Yesterday (November 18, 2010) marked the first official #UsGuys Twitter chat. The #UsGuys tag was originally formed because @TomMoradpour, @REALChaseAdams, @pprothe, @Galactic, and I were discussing the Gap logo reboot disaster and found including our handles took up a good portion of our message. So #UsGuys was born. (More on #UsGuys from Chase and Carl Sorvino).
#UsGuys seemed to strike a chord in people – a community of like-minded individuals, without the pretension that comes with many social media ‘experts’ and ‘gurus’. We grew from a group of five to over 300 people using the tag and (counting the chat yesterday) almost 6,000 tweets over the course of the last week. Wow!
#UsGuys' First Chat
Our first chat was a little chaotic but definitely successfully. We were fortunate enough to attract the attention of representatives from Alterian and Radian6, who joined us for our discussion. I’m attempting to organize this write-up by questions from the chat.
Q1: Do you use social media for personal or business uses? Which social media platforms do you use most frequently?
Most chatters used social media for both personal and business reasons, though people drew divisions differently. Though not universally true, the network that is most likely to be ‘personal-only,’ is Facebook, while Twitter is viewed much more openly and LinkedIn is viewed as a professional / business-oriented tool. @danenow argued that in this era, we are all our ‘own brand,’ and thus all social media could be considered business.
Q2: Do you consider social bookmarking tools to be ‘social media’? Do you use them?
@Tommoradpour argued that these services are hard to relate to as ‘social’, as your relationship is usually with content, not people. @Solete, @danenow and I put forth that they are good tools for extending the reach of your content by exposing it to new audiences who might not otherwise find it.
In a discussion of logo avatars on Twitter vs. actual faces, @marketingatom, @solete, others, and I agreed that generally, it is easier for users to connect with a human face than with a logo. Even if it is an official account for a major brand, it is helpful to identify who is tweeting on its behalf (a person or team of people). Examples given of companies successful in doing this included Zappos and Comcast. @Karen5Lund mentioned Campaign Monitor (an email marketing company), which includes initials of the tweeter with each tweet.
Q3: What are we suppose to derive from social media metrics?
@QStreet argues that it is a “form of feedback about our effetiveness”. @NicWirtz suggests that while metrics are important, no single one dominates. @katzpdx argued (and I would agree) that it depends on business objectives and goals. What you should be measuring depends on how you’re using social media (sales? marketing? PR? customer service? human resources?).
@Tommoradpour argues (and again, I agree) that “ideal metrics… drive actionable insights: what should I do more/less of, what should I start/stop.”
@Solete made the great point that you need “before and after” metrics – you must start measuring somewhere to know if/when you’ve achieved your goal.
This beget a discussion about various social media impact monitoring tools, especially Klout, and their methodology and effectiveness (a topic we hope to cover more thoroughly next week). Generally, many chatters use Klout, but question the accuracy and value of the Klout score.
Overall, the consensus among the group was that Twitter / social media metrics will complement, rather than replace, traditional web analytics.
Q4: How do you create transparency and openness for an organization using social media?
@SMSJOE put forth that businesses can create transparency with social media by “living it” (integrating it across the organization) not “hiring it.” @sandyhubbard pointed out that transparency can’t just be ‘created’ out of whole cloth, but rather that it is a process.
I would argue that social media doesn’t CREATE transparency, but rather that it’s a tool to connect with people – transparency must already be part of an organization’s culture. It’s EXPRESSED through social media.
@SMSJOE argues that allowing negative comments and feedback shows transparency (I’d be inclined to agree); I think there is no worse move a company can make than to get caught removing negative feedback (from Facebook, Twitter, corporate blog). Negative feedback provides companies a chance to engage and change people’s minds.
Q5: Should you try to directly tie social media to ROI?
It seems as though ROI is always a hot topic among those in social media and Internet marketing. While I understand the need to show numbers and prove your value to those in the C-suite, is it possible, practical, and meaningful to try to produce ROI numbers from social media engagement?
People have extremely varied viewpoints on whether or not it is good idea or even possible to compute ROI for social media efforts. Some chatters offered specific formulas, others said it was a pointless or impossible task. A point I made is that social media isn’t always a sales/marketing channel – organizations also use it for public relations, recruiting / human resources, customer service / customer retention, and other uses.
@heidicohen pointed out that ROI needs to be tied to a goal, for example, expense savings. @Jimmyrey pointed to Dell, Comcast, and others’ use of social media – many of their efforts were the outgrowth of ‘major screwups’.
@Mitchneff argues that the ROI of social media “can’t be defined in classic terms.” Social media is about engagement and relationships, which are often difficult to put a dollar value on. I agree that it can be difficult to establish a dollar value, even for sales/marketing activities, if you have a long sales cycle with much lead nurturing.
@hlooman mentioned @ev’s ‘goal of Twitter’ as being ROA (Return on Attention). We also tossed around other terms, like Return on Engagement and Return on Relationship.
@jimmyrey said that “metrics like ROI will save you and damn you at the same time. They should come with warning labels.” (I like that!) He also made the point that social media “as a data source needs to be treated like unstructured data and analyzed.”
@PRWestcoast made the great point that cost measurements should be built into social media plans. Cost should be evaluated during rollout and corrected as needed.
Overall, there seemed to be agreement that social media must be part of an integrated marketing and communications plan. Social media should be part of all departments of an organization, not silo-ed.
A Big 'Thank You' from #UsGuys to You!
Thanks to everyone who made our first #UsGuys chat a smashing success, including “founders” @REALChaseAdams, @Tommoradpour, @Galactic (sorry you couldn’t be with us!), and @pprothe. Also, thanks to Radian6, Alterian, @teresabasich, @genevievecoates, @Jimmyrey, @StevenTrue, and @DavioAPignotti.
@Solete pointed out that I missed some great insights from one of our guests, @genevievecoates, a community manager at Radian6. Some of my favorite points she made:
@genevievecoates: @solete Agree. Being there for customers & allowing them to sing your praise is one of the best ways to get ahead, earned trust
@genevievecoates: @mikulaja That's why I think the ppl who need to be following engagement the most are the solution companies. Need to build trust.
@genevievecoates: @mikulaja Got to go w/what makes sense for YOU. Important part of SM, it's not about what the mob wants, it's about the individual.
@genevievecoates: Define what your "ROI" is form social media. Is it $, brand advocates or customer happiness. ROI isn't always direct to $.
Watch the #UsGuys tag for upcoming chats – we’ve already been in contact with representatives of PeerIndex and Hootsuite, and hope to plan another chat very soon!
Please feel free to add anything I’ve missed (or corrections) in the comments section.
Social Media Marketing Metrics (via @heidicohen)
How to Jumpstart Measuring Your Social ROI (via @heidicohen)
Klout versus Reality (via @pprothe)
KDPaine’s PR Measurement Blog (via @solete)
Top 10 Things We Learned from Twitter’s Promoted Tweets (via @mongoosemetrics)
Why Isn’t Anyone Coming to My Blog (via @heidicohen)
Old Spice a Social Media Success Story (via @DavioAPignotti / Alterian)
#UsGuys participant list (via @REALChaseAdams)
This blog is about drawing on my experience in public affairs, sociology, technology, and marketing to provide insight and analysis on developments in Internet marketing, new media, and social media.
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