Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Migration to Mobile II -- The Second Screen, or Is It the Fifth?

“Second screening” has interested me from the advent of mobile. I used to think I was too old to watch TV with a mobile device in hand—that it was just for Gen Y and below. However, now even I find myself doing it along with a lot of others—amazing!

So first the terminology. It’s not standard, but this is general usage. TV was the first screen, the desktop computer the second. The third was the cellphone (now the smart phone) with the fourth being the tablet. The Pew chart shows the increase in ownership of various mobile devices and the corresponding decline in desktop ownership.

eMarketer recently quoted data suggesting that connected cars would provide the fifth screen. That is quite a challenge for marketers and their content! I do hope, however, that cars will be driving themselves before drivers start, for example, start browsing the Internet from their car’s dashboard!

What’s important is that behavior is changing right along with ownership as I pointed out last week. It’s safe to summarize that communication is still most important but brand-related activity continues to grow. Actual shopping, not so much. However, recent Nielsen data indicates that consumers are likely to research on smart phones and purchase on tablets. So second screening is taking place even within the growing mobile shopping space.

Three recent event illustrate what is happening and how brands, teams and people can benefit. See these summary infographics:

The Summer Olympics
The Super Bowl
The Oscars

All had their own issues. Olympics social media activity was overwhelmed by viewer angst about NBC’s coverage (#NBCfail). The Super Bowl had that power outage—what else did viewers have to do except tweet about it? The Oscars have taken heat in the past for not doing a good job with social media. This year the level of social media activity was less than that of the Super Bowl and the Grammys according to Mashable.

The Grammys seem to do a consistently good job of self-promotion. Here is their advice for other event producers:
1. Be semi-obnoxious, promoting platforms and hashtags at all opportunities.
2. Tell your audience what they will get for following you on social media. In the case of the Grammys that included behind-the-scenes coverage and unique content.
3. Let your audience know you are listening. That takes a trained social media team at work during the event.
4. Spell it out. See Number 1! The Grammys used the transitions to ads to promote platforms, sites, etc. often using their celebrity presenters to do so.
5. Be active on social media during your event. More than listening, have proactive official posts and tweets to encourage engagement.
6. Think about social media long before the event. The Oscars actually did a good job of that. Consumers were fairly accurate in predicting Oscar winners.
7. Use social media to help the viewer keep up. Use captions, crawlers, etc. to list platforms and hashtags, making social engagement easier.

Whether it’s a brand-related event, a business conference, or a non-profit activity, the work it takes to integrate social media can pay off handsomely in visibility!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Social Media for Good VII

On January 24 Twitter launched Vine, a platform for 6 second looping videos. Right now they are mobile-only. The free app can be downloaded at the App Store.

The New York Humane Society was one of the first users. They tweeted a video of Parker the cat.

The good news is that Parker found a home as a direct result of the video. NYHS was smart enough to tweet again, the image I captured, announcing that Parker had found his new home.

Good job!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Migration to Mobile I - How is Consumer Behavior Changing?

The long-awaited mobile revolution has finally materialized in the United States. It took us longer than other parts of the world, but now that it’s here it is indeed revolutionizing the way consumers do many things.

The graphic and lengthy quote from the NPD Group shows the continuing flow of activity from desktops to tablets and smartphones. According to their press release 37% of consumers who once accessed content from their desktops now access from tablets and smartphones. Does that imply “all the time” or “some of the time?”  That’s not clear. The graphic shows Internet browsing and Facebook to be the two activities benefitting most from the switch. “Twenty-seven percent of smartphone owners have decreased both their Internet and Facebook usage on their PCs because they now use their smartphone for these activities,” they say, so the answer appears to be “some of the time.”

What surprises me most is in the text; smartphones lead tablets in the percentage of consumers who are switching to mobile access. Thinking about that, I believe the answer is not in larger screens per se; it’s in the fact that more people own smartphones than tablets at this point. For Pew research on the subject see:

• Changing activities of cell phone users 
• Current activities of smartphone users   Note that Pew identifies 2012 as the tipping point where more consumers are using smartphones than traditional cell phones.
So the switch is underway. What are they doing; what content are they accessing? The Marketing Sherpa chart shows more brand interaction, peer input, and product and pricing research. New purchasing behavior and payment methods are down the list, but I’d expect them to increase as consumers become more comfortable with mobile. Will showrooming continue to be a curse to retailers? Not clear. Local also seems to be on the upswing, and I’ll return to that in a later post.

Consumer behavior is being changed by the availability of mobile and improved mobile experience. What can we expect as 2013 moves on? In its 2013 predictions Mobile Marketer calls it SoLoMoCoDa, with Co mmerce increasing (along with Da ta) fueled by NFC and other developments in payment platforms.

They’re not so much doing different things; they're doing things like search and Facebook on different screens. More about that in the next post.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Social Media for Good VI

The SmartBrief headline was too good not to click—"Researchers Use Twitter to Try to Catch Colds". It lead me to computer science researchers at Johns Hopkins who have an active public health research program based on analysis of tweets.

They’ve studied allergies and found that people not only talked about them on twitter but many of them were taking the wrong medications. They’ve also studied headaches and the spread of flu. The SmartBlog post gives information on how they do it.

CS doctoral student Michael Paul comments that using Twitter to do this type of research is much faster than traditional public health information gathering, but less accurate.

So consider it another weapon in the growing arsenal of health-related social media tools!

Monday, February 11, 2013

What Makes a Good Social Media Team?

Nike’s announcement last month that it was bringing “all” social media activity in-house stimulated a flurry of speculation, some of it off-base. “In-house” does not necessarily equal “all”.

I participated in the attempt to integrate direct marketing into traditional marketing in the late 80s and early 90s. History is being repeated in the social media era. The direct marketing agencies I first knew were entrepreneurial. Many were subsequently acquired by general agencies as a quick way to gain direct expertise because their brand marketer clients were demanding it. As brand marketers acquired direct marketing skills many established in-house direct marketing departments. This was especially true of telephone marketing where it became an axiom that brand marketers hired service bureaus to learn the business, then brought telephone marketing in-house.

Do you see any place in that paragraph where “social” could not be substituted for “direct?” I think not, but even that covers up an important issue. Sarah Hofsterrer, CEO of digital agency 360i closes the loop. She says:

some brands will move in the direction of taking social media management in-house, but that does still leave room for the agency to consult a brand in a strategic context, even though the activation is in-house.

That mirrors perfectly what happened in direct-response marketing. Brands with in-house departments often sought the strategic advice of agencies, especially when they were launching new initiatives. Brands also recognized that agencies are mostly a variable cost while in-house units are fixed costs.  Smaller companies need to be especially aware of the cost issue, but all need to strike the correct balance. Digiday has some cost estimates and other good observations from large brand marketers.

Marketing Charts quotes a survey of companies of 100+ employees that found that while 27% have a team that works exclusively on social media (most others assign SMM along with other work) only 3% outsource SMM completely which suggests that the in-house trend is in its infancy.

So if history repeats itself--as it seems to be doing--more brands will be developing substantial in-house social media marketing expertise. I recently highlighted a video from one social media team, the Mars Curiosity Rover, doing an excellent job. The three social media marketers sat around a table and had an interesting conversation. What about requirements when the social media team gets larger?
There are many lists of do’s and don’t’s but Jeremiah Owyang has a post that details not only the makeup of a social media team but gives job descriptions for each category and takes a look at social media teams by level of corporate social media maturity. You should read the entire post.

He defines the social media team as follows:

The Corporate Social Media team is business program lead by a corporate social strategist that achieves business goals using social tools by coordinating with multiple business units across the enterprise.
In that definition he gives the basic answer to my question. What makes a good social media team is not specific skills, it is strategic focus.

Are you ready for complete control over SMM? Can you demonstrate ROI and thereby justify the costs involved? Can you locate employees with the needed skills, including the ability to orchestrate social media content and response across the enterprise? And finally, is your SSMM at a level that qualifies it as a strategic activity?

The best advice is to go slow. Don’t dump your agency quickly or rudely. You are probably going to need them to help build a strategic SMM team and to back it up from time to time in the future.

In-house social media teams simply aren’t an either/or proposition!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Social Media for Good V

Secretary Clinton ended her tenure at the State Department with multiple media events. The one of most interest to social media was her Global Town Hall on January 29.

With Australian newscaster Leigh Sales she took questions from college students in India, Nigeria, England, Japan, Columbia, and Lebanon. Social technologies used were Facebook, Twitter, Sina Weibo (the Chinese version of Twitter), emails, and IP Video Conferencing.View the video here.

Were you aware that Clinton was the first Secretary of State to require that departmental employees are trained in the use of social media?

Is this propaganda? Most certainly. Does it contribute to global understanding? Personally, I find it hard to argue that any reasonably open event that promotes communication across borders and cultures is not a good thing.

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Importance of CEO Social Media Engagement--How-To Guidance

As often happens, a great article is posted soon after I write a post on a subject. This time it is the importance of social media engagement by CEO s and the McKinsey guidance is too important to ignore.

It’s worth reading the full article (free registration required) on the McKinsey Quarterly site. They give examples from the social media experience at GE for leadership requirements in the social media era. Importantly, the leadership requirements are not new. The  necessity for social media engagement adds new dimensions to the requirement for effective leader communication that has existed all along. These are things leaders need to do:

1.       Create effective content. Some content like product demos may be best created in a studio setting for excellent production values (see rule 2). But a leader on the go should take pictures and videos that provide content for personal messages on blogs, twitter, etc.
2.       Leverage social channels and followers to disseminate messages.
3.       Learn to manage, and help employees manage, the torrent of communications.
4.       Drive strategic social media use. As I keep telling students, “Yes, you can use that channel? Should you?” The question is whether it reaches the right audience and if it’s worth the time and effort. The article uses the term “strategic orchestrators.” I like that analogy. A leader doesn’t have to be able to play all the instruments to conduct the  orchestra effectively.
5.       Create an organizational infrastructure that facilitates effective social media engagement at all levels of the firm.
6.       Stay ahead of the curve—the hardest thing of all. But the article points out that the Internet ofThings is on the horizon and all of us need to be paying attention!

Not all of us have the resources of a GE but all can adapt these guidelines to the scale and readiness state of our organization. They are essential in the age of social media!