sociauxanswers

Empowering the end user and those considering a career in digital media

Posts Tagged ‘advice

Building consumer trust location by location

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Location, location, location is the hot topic for 2010. Targeting by location enables you to build communities of customers, build customer loyalty, provide tailored offers or promotions and ultimately become more efficient and cost effective. We all know consumers trust those companies they have relationships with and those who are local, but some people find it difficult to build these relationships.

By interacting with your customers using social media it is possible to build loyalty and develop a better understanding of the needs of your audience. Segmenting these relationships by location enables you to hone the conversations you are having and make them more relevant to your customer’s needs. There are numerous platforms you can use to facilitate this, but there are some bases you should cover immediately:

When the digital atom bomb that is Google explodes into a new sector, it’s clear it’s time to sit up and take notice. Google has recently made several waves in the location arena, including the launch of Google Latitude, which tracks the location of searches and Google local search, which provides tailored search results based on your location. Google is also incorporating geotagging Google Buzz.

Twitter has become more sophisticated recently when it comes to geotagging. It is now possible to pull up location-based information from individual tweets on the microblogging website. Twitter also recently developed the facility to search and view trending facilities by location. There are some clever tools you can use to make it easier to build communities by location on Twitter, including TwellowHood, a directory enabling you to cross reference users by location and interest, TwitterLocal, which allows you to search by area, Nearby Tweets, does what it says on the tin and Happn.in, gives trending data based on location.

iPhones, Blackberries and the evolution of the mobile have had a huge impact on both social media and location-based networking. There are numerous social networks now purely based on location, including Foursquare, Gowalla, Loopt, Brightkite and Yelp. With over half a million users, 1.4 million venues and 15.5 million ‘checkins’, Foursquare currently holds the crown as the most used location-based networking app.

Foursquare enables users to check in at different locations and compete to win points, badges and mayorships based on activity. Companies can make offers to users when they are nearby their business or organisation, offer special bonuses to the mayor and even create bespoke badges for customer to compete to win. Users can also leave reviews for their friends at different venues giving you great access to customer feedback.

Taking relationships out of social media into the real world should be your ultimate goal. Organised tweetups provide an opportunity to build on the communities you have grown online and have face-to-face time with your customers. If you’re not confident enough to organise your own tweetup, there will be existing tweetups taking place you can attend. Meetup.com gives you instant access to a list of tweetups going on in your area.

Before you start interacting with customers through social media portals it’s important you take a step back and review which portals are going to be right for your organisation based on where your customers are. Once you have determined your goals, you can then go on to build a presence. You should customise the portals to your needs and ensure you give compelling promotions and offers to your customers – but remember, the key to social media success is having conversations and building relationships first.

As your campaign grows, it’s imperative you track everything and be prepared to adapt as your customer base grows and changes. Be honest and transparent about your intentions at all times to ensure you retain consumer trust.

Lastly, don’t be put off by recent well publicised concerns about encouraging your customers to share their location. It’s important to apply some common sense and explain to anyone with concerns that they will not get robbed just because they share their location!

Written by sociauxanswers

March 30, 2010 at 10:26 am

Social Media Monitoring: Meltwater Buzz vs Radian6

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Ask anyone with experience trying to build a brand’s social media presence and they will tell you, the key to success is measurement and evaluation. There are free tools on the market that can help you with this but increasingly, none quite cut the mustard compared to the paid for offerings.

The most well known three are Radian6, Meltwater Buzz and Brandwatch. As far as I can see, Brandwatch (which I’m also currently trialling) seems to present a slightly differing offering so, in this post, I’ll be comparing Radian6 to Meltwater Buzz – based on testing from an end user perspective.

Meltwater Buzz describes itself as a social media monitoring tool that ‘allows our clients to monitor blogs, social networks, Twitter, forums and other social media sites to get a complete picture of what is being said about your organization, your products, and your competitors.’

Where as Radian6, ‘gives you a complete platform to listen, measure and engage with your customers across the entire social web.’

Hmm… so far, so similar.

To ensure I understood each of the product offerings properly, I set up a telephone testing session with both companies.

Both responded swiftly through email, Twitter AND telephone. From a customer services perspective they are both superb – perhaps even a little overzealous.

On the initial calls, both answered some of my more testing questions in detail and with honesty. Neither claimed to offer a solution to the machine’s inability to distinguish between the positive and negative sentiment of all posts. Both attempted to solve a trying new business issue I’ve been battling, searching for particularly obscure references to a particularly niche company.

Once I started looking at each off the options, it was initially hard to distinguish between the two. Both allow you to monitor your client’s social media presence in depth, tracking by key words, creating reports and responding to individuals. Both allow you to rate posts in order of importance and track your responses over time. Both look cool and are blue. Both offer the core monitoring tools you would expect, plus some more thrown in for good measure.

I wont go in to the nitty gritty of the individual features here – both companies will happily schedule an hours demonstration – so you would be far better to see for yourself.

But, what are the key differences?

For me, it depends on the size of the client you’re working with. Meltwater Buzz focuses on beautiful graphs, making sense of trends and counting the big numbers. Where as Radian6 seems to be more about the individual responses – tracking individuals in the social media sphere and ensuring influencers are acknowledged and responded to.

If your client is a household name, Meltwater Buzz may be for you. It does what it says on the tin and gives a great view of buzz across the web. However, if you’re working with a smaller brand where every individual counts, Radian6 could help weed out the supporters AND cynics to ensure your message gets where it needs to go.

All going to plan, I’ll be putting both to the test monitoring actual campaigns over the coming months.

It would be great to get feedback from longstanding users who might have a view on my first impressions.

Written by sociauxanswers

January 11, 2010 at 8:18 pm

Networking made simple with TweetsAR

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Every now and again you see something that harnesses existing technology to create something truly spectacular. This weekend I discovered the iPhone app, TweetsAR, which does exactly that.

The introduction of location based Twitter updates caused quite a stir. There were obviously those who recoiled with fear, Big Brother style, and those who were excited at the potential this presents – from both an end user perspective and possible business use.

TweetsAR transforms the function into a user-friendly application that brings Twitter updates in to the real world. Nearby users appear as though they are floating around you when viewed through the handset. Point it at your fireplace and you will see your neighbours updating their status three doors down. Lay it down flat and you can see nearby users on a virtual map.

This may be viewed as a gimmick but there are also some genuinely functional uses to the service. Switch on the app at a networking event and you will have an instant window to who is in the room. This ability to connect with likeminded individuals is in the true spirit of Twitter. As the festive event season begins, there will be endless opportunities to put this to the test.

If nothing else, it will put a stop to the classic ‘I’ve met you before but can’t remember your name’ dilemma!

Update 2/12/09: I’ve since discovered an equally superb app called Twitter 360 which I would also highly recommend.

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November 30, 2009 at 10:45 am

Is News International Revolutionalising Search?

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Guest blog from Saman Mansourpour, partner at TheAgency

The subject of our daily news digest, its ownership in the public domain and its value has long been up for debate. It’s no secret that news corporations from the BBC to News International have all struggled in the last decade to maintain control of their content, and effectively charge for it.

Clearly the Internet has offered us “free” access to news in real time, and various search engines like Yahoo, Google and now Bing have been able to point us all in the direction of the content we’re after. The announcement that News International were considering severing ties with Google, or that Microsoft had approached them to offer payment for search listings, depends on which papers you read.

However, only allowing their news group content to be searched through Bing surely puts the control firmly back into News Corporations hands. For some time, news agencies have been searching for a way to make profit from online portals. Finally charging for access to their news group content could be the missing revenue generator they’ve been looking for. Regardless of the online backlash currently circulating, it is unlikely there will be any negative implications on News International’s revenue streams.

More importantly how does this effect you and I. Outside the boardrooms of big business, we use search engines on a daily basis, and the challenge in this day and age is less about access, and more about aggregating the news that is relevant to us. So will this strategic move pave the way for more effective content filtering? If so, we could be seeing the start of a new era in search, one that operates more like a traditional library, ordered by subject matter. I for one think this might actually be one boardroom deal that benefits the general public, and brings a little more commercial realism to the intangible world of “free” information.

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November 24, 2009 at 4:08 pm

Just don’t turn up to the party empty handed

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Depending on the size and notoriety of a brand the appropriate social media strategy must differ greatly.

Smaller companies are focused on creating a presence, developing an authoritative voice and SEO, SEO, SEO.

When it comes to larger companies, it’s more about managing the existing buzz, guiding and interacting with networks.

The constant between the two is the need to monitor and evaluate these conversations. There are numerous free and paid for tools to aid this task. They can tell you who’s tweeted when and who’s blogged about what.

The sticking point is closed networks, such as Facebook and some forums. These are the virtual living rooms where consumers feel comfortable to voice their true opinions and therefore are a valuable resource.

Machines have no place in closed networks so this leaves us with two options: either revert back to the ideals of social media and go in yourself, open handed, with transparency and honesty, or create a forum to let the people come to you.

Actually, why not do both?

When representing a brand, we need to be there no matter how the consumer wishes to communicate with us – be that through a Facebook group, a tweet or a message on a paper aeroplane.

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October 20, 2009 at 8:38 am

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How do we get a space monkey to buy a car?

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On Twitter my followers do not have proper names. Identities such as space_monkey, souplove105 and fuzzsheep50 would not make me bat an eyelid. It’s become fairly common to create an online identity separate to our own.

There are benefits to this – greater scope in creativity, the ability to distance ones work life from ones social media presence and a way to stand out and develop notoriety.

But this poses a problem for business wishing to target space_monkey. How do we link a user’s identity to who they are in the real walking, talking world? Is space_monkey a doctor, does he drive and where does he like to eat?

Greater sophistication is needed for us to solve this problem. I’ve yet to find a tool that can cut through the nonsense. There are aftermarket companies such as Tweetabix, which help you target regionally, and others by sector – but the next step for me would be a one shop, honed offering.

Answers on a postcard.

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October 14, 2009 at 8:39 am

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We’ve got the tips, let’s see the action

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It’s a confusing time in the digital age, especially when working in PR. Although we’re absorbed in an environment flowing with creativity, we like our boundaries too. Evaluation and return on investment also float our boats and that makes social media a little bit scary.

This has created a new breed of professional – the digital preacher. Anyone who is knowledgeable enough to set up a blog seems to have opinions on how things should be done – generally neatly packaged into ten top tips.

So, what is the right advice to give? Well, as far as I can tell, there isn’t any ‘right advice’.

I want to hear from those who are experimenting and are immersed in the digital world – not those trying to position themselves as a leader in order to extort revenue from the rest of us at a later date.

You do not need to be a professional to start a conversation. As long as you’re transparent, open and honest, you won’t be getting any advice from me.

Authors note: All of the above does not apply to those who I manage. You will conform to my ideals or face the consequences.

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October 5, 2009 at 7:09 pm

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