Category Archives: Agile Engagement

The Key to Relevance: Listening

It should be no surprise that listening is the logical first step in a truly agile communications strategy. Social media provides the ultimate feedback loop, and actively listening to your brand’s Social Echo delivers insight that can enhance just about any public relations and marketing initiative.

Your Social Echo – that powerful reverberation of conversations around your brand in the social sphere – provides proof of concept for good PR strategies and tactics, warning signals about potential crises and always-on inspiration for improving and evolving communications.

At a tactical level, establishing a brand’s thought leadership and optimizing brand messaging were cited as the top two reasons for monitoring social media, according to our survey of PR professionals. To take a closer look at each of these concepts, we’ve asked social media professionals to share their best practices for analyzing social media to build and amplify one’s thought leadership presence, as well as using social feedback to inform messaging in the new white paper (available for free download) titled “Active Listening: The Key To Relevance & PR Results.”

How to Amplify Messages by Cultivating Audiences & Influencer Relationships

It’s not a comfortable question, but in today’s connected world, it’s one we communicators have to ask ourselves.  And here it is:

How many of the media and influencers in our  media databases hear regularly from us (or our brands) other than when we have a press release in hand or a story idea to pitch? 

In many cases, the answer is “Rarely.”  However, social media offers us the ability to develop relationships at our fingertips, as well as some opportunities to significantly improve our personal effectiveness, and the resonance of the messages we publish, specifically:

  1.  The ability to create a landing pad for messaging, by cultivating an interested audience; and
  2. A way to develop personal relationships with key influencers that will keep you “present” and top of mind.

Creating a bouncy landing pad for messages by cultivating your audience before you communicate:

It’s not unusual for a PR campaign to still operate on the “Ready, aim, fire” principle.  The audience is targeted and the message is subsequently distributed.  Follow up calls are made.   This approach misses one of the greatest gifts to PR from the inventors of networks like Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest – the gift of ongoing audience attention.  Any content marketing strategy worth its salt makes social channels a key distribution network for messages.  PR pros need to embrace this strategy, too.  Why?

Every day, on social networks all over the world, with absolutely no regard at all or whatsoever for our various and sundry communications plans and corporate schedules, conversations are happening relating to the products, services, ideas and causes we spend our days promoting. People are looking for information.  Bloggers are blogging. Consumers are considering what to consume next.  If we’re lucky, several of these actors might alight upon a message we published.  If we’re unlucky, however, they may overlook our brands completely.

Now, some folks aren’t considering capturing these spur of the moment opportunities.  However, those communicators who are more dialed in to their marketplaces – and, arguably, their company KPIs (key performance indicators) – do care deeply about these opportunities – and they’re wise to do so.   The ability to capture the ongoing attention of your audience can result in extremely measurable outcomes, and create a soft, springy and receptive landing pad that can bounce your messages around to different people who will amplify it for you.

Modernizing media relations with meaningful digital connections

The second opportunity social media offers public relations practitioners is a more modern approach to media relations.  And no, I’m not talking about simply sending out pitches on Twitter.   By paying attention to what journalists are doing on social media, you can:

  • Develop a good idea of what sort of stories interest them. (What do they tweet, bookmark or read via social reader?),
  • Identify other opportunities for coverage or exposure beyond their primary beat (Do they pin images on Pinterest? Contribute to a blog in addition to their beat?  Create vlogs or podcasts? These are all parts of the news hole.)
  • Learn what sort of content is popular with the larger audience.  (Which stories trigger enthusiastic sharing?)
  • Find non-traditional influencers who weren’t on your radar screen but are nonetheless influential, especially in niche areas of interest.
  • Understand what topics are near and dear to the hearts of the audience.

The act of simply paying attention to the conversation around topics central to your organization is always informative.   An added bonus is that you’ll be able to subtly introduce yourself into the conversation (and to the key players) by adding value when you start sharing useful information, and sharing content posted by others among your own social network.   Tweeting a journalist’s story is a positive way to get on his or her radar screen, especially if you have cultivated a solid and relevant following yourself.

Developing digital relationships

The good news is that cultivating audiences and developing good digital relationships with media and influencers on social networks are achieved through similar means.    Here’s how you do it.

  1. Develop a focused presence on the social networks germane to the topic you’re promoting.   This presence is ideally branded, but it can be a personal presence bearing your name, as well.  If you’re ambitious, you can do both.  Either way, be transparent about who you are, and where you work.
  2. Delve into the topics at hand. Become an expert, share your expertise, and share good content.  Engage in conversation.  Focus on being helpful, interesting and authentic.
  3. Research hashtags, follow lists and read what others tweet.  Get a handle on the nature of the conversation in your space.  Learn what sort of content resonates with the influencers who have gained your interest.
  4. Look at your media list and connect with key media who have also developed professional presences on social networks.  Important: pay attention to how these folks use social media.  If they don’t talk shop on their Facebook wall, you should avoid doing so too.
  5. Commit to building these presences over time.  It takes time to gain traction with an audience.  Along the way, you have to care for and feed your social presences.
  6. Practice the 90:10 rule.  Fully 90% of what you share shouldn’t be brand-focused.   Act as an editor at large, finding and sharing lots of interesting stuff.   Yes, you can drop one of your messages into the stream every now and then.  But if you want to create and maintain interest, you’ll need to be selfless with the content you curate and the presence you construct.

As you proceed, you’ll pick up more followers, and find interesting people to follow. You’ll identify influencers.  And if you do it right, you’ll become a valued member of the community, one who others rely upon for great information.   You’ll be creating a receptive audience for key messages, and positive relationships with influencers who matter, and triggering a loop of incredibly valuable attention, interaction and opportunity.  We call this new approach to PR and content marketing Agile Engagement.

Author Sarah Skerik (@sarahskerik) is PR Newswire’s vice president of social media.

Image courtesy of Flickr user  stevendepolo.

Distilling the Magic of Content Marketing #cmworld

Marcus Sheridan, aka @TheSalesLion, sells in-ground fiberglass pools.  He also happens to be an instinctive content marketer who dispenses with theory and goes straight to tactics that work.   His presentation kicked off the second day of Content Marketing World 2012 with raw truth and unbridled energy.

Marcus started out emphasizing the absolute requirement that we think about how our customers behave.  Where do they turn when they’re looking for information?  Google.  And what  questions do they Google?  A prospect’s questions usually follow a pattern:

  • Price – They want to know how much it costs
  • Problems – Consumers want to know if it solves a problem.
  • Comparisons – They want to compare you to your competitors
  • The Best – They want to know what product/solution in the space is considered “the best”
  • Reviews – They want credible reviews.

In sales, Marcus noted, we don’t hear questions, we hear our answers.  As marketers, this translates into publishing what we want our market to hear.

The questions customers ask should be at the center of your approach to content creation. As  your teams to tell you what the questions they hear every day from customers?  Turn those questions into titles of blog posts and get going, says Marcus.  Within 30 minutes of mining your organization for questions, you’ll come up with dozens and dozens of ideas for blog posts and other content.

The golden rule of content marketing, according to Marcus, is “They ask, you answer.”  People who are good listeners never run out of content. There’s a dearth of content that actually answers consumers’ questions.

Author Sarah Skerik (@sarahskerik)  is PR Newswire’s vice president of social media.

At PR Newswire, content marketing is powered by an agile communications approach – built on effectively listening to online conversations, targeting of active influencers, creating content based on the insights gleaned and syndicating content that is relevant, compelling and trustworthy on an ongoing basis to drive visibility and deliver results.

3 Tactics For Integrating Online & Offline Content to Own the ZMOT #cmworld

The Zero Moment of Truth is that moment in time between a customer’s first exposure to your brand (e.g. an ad, a piece of content) and the moment in which they make the decision to buy.   Being present in that moment enables brands to capture this potent opportunity to influence the looming outcome.  Being absent from this moment all but ensures a brand is overlooked.

The pervasiveness of mobile devices has changed how people consume content and make purchasing decisions, giving rise to the “cross-platform consumer”  — and the ZMOT. This fragmentation of our audiences’ attention between devices — and the simple fact that people can pull the information they want whenever they need it via the phone in their pocket – requires communicators to think differently about the content they produce, with respect to the role of content in the marketing approach.

Bridging digital & analog – anticipating online behavior 

Despite the fact that we often create distinct campaigns and content for print and digital, it’s important to remember that our audiences don’t fall into one category or the other. In most cases, they readily consume analog and digital media, and bounce freely Back and forth between different types and formats of media.

So rather than using an “either or” mindset when planning content, a more anticipatory approach is useful.  Anticipating what behavior content will inspire and planning accordingly is an effective means of bridging online and off-line media.

A simple way to begin this approach is to think about three things:

  1. What actions will the content drive?
  2. What opportunities will these actions create for the organization?
  3. What tactics need to be in place to convert actions to opportunities?

Here are some examples of different actions content can produce, and the requisite opportunities and tactics for each.

Potential action #1 — social discussion:

Action: Content creates social discussion. People on social networks are talking about the content you published.

Opportunity: Social discussion affords the brand a number of opportunities, including:

  • Building awareness & word of mouth volume
  • Generating leads
  • Solidifying a relationship with some readers

Tactics: To capture these opportunities, the content creator needs to employ a variety of tactics, including:

  • Defining and publicizing a hashtag for the subject (or using one that’s already established) will help people find the content on Twitter.
  • Creating smart, relevant presences in other social networks where you know key audiences are present (e.g. Facebook, SlideShare, Pinterest) will cultivate an audience likely to amplify your messages.  Be sure the teams administering those presences are informed of key messaging well in advance of deployment, and that related content and images have been shared with them.  The best way to annoy your social teams – and to reduce the impact of key messages – is to loop them in after the message is deployed and put them in the position of playing catch-up.
  • Researching related search terms, buying them as part of an SEM strategy and incorporating them into messaging will have an important dual effect – audiences will be able to more readily find your content, and the search engine rankings for related web sites may improve.

Potential action #2 — cultivating (& converting) consideration

Action: Consideration. The content you publish triggers purchases, or (at least) strong consideration of a purchase of the product, event or service you’re promoting.

Opportunity:  Active consideration triggers a variety of new behaviors, many of which start with a search of some type, including:

  • Sequential search – An interested audience member conducts a search after coming into contact with the content.   They may use their PC for the search, or they may use a mobile device.
  • Spur of the moment search – An interested member of your audience whips out their mobile device to kill time, and starts looking for information related to what you’re promoting.
  • Calls to action: Your reader is eager to learn more, and is seeking a path to follow to access additional information.

Tactics: Capturing people in the consideration phase requires the company to deliver information crucial to supporting the decision process – where and when the prospect is seeking it.

  • Decision affirmation:  Related content, such as testimonials and case studies, provide decision support and inspire confidence.
  • Decision affirmation from the crowd: It’s not at all uncommon to see people querying others on Facebook, Twitter and other networks about a potential purchase.  Providing content that is readily shared will help spread your message among other potential prospects, even as the original prospect continues gathering feedback.
  • Especially if the product or service is purchased through a retail location, providing hours of operation, location details and a phone number are key.  Search your business from a mobile phone. If a map to your location with other key details doesn’t show up at the top of the screen, it’s time to improve the mobile version of your web site.
  • And even if your product or service isn’t sold in retail establishments, your customers are using mobile devices.  Ensure you have excellent mobile content that works across all platforms.

Generating social discussion and triggering consideration are just two of the actions the content you publish can inspire. Audience behavior and preferences, desired outcomes and other actions sparked by your content marketing programs will vary by organization and industry.  However, the cross-platform information consumer is a reality for all communicators, and integrating our online and off-line communications to capture opportunity and maximize results is an important aspect of any communications strategy.

Author Sarah Skerik is PR Newswire’s vice president of social media.

Amplifying ROI … Return on Influence! #cmworld

Mark’s new book, “Return on Influence.”

What do you, me, Derek Jeter and Eva Longoria have in common? (Hint: The answer isn’t “nothing”.) We’re all – or have the potential to be – influencers.

“This is the era of citizen influencers,” declared Mark Schaefer during today’s Content Marketing World session. As a marketer, this wasn’t news to me, but it struck me. ANYONE has the opportunity to influence. What a powerful statement! And what and immense opportunity for the content marketer inside each of us.

Among many of the non-traditional influencer examples provided were:

> A Mommy Blogger commissioned to Bolivia to help raise awareness for an orphanage — resulting in 150 children being sponsored as a result

> A shy government employee in California who tweets 2oo times each day and has been sought after by notable brands such as Audi

As content marketers, how can we learn from these real-world examples to increase our level of influence, and thereby increase ROI (return on influence)? An educator at heart, Mark provides a valuable framework for amplifying influence:

1. Meaningful Content: “Content that moves is power on the Internet,” he notes.

2. Relevant Audience: You have to ignite your content to build power and influence. Relevancy is what will spark that flame.

3. Consistent Engagement: (Does the term agile engagement come to mind?) Keep the conversation flowing through content that follows Mark’s RITE principle: Relevant, Interesting, Timely, Entertaining.

Building your influence likely will not happen overnight, but by following the above guiding framework, all of us can ignite a flame to shine ever brighter.

Author Christina Griffo is a marketing manager for PR Newswire.

At PR Newswire, content marketing is powered by an agile communications approach – built on effectively listening to online conversations, targeting of active influencers, creating content based on the insights gleaned and syndicating content that is relevant, compelling and trustworthy on an ongoing basis to drive visibility and deliver results.

Using Consumer Insights: 5 Key Tips from Kraft

The anatomy of a viral hit. A recipe started out on Facebook, and ended up being one of Kraft’s top recipes for the year.

400 million emails, 90 million site visits, 6 million video views, 1.1 billion advertising impressions, 1 billion recipes viewed … and a food magazine with more than a million paid subscribers that’s on par with the Food Network’s magazine, and is bigger than Food & Wine.

Kraft is a scale publishing platform, according to Julie Fleischer, director of CRM Content Strategy for Kraft Foods.   So what can the rest of us learn from Kraft’s enormous content marketing and social CRM programs, even if our own brands don’t have the scope, reach and depth of content that Kraft has developed?  As it turns out, a lot.

” We have an audience that is coming for our food solutions, staying longer than they do on other sites, and are likely to click through to more information,” noted Julie.

Kraft has developed an engaged audience that they don’t need to go find – the audience willingly comes back.   Kraft’s magazine, Food & Family, has a million subscribers – more than Food & Wine.  As Julie noted, “People pay Kraft to receive our ads.”

Kraft’s content marketing brief:  Create delicious meal solutions that inspire amazing food stories which spread to drive sales and create value for Kraft Foods.

This brief offers a few lessons.  It’s clearly focused on driving an outcome (getting people to make the recipes), with an eye toward encouraging user generated content, with the ultimate goal of moving the needle on sales

Content marketers, Julie noted, need to know how the consumers’ minds work, as well as their habits and their rituals.  Then you need to intercept them at those moments of need.  An example, in January, themes include:

  • Healthy eating
  • Slow cooker recipes
  • Bowl game recipes
  • Black eyed pea recipes (during first week.  It’s a ritual)

But there’s more to developing an editorial approach than customer rituals.  Kraft takes a comprehensive approach.  Here’s a look at a sample of their editorial calendar:

As you can see, the calendar blends events, trends, rituals and a lot of customer and search data.  Julie noted that Kraft is constantly updating, testing and tweaking the calendar.  In particular, she noted the need to be spontaneous. Retain flexibility that lets you take advantage when you see something is working, and see how far you can make it run.   An example she gave is illustrated at the top of this post.  Kraft published a recipe for a cookie bar on Facebook, and when it took off, they recognized that, highlighting it on Pinterest and in the magazine, which triggered a fresh round of viral sharing and visibility for the recipe.

The top tips from Kraft for developing a content strategy that works:

  1. Add value to your consumer’s life.
  2. Be captivating. You have to be as interesting and compelling as all other media out there if you want anyone to pay attention to you.
  3. Location.  Be where you consumer is, where she goes.  Be easy to find.  Don’t require people to come to you, go to them.
  4. Timeliness matters.  Develop processes that get you to real time. Use nimble distribution methods.  Adjust on the fly.  Be of the moment.
  5. Measure.  Engagement, return rates, satisfaction, virality.

Julie wrapped up by reminding us that consumer relationship marketing is about a value exchange. You give each other value.

Author Sarah Skerik (@sarahskerik525252)  is PR Newswire’s vice president of social media.

At PR Newswire, content marketing is powered by an agile communications approach – built on effectively listening to online conversations, targeting of active influencers, creating content based on the insights gleaned and syndicating content that is relevant, compelling and trustworthy on an ongoing basis to drive visibility and deliver results.

The Future of Content Marketing is in Utility

According to Mitch Joel, the future of content marketing isn’t just in more content.  It’s in utility. Specifically, it’s about giving people something they can use, and challenging ourselves to think about whether we’re adding value every time we press publish, or are we adding just more static and noise to the ecosystem.

In his wide-ranging presentation to the Content Marketing World audience, Mitch stressed the profound opportunities brands have today to build direct relationships with their audiences.  Simply put, your brand doesn’t need a newspaper to communicate with external audiences any longer.  However, the success of the content in sparking the direct relationship depends upon its utility.

Charmin’s Sit Or Squat app provides real utility, and drives interest in what is, let’s face it, a low-interest product.

A fantastic example of useful content Mitch offered is Charmin’s Sit or Squat app, which you can use to find nearby bathrooms that are clean and have amenities you may need (e.g. a changing station, or accessibility).  The utility of this app generates awareness and loyalty for a very low interest product.

However, Mitch stressed  that in the drive to garner attention, brands to balance privacy and personalization, noting that privacy is not on the table. Marketers must strenuously avoid crossing the privacy line.  Ultimately, fantastic personalization delivers utility people value.   One example he gave is Amazon, which has mastered personalization to the point where privacy no longer matters.

The utility theme continued in a discussion of active and passive media.  Media is passive or active to the consumer.

  • Passive media: You just sit back, relax and enjoy it.  Newspapers, magazines and TV are examples.
  • Active media: You have to interact with it to derive value.

Many times, Mitch noted, people want their TV to be passive.  They just want to watch.  They don’t want to like, follow, friend or pin – they want to sit on the couch and watch.  Many brands wreck the utility of their passive media by festooning it with options that get in the way of the audiences’ expected experience.  They end up with a Frankenstein-eque mishmash – and a terrible user experience.   It’s okay for media to be active or passive, and it’s up to marketers to balance the mix of the two.  But it’s imperative that we keep utility for our audience in mind.

Author Sarah Skerik (@sarahskerik)  is PR Newswire’s vice president of social media.

At PR Newswire, content marketing is powered by an agile communications approach – built on effectively listening to online conversations, targeting of active influencers, creating content based on the insights gleaned and syndicating content that is relevant, compelling and trustworthy on an ongoing basis to drive visibility and deliver results.

The Cross-Platform Consumer: New Communication Imperatives

A new study titled “The New Multi-Screen World: Understanding Cross-Platform Consumer Behavior” from Google suggests that reaching your audience on one device isn’t enough.  The research reveals that 90% of people use multiple devices – mobiles, PCs, tablets, smart phones, TVs – to accomplish a goal.

The study concluded there are two modes of multi-screen media consumption:

  • Sequential – where we move from one device to another to accomplish a goal.  An example of this would be researching a destination for a day trip at your PC, and then using your smart phone once you got there to make decisions about which restaurant to visit. According to the study, 9 out of 10 people use devices sequentially.
  • Simultaneous – when we use two or more devices at the same time.  The simplest example of this is watching TV, and tweeting about what you’re watching on your tablet. 77% of people watch TV with another device in hand.

 So what does this mean to marketers?  If anything this underscores the necessity of increasing our clock speeds and adopting an agile approach to engaging our audiences.  This reality is central to why PR Newswire has long advocated a multi-channel approach to distributing press releases and multimedia content.  It’s simply not enough to rely upon a web site or two any longer.

Additionally, Google makes several important conclusions about how consumers interact with information across devices:

  • Search is the connector between devices.  People use search engines to “pick up where they left off,” according to Google.
  • Turn “spur of the moment” activity into valuable opportunity.  The study suggests that 80% of searches from smart phones are done at the spur of the moment.  A great mobile presence can be instrumental in converting that opportunity into a sale.

Imperatives for communicators:

  • Ensure that your web site is not only search friendly, but formatted for mobile devices too.  Be sure your phone number, location and other information people access most frequently on your web site (business hours, menus, products, special offers, etc.) render quickly and prominently for mobile users.
  • Coordinate online and off-line campaigns.   One famous example of a brand failing to do this is the Snickers campaign that featured made up words such as “hungerectomy” printed on a Snickers wrapper.  This campaign was purely analog, appearing on billboards, the sides of busses and in print.  However, the ad’s creators overlooked the fact that offline messaging drives online behavior.  They have any digital presences designed to capture online interest in the campaign, and they didn’t buy search engine ads against the very words upon which the ad campaign centered.  Understand that offline messaging will trigger online activity, and plan accordingly.

The Google study is interesting reading and underscores the connectedness of our audiences and how the advent of mobile devices has significantly changed the decision making process.  It’s critical for brands to develop intelligent presences everywhere their audience is going to look – from search engines to social networks and from print to mobile.

Author  Sarah Skerik is PR Newswire’s vice president of social media, and is the author of the free ebook Unlocking Social Media for PR.

Small Business Communciators Monitor Online Conversation With Multiple Channels

Anyone who has implemented a plan for monitoring online conversations and social media mentions knows how tough tracking all these discussions can be fore even the most ambitious and well-intentioned communicator.

That’s why findings from a survey conducted by PR Newswire and PR News aren’t terribly surprising.   Fewer than 40% of small business communicators monitor conversations daily, despite the speed with which conversations and rumors can take hold  online.    The good news is that only 3% of communicators reported that they don’t do any monitoring.  Another 18% indicated they monitor conversations weekly.

One reason why the majority of communicators aren’t listening on a daily basis likely stems from the simple fact that many people find themselves relying upon multiple channels in order to keep tabs of key social networks and online groups.

The the survey found that the topics monitored were roughly even, distributed between monitoring for the brand, the industry and (to a slightly lesser degree) competitors.

The Small Biz PR Report covered the survey comprehensively in the article titled 37.7% of Communicators Monitor Conversations Throughout Each Day.

PR Newswire is conducting another survey , this time on the topic of content marketing.  Your participation is invited!  Take the content marketing survey.

We know that monitoring social, online and traditional media can be hard.  PR Newswire’s new Agility platform puts monitoring different channels in one place.   Monitor your media, interact with your audience, identify media & influencers and distribute your content – all in one place.  Learn more about the Agility Influencer Engagement Platform.

6 Keys to Building an Agile Engagement Program

Yesterday PR Newswire hosted a webinar titled “Agile Engagement: 6 Steps to Building Communications Dexterity,” that featured some great case studies and a robust Q&A session that focused on what organizations need to do to make the change to the proactive agile engagement communications framework.

The panelists were:

  • Kelly LeVoyer, the Director of Marketing Editorial at SAS Software (@sassoftware)
  • Valerie Jennings, CEO of Jennings Social Media Marketing (@valeriejennings)
  • Sarah Skerik, VP social media, PR Newswire (moderator) (@sarahskerik)

The discussion was framed in the agile engagement construct developed by PR Newswire, which has key tenets and is discussed in detail in the free whitepaper titled “The Dawn of Agile Engagement.”  The six tenets are:

  • Listening & analysis
  • Content creation & curation
  • Audience targeting
  • Message distribution
  • Engage & interact
  • Measurement

Kelly started the discussion by speaking about how any company can improve by applying the agile strategy, noting that she believes many companies, including SAS, focus much too heavily on the “create” stage of this model.  She strongly encouraged that organizations begin focusing more upon the “listen”, “engage”, and “measure” stages. In speaking about the “listen” stage, Kelly stated that listening is a process that must be formalized and internalized, noting that the organization needs to be able to absorb and react to the information and data gleaned real-time from the social sphere.   The “engage” stage also received a lot of attention.  Kelly emphasized the growing importance of engagement as the term becomes more and more a part of our everyday lives.

When targeting and interacting with influencers, Kelly made it clear that engagement should not be reserved only for those with a high degree of influence (e.g. a big Klout score or rafts of Twitter followers) noting there are influencers everywhere.  Brands shouldn’t the people who are using their products on a daily basis.  It is smart to have a broad definition of what constitutes an influencer, for it can be detrimental to an organization to only engage the social media rock stars. By engaging everyone, she believes you can turn average customers into extremely credible evangelists.

Measurement was also a focus of Kelly’s presentation. She strongly believes that by monitoring all the processes involved with engagement, you are allowing the audience to create content for you.  In summary, Kelly noted that she does not have sympathy for organizations that complain about struggling to create content. She believes that if any organization can listen, engage, and measure, that content creation will come easily. However, she cautioned the audience to remember that despite how important the “listen” and “engage” stages are, they are meaningless if the “measure” stage does not take place.

Valerie Jennings, the CEO of Jennings Social Media Marketing, was our second presenter. She focused heavily on the importance of meeting business goals and achieving monetization for social media marketing programs, and noted that achieving these outcomes requires a lot of agile thinking.

Several points Valerie believes are of paramount importance when striving to reach these outcomes include:

  • Goal setting.  Mapping specific business outcomes sets a foundation for the program.  These goals should be quantifiable and attainable. Even if an organization is in the early stages of development, Valerie encourages them to set these goals. She cited social media as an example. In her opinion it is not enough to just say that your goal is “to have X amount of followers on Twitter”. She suggests that an organization extends this to something that is quantifiable in relation to the business as a whole, such as “getting X % of twitter followers to sign up for the organization’s newsletter”.
  • Take full advantage of SEO opportunities, which includes using up-to-the-minute keyword data.  When dealing with B2B and B2C social media marketing, she believes the most important aspects to take interest in when developing editorial content are keywords, search trends, and SEO goals. In focusing on keywords, she made it clear that she believes that they are not static; they are strong indicators of audience behavior. If an organization does a good job of analyzing the keyword choices of its audience, they should be able to tell exactly what type of content they need to create.
  • Understand timeframes and sales cycles, and plan accordingly.  In speaking about what sort of time frame to expect in order to achieve monetization, Valerie expressed her belief that the time frame depends on what type of organization you are working with. She used Wyndham Hotels as an example. Since Wyndham’s sales cycle tends to be a bit longer, she found the 6 to 7 months it took to achieve monetization to be relatively fast.  However, when dealing with an organization with a shorter sales cycle, it may be reasonable to expect monetization in a much shorter span of time. Valerie finished by emphasizing the importance of integrating monetization into your organization, stating that monetization can affect the overall marketing strategy, so organizations should make sure to build it in to their sales system or marketing department.

The session was incredibly robust, and this summary barely scrapes the surface.   To listen to the archive of the event – which includes good discussion by the presenter of specific case studies, follow this link:  Agile Engagement Webinar .

We believe this will be time well spent!