Welcome to my blog on Content Intelligence and Engagement Performance; I have spent years in collaboration, messaging and social space developing advanced technologies to improve the consumer experience and lead generation. Was inducted into the Viral Hall of Fame by Marketing Sherpa as well as other industry awards. Join me in the conversation.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Influencer, Content Intelligence and Social Engagement

Talking with many brands and agencies the same challenge comes up over and over: “What should we put in our stream to engage our audience and what’s important to them?”

This is a very good question and any serious social site management has a content calendar / blog post schedule to do just that. The bigger question is what do you do on a consistent basis (daily) and is the content you’re putting in your feed getting the attention you think it deserves? “You are what you feed” and in this hyper connected 140 character news bite world we live in, your brand must be on topic and as relevant as possible to as many people in order to obtain any social velocity around your brand’s ultimate call to action.

In this 2nd part of our 3 part series, we will explore direct way to achieve greater relevancy, intelligent content discovery, consistency of engagement and being part of your audience’s conversations. Sharing and re-tweeting is a must have in the NOW world. You’re only as good as your last post. So, some may say, “Make it a good one.” The importance in understanding your audience and what drives them can dictate what we put in our feeds that appeals to the greatest number of engaged consumers that are also compelled to share with others. This is the holy grail in social content marketing today...(Did someone say I want to make this go viral?)
Most have heard about the 1% rule — that just 1% of your brand’s social media followers are responsible for the majority of sharing. They share your social media campaigns with their larger social network, passing on links to your contests, promotions, deals, and other marketing campaigns. These key Influencers are more than just fans — they’re brand ambassadors and advocates.

With the growth of major brands engaging consumers across social channels, as seen in the graph above, more brands today have a greater need for relevant engagement. How to crowd source knowledge, and leverage what’s trending for your own brand is now at your finger tips. Brands that have fully embraced the social graph’s effectiveness to deliver growth, lead generation, loyalty and direct click throughs, plus the amazing number of Comments, Like and Retweets would make any competitor envious. AXE (Unilever brand) is a great example of content that’s not brand specific, however, engages and produces traction with its followers.

To get consumers to interact more and drive them to a call to action requires engagement beyond just the brand pump or product discount announcements. AXE consistently provides these types of posts to their audience allowing them to be in the conversation. Below is a screen shot of intelligent crowd sourced content trending around pet owners connected to other pet oriented sites (Content Consumption Graph). Thus, providing a direct example of content that’s highly relevant to the audience making this process of sourcing content simpler and more seamless to deliver on a real time basis, or as required.

There has been some argument regarding content vs. conversation. Social media isn’t just conversation, it’s about .......... WHO CARES! Let’s look at facts:

* Conversations are a derivative of social media. Conversations are not social media.
* Does content drive conversation? Yes, compelling content drives engagement.
* Does good content drive good conversation? Yes, the more relevant the better.
* Does engagement for a brand have to revolve around the conversation? Yes and No. It’s about stimulating interaction which may or may not relate.
* Relevant driven Conversations and Brand Interactions are the results

All content sent in the brand’s feeds are tracked individually creates a rank list of the highest performers activity, providing instant feedback to what content is capturing Influencer attention and best social velocity:

A brand has to be more than just a great conversationalist to have long-term success in the social media. Social sites that have harnessed and engaged their audience have compelling content and tap into the passion points of their audience. This creates a huge marketing opportunity, called Content Marketing.

Using crowd sourced Social Intelligence provides a direct path to seeing what content is trending around your community (Content Consumption Graph). Monitoring the social interaction around your feeds provides a direct path by providing the most relevant content to your community and at the same time getting the most out of them.

Life is not about being liked, it's about being effective!

Your turn, how are you determining what content is on topic and are you engaging your audience and Influencers with relevance beyond your brand marketing message?


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Friday, October 1, 2010

Content Curation: Advocates, Influencers and Relevance

The success of Flipboard and Paper.li can be attributed to topic filtering and using the social graph of friends’ Facebook and Twitter connections to determine what content is trending. The overall success of social news generation depends heavily on this type of content creation.

Tools such as Curated.by, Tweetmeme, Topsy and twittertim.es, offer amazing features, from tracking number of clicks to who is grouping around a topic. The challenge is applying the right social intelligence to match enterprise-grade requirements and then scaling that technique to allow brands to mine this lucrative consumer data stream.
Tapping content shared among your friends, i.e. content crowd sourcing, is not new but the intelligence to parse what should be curated and how is. Enabling brands to be at the center of vertical content discovery is a valuable way to leverage this almost infinite information stream, while keeping the conversation relevant to your audience.

Current solutions can explore links from your Twitter stream, plus your followers and their followers, ranking them based on how many people link to them. These products are conceptually similar to Tweetmeme but sorted based on contributors. Paper.li also achieves this type of curation, while exposing influential people on Twitter.

Collaborative filtering has been discussed since 2002, but it was Twitter and Facebook’s sharing of links plus feed amplification through the social graph which was the game changer.
The visual below shows one such re-tweet path and links shared. The red lines show secondary re-tweets for this tweet http://bit.ly/99TmwN and illustrates something InfiniGraph dubs the “Content Consumption Graph.”

What’s the big deal? For a brand, knowing your audience and who has the most social resonance with specific content provides a valuable engagement conduit to similar communities. Finding your advocates by how much relevant action they’re engaged with in a content vertical is the best way of identifying authentic social interaction.
Below is a visual breakdown of a Twitter population based on who you follow, using segmentation categories created by Klout. Your content interests result in key social indicators that determine what content best matches a brand audience.

Tools that measure your reach and determine the best content approach are still primitive. Bit.ly and similar tools work most of the time, except when links are altered by other social services. Sharethis is trying to address this issue but requires the installation of the Sharethis widget.

Tools like SocialTALK, Zuberance also enable tracking shared reviews. Rowfeeder pulls data directly from Twitter and Facebook and counts brand mentions to help find possible advocates. While the combining social monitoring and analytics with various sharing tools is possible, challenges still remain.

Social media now offer marketers a way to map relevant conversations ranked by influence, something that was previously impossible. But identifying brand advocates based on true social interaction and authenticity is still not possible.

Yet it’s becoming critical for brands to better understand how their content is being shared, how similar content is being consumed and where the content of competitors is being shared online. Using large-scale social intelligence techniques lets marketers and community mangers find the most relevant content to supply their news feeds, while engaging their audiences with far greater relevance.

Going beyond keyword monitoring and looking for opportunities to optimize the word-of-mouth effect of your social network content will greatly increase your reach. So key questions to ask your team are: How do you track your content today? What content are you curating through your feeds and what is getting the most traction?


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Monday, August 23, 2010

The “Now What” Syndrom: Retaining and Engaging Fans/Followers

In Chase McMichael’s upcoming talk at INTEGRATING EMAIL MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA, we're addressing the challenges brands are having with their social sites once they get one rolling. The question is “NOW WHAT” with regards to retaining and engaging their fans/followers.

Brand managers are challenged with managing and making their social presences engaging; what should I post to my audience over just product update after product update, or special discounts, over and over again. Social is not about force feeding a one way message to your audience but more about starting conversations, becoming a leader in information discovery and content creator. Even the company blog needs content that’s highly relevant and meaning full, overall providing value to your consumers.

How brands obtains a greater following which produces high social density (people with same or similar in common connections to the same brand) is based directly on connected consumers with similar interests. The higher the social density is around a brand the higher the social resonance a brand has among a community; therefore creating greater conversation and sharing.

Fig 1 and 2 illustrate high and low social density around one topic.

Low social density results in low social resonance. The top image has zero in common connections therefore the probability to cause social resonance is approaching zero where as the lower image has high social density around a specific vertical topic causing retweets, sharing and people commenting.

When consumers share, go to and make comments on content; these actions create the Content Consumption Graph (CCG). Billions of views on content are happening right now and a fraction is being shared or interactive with to expand that content reach. The word “Viral” is a word used to describe a small set of consumers who send out content to enough people in turn sending to others and so on, hence, Viral spreading. What’s great about all this behavior is Brands can leverage this with desire to share and create content discovery with content that’s highly relevant to their brand and resonates with their target audience.

The ability to do continuous social insight management of my many social points is vital to leverage the CCG. With recent advancements in social technologies brands have access to real time recommendations of content that’s important to their audience. Being in the stream and being relevant is a big deal. There are 100,000’s of social sites that are dead because no one is fuelling the jet and providing ongoing lead nurturing and content discovery around their social presence.

Do you know what your brands social density is and who is engaging your posts? How are you sourcing content that’s relevant to your customers? Tell us what steps you’re taking to engage with content.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Pursuing the Content Sharers

My first ADOTAS – Every day consumers are interacting with content — from location-based services to content creators to digital content sharing. Currently there are millions of highly motivated consumers sharing content daily.

The Content Consumption Graph (CCG) forms a social currency ecosystem based on how often and who shares content. This drive and desire to obtain a nugget of information and be the first to seed such an information discovery among ones followers/friends (give them something to talk about) is a major opportunity for brands to intelligently source and feed their feeds.

Content worthy of being shared is passed, retweeted (RT) or pushed in a Facebook stream as status updates or posts starting the conversation tsunami; however, brands are not taking advantage of this viral conversation. This highly desired sharing behavior is prompted by consumers using shared information to drive discovery within specific networks which is an amazing conduit for

Every brand has a set of prolific content sharers who are directly connected to the brand on many levels. These hyper-sharers may never mention or post directly on your brand, exposing a major flaw in keyword-based social monitoring platforms.

Mashups and infographs such as recently launched Facebook Stories are hot because they drive more sharing and conversation around the same set of topics. A great example of this CCG interaction was spawned from the Fast Company Influencer Project.

Here we show the interaction breakdown putting Amber Naslund at the very top of the CCG and other sites gaining less share reach.

Today’s brand managers face the challenge of what they should post to their audience versus just product update or special discount offers over and over. Social is not about force-feeding a one-way message, rather more about leading in information discovery.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Information about information - Seth Godin

I had to put this up and full cred to Seth Godin http://bit.ly/a5uHNg

Information about information

The first revolution hit when people who made stuff started to discover that information was often as valuable as the stuff itself. Knowing where something was or how it performed or how it interacted with you can be worth more than the item itself.

Frito Lay dominates the snack business because of the information infrastructure they built on top of their delivery model. 7 Eleven in Japan dominated for a decade or more because they used information to change their inventory. Zara in Europe is an information business that happens to sell clothes.

You've probably already guessed what's now: information about information. That's what Facebook and Google and Bloomberg do for a living. They create a meta-layer, a world of information about the information itself.

And why is this so valuable? Because it compounds. A tiny head start in access to this information gives you a huge advantage in the stock market. Or in marketing. Or in fundraising.

Many people and organizations are contributing to this mass of data, but few are taking advantage of the opportunity to collate it and present it to people who desperately need it. Think about how much needs to be sorted, compared, updated and presented to people who want to choose or learn or trade on it.

The race to deliver this essential scalable asset isn't over, it's just beginning.


Monday, July 12, 2010

A/B Testing Social Media @ Social Media Marketing 2010

A/B Testing in Social Media please see InfiniGraphs YouTube channel for the rest of the program.

In this clip I talk about what InfiniGraph is doing on the social graph and the great innovation we have coming out soon.

Full length is here

Social Media Marketing 2010 - A/B Testing for Social Media from InfiniGraph Chase McMichael on Vimeo.


Friday, July 2, 2010

A/B Testing for Social Media July 8th

Exciting next week I will be speaking at #SSMSF A/B Testing for Social Media July 8th. Will be talking directly about how to drive and measure target traffice to your site while optimizing the content for increased relevance. Using Social Intelligence in this context is a big deal and will be our first showing of what we have been doing recently. Get over to Hotel Nikko starts at 9am.

Social Media Marketing 2010 - San Francisco - July 8th, 2010

A/B Testing for Social Media

Panelist: Hiten Shah ( @hnshah) – KISSmetrics, Dan Martell – FlowTown and Chase McMichael (@chasemcmichel) - @InfiniGraph

Overview: Over the past decade or more, A/B testing has proven an invaluable method of marketing testing to optimize landing pages, emails, ads, and text. Learn how to apply the A/B testing methodology to your marketing campaigns for increased social media engagement. Find out what the experts are currently using as engagement metrics, learn major pitfalls to avoid, and hear their take on everything from optimizing blog post lengths to optimizing websites for most searched keywords

Register with this link and use discount code: 10smmsf1 to save 10%

Come and join us in the conversation!


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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Social Intelligence and Social CRM – a powerful combination

Re-post from InfiniGraph blog

In our last blog we talked about Social Relevancy and the fact that your customer are connected and interacting with many brands and content types that all have to be considered when developing a strategy to engage and ignite your audience.

Social CRM (SCRM) is the new big buzz word for now, however, there is a great deal of definitions and interpretation to what SCRM really is (see Social CRM Pioneers). Several recent studies (link) on what a Facebook Fans “LIKER” is worth brings light to Social Media is serious business when it comes to the companies CRM strategy when your customers on Facebook are more valuable.

A fraction of your online customer base moves your brand or insight community interaction around your brand enabling social crowd sourcing. If the brand engages with right set of people the crowd wins. Social Intelligence is a key to understanding your audience and the best engagement points. The flaw in social listening or monitoring platforms is not all customers are talking about you. Being keyword base also poses another challenge in that what keywords your customer are using are not the obvious ones such as your brand name.

Customer interaction in the social web is one key mechanism to dive the crowd to participate. This quote from Seth Godin “you don’t manage your customers, your customers manage you” really sums up the truth about what the dynamics are between consumer to brand relationship in the social web.

Beyond understand your customers’ interaction with your brand and connecting the dots of your customers numerous social personas, accessing the Content Consumption Graph (CCG) becomes another critical step to harnessing intelligent crowd sourcing.

Enhance your knowledge of your customer by developing strong SocialCRM foundations;

· customer-controlled

· integrated

· interactive

· connected

· lifecycle-based

· value-focused

· community-driven

· cross-divisional

· marketing-driven

What does all this have to do with Social CRM and the relevant impact? The entire organization needs to socialize and optimize in order to affect decisions and earn relevance.

Social CRM takes a different view on your customer base to enable empowerment and crowd sourcing beyond traditional customer support and put it on its head.

1. Employees and Customers contribute to this echo system

2. Customers have reach and meaning in their own micro communities

3. User generated content like videos, blogs, reviews, forums etc all become the source of consumer ownership.

4. Customer Service becomes a central theme because customers have an amazing broadcast capability and the ones super connect can start a grown swell

5. Marketing is a function of service and who is being engaged is extremely important

Brands now have new opportunities for building customer relationships like never before and are 1 degree separated for a massive collective that operate in real-time. Understanding your customer and what motivates them is a key attribute to finding those who are moving your brand.

According to Solis, 'the ability to identify active communities of relevance, tracing influential people and channels, and the dissection of all phases of the process of decision making, all in real-time, are crucial aspects of social media marketing.”

Using Social Intelligence enables this Identification and involving these ‘influencers’ and communities. Linking a company CRM to interactive marketing actions are some of the core elements of an integrated, Social CRM solution. Interactive marketing, customer interactions based on real-time data, and customer actions should be linked with one and another. That’s the technical and tactical aspect: you communicate with the customer in a way that he wants to, based on the digital signals and ‘triggers’ they give you.

If we define influence as the ability to inspire action and measure the corresponding activity, the socialization of influence now expands beyond the strategies and software that organize and optimize customer relations and the management processes that govern it.


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Sunday, May 9, 2010

Ready for Social Relevancy & Facebook Open Graph?

With all the hype over on Facebook launch of Like and Open Graph, it is time for me to highlight areas that marketers have to consider besides just dropping in a widget or a plug-in on their pages. Facebook has opened big opportunities in information discovery, consumer opt-in, expanding Social CRM (SCRM) and increasing Social Density around your brand. SCRM has now expanded beyond social listening and seeing your consumer overlaps with vertical products to a whole new level. Below is a great example of how to identify consumers that match other brand preferences and expand reach through loyalty.

With Open Graph, users now don't just become a "fan" of a brand, band, sport, or style of music. They will simply decide whether they "Like" something. By using the "Like" button or making a “comment” on a site, users automatically authorize Facebook to publish this information on their profiles or their friend's news feeds. Below are examples of categories listed in the Facebook Open Graph API. Plug-ins provided by Facebook allow the segmenting of friends who "Like" something by publisher.

Facebook Object types currently supported:

This provides much greater access to user information, but the majority of companies don’t really know what to do to enhance the social velocity of their brands. Since greater access carries greater responsibility in consumer privacy protection, brands must offer a level of transparency to assure integrity.

As of last check, Facebook has added nearly 300 website "Like" buttons per hour and now over 100K. Marketers are salivating over Facebook's 500+ million users but without a clear way to comprehend what is information is available and how to maximize their conversational presence. The publishers are organized by top level categories enabling network based content interaction across many publishers.

The vision here is to build a network of discovery tools and information that operates at a higher level than search. The goals are to answer questions for users. What are my friends doing? Where are they eating? What do they recommend? This clearly doesn’t eliminate the need for search, but it does represent an alternative way in which to discover information. For This will make it easier for marketing professionals, who will have yet another set of content connections to manage, to make sense of the new services.

The mountain of data that Facebook will gain is going to improve the site's search capabilities as well as integration of Bing. For example, if Facebook knows the most “Liked” Caribbean restaurants in Miami and my friends like these same restaurants, the site can show that information in my search results. This hypothetically makes Facebook search much more social, turning the site into more of a "recommendation engine” than Google in its current state.

This is all speculation for the moment. Since Facebook doesn’t have a really good search experience, it remains less useful than Google. However, it is possible to imagine much improved Bing integration combined with data and metadata gleaned from millions of profiles and “Likes” across the internet — making Facebook a more personal, more social and much better “discovery engine” than it is today.
This social discovery also applies to Brands and consumers sharing links about where they are or what they are Twittering about is a bonanza for smart marketers who want to be more in tuned to the audience they service.

Viral link sharing in the context of social density of who is sharing what provides a MUCH better discovery experience for Brands that want to understand their social ecosystem and the relationship between consumers who want to find people interested in the same topics. This radically different approach disrupts old ways of searching over a massive web-based indexes welded to link structure. By zeroing in on collective group movement, viral link sharing provides greater relevance to all parties. Twitter and Facebook reflect what’s resonating among the community affinity matrix right now.

I’m working on this real-time aspect of leveraging brand ranking and social preferences to understand social resonance and relevancy of a particular fan page and linked content that a key audience is collectively resonating around. We now have the ability to determine relevance of a page beyond the number of links it has.

Influencers are interacting with content and sharing links all the time. The Social Syndication Acceleration is based on the number of shared and the influence Rank of the person sharing the links. Google-style search is based on web links and document content where as real-time search is linked to what people are talking about now and provides radically different search results for users who are linked to brands/tribes.

Also see Trend: Social CRM Consolidation


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Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Future of Social Ad Targeting

Facebook is by far the most user generated content rich sites when it comes to aggregating consumer’s preferences to real world products and services i.e. people fanning pages (1.5MM+ fan pages). The overall challenge with Social Ad Targeting is respecting consumer privacy and the fact that a great deal of social information is now public domain. Companies like MyLikes.com “Word of mouth advertising platform connecting advertisers with influencers Share your likes with friends, make money or donate it to charity” are using peoples “networks” like on Twitter to broadcast brand offers they get paid when others click. The big question is authenticity and will this increase relevance?

Now we’re seeing a fast move towards more audience targeting, where demographic, behavioral and contextual data are aggregated to create a unified view of a target audience. Social graph ad targeting is a way for marketers to target consumers based on who they're connected to within online social networks but its hard to see if these companies are really using the graph or just doing cookie based re-targeting as we talk about below.

The offline world has been doing this for years and has highly structured data trading processes where as the online marketing world is just starting to really trade in this valuable currency.

The consumer self selected information is becoming the nexus of this equation, however, with Facebook recent changes in its data use policy ad platforms that once got data from API / FB Connect sites are now or should be disconnected.

Special Provisions Applicable to Developers/Operators of Applications and Websites
2.6. You will not directly or indirectly transfer any data you receive from us to (or use such data in connection with) any ad network, ad exchange, data broker, or other advertising related toolset, even if a user consents to that transfer or use.

Analysis: This entirely new clause strongly suggests that some online advertising companies have been doing exactly what it says they shouldn’t be. This is unsurprising given that many online advertising companies have built their businesses on secretly buying and selling user data, however that data might have been gained, then using the information to do things like target ads. It’s not clear how Facebook can enforce their good behavior on its site, but the clause is a good first step to limiting abuse.

Using cookies and attaching those cookies to Personally Identifiable Information (PII) violates privacy laws created to protect consumer’s privacy, HOWEVER, brands, publisher sites and ad platforms have figured out that consumers check the box on the privacy policy and terms of use policy without reading anything opened up the door to PII and cookie. We’re seeing major players engaged at scale to improve ad targeting (re targeting) using data obtained from database marketing, social sites and other highly segmented data to improve ad efficiency. The NAI is pushing hard on policymakers from enacting tough online privacy rules recently released a new study showing that ads targeted based on users' prior Web-surfing behavior are more valuable than run-of-network ads.

"It's clear that behavioral targeting has the potential to significantly elevate the value of the inventory -- to the advertiser, to the publisher and to the network," says report author Howard Beales, a former head of consumer protection for the Federal Trade Commission.
The study is based on a survey of 12 ad networks -- all NAI members -- about their 2009 ad revenues. For the study, researchers surveyed 12 ad networks that belong to the NAI about their 2009 ad revenues. Beales reports that marketers paid average CPMs of $4.12 for behaviorally targeted ads, compared to $1.98 for run-of-network ads.

As of last week Facebook’s deputy general Michael Richter announced “ In the proposed privacy policy, we've also explained the possibility of working with some partner websites that we pre-approve to offer a more personalized experience at the moment you visit the site. In such instances, we would only introduce this feature with a small, select group of partners and we would also offer new controls.” In other words, partners are going to use social targeting and leveraging your graph to increase Facebook and their monetization.
The off-site and in game opportunity is enormous using consumer data to increase ad relevance. Using social data to improve ad efficiency is not new concept and a recent study by Razorfish shows that those who fan have 3 fundamental elements; Love of the Brand, Exclusive Deals/Offers and Service/Support

This is the year were more companies will push the boundaries of the social graph to increase sharing, conversation and click through probability. With all good things there will be the bad apples abusing consumers. We hope that targeting will reduce the visual spam were getting now and add continuous value.


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