Find Your Marketing North Star With Social Media Monitoring

Guest post by Eric Melin, Manager Marketing & Communications at Social: IRL sponsor, Spiral16.

Spiral16 North StarMarketers are continually challenged with finding ways to measure their social media programs and digital marketing campaigns.

There are a ton of different metrics out there, but the most important thing that marketers and analysts can do is find that critical correlation between the right metrics that comes together to tell the story — that “north star,” as it were, that will guide your strategy and action going forward.

An article I ran across on Time’s Swampland blog about politics and the economy spells this out even more clearly. It’s called The Most Important Chart in American Politics, and it’s above. The chart identifies the single most crucial piece of President Obama’s 20012 re-election campaign: his political north star.

There are three lines mapped out across a timeline of the last two decades:

“The first two lines — productivity and per capita gross domestic product — are rising. This is the unmistakable American success story, the one reflected in record corporate profits, growing wealth accumulation and the unmatched efficiency of this country’s economy. The third line tracks median household income, as measured by the U.S. Census. It shows the story of frustration and stagnation that so many Americans long ago accepted as a reality.”

It is crystal clear when looking at the chart that the third line diverged from the first two after the year 2000. You could fill up a book debating the causes of that divergence, but the end result is an unmistakable political takeaway: “Much of the U.S. stopped feeling the benefits of a growing national economy.”

How does this apply to social media monitoring?  

Business metrics are financial, while web metrics are NOT. The trick is to correlate the two in a meaningful way — like the “political north star” chart above.   READ MORE

The Social Business Textbook: A Valuable New Resource for Social Communications Professionals

Today, we share a guest post by Jordan Slabaugh, Director of Social Media at Social: IRL sponsor, Spredfast. We are grateful to Spredfast and each of our sponsors for their support, and enjoy sharing valuable resources they provide, such as this Social Business Textbook.  While social continues to grow and change, there are foundational concepts and best practices that all social practitioners should know and understand. Spredfast created this comprehensive 45 page textbook to be a resource that helps bring members of growing social teams up to speed and the go-to primer on the main elements of social programs for those already in the industry. In addition to providing a strategic discussion of each social topic, they include models to visualize each concept, brand action items to make concepts practicable, and brand examples to show each element in action. 

Spredfast Social Business TextbookThe world of social communications is exhilarating.  As consumers, social media offers us the ability to connect with brands, products, and topics we care most about. And for brands, social media has blown open the proverbial company doors to meet the communication expectations of these consumers, leaving seemingly endless opportunities to connect with, engage, and delight social customers.

In a rapidly evolving communication space, social professionals have had to become scholars of sorts, studying up on social business practices with one-off resources and examples. But now that social business is an established field, we at Spredfast saw the need for a foundational resource to serve as a primary guide for members of ever-increasing social teams, and an expansion of the fundamentals for those of us already in the field. And with that, we’re excited to introduce the Social Business Textbook.

For some social brands, identifying the keys to social business success can feel like gumshoeing it in a complicated mystery novel. But what if these practices were presented in familiar terms, like primary school subjects, to make them more relatable? We set out to standardize social concepts to help brands get back to basics.

What made it into the syllabus?

 Spredfast Social History conceptHistory [Social Listening]: Concerted listening efforts focused on the people, conversations, and relevant activity about your brand to yield valuable insights to understand past events, inform current decisions, and improve future outcomes.

 Government [Social Organization & Governance]: Combatting brand anarchy by defining internal structure and ensuring the right rules and guidance are in place to protect both the brand itself and the people behind the social activity.

Music [Orchestration]: Orchestrating multiple people having multiple conversations across multiple social media accounts and networks on behalf of your brand with planned workflows, approval paths, and coordinated content distribution.

Math [Measurement]: Embracing the measurement of social media metrics to perform goal-oriented analysis of social program performance.


English [Creating Social Content:] Creating and curating great content for social media distribution to increase engagement and action, and conversing with customers in ways that create value for your network and drive business outcomes.

Social Studies [Segmentation and Targeting Social Audiences]: Segmenting audiences based on demographic and technographic data provided by social networks and targeting tailored messages to individual segments.

Student Council [Social Engagement & Community]: Creating meaningful experiences on social channels that engage audiences, inspire action, and build brand awareness and loyalty.

Chemistry [Paid/Owned/Earned]: Combining owned assets with earned audience interactions and paid advertising to optimize social efforts and business impact.


“Example is the school of mankind, and they will learn at no other.” – Edmund Burke

The most insightful and applicable textbooks don’t just present concepts and theories – they show them in action. You may understand as a brand that engagement increases loyalty, but what does that look like? And who can you learn from? From the successful social initiatives of brands like REI and its engaging “REI 1440 Project” campaign to the stellar mathematical measurement efforts AT&T has implemented, the Social Business Textbook takes strategy and highlights what it looks like in practice.

“If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” – Isaac Newton

A glance at any scholarly work will show multiple sources, citations, and perspectives of subject matter experts. With so many great minds leading discussion and research around social media innovation and success, we realized that hearing from people like David ArmanoJeremiah OwyangJay BaerMichael BritoAnn HandleyChuck HemannBrian Solis and Rebecca Lieb in their own words provides powerful support to concepts presented in Textbook. We sought out some of the most insightful thoughts and guidance published by our favorite thought leaders and included them in the Social Business Textbook to provide additional perspective from leading scholars of social.

“A little knowledge that acts is worth infinitely more than much knowledge that is idle.” – Khalil Gibran

While putting together Textbook, we asked: “what are words without action?” Combining the strategy behind imperative social business subjects with real world applications, each chapter presents actionable steps for brands to begin, mature, or optimize their social programs.

From our classroom to yours, we hope the Social Business Textbook will help kickstart [or grow] great social activities in your organization.


Click here to download your free copy of the Social Business Textbook.

Top Ten Social Media Links and Resources and Upcoming Social Media Events

We’re pleased to share our latest “Top Ten” social media links and resources.

Scroll down for upcoming events Social: IRL is hosting or supporting.

If you would like additional resources sent direct to your inbox, you can subscribe to our free email newsletter.

Top Ten Links:

1. Myth-Busting Social Media Marketing – Social vs. search, ROI, and B2B… Lee Odden gives a valuable reality check on three common social media marketing myths. READ MORE

2. Five Key Lessons Learned: Social Media’s Impact on CFCA Marketing Strategies – In this guest post in the Social: IRL blog, the Christian Foundation for Children and Aging share some key insights on how social media helps them better connect with supporters and enhances their ability to serve more than 300,000 children, youth, and aging friends worldwide. READ MORE

3. Does “Liking” A Bulldozer Help Sell More Of Them? – It makes sense for consumer-facing companies to leverage social media, but how’s it working out for B2B companies? READ MORE

4. “Put The Bullhorn Down” – You don’t have to go viral to be successful on social media. GE is proving that with what it calls “micro-media”—communications efforts that target small communities and facilitate discussion within them rather than trumpet to huge audiences. READ MORE

5. Marketing Your Business on LinkedIn -Although your company may have a presence on LinkedIn, have you fully incorporated LinkedIn into your multichannel social media marketing strategy by incorporating all of the features LinkedIn has to offer? This new whitepaper from Spredfast dives into four key areas brands have an opportunity to harness to build a stronger, more engaging LinkedIn presence. READ MORE

6. Reintroducing Relevancy in the Age of Empowered and Connected Consumers – Stop for a minute and reflect upon the situation facing your company today. Digital & mobile technology…social media…empowered and connected consumers…you’ve heard it all before. But have you moved your brand in the right direction in response?  READ MORE

7. Successful Social Business Starts From Within – Can a business be smart socially on the outside, without being social on the inside? In this first in a series of Social: IRL guest posts, Socialized! author Mark Fidelman discusses why the journey to being a successful social business must start with internal transformation.  READ MORE

Bonus: Win a free copy of Socialized! – Head over to Social: IRL’s Facebook Page and enter our drawing for a free copy of  “Socialized! How the Most Successful Businesses Harness the Power of Social.”

8. Top 25 Retailers Ranked By Facebook Fan Actions – Expion infographic highlighting the retailers generating the most fan actions on Facebook, both by overall volume and per post.  READ MORE

9. How Nonprofit Social Media Can Connect Supporters To The Cause – Danielle Brigida has done wonders running the social media at the National Wildlife Federation, providing a model for how organizations can use new communications technology to inspire their supporters. READ MORE

Bonus: Social Giving – The Integral Role of Social Media in Fundraising and Donations – From the most popular platforms and profitable tactics, to the growth of online movements and the rise of the crowdfunding culture, this infographic highlights how social giving is really paying off. READ MORE

10. New 2012 Internet Trends Report Highlights Opportunities – Spiral16 recap highlights of Mary Meeker’s much anticipated annual Internet Trends research report. READ MORE

Connect with Social: IRL – While many of you are connected with us on Facebook and Twitter, you can also find us on Pinterest and Google+, and join our Facebook Groups for Nonprofits and for Kansas Educators.

Upcoming Social Media Events:.

Social Media for Nonprofits – St.Louis MO, January 22: Join Social: IRL for this special workshop dedicated to educating and empowering non-profit organizations in using social media as a powerful marketing, communications, and relationships platform, and a tool to drive positive action from supporters. Free nonprofit registration. READ MORE

Social Media Club of Kansas City, Breakfast Hangout with Brian Solis – Kansas City MO, January 4: Join SMCKC for their January 4 breakfast – it’s going to be something very special! It’s taking place at Google Fiber Space, and attendees are participating in a live Hangout with Social: IRL’s good friend Brian Solis. Attendees will have the opportunity to submit questions to Brian in advance and drive the discussion around issues they want his perspectives on. Thanks to H&R Block sponsoring the breakfast, first 100 registrations receive a free copy of Brian’s book, The End of Business As Usual. READ MORE

Links include content identified as being from our sponsors Spredfast, Expion, and Spiral16. We are grateful to these sponsors for their support and enjoy sharing content and webinar opportunities they provide which we consider to be valuable to the Social: IRL community.

Social Media Marketing: Storytelling in 140 Characters

Guest post by Jessica Best, Community Director at emfluence, a full service interactive marketing company based in Kansas City.

In the last half of 2012, buzzwords like “content marketing” have been flying around and industry articles tell us to think more like publishers instead of like marketers. No longer can we simply share our product, its price and where to buy it. Our products solve problems. Our services provide solutions. And when we are great it, it makes for good stories. That’s what social media marketing is really about.

But how? 140 characters isn’t even enough for an introduction to your first chapter… Is it? The Salvation Army recently used a single tweet to tell a story and draw donors into their mission.

Telling a great story in just 140 characters >>  READ MORE

The seven whiteboard sessions every social strategist needs to have in 2012

We’re excited to be able to share a valuable new resource – “7 Whiteboard Sessions for Every Social Strategist.

Click to Download

This dynamic new whitepaper discusses seven key areas that all social media practitioners and organizations should be thinking about to help businesses continue to grow and thrive their social media programs throughout the year.

The paper was produced by Spredfast, a leading provider of Social CRM software for social media monitoring, engagement, coordination, measurement and integration.  Spredfast is also a  Social: IRL sponsor.

In preparing the paper, Spredfast spent a great deal of time talking with customers, partners and industry leaders from organizations such as Altimeter Group, Edelman Digital, MarketingProfs and Social Media Explorer to identify the biggest areas of opportunity in social media for enterprises and agencies. From those discussions, seven key areas of opportunity emerged:

1. Gaining Insight About Your Social Customer
Your customers are at the heart of everything you do – or should be doing – in social media. How are you learning about their preferences, activity and interactions to help inform your decisions?

2. Adopting Social Media Company-Wide
Social media has moved far beyond just social media marketing.  How are you planning to help roll out social media beyond just Marketing efforts to achieve business goals in departments throughout the business like Sales, R&D, Customer Care, HR or Public Relations?

3. Operationalizing Social Media with Workflows and Processes
Expanding social media throughout the your business is complex. How are you planning to operationalize social media with internal processes, communication standards and workflows to make the activity seamless between teams and people?

4. Getting the Most out of Your Great Content
Content is at the heart of everything you do in social media. But that doesn’t mean it has to be all new content or that it should exist in a vacuum. What content do you have that should be used across you social channels and how can this be used in an engaging way?

5. Delivering Better Customer Experiences
Creating good experiences is the key to successful social media programs. What do your customers want or need to experience to make their interactions positive and unique with your brand?

6. Integration
Social media initiatives are one part of a greater business initiative. And because of that, they need to be integrated into greater systems and reporting dashboards so that they can add context to overall goals.

7. Showing a Return on Social
What are your social media programs yielding in terms of social impressions, activity from your internal teams and engagement from your target audience?

Regardless of where you are in your social planning and strategy efforts, these seven areas are key to hone in on from a social media perspective. They can help make your current social programs richer and also ensure you are planning with an eye toward future social business success.

In preparing this whitepaper, Spredfast took a creative approach in presenting each area of opportunity as a “whiteboard session”, with ideas on how to approach planning and assessment and an action plan to get started. Importantly, the “whiteboard sessions” can be used as the foundation for a series of meetings designed to foster discussion and secure the buy-in needed to make your efforts successful.

For a brief overview of the whitepaper, check out the Executive Summary embedded below.

To access the complete 36 page whitepaper click here. You’ll just need to complete some very basic registration information and will then receive a free PDF download.

Kudos Spredfast. A great resource with a practical, fun and creative approach.

Appinions: An opinions-powered platform that makes it easy to identify, analyze, monitor and engage with influencers

As brands focus on building relationships with stakeholders and share content about what they are doing, their ability to discover and enter into targeted conversations with influencers is becoming increasingly important.

As part of this process, an important issue is getting a clear handle on both how many and how loudly these influencers are talking about your brand, products or services, your industry sector, and the competition.

Being able to benchmark this activity and measure it over time can help brands determine the success of their communications, marketing and sales activities, and provide the insight and intelligence to quickly make strategic and tactical changes.

With this in mind, we are excited to welcome Appinions as a new Social: IRL sponsor for 2012.

Appinions is an opinions-powered platform that makes it easy to identify, analyze, monitor and engage with influencers. Not only that, but Appinions enables researchers and publishers to automatically mine, analyze, and summarize opinion to gain insight into what people and organizations are saying, thinking and feeling.

Based on a decade of research at Cornell University, the platform features an extensive database that includes millions of opinions extracted from blogs, Twitter, Facebook, forums, newspaper and magazine articles, and radio and television transcripts.

The platform not only focuses on the influencers creating content but the influencers attracting the most attention. This lets Appinions provide a unique and unmatched view of the influencer landscape.

Services include the Appinions Influencer Exchange that lets public relations agencies and brands quickly and effectively discover influencers based on any topic, brand, issue or person, and the Influencer Gap that helps brands perform topic based analysis in order to effectively establish relationships and engage with these key influencers.

Appinions also meet the needs of online publishers by leveraging the power of opinions and influencers so they can provide readers with more relevant and interesting content that can be sourced from across the Web or specific sources.

We’re excited to see how Appinions are redefining the way we identify and engage with influencers, and the powerful opportunity this presents for brands, agencies and publishers. Connect with them on Twitter and Facebook, and check out the Appinions blog for regular posts offering great insights on the ever evolving influencer landscape.

You can also learn more by watching this short video, and will be able to connect with Appinions in-person at our upcoming event in Kansas City “Rethinking Business in the Age of the Social Consumer.”

In with the new, without tossing the old – Don’t just add the newest and neatest media to your marketing mix: integrate it

Today’s post is a guest post from Jessica Best, Community Director at emfluence, a full service interactive marketing company based in Kansas City.

Despite all the talk about emerging media killing the old standbys, they simply aren’t disappearing. It is getting a lot more crowded at the table, though. Email, Web 2.0 and Social Media all joined the party and our customers are ravenous for them.

As marketers have learned, it’s important to have a presence wherever the consumer wants us to be. Maybe that means posting to a blog or maybe that means pinning to boards on the newly popular Pinterest. Maybe it means making our customer service teams available on Twitter and not just via phone numbers. Or hosting our latest promotion at our Facebook page instead of at our website or by mailing in entries. Maybe it means using email to drive traffic to websites and profiles.

As we add more options, the key is not to just add the newest and neatest media to your marketing mix: integrate it. Twitter is the reason TV viewers have started returning to the couch to watch shows in real-time. Viewers can follow live running commentary on Twitter using a television show’s hashtag (i.e. #Glee).

Here are a few ways you can integrate your tried-and-true marketing media with emerging media:

  • Take your best television and radio spots social: add your funniest or most touching commercials to YouTube and spare the chance to share the laugh or smile.
  • Direct your postcard readers to your mobile-optimized website, where they can sign up for more information, subscribe to your email marketing or share content with their social networks.
  • Ask new email subscribers to follow your Tweets or become fans on Facebook, so you can share conversations with them, too.
  • Encourage your social audiences to subscribe to regular email updates, so they don’t miss a message about an exclusive deal or access opportunity.
  • Capture your inbound search traffic on your site with social media asks and an email sign-up form. Stay connected and nurture that lead to increase conversion rates.

Whatever your marketing plan is for 2012, be sure you’re integrating all your powerful marketing channels – traditional and new – so they can help each other out.

What media are in your marketing mix this year? How can you integrate across channels to maximize return on investment?