Do You Monitor or Listen?

In social media, we are often told to “listen first”. But what does this really mean? For most people, the reality is that we “monitor” – brands, products, people and so on. But, for me, monitoring is only the first step. It’s the most basic thing that you can do to begin showing your customers some respect.

But monitoring is done in silence. It’s a form of brand voyeurism.

So, what does it take to go beyond “monitoring”? I took a lesson from one of my favourite musicians – Natalie Merchant. You can read my latest MarketingProfs article How Natalie Merchant Taught Me to Listen along with plenty of other thought provoking content at the always brilliant MarketingProfs site.

Oh and you can always follow my How to Listen chart. Enjoy.

Five Must-Read Posts from Last Week

This week it was hard to keep to only five posts – there certainly seems to be a glut of good reading available – from some of the big industry blogs right through to the unique, lone blogger. Hope you enjoy the variety on offer this week – and let me know if you found something else worth sharing!

  1. This week marks Om Malik’s 10 Years of Blogging. So what has he learned from the last ten years – and what can be expected of a blogging future? One suggestion is that that curation is as important as writing. Think about it. It’s not about what you write, it’s about what you share (and sometimes you just happen to be sharing your own ideas).
  2. The idea that we are all separated by six degrees of separation has been a long running meme that has helped to explain social networks – but it seems it’s not exact. Using data directly from Facebook, it seems there are only 4.74 degrees of separation and that this is continuing to shrink (down from 5.28 in 2008). There’s plenty more in the Anatomy of Facebook.
  3. Abe Sauer has a great article showcasing the Commercial Ad Legacy of The Muppets. This sort of sophistication is sadly lacking from so many TV shows and creative/production houses these days.
  4. Do you blog? Have you been doing it long? What are the benefits? Ingeborg van Beusekom shares Six Reasons to Start Blogging.
  5. Sometimes your product or service is not sexy. Sometimes there is no denying that the design isn’t up to Apple’s exacting standards. But chances are, someone loves it. Or needs it. If this sounds like one of your challenges, take a look at Drew McLellan’s How Do You Sell What No One Wants to Buy.

Bye Bye Paper with ExoDesk

I’m always buying gadgets of some kind or other. Sometimes they are things I will use for work, sometimes it is software. Sometimes it’s just something fun – or that I “always wanted”. But rather than keeping it to myself, I thought I’d share it with you – as part of myGadget Weekend posts.

I can remember when we thought the “paperless” office would be a revolution. Unfortunately it just seemed to create more reasons to print more paper.

But these days we are more used to reading (and comprehending) information on a screen. Even still, my desk still seems to be littered by paper, pads, pens and other paraphernalia. It’s part of my creative process. Or so I tell myself.

The soon to be released ExoDesk may change all that. Turning your desk top into – well, a “desktop” – this looks kind of cool. And at $1299 it’s not badly priced. The only problem for me would  be finding a spot for all my paper and other junk.

How to Become a Social Business

While recently presenting at the SocialMediaPlus conference, I had the opportunity to spend some time with my colleague and fellow blogger, Michael Brenner. It was great to hear, first hand, the work that he has been pioneering with a large global organisation such as SAP – but it was equally interesting to learn of how this is changing his own thinking and professional approaches.

Michael constantly spoke about personal innovation – about the way he was making business personal – and also more social. He is constantly connecting with people all around the world, opening conversations around what it means to be a “social business” and then working to turn this into an operational reality. It is, he explained, a constant process of showing, tracking, engaging, educating and involving people at all levels – from executives and decision makers down to the newest of interns. And at the heart of this is conversation.

But what does it mean in reality? Michael suggests that you’ve got to first turn your lens onto your own marketing efforts. “The fact is, most marketing sucks”. And as he points out in this presentation, it’s not really a question of how to integrate social media into your marketing mix – it’s about transforming the way you do business. And a hint: it comes down to DOING.

Is the Average Day on Facebook Like Yours?

Do you consider yourself an average person? Do you do the average things that other average people do? Do you behave a little above or below average?

I only ask, because it seems that average people all over the world are spending a more than average amount of time on Facebook. And this infographic from the folks at JESS3 makes me wonder – do you consider yourself average in this same way? Does this social media diet sound like yours? And what, really, does this tell us about ourselves. Think I may need to get out more – as it seems there are all these friends that I have never met. Maybe we should meet for coffee. Let me know 😉


Awarding #QantasLuxury with a Downfall

Customer loyalty programs are funny things. They often walk a fine line between promise and flattery, between exclusivity and exploitation. These programs are laced with words and imagery that reinforce the sense of entitlement, achievement and reference “awards” and benefits.

But in a socially connected world, awards, entitlement and even exclusivity can be turned on its head. Right now, Qantas is at the heart of this new brand experience.

A few days ago I wrote What Qantas Will Learn from its Social Customers. There were five key lessons:

  • The social customer is ubiquitous: it’s not just Facebook or Twitter. They write blogs, publish stories and photographs. They share these with hundreds – if not thousands – of friends with the click of a mouse and a glare of disdain
  • The social customer wields influence with a swagger: they have grown up with the internet and have more tools at their disposal than you let through your firewall. They move fast and do so with intent. If they can impact the decisions of others (to not purchase with you) they will do so.
  • The social customer is not your friend: they don’t want a platitude and they won’t go quietly. They will remember your words and your actions and they will choose their purchases carefully and with deliberation.
  • The social customer is the 99%: they can smell inequity at a hundred paces. You’ve just given them a reason to chose another brand who understands their lifestyle and their priorities.
  • The social customer is developing a social conscience: it’s taken decades, but it is forming. Just take a look at the Edelman Trust Barometer. Brands will be judged by their actions.

But things have progressed, and by “progressed” I mean “become worse”. Yesterday’s promotional efforts using Twitter and the #qantasluxury hashtag have been widely regarded as a failure or PR disaster. But I think it goes deeper than that. It’s a malaise that goes to the very heart of the brand and the disconnect between Qantas the brand and its customers.

You see, social media can become damaging to your brand when you ignore the real messages of social media – the wide cultural and personal transformations that I call The Social Way. Without understanding and translating these into your business the gulf between your brand and your customers will continue to widen. If Qantas (or their advising agencies) had understood, for example, the Five Stages of Social Media Grief and had applied this to understanding their customers, then perhaps, #qantasluxury could have been a completely different campaign.

What we are seeing is a widespread “falling out of love” with the Qantas brand. And with this comes a sense of loss. Grief. The Australian public and travellers, in particular, are having to come to grips with a changed reality – where the relationship and trust that they once had in the Qantas brand has evaporated through purposeful direct action of the Qantas management and Board.

qantas-luxuryAnd when the audience, formerly known as “Qantas Customers” have not yet moved into the “acceptance” phase of the grieving process, any brand activations must be carefully considered, planned and executed.

The Twitter stream of conversation (as shown above) seems to be still accelerating and now #qantasluxury appears to have been awarded the ultimate social media honour – the production of its very own Downfall spoof (see Parodies in this Wikipedia entry). When your customers go to the trouble of producing media like this, it’s the equivalent of entering the social customer hall of shame. It’s not an award that Qantas would like, I am sure, but I have a feeling there is still a way to go before this peters out.

When Your Twitter Campaign Goes South – #qantasluxury Ditches

Today, Qantas launched a Twitter-based competition. Perhaps underestimating how much damage has been done to the brand in the wake of the recent lockout of its workers, the vocal Twitter community hijacked the campaign and have been busily reminding Qantas management (and Board) just what negative brand sentiment can translate into. Clearly, Qantas has not learned from their social customers.

But what does it look like when this happens? How is it expressed? 

Tiphereth Gloria has done a great job monitoring the situation and pulling out a number of key tweets across the day. Using Storify, Tip shares and amplifies some of the most salient points.

We used to say that the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about. But does this apply in a world where personal recommendation trumps brand allegiance? It seems that this Qantas saga has some way to run – with Fair Work Australia now required to produce a binding outcome which could still take months. And the question on many customers minds has to be – who at Qantas has their eye on the safety, customer experience and  brand value of the business? Clearly not the Board or the CEO.

Joining the Customer Collective Advisory Panel

The Customer Collective is an independent, moderated blogging community focused on sales and marketing executives. Its sister site, The Social Customer focuses on customer service practitioners. Both of these sites operate under the SocialMediaToday umbrella and take contributions from bloggers, writers, thought leaders and practitioners from all around the world. You can automatically share your blog posts via RSS or write exclusive articles directly for the community. It is a great way of sharing your knowledge with a broad, yet business focused audience.

I was recently invited to join the advisory board of The Customer Collective/ The Social Customer and am excited to be joining a respected group of marketing and sales practitioners. Be sure to check out their blogs and Twitter channels for razor sharp insight and quality conversation!

Ardath Albee
Ardath Albee
@ardath421 on Twitter
Ardath Albee is CEO and B2B Marketing Strategist for her firm Marketing Interactions. She is an expert at creating contagious content and e-marketing strategies that engage prospects-from initial attention until they’re sales ready. She has a unique ability to develop content strategies that work hand-in-glove with overall corporate and product positioning to deliver hard hitting e-marketing programs and tools that compel customers to buy. Ardath is the author of the popular book, eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale, recently released by McGraw-Hill.
Connect with Ardath »

Dave Brock
Dave Brock
@davidabrock on Twitter
Dave Brock is President and CEO of Partners In EXCELLENCE, a global consulting company focused on helping organizations achieve the highest levels of performance in sales, marketing, customer service and business strategy. He helps individuals and organizations develop and execute strategies to outPerform, outSell, and outCompete their competition. Dave is an internationally recognized speaker, writer, and thought leader in leadership, sales, value propositions, marketing, strategic alliances and partnering, business strategy and management.
Connect with Dave »

Charles Green
Charles Green
@charleshgreen on Twitter
Author, speaker, teacher, blogger. Founder/CEO of Trusted Advisor Associates co-author The Trusted Advisor author Trust-based Selling MBA, ex-general management consultant Helping build trusted business advisors.
Connect with Charles »

Paul Greenberg
Paul Greenberg
@pgreenbe on Twitter
In addition to being the author of the best-selling CRM at the Speed of Light, Paul Greenberg is President of The 56 Group, LLC, a customer strategy consulting firm, and BPT Partners, LLC, a training and consulting venture that has quickly become the certification authority for the CRM industry. His book, CRM at the Speed of Light: Social CRM Strategy, Tools, and Techniques for Engaging Your Customers, now in its fourth edition, is in 9 languages and been called "the bible of the CRM industry". Paul is also the co-chairman of Rutgers University’s CRM Research Center and the Executive Vice President of the CRM Association. He is a Board of Advisors member of the Baylor University MBA Program for CRM majors, a unique national program. He is a core member of the Board of Advisors for the Center for American Progress, the leading policy thinktank in Washington D.C.
Connect with Paul »

Gavin Heaton
Gavin Heaton
@servantofchaos on Twitter
Gavin is the author of Servant of Chaos, one of Australia’s leading marketing blogs and is the co-publisher (with Drew McLellan) of the ground-breaking collaborative marketing book series, Age of Conversation. Gavin has worked in agencies (leading the global digital strategy for McDonald’s), but is currently holed up on the client side where he is the Director of Social Media for the SAP Premier Customer Network, North America. In what little spare time is left to him, he works with young people as president of local non-profit organisation, Vibewire.
Connect with Gavin »

Jill Konrath
Jill Konrath
@jillkonrath on Twitter
Jill Konrath is an internationally recognized author and B2B sales strategist. She’s a popular speaker at sales meetings, conferences and kick-off events where she shares fresh sales strategies that actually work in today’s business environment. SNAP Selling, her newest book, soared to #1 Amazon sales book within hours of its release. Her 1st book, Selling to Big Companies, was named a “must read” by Fortune Magazine and has been an Amazon’s Top 20 Sales Books since 2006.
Connect with Jill »

Mike Merriman
Mike Merriman

@MerrimanMzinga on Twitter
Mike Merriman has a varied background in product development, product management, customer service, strategic consulting, and industry research with over 20 years of leadership experience. As Mzinga’s Director of Strategic Services, Mike applies this broad background to assist our clients in mapping their business goals to specific community and social media initiatives to maintain competitive advantage.
Connect with Mike »

Natalie Petouhoff
Natalie Petouhoff
@drnatalie on Twitter
Dr. Natalie serves as the Chief Strategist for Social Media, Digital Communications and Measurement at Weber Shandwick, with a world-wide practice role spanning client work, practice development and thought leadership. Dr. Natalie’s focus is to consult with clients on their strategy for social media, marketing, PR, customer service and integrating them using organizational change management, new technology deployment and social media analytics, measurement and ROI.
Connect with Natalie »

Anneke Seley
Anneke Seley
@annekeseley on Twitter
Anneke was the twelfth employee at Oracle, the designer of OracleDirect, the company’s revolutionary inside sales operation, and one of four people recognized as an early innovator in Oracle’s Innovation Showcase. She is currently the CEO and founder of Phone Works, a sales strategy and implementation consultancy that has helped over 350 large and small businesses across industries increase sales productivity and results. Anneke is the coauthor of the best-selling book on the new culture of selling, Sales 2.0: Improve Business Results Using Innovative Sales Practices and Technology.
Connect with Anneke »

Five Must-Read Posts from Last Week

I was a little deluged with busyness last week, presenting at the SocialMediaPlus conference in the US.

That meant that I missed last week’s update – but there was some pretty good material that will feed your brain, so this week’s list is a combination of great reading from the last two weeks.

Hope you like it!

  1. Sometimes you can stumble upon a piece of great, topical writing, like this piece by Mat Honan – Generation X Doesn’t Want to Hear It. My favourite line: “Right now, Generation X just wants a beer and to be left alone” – or the Australian version – “Generation X needs a Bex and a lie down”. Love it.
  2. Who would have thought that Facebook can make you smarter? New research indicates that social network complexity enriches your cognitive growth – or so Eric Michael Johnson tells us in the Scientific American blogs.
  3. Why do we share? Mike Arauz explains the three drivers – to strengthen bonds, define a group identity and to give me status. A great article summarising some of the proceedings at the Futures of Entertainment conference at MIT.
  4. Why do you do what you do? Hint: It’s all about your customers. Or so Michael Brenner says. Here are five questions with one of my socially-savvy colleagues, courtesy of MarketingProfs.
  5. We all talk (a lot) about content curation. But how do you spot good curation? Beth Kanter shares a deck on this very subject, and weighs in with her own thoughts. Gold.

How and Why to Give an Ignite Talk

Each year the ignite conference runs events around the world. These short form conferences allow speakers 5 minutes and 20 slides to tell their story. It’s a challenging and dynamic format – the slides auto-progress each 15 seconds – so it keeps the speakers and the audience on their toes.

But many of us find the idea of public speaking confronting. What would we speak about? And then there is the time – five minutes is such a short period of time, right? In this 5 minute Ignite talk, Scott Berkun reminds us that the Gettysburg Address – Abraham Lincoln’s famous speech (“four score and seven years ago …”) – takes only two minutes to deliver. He also explains where you can find your story (hint: you already know it), how and why you should share it, and why you’ll be good at it.

Check out the video, then look for the next Ignite in a city near you.