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The 4 Ms of social media: monitoring, measurement, management & metrics

Here’s a framework for marketers confused about the differences between the plethora social media ‘solutions’ out there, just published on my work blog.

Solution What they do Who needs it Who provides it
Monitoring Watch and track mentions of an organization, brands, products and people – and those of competitors Any company that cares about what is being said about them on social networks Vendors include Radian6, Sprout Social, Trackur and Visible Technologies
Measurement Measure social media engagement data Organizations that want to capture, measure and interpret social media activity Solutions include Adobe SocialAnalytics, IBM Coremetrics Social Analytics and Webtrends Social
Management Help companies manage and maintain their social media accounts Companies with multiple brand/market accountsThose in highly regulated industries Vendors include Buddy Media, CoTweet and HootSuite
Metrics Provide standards and KPIs for social media measurement Any organization that measures or needs to measure its social media performance Formal metrics include the Online Promoter Score, PRINT™ Index and the Social Business Index

I made some observations about the relevance of each of these on the original post over here.

Note to self…

…don’t tell the world you’re going to start blogging again, then disappear off on holiday. The two don’t mix.

In fact, I had a very social media free two weeks and you know what: I didn’t miss it one bit. At no point did I feel the need to contact my “friends” (unlike the vast majority of the teenagers on the campsite I was staying at). The only technology I really couldn’t have done without was my personal email.

Announcing Hill & Knowlton’s New Social Media Principles

Almost a month ago, I asked for help to update Hill & Knowlton’s social media principles.

This afternoon, our CEO sent out the final version to all staff worldwide. We’ve already updated our public principles on our website, but I also wanted to share the full document here and explain a little about the process we’ve been through, what we’ve changed and why.

Summary

Our principles are split into three sections: personal use of social media; professional use of social media on behalf of our company and clients; and use of our official social media platforms. You might say this separation isn’t necessary, but we have found that not all of our staff operate in all these spaces so we want to make sure they can quickly identify the bits that are relevant to them.

You might also say that this makes them too long, and the only guideline should actually be “use your common sense”. That is undoubtedly a valid approach but if we are talking about being accountable to ourselves, our clients and the social media community, that simply doesn’t wash.

Our principles are centered around encouraging staff to participate appropriately not restricting their ability to do so. As communications professionals, it is essential that we are able to explore, understand and participate in social media in order to credibly advise our clients how to do the same.

A few other things worthy of note:

  • We have a 24/7 email hotline – as well as our extensive digital practice – where staff can ask questions about what is/isn’t appropriate. Again this is designed to help, not hinder.
  • We have defined a complaints procedure designed to be fair to everyone. Too often, we see knee-jerk reactions that don’t look at the issue objectively.
  • Unlike version one, this time we have asked all staff to click a link in order to confirm that they have read and understand the principles.

The Process

For those of you trying to conduct a similar exercise in your own organization (or with clients), you might be interested in how we did it. If not, skip to the next section. Bear in mind that this was an update to existing guidelines not creation from scratch.

  1. We put the existing guidelines on our internal wiki platform and invited everyone to edit or comment on the different sections.
  2. Someone took all the feedback and created an updated version of the guidelines
  3. This was circulated as a draft to that community, socialized with senior management for comment and shared externally on this blog
  4. Final feedback was incorporated (mainly clarifications) before being signed off by the CEO, COO, CMO and digital practice head.

The Principles

Links to the text of each section of the principles can be found below.

Please feel free to use, copy or adapt these principles as part of your own social media policies. It would be nice if you could let us know if they’ve been helpful too.

Helping executives get things done

Over the last three weeks, I have had as many conversation with senior executives about how they can cope with the constant barrage of incoming information, mainly via email.

In various lengths of windedness, I tell them rather smugly that my inbox is empty 95% of the time. Not because no one ever sends me anything (although that may well be true) or that I just delete it, but because since January 2008 I’ve followed David Allen’s Getting Things Done (GTD) system.

Now I don’t know why it works for me. Maybe it appeals to the left side of my brain, maybe I just like process, or maybe it just works. But I highly recommend it to any senior executive whose inboxes control them rather than the other way around. If they can get it working (and you do need to work at it for a couple of months) I can guarantee they will feel more productive, less stressed and more in control.

In fact, I think there’s such a big internal market for this I’m considering offering one-on-one coaching to H&K’s elite.

Calling all business marketers

Not content with burning myself out last Christmas finishing my first book, Enterprise 2.0, I have just signed a contract to write my second. And this time on an even shorter timescale!

For this next title, I’ll be focusing on consumer marketing’s ugly step-child, business-to-business marketing – and specifically the application of social media principles to what has in many cases becoming a rather formulaic aspect of the communications mix. Yet when you consider that roughly one-third of searches on Google are business-to-business in nature and more than 50% of Google’s and 39% of Yahoo’s advertisers are business-to-business companies, then the importance of the Internet in the purchasing cycle cannot be overstated.

It follows then that it is no longer an option for business-to-business marketers to dismiss social media as a consumer craze, and my aim with this book is to raise the profile of successful business-to-business use of social media and help companies discover, select, integrate, exploit and measure these techniques as part of an integrated marketing strategy.

Wish me luck! And if you have any great stories of business-to-business social media marketing you would like to share, please feel free to comment.

Here comes the recession… and B2B spam!

Spam is obviously a fact of life these days, but I can’t help but notice a subtle increase in the amount of unsolicited email hitting my work inbox.

And it’s not just the quantity that is grabbing my attention, but the content too.

You see, this isn’t the usual Viagra or Rolex material but people – I’m guessing salespeople – desparately trying to hit their lead generation quota.

Now I have every sympathy for anyone trying to make a decent living in such uncertain times, but sending unsolicited and untargeted email actually has two effects on me.

Firstly, it’s annoying. Business-to-business marketers think they can get away with email marketing tactics that have been pretty much outlawed for self-respecting business-to-consumer equivalents. Even in this market (the UK) there are some gaping loopholes that allow emails marketing products and services to other businesses a free ride. If we don’t have a relationship that I initiated, then you shouldn’t be sending my email. Period.

Secondly, it’s irrelevant. By casting your net wider I pretty much guarantee that your response ratio will drop. I have no plans to review my developer headcount (none suits fine, right now) or upgrade my IP telephony. Just because your product might save me money doesn’t mean I’m going to be hitting that reply button.

Business-to-business marketing needs to learn a few lessons from its consumer marketing brethren, and realise that its market is in control when times get tough. And that means spending less time selling, and more time listening.