• Act-On Software
    Act-On Software on November 18, 2014

    The Rules of Engagement on Facebook

    If you want to make your content sharable and searchable on Facebook, you need to have a thorough understanding of Facebook principles and the general rules that apply to content and behavior.
  • In every corner of an organization, the idea of having an online community is brought up. But often, the idea remains just that – an idea – because starting the journey seems daunting. How should we begin to build the business case for it? How can we translate the hard-to-explain-and-grasp benefits of community into a comprehensive and convincing plan? What lessons can be learned from others who have succeeded? How can we report the value in business terms? To answer these questions and more, we are sharing a detailed roadmap to set you firmly on course!

    In every corner of an organization, the idea of having an online community is brought up. But often, the idea remains just that – an idea – because starting the journey seems daunting. How should we begin to build the business case for it? How can we translate the hard-to-explain-and-grasp benefits of community into a comprehensive and convincing plan? What lessons can be learned from others who have succeeded? How can we report the value in business terms?

    Your business case process is not simply a way to get approval for your community project. When well done, it is the outline for an effective strategic plan that includes requirements, vendor selection, implementation and operational steps for your online community launch. It will serve as your guide to develop the myriad of operational opportunities into potent complements to community initiatives.

    To answer these questions and more, we are sharing a detailed roadmap to set you firmly on course!

    Below is a replay of a webinar we created for DNN Software that provides the best practices we’ve learned and implemented in one shot. You’ll find all of the templates, research, and advice you need to get a substantive head start to building your informed and persuasive business case. It includes great advice and lessons from eight of the top online community practitioners around the globe: Claire Bovill from Cisco, Robin Carey from Social Media Today, Scott K. Wilder from Marketo, Jessica McDouall from SPS Commerce, Jennifer McClure from Thomson Reuters, Steve Roth from School Dude, J.J. Lovett from CA Technologies and Fernando Castagnari from Mars Petcare Brazil.

    Topics covered include:

    • Defining the strategic outcomes you want from the community
    • Specifying the overlapping business and audience needs it will serve
    • Mapping business requirements into feature requirements
    • Developing business metrics and measures to determine outcomes
    • Establishing the budget

    DNN_Screen_Grab2

    (click to play)

    If you just want just the highlights, view the Slideshare presentation here:

    In 2004, Rob Morris, a long-time human rights advocate, established Justice for Children International, a nonprofit dedicated to ending child sex trafficking. In its early years, the organization gained a certain amount of attention by building its marketing around shocking statistics, such as the fact that two children are sold into prostitution every minute. But Morris knew that they were capable of much, much more. So he started telling a story.

    If you still think that storytelling is just a “nice to have,” a luxury for blue-chip corporations who have resources to spare, you need to meet Rob Morris.

    In 2004, Morris, a long-time human rights advocate, established Justice for Children International, a nonprofit dedicated to ending child sex trafficking. In its early years, the organization gained a certain amount of attention by building its marketing around shocking statistics, such as the fact that two children are sold into prostitution every minute.

    But Morris knew that they were capable of much, much more.

    So he started telling a story.

    Back in 2002, Morris and some colleagues had traveled to Southeast Asia, where they went undercover with investigators to witness the child sex trade firsthand. When they entered one particular brothel, Morris had an experience that would change his life forever. Here’s how he describes it:

    “We found ourselves standing shoulder to shoulder with predators in a small room, looking at little girls through a pane of glass. All of the girls wore red dresses with a number pinned to their dress for identification.

    “They sat, blankly watching cartoons on TV. They were vacant, shells of what a child should be. There was no light in their eyes, no life left. Their light had been taken from them. These children … raped each night … seven, ten, fifteen times every night. They were so young. Thirteen, eleven… it was hard to tell. Sorrow covered their faces with nothingness.

    “Except one girl. One girl who wouldn’t watch the cartoons. Her number was 146. She was looking beyond the glass. She was staring out at us with a piercing gaze. There was still fight left in her eyes. There was still life left in this girl …”

    Morris made this story — and this young girl — the rallying point for his organization, changing its name to Love146 in 2007.

    All of a sudden, the fight wasn’t about millions of faceless minors. It was about one girl. One girl with flesh and blood and a heart and a soul. And a story.

    Then something amazing happened:

    Love146 story sparked worldwide movement

    The story went viral, sparking a grassroots campaign that generated worldwide awareness and hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations. Between 2007 and 2012, the organization’s total revenue grew from $1.1 to more than $2.6 million, and it now has permanent offices in the UK, Cambodia, and the Philippines.

    That, folks, is the power of storytelling.

    So, what can we as content marketers learn from the story of Love146?

    • Statistics can make an impression, but stories raise emotion … and emotion leads to action. 
    • Keep your story simple; resist the urge to provide every little detail. 
    • Make it easy for your brand advocates to share your story. 
    Leadership is a key ingredient in the social media environment. In this month's #SMTPowerTalk series, we hosted two leading personalities in the field who shared their insights with us.
    The 21st century workplace is defined by the fluid nature of the workplace, shorter career cycles for men and women who will definitely leap onto something else sooner rather than later and a social media “conversation” that simply seems to respect none of the traditional boundaries. 
     
    Companies that need to do well have to find a way “…to establish shared values, common goals and a common purpose people can rally around of.” This was the message from Tanveer Naseer, a thought leader in this area, author of the book Leadership Vertigo and guest of the #SMTPowerTalk show this month. 
     
    “Leadership comes in many different ways and forms and you need to know when to follow and when to lead,” added Ana Hoffman opening the way for Tanveer to bring in his insights of how leadership is evolving in a social media environment, led by our increasing accumulation of data. 
     
    Key to everything, of course is “Trust”. Without trust no relational exchange of any kind can take place. Trust is key to building relationships, making new contacts and building credibility. As Ana says in the video “Trust does not come naturally,” you have to work at it. “Presence is key. If you cannot be there then the trust factor begins to dip.”
     
    Social media is not a broadcast channel even if many companies and brands continue to use it as such. Social media continues to be a huge challenge. Whether you are marketing, creating a brand, generating leads, leading the conversation or, even, just dipping a toe in the water you have to maintain the kind of presence that allows those who see you realize that you are a person, first and everything else second.
     
    Both Tanveer and Ana provided a whole lot of insights on just how to achieve this without running the risk of being perceived as insincere or inauthentic. We have been discussing the issues around authenticity since the #SMTPowerTalk series started pretty much and the fact that they continue to present a challenge is an indication of how important they are. 
     
    Catch the full 30-minute Hangout On Air, on Leadership in Social Media, below:

    Subscribe to the Social Media Today YouTube Channel (if you haven't already) here, and join us at Google+ so you do not miss any future updates. SMT Power Talks are held on the second Wednesday of every month.
     
    With profit margins under pressure, most telecom service providers are already considering dramatic cost reduction plans in the new year, such as the immediate adoption of open source software and the piloting of SDN or NFV projects. In particular, mobile service providers are most at risk. This is why they are in the process of evolving their business model -- primarily, in response to the latest global trends in mobile personal communications.

    With profit margins under pressure, most telecom service providers are already considering dramatic cost reduction plans in the new year, such as the immediate adoption of open source software and the piloting of SDN or NFV projects. In particular, mobile service providers are most at risk. This is why they are in the process of evolving their business model -- primarily, in response to the latest global trends in mobile personal communications.

    Juniper Research has found that with combined annual mobile network operator expenditures now in excess of $800 billion, several leading service providers face the possibility of costs exceeding revenues by the end of the decade without remedial action.

    According to their latest worldwide market study, a combination of flat revenues from traditional services combined with surging data traffic costs could ultimately threaten the viability of all mobile network operations.

    In an analysis of 12 international mobile network operators, Juniper found that profit margins had fallen by an average of 6.4 percent over a three year period, with 5 of those surveyed experiencing decreasing margins in every year throughout the period.

    Furthermore, a number of major mobile network operators now have single figure margins -- with costs currently increasing at 1.5-2 percent per year, the situation is unsustainable in the longer term.
     


    Meanwhile, the Juniper study found that without more widespread network optimization and the implementation of other cost controls, the situation could become critical in a number of developing markets. Juniper believes that with surging mobile Internet adoption in the Indian Subcontinent, regional operators could see data costs outstrip data revenues by $45 billion within 3 years unless networks are fully optimized.

    However, they also pointed to a number of success stories, particularly in the U.S. market, where service providers such as Verizon and AT&T have bucked the trend in falling margins by introducing shared data plans. It observed that Verizon had seen wireless revenues increasing by more than 7 percent despite operating in a saturated market, while AT&T now had more than 14 million households on shared plans.

    That said, service providers need a comprehensive strategy to adapt their current business model to the realities of the disruptive changes in the marketplace. Pricing plans aren't a long-term solution to the apparent challenges.

    "Given the threat from Over-The-Top (OTT) VoIP and messaging services to core service revenue, the U.S. emphasis on focusing the value on the data element is absolutely the right way to go. This is particularly true within an increasingly 4G environment," said Dr. Windsor Holden, head of consultancy and forecasting at Juniper Research.

    image: Nickolay Vinokurov / Shutterstock.com

    As an agency, you can't work blindly through a content campaign without first setting up accurate indicators of success. These six steps will help you measure content marketing success in your online endeavors for your clients, in addition to helping your own business prosper.

    It's important to have established content goals and a plan of attack in order for your clients to see the benefits. 

    When clients demand to know how the online marketing strategy you have designed for their business will be measured to determine success, even savvy online content marketers might cringe. As an agency, you can't work blindly through a content campaign without first setting up accurate indicators of success. Focus up front on the KPIs -- Key Performance Indicators -- because they are important to the growth of your client's business. These six steps will help you measure content marketing success in your online endeavors for your clients, in addition to helping your own business prosper.

    1. Identify Goals From Your Business Plan

    Before you start designing an online marketing campaign for a client, you need to define why you're collecting the metrics. Specific goals should gel with the requirements of the business plan. Are your clients hoping to focus more on their online business, seeking to boost their conversion rate so they can sell more products online? If so, that means boosting their online presence through content so consumers can find their brand.

    2. Calculate Desired Metrics

    Each of your metrics should be tied to a specific goal. You won't be able to measure all metrics, but by identifying in advance what is more important with your client, you can sort the useful data from the unnecessary. For example, if you wish to increase customer engagement with your brand, ultimately lowering the bounce rate of the website, then that aspect of the site needs to be measured.

    See also: How to Measure The ROI of Your Blog Content

    3. Determine Your Content Creation Source

    In order to run a successful content campaign for your clients, you need top-notch content. Make sure you have a reliable source to create your client's content — that might be a team of in-house writers, a content writing service or both. Be very transparent with your client about who is creating their content and don't be afraid to show off their work with previous clients.

    4. Communicate Your Plan

    By keeping your clients updated on your marketing efforts, you increase their confidence in you. Provide detailed reports outlining specific goals you discussed as they pertain to each social media market. Be sure to keep everyone in the loop as the marketing campaign evolves. Store the information in a secure location, as this plan will be used to compare metrics later.

    See also: 5 Content Writing Tests to Find The Right Candidate 

    5. Measure Your Results

    Set a date for calculating the results of your content marketing efforts and share your results with your clients. Don't waste their time with minuscule data; keep it pertinent to their marketing plan goals. Be sure to prepare your reports and spreadsheets so they're easily understood by non-marketing types — don't forget to refer to the original marketing plan.

    6. Analyze Your Results

    Use your metrics to aid future decision-making for the business. This data will give you the information you need to make decisions about their website. For example, if the bounce rate from Facebook to the website is too high, you may need to optimize your landing page. If you're tweeting impression rate is too low, you may need to write more engaging tweets.

    Measurement is crucial to the success of your clients' online marketing campaign. Online marketing efforts should focus on data-driven metrics, resulting in meeting the goals of a successful business plan.