Pungent Granularity – Penn and Teller take on the Anti-Vaccination Conversation

Hungry? [Explored]

Social media has a powerful ability to stimulate and create conversation. But when you are planning your communications, it’s essential to know your audience. And these days, “knowing” your audience isn’t just about mapping, analysing and researching. It’s about understanding their “pungent granularity”.

Pungent granularity and the social audience

To survive in a world where consumers expect one-to-one marketing and real time business responsiveness, we need to move beyond the simple targeting of our consumers. This means responding to:

  • The three forces of self-segmentation: Before we take an action, make a decision or puts our hand into our pocket to actually transact, we make a quick personal assessment. We self-segment according to our needs (does this “thing” solve a need state that I have), behaviours (does this “thing” reinforce, challenge or shift my behaviour) and attitudes (how does this “thing” make me feel?). Marketers must understand the nuances of this self-segmentation and bring this understanding to their efforts
  • What we already know about our consumers: Whether we capture “big data” or just quickly trawl the social web, we can quickly amass a detailed knowledge of our consumers. The challenge with this becomes not one of data collection but of frameworks for making decisions and taking actions. This is where I quite love Sam Gosling’s OCEAN framework. Moving away from the MBTI mappings, he suggests that Openness, Conscientiousness, Extroversion, Agreeableness and Neuroticism can be easily assessed via our digital footprints. And in doing so, we can plan our communications accordingly

When we pull together all this information, we get a deep sense of our consumers. We know not just what they say they “like” but how this influences their actions and decisions. We understand their connections, social graph and the way that they operate in a digitally-connected world. And deeply buried amongst all this is the “trigger” – what motivates.

The “trigger” is the kicker

Take a look at this fantastic video featuring “illusionists and entertainers”, Penn and Teller. It’s on the subject of vaccinations. It’s forceful and NSFW (with a few F-bombs scattered throughout). The language is direct, the message clear and in your face.

But will it achieve what it is intended to do?

Unfortunately, I don’t believe it will. The motivation here – not of the creator – but of the viewer is triggered by the same level of frustration shown by Penn. Those who are pro-vaccination will be keen to share and validate their own position. Those who are anti-vaccination will reject the facts, figures and approach outright. The frame is out of focus for the second group – and the argument will be based on the framing of the data as a way of disputing what is “true”.

This is why wheeling out big data will also be challenging. While the Mayo Clinic clearly states:

“Vaccines do not cause autism. Despite much controversy on the topic, researchers haven’t found a connection between autism and childhood vaccines. In fact, the original study that ignited the debate years ago has been retracted.” Mayo Clinic – Childhood Vaccines: Tough questions, straight answers (here)

… many still view this sceptically.

But if there really is a desire to change the point of view (or point of belief), behaviours and attitudes of anti-vaccination folks, there is a need to more deeply understand them.

Hungry? [Explored] Riccardo Cuppini via Compfight

Time to Bring Down the Search and Social Silos

STHLM #12

When I first joined the ADMA expert group for social media, there was a separate expert group for search. But as we met and discussions flowed, it seemed obvious that the two should merge. After all, when it comes to all things digital, search and social were – in most cases – essential collaborators. Or should be.

In many cases, however, search and social are kept at arm’s length – each claiming digital marketing top spot.

There is no doubt, however, that combining search and social has a much more powerful impact on almost any of your metrics. And with Google’s recent announcement around shared endorsements, this impact will become more formally entwined. Those who continue to resist social media’s siren call, or who keep the artificial silos in place across their marketing teams, will start to see performance of both search and social flounder.

The only way ahead for digital is integrated. And for 2014, you can expect this to accelerate and broaden. It’s time for the walls in your marketing silos to come down – and this is the year to do it as this infographic from Prestige Marketing shows.

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STHLM #12Creative Commons License Thomas Leuthard via Compfight

Get More from Instagram

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I have been a fan of Instagram for some time. Not just because of the filters … but because it has developed an interesting and engaged community of users. Instagram has become the Flickr that the internet didn’t forget.

But there is a vast difference between using Instagram as an individual and using it as part of your business marketing toolkit. But many of the things that you love about Instagram personally, can be usefully applied professionally – with a couple of caveats:

  • Think with your brand hat on: Consider the content, composition and colour of the photos you are taking. Try to provide some form of visual consistency
  • Let your personal creativity and personality shine: Just because you are working on a professional presence doesn’t mean that it is a personality free zone. You got your job due to your unique talents. Apply these to your Instagram efforts
  • Connect in and connect out: Make sure that your Instagram efforts are connected with your broader marketing and business strategy. Remember, likes are not revenues, so don’t get carried away with a flurry of interest. But do take advantage of the high levels of community engagement available through Instagram – it’s a great way to connect out to your community.

This great presentation on Instagram by Ross Simmonds provides some fantastic guidelines for doing more with Instagram together with samples of brands that are doing the right things.

You Are What You Endorse–Google Shared Endorsements

Google Search and Social - Shared Endorsements

Remember that old saying that “when the product is FREE, the product is YOU”? Well Google are putting their advertiser’s money where your mouth is – with shared endorsements now being incorporated into search results. This brings together two powerful web transformation engines – search and social – in the one interface.

That means that those online reviews etc that you have contributed over the years are being aggregated behind the scenes and will begin to appear in the search results that you and your friends see when using Google Search. Your friends will know it is you, because the results will show your name and photo along with the review, +1, follows or shares that you have published on the web.

As Google explains, it will look like the image below …

GoogleSharedEndorsements

Over the last 12 months or so, Google has been requiring Gmail users to sign up to Google+. So even if you are not a dedicated G+ user, so long as you are signed into Gmail, your browsing habits, interests etc are being collected, analysed and tagged in preparation for this style of endorsement.

But if you are not keen to lend your personal brand, reputation or face to these businesses (and to Google), you can opt-out of Shared Endorsements here.

Australian Social Media Users–Distracted by Distraction

Innovative survey app AskU

No matter whether we are at home, work, attending a social event or even in the car, social media is increasingly an integrated part of our lives. And while social media is being used by brands to engage their customers, the vast majority of people use social media outside of their professional lives – it seems that social media still has some way to go in the lives of Australian business professionals. This infographic created by innovative survey app AskU reveals some of the emerging behaviours of Australian social media users.

Interestingly:

  • 72% of people use social media daily
  • Over 80% of regular social media users use social media for pleasure (not work)
  • And 88% of people know someone who “overshares” on social media.

Does this sound like you?

This Holiday Season, Get Your Social Media House in Order

Ready 4

It’s been a long year, and I know you are tired. Worn out. Ready for a break.

But how READY are you? Because when it comes to social media, you need to be business READY, and by that I mean:

Responsive Don’t bury your head in the sand. An issue can turn into a crisis very quickly. Make sure you have protocols and people that allow you to respond to issues as they arise. Even over the holidays.
Engaged It’s hard to hose down a crisis if you’ve never engaged with your audiences via social media. There’s an old saying, “dig your hole before you need the water” – and the same applies to social media. Be sure to engage with people before you need to. And if a crisis eventuates, be sure to remain engaged with the topic, the participants and your stakeholders.
Active In a crisis, remain active. Initiate communications. Actively monitor inbound and outbound channels. Check the facts and correct inconsistencies. Become the authority.
Direct When things are going pear-shaped, it’s tempting to “gild the lily” – to put some positive spin on events. Resist that urge. Be direct in your communications and engage with the issues that you need to, but don’t feed the trolls.
Y-front prepared There can be no doubt that a social media crisis is embarrassing for your brand. Are you ready to be caught out in the spotlight? What do you do when your dirty laundry is aired? Be prepared to talk dirty laundry.

And if you need a more detailed guide to managing a social media crisis, take a look through Simon Kemp’s excellent guide. It may be the best present you’ll get all year.

Coming Soon to a Google Ad -> You

Eye I. By Thomas Tolkien

A couple of years back, Facebook changed their terms of service that allowed your images to start appearing in contextual advertisements offered across the social network. More recently, they announced plans to remove a feature that allows people to prevent their names being found in search results. This means that those using Facebook can now be found by strangers (or by past friends, lovers, enemies) simply by using Facebook’s internal search tool.

Facebook explained that this feature was only being used by a small percentage of people. However, it’s a part of what seems to be an ongoing test-and-learn experiment about how much private information its 1.1 billion users are willing to share. Earlier this year, Facebook’s Graph Search revealed just how big “big data” can be – with over 500 terabytes of new data being produced each day. And based on their recent earnings announcements, that big data/privacy play is paying off – with revenue up 53% over the previous year.

And now, Google are following a similar path, tapping into all your reviews, recommendations and endorsements in their search results and advertisements. You probably noticed that Google provided a top of screen notification about changes to their terms of service a couple of days ago. If you waved it away without investigating, here is the section most relevant to you:

We want to give you – and your friends and connections – the most useful information. Recommendations from people you know can really help. So your friends, family and others may see your Profile name and photo, and content like the reviews you share or the ads you +1’d. This only happens when you take an action (things like +1’ing, commenting or following) – and the only people who see it are the people you’ve chosen to share that content with.

This new policy that comes into effect on 11 November 2013 will show shared endorsements on Google sites and on more than two million sites that use the Google display advertising network. What will this look like? In the sample image below from the Google Support blog, your friend’s recommendations/ratings appear in Google places, search results and ads.

GoogleChanges

You can, however, opt out of this system, but there is a catch – you need to have a Google+ account.

Simply follow THIS LINK to Google Endorsements and uncheck the box and click the Save button.

This may well give Google+ membership a much needed shot in the arm. Or it may just increase the cynicism of the internet using public. But if the lessons from Facebook’s privacy test-and-learn approach is anything to go by, it will slip by largely unheeded and little understood – with Google claiming the benefits of your personal recommendations.

Eye I. By Thomas TolkienCreative Commons License Thomas Tolkien via Compfight

Brandwatch Vizia Shakes Up Social Media Command Centers

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The concept of social media monitoring seems like a no-brainer. Marketers use keyword driven technology tools to tap into the vast oceans of social media data to reveal mentions of their brand, products and company and then determine how best to respond. It’s a model that replicates the traditional “media monitoring” approaches that have been in existence for decades.

But in the shift to digital, it’s not just advertising that is being overtaken by digital derivatives – news, commentary and analysis is challenging our ability to understand, collate, curate and respond to shifts in community, political and consumer sentiment. New forms of media engagement like social media has further complicated the situation, to the point where some form of digital or social media command center is not just useful but necessary.

Where once the news cycle evolved at a slower pace, this digital transformation has accelerated our need to understand and respond to these challenges. Our monitoring solutions must now be real time, contextual and their insights actionable. And we need to view them not as pretty visualizations to fill out our reports mid- and post-campaign, but as vital business intelligence systems that can inform our decision making. We need to think of these social intelligence systems as an MRI for brands allowing us to understand what resonates with customers, where the blockages are and what has velocity and vitality.

In short, the age of command centers is ending and the need for social intelligence is just beginning. It’s less about a room with big screens and funky graphs – and more about getting that vital information to the right people in your organisation at the right time.

This is where the new Vizia platform from Brandwatch comes into play. Announced today, Vizia combines a spectacular (yes, indeed) user interface with a business model that provides unrestricted access to users across your enterprise. This means that the same data source can be accessed and analysed by Marketing as well as HR, by Customer Service and the Executive Board. It puts data into the hands of the business decision makers at all levels of your organisation – in realtime.

vizia-images

 

You can find out more about the features of Vizia here.

As a next generation command center – or social intelligence platform – Vizia is shaking up the market which has been relatively uneventful for the last couple of years. With market consolidations and jockeying for position there has been little innovation – even amongst the smaller players and new entrants, but Brandwatch’s Vizia with its multi-screen display and generous licensing model is set to reinvigorate the market.

It’s particularly worth investigating where you need:

  • Broad access to social intelligence data and reporting
  • To showcase social initiatives across your business
  • A way to manage online crisis communications
  • To capitalise on real time marketing opportunities

Take a few minutes to watch the explanation video on the Brandwatch blog – it’s worth it to see the software in action.

Spoken and Unspoken Rules of Social Media

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When I first started blogging I voraciously read Darren Rowse’s Problogger website. It seemed like every conceivable issue I was facing had already been tackled and fixed by Darren. Similarly, I followed Yaro Starak’s advice, thinking I’d tread the entrepreneurial path. And when it came to marketing, I’d look to Olivier Blanchard’s insightful Brand Builder blog.

But I wasn’t really looking for a “how to guide” – I was seeking to learn the ropes. To understand the ways of this new, digital world.

What I realised pretty quickly was that this brave new world was not so unlike the scared old world that I was leaving behind with every tap on my keyboard. The lifeblood of social was relationships and the currency of that relationship was trust. And, really, the only way to learn the ropes was to participate – voyeurism can be fine for a while but is ultimately unsatisfying.

The deep water of social media, however, can be managed effectively with a few simple rules:

  1. Don’t swim with sharks: We have an inbuilt radar for detecting danger and threat. In the real world (IRL), the hair stands up on the back of our necks, a little voice whispers in our ears and we cross the street to avoid an unpleasant person or situation. In the digital world the same approaches apply – yet we seem to turn off our threat detection system the moment we turn on our computer. Be sure to keep an eye and ear out for scammers. Trust your friends – the ones you know IRL. Don’t click random links in email or send money to people you have never met. Don’t believe strangers when they tell you how much better they can make your website.
  2. It’s not rude to ignore people: Following on from the previous point – if you don’t know someone IRL, it’s fine to ignore them. You don’t have to “friend” or “follow” someone who follows you on social networks. You don’t have to answer a random email. Develop a healthy sense of scepticism and you’ll be fine.
  3. Don’t publish anything you wouldn’t show your Nan: Yes, I did say “publish”. It’s important to realise that everything you put online is a form of publishing. That means it’s trackable, findable and traceable. Google will find it eventually. So before you go an have that argument with a stranger; before you flame your boss (when you think she’s not looking); or before you start sharing those photos of your ex that you really should delete, think again. If you wouldn’t say or show your grandmother what you are going to publish online, then your best bet is to save it for home.

But if these three rules are not enough for you, you’ll love Jeremy Waite’s 80 Rules of Social Media.

rules-of-social-media-infographic

Via BitRebels.

Digital is Getting More Fragmented Not Less

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There was a time when the only “digital” device in your home was likely to be an alarm clock.

These days, we live with a range of internet connected devices from refrigerators to lightbulbs, and CCTV systems to VOIP phones. And that’s before we start counting computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones. When network security firm Sophos surveyed gadget users around the world in March 2013, respondents indicated that they carried an average of 2.9 devices with them. Smartphones and laptops were the most popular, with eReaders rounding out the list at 29%.

averageDevices

But these days, “digital” isn’t just about hardware. In fact, it’s not even about software. It’s about BEHAVIOUR.

When we think of digital we are thinking of modes of production and consumption – what we create and what we consume. And since the explosion of the social web, we have seen a massive fragmentation of what can be described (for want of a better word) as “digital channels”. In the early days of the web, the only digital channel you had was email. And then the world wide web came along and began to nip away at the edge of our digital experiences. It promised much but seldom delivered.

When Brian Solis introduced the Conversation Prism in 2008, our digital experience had grown to embrace the fledgling social media platforms like Flickr, LinkedIn, kyte, Zooomr and Facebook. Along for the ride was Ning, Pownce, eventful, WordPress and Twitter (amongst others). Of course, not all survived, but they paved the way for many who followed. And vitally they transformed our digital behaviour, our online body language and set our expectations for online experiences.

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The latest version of the Conversation Prism has now been released. And you can see that consumers are presented with a vast array of options for both production and consumption of content. There are many more ways to engage online – more platforms, more approaches and more niches. And with each of these comes rules, regulations, terms of service, user etiquette and community cultures. It can be a minefield for users and a battleground for inexperienced marketers. This presents marketers with serious challenges:

  • Strategy is execution: We have to make our peace and realise that the pace of change is never going to slow. We must now view strategy as execution – something that happens in real time with real customers. We need to work with a continuous digital strategy to not only survive but vitally, to remain relevant.
  • Digital skills must be prioritised: This is not to say that traditional marketing skills no longer have a role. Far from it. But digital will continue to grow in prominence. If you have not begun to refresh your skills, start now. Check out cheap and low cost online courses from Coursera, Skillshare and Udemy. For those in Sydney, Vibewire also runs regular skills based workshops that are tremendous value. Also check out what is on offer from ADMA.
  • Automation for marketing at scale: The dream of one-to-one marketing is upon us – but comes with discipline, requires strategic planning and technology investment. Identify those repetitive marketing tasks and investigate the marketing automation solution that is right for you and your business. You’ll be amazed at the revenue impact.

So before you go wading into the sea of digital channels, be sure you’ve got your floaties on – and don’t be afraid to ask for help.