand comments. This is a significant increase compared to last year.
Large companies even give more power to their audience. 74% of large companies on Facebook allow their users who “Like” them to post on their page walls. And they don’t leave them alone in their conversation: 57% are responding to those posts.
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It’s the basis of humans living together. It’s the essence of people getting in touch with each other…, and finally doing business together. It builds the fundament of collaboration, of cooperation. It’s the breath of the age of social. What is “it”…? Well, it’s not rocket-science. And still it seems to be the never-ending challenge for companies, for brands, and especially for people who are running the business. It is… conversation.
Do managers really have to talk about “conversations”?
Yes, we do! Don’t you agree? And we all know why. We are getting sad about the way managers (don’t) encourage themselves to engage in conversations. How often do managers not respond to a written letter? How often did they not pick up your phone? How often have they not replied to emails? How often not shown any reaction to Facebook, Twitter and the likes?
Hello managers – wake up! There is somebody trying to have a conversation with you? You cannot argue what somebody wants before having listened to them, can you?! Ignoring is so easy and it happens so often. You can do better. You can participate. And your words have significance when you take part in a conversation.
How will traditional managers get new inspiration? How will they generate new connections? Yes, conversation is the answer…
Do brands really have to discover how to do conversations?
Yes, they do! They need to figure out what they want to be: person or economic construct. Active or passive conversationalists? Motivator or creator? Former sender or modern vendor? Brands might build a consitent dialogue but only value their opinion, playing according to their rules. Listening is where relevance brings brands back in the driver’s seat, and not making them sit still and beg that the driver (who ever that consumer is) knows the way towards to the targets.
Productivity, creativity, innovation, thought-leadership and ROI counts for brands. This M&M philosophy often goes straight against lose conversation. Brands have been shaped and formed around formal structures (organisations and meetings), planned grouping (= not Groupon but agendas), lead work-flows (step-by-step approach). In earlier years, conversations came with a coffee break, some biscuits, a cigarette on the floor. Conversation today comes with an email, a tweet, or a status update on LinkedIn at your desk. And they appear different in character and tonality, “the conversation mode is changing” as Eric Schmidt called it at the DLD11 in his augmented humanity speech.
How will brands find innovation in the future? How will brands get response to products and services? Yes, conversation is the answer…
Do companies really have to reinvent the human dialogue?
Yes, they do! Companies are made from (and made by) people. People always had not enough time in their lives. Conversations cost time. Time builds trust and drive efficiency. Email took us time, too. We had to learn how to communicate online. Not now anymore. We know how it works. It is just a different platform or technology every crucial department of your business will be using in the future, called Facebook, Twitter, Groupon, Quora or blogs. They will control our marketing efficiency, our sales opportunities, our upscale, our revenue sheets. And we won’t even know, when we don’t embrace and value the conversation on the social web.
Power to “processes, people, potential and possibilities” means opening up our mindset to a new way of conversation. A way that shows the value of starting the talk. A way that shows clients how companies rate their review, input and sharing of brand messages and product conversations. Customer just want to get the feeling that it is not a maschine out there they are buying from. They want to see the personal human touch that makes mistakes, laughs about themselves and answers when getting questions.
How will companies renew their strategy, their tactics, their visions…? How will companies build products that their customers want? Yes, conversation is the answer…
Conversations are the basis of your future business-strategy, as well as your web-strategy. This is nothing new, you knew it before. Companies have them multiple times every day. Brand can get engaged in them every minute on a day in the future. And you even more. Every minute you can have the chance to have conversations today. The only difference is that conversation is also happening online – not on the phone, not via fax, not via mail, not on the floor, or in meetings. You just have to embrace conversations… it is that easy.
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John Hernandez is General Manager of the Customer Collaboration Business Unit (CCBU) at Cisco, which provides contact center and interactive voice applications to enterprises and service providers. In this capacity he oversees product and market development, and is closely involved in the business with the Cisco sales force and partners.
The Strategy Web spoke with him about the launch and benefits of their new customer care product SocialMiner.
What were Cisco’s most successful social medias tactics in the last 2 years? How did Cisco came across the new solution SocialMiner? Why is social media monitoring so important from a strategic point of view for businesses?
Cisco is very active in social media. Our employees were some of the earliest adopters of Myspace, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and other social sites. We have tens of thousands of active social media users in our company, as well as a robust and vibrant corporate presence on the social web.
Social media monitoring can become a key strategic advantage for businesses. From a contact center perspective, social media could be treated as “just another channel” in a multichannel approach. However, the public nature of social media, along with the sheer volume of social media postings, makes social media as much a business intelligence tool as a new way to engage with customers. Cisco believes that proactive social media customer care will have a transformative impact on how companies engage and serve their customers.
The concept of the SocialMiner product came from our observation of the changing communication habits and Internet usage of consumers. As consumers have adopted social media channels for their individual communications on an ever-increasing basis over the past couple years, it is only natural that they would consider interacting with a business via social media. This concept of social impacting customer relationships is a very active topic within the emerging “Social CRM” community.
Is SocialMiner just a Customer Service product? Bearing in mind that social conversations on the web affects the whole business…
Cisco SocialMiner is an engagement product, not a “listening product.” SocialMiner is designed to scale the quality and quantity of social media interactions performed by a business. SocialMiner can be used for a variety of business functions such as Support or Sales, but we believe the customers that derive the most value from social media will also use these engagements to drive business process change. For example, an organization could use SocialMiner as a source of business intelligence to provide real-time customer appreciation or criticism of a product or service (or of a competitors’ product/service). Social media can direct their business strategy. Cisco believes that companies that learn from social media will become closer to meeting their customers’ expectations and this will drive overall business success.
Which three benefits do business users have using SocialMiner compared to other tools in the market (Radian6, Alterian, etc.)
1. Cisco SocialMiner is complementary to brand monitoring dashboard solutions. It is designed to support scaling social media by leveraging the best practices from contact center type operational models: Queuing, Service Level Metrics (Average Speed of Answer), and productivity metrics for users. By contrast, many of the brand monitoring dashboards have pieces of workflow capability, but these capabilities are either relatively limited or recently introduced functions.
2. Cisco SocialMiner is a component of the Cisco contact center portfolio which currently includes an installed base of over 10,000 customers. SocialMiner is packaged, priced, and delivered along with Cisco Unified Contact Center Express and Cisco Unified Contact Center Enterprise solutions, and therefore it supports the same installation, deployment, serviceability, and user experience as these other Cisco collaboration solutions.
3. Cisco SocialMiner is a very easy to install and operate software appliance. It runs on premise or in a customer controlled data-center hosting facility and offers unlimited capture capability. Cisco SocialMiner is an API-first product with 100% of functionality available via REST API’s and all user interface delivered as OpenSocial gadgets with documented source that can be modified by Cisco channel or customers. This model supports the preferred consumption model of most enterprise organizations along with a broad customization capability.
Can it be used as a stand-alone product or only in combination with other Cisco products for customer service? Do you have any case studies of success?
Cisco SocialMiner can be used as a stand-alone solution. We have several case studies that illustrate SocialMiner’s success. Zone Labs is one of them. The small wellness company was looking to accelerate revenues & grow 1000% in next 3 years, implemented Cisco SocialMiner to increase customer engagement, customer satisfaction and sales. Zone Labs started developing social communities on their own website as well as Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets. They used Cisco SocialMiner to route and queue contacts to experts within their organization.
Using SocialMiner, experts were able to proactively answer health and wellness questions via Twitter, providing encouragement to consumers on the Zone Diet, customer service and expert advice on questions such as vitamins and healthy recipes. Zone Labs saw improved agent productivity by automating capturing and responding to social media posts (currently estimated at ~10x). They gained greater customer satisfaction & brand mind-share from faster first inquiry resolution on the web, and were able to compete on comparable scale with larger companies. Their social media activity reduced their customer acquisition cost and created a larger funnel with more leads, that were converted more easily and more quickly than before.
Within 4 months of using SocialMiner, Zone Labs saw tremendous results:
– Web site transactions up 189%
– Revenue up 203%
– 202% increase in total visitors to www.zonediet.com
Thank you for your time, John. And by the way: I like your commercial for the product…
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