7 Secrets of Social Media Success

March 26, 2013

tweetThis post is a summary of the Twitter Chat hosted by @TheSocialCMO.  The guest was Wendy Clark – SVP, Integrated Marketing Communications & Capabilities at Coca-Cola, know on Twitter as @wnd(You know she’s an early adopter because she has a three letter handle!)

I’m pretty jaded about Twitter Chats because most of them are vapid.  Not this one.  I went to the TheSocialCMO Blog to read the transcript of this #MMChat and discovered some great information and insights. It is pretty hard to read b/c of all the re-tweets, so I thought it worth excerpting the questions (@TheSocialCMO and answers (@wnd).   Nice job all around.

#MMChat Transcript

Q1: What are the 7 Secrets of Social Media Success?

#1 Be Shareworthy. In a social world it’s abt an initial audience u can reach sharing ur content w/ an ultimate audience they reach

#2 Listen & Engage. Brands are listening but listening alone is not enough. We must engage in the dialog of our brands-in real time.

#3 Think big, start small, scale fast. Key to rapid innovation is testing, learning, failing, fixing – & then scaling

#4 Social’s an amplifier not a silver bullet. We’re big believers in the power of social to make everything else we’re doing better.

#5 Content is the new currency. Social network cache & success are incredibly important to teens & young adults. Create accordingly.

#6 We might be shepherds, stewards and guardians of our brands, but we no longer control them. Co-create & participate w/ your fans.

#7 Be Flawesome = awesome w/ your flaws. Consumers aren’t interested in ur corporate veneer. Brands must be real, authentic, human.

Q2: How easy or hard is it to really drive adoption of social media at a company the size of Coca-Cola?

A2: The key is supportive leadership. With our most senior leaders as believers we’ve been able to fuel change & adoption internally

A2: Another key is employee engagement. Our PR and Employee Comms teams have been masterful at training our associates

Q3: There’s been some press recently on Social not working as hard as you’d like it? Is this true? How do u determine ROI on Social? 

A3: Social works really hard as an integrated part of our Connections plans. As studies point to, Social + other media = better ROI

A3: Our core metrics for social are reach, engagement, brand love & brand value. All of which we achieve through integrated plans.

A3: Social works really hard as an integrated part of our Connections plans. As studies point to, Social + other media = better ROI

Q4: You’ve also said publicly that corporations particularly have to embrace failure. Say more about this?

A4: We must fuel a company culture that accepts and learns from failure, if not we will miss key learnings as we innovate.

A4: I feel really strongly about this. Failing to learn is the real failure that I fear, not failure itself.

A4: Our CEO Muhtar Kent says it’s ok to fail once, it’s not ok to failure twice at the same thing. Not learning is the failure.

Q5: Is there a failure Coca-Cola’s made in Social that you’d like to share?

A5: Ha! How long is this chat?

A5: Plenty. That’s how you improve.

A5: Early on we replicated successful content. Of course those versions didn’t spread far. We learned originality is critical online

A5: We also thought early on that we could plan real-time engagement — turns out real-time is, er, real-time.

Q6: How does Coca-Cola feel about user generated content?

A6: I’d say 80%+ of the content & conversation online around our brands is not from us, so UGC is a big part of our engagement

A6: That said, I don’t think brands should completely delegate their proxy to consumers. The best UGC is co-created.

A6: Brands and consumers participating and co-creating together can be a 1+1=3 scenario.

Q7: Can you talk more about the innovation model Coke’s using in terms of 70/20/10?

A7: 70/20/10 is a now/new/next model to ensure we’re innovating in our marketing investment.

A7: 70/20/10 = 70% on what we know works now; 20% on things that are new to our plans; 10% on complete unknowns (next)

Q8: 61MM+ Facebook likes makes Coke FB’s largest brand fan page, how did you grow to that size?

A8: We’re humbled by the size & growth of our FB page. We don’t take it 4 granted & try to fuel a Community that’s of & for our fans

A8: #CocaCola is among the most well-known & ubiquitous brands in the world, our growth on FB has been largely organic.

A8: #CocaCola’s FB fan page typically grows by about 1MM Likes every 10-15 days.

A8: BUT! When we activate poorly or don’t put our Fans First in our FB Community our disconnects can go up by 4x. #BeShareworthy

Q9: How do you think about aggregating Social as a company operating in over 200 countries?

A9: At #CocaCola Social is executed locally. We use internal publishing tools to aggregate, clear & share good content across mrkts

A9: The currency of conversation on social networks manifests locally. It might spread globally, but social is inherently local.

Q10: Are there brands you envy in the Social space? Who do you benchmark?

A10: We envy many – we try to constantly innovate & improve in the space – b/c standing still & the status quo is unacceptable to us

A10: We had Troy Carter (@ladygaga’s manager) at our global marketing mtg. There’s much to learn from the way celebrities use Social

I have been working in and around social media since 2003 (before Twitter . . .) and this is some of the best advice I have seen.


Social Media for New Product Innovation

July 13, 2012

Great new blog post over at NM Incite by my friend Gadi Benmark pointing out three ways effectively use SM research in your innovation process:

  1. Pull back the lens to the category level
  2. Identify the naturally occurring (consumer) segments in the category
  3. Analysis for unmet needs to identify opportunity space

Of course there is much more that goes in to innovation that this, but SM is a fast, economical way to get the organic, unvarnished voice of the customer into your process.

3 Steps to get Social Media into the New Product Development Mix



Salesforce + Radian6: What does it mean for you?

April 5, 2011

This is a guest post from David Rabjohns – CEO of MotiveQuest LLC.

In case you haven’t heard, Salesforce.com (the leading B2B Customer Relationship Management software company) bought Radian6, the leading Social Media Monitoring platform this week for $326m.   Forbes Article.

We think the deal marks an interesting inflection point in the social media age. Here is a software company that helps businesses manage their one-on-one relationships, jumping the divide to buy a company that lets brands manage one-on-one relationships. For us it is a glimpse into the possibility of the post mass media, one-on-one, world.

As Forbes imagines:

“Say a consumer tweets that she hates her cell phone service provider (I name no names). This is what a Radian6-Chatter-Salesforce.com combo could do, Kingstone says:

First the company would actually know that the tweet was sent. It would then decide whether to reach out to the customer or wait to hear from her or dismiss her entirely. The response will be dependent upon whether or not she is an “influencer” and, hopefully, has a legitimate gripe.
If it does decide to respond, it will then use the platform to decide what is the right response to make her happy.

Only bits and pieces of this is possible today and usually after a massive investment or internal realignment. Getting to this point won’t necessarily be easy, Kingstone also says. “It will take an integration of Radian6’s listening platform, with Chatter and with Salesforce.com’s 360 degree view of the customer. But it is feasible.””
Nobody really knows what this purchase will mean for the future. But if you are in the social business it is worth keeping in the corner of your eye.



How Communities Work Part II

February 24, 2010

Another interesting post from Francois Gossieaux over at Emergence Marketing – Active lurkers – the hidden asset in online communities

I’d like to add a couple of point based on our work here at MotiveQuest.

1. The degree of lurking (read to post ratio is one easy way to look at it) has a very wide range depending on the community type. It can range from 100:1 (automotive communities) all the way up to 1,000:1 (financial services) depending on the type of community.

2. We have done segmentation of data by community participation roles (Mavens, Participants, Advocates, & Newbies). Each of these roles has very different participation motivations, issues, motivations, drivers and questions. Understanding the details of each segment is critical if you want to engage with the community in a positive way.

3. Many (or even most) vibrant communities are not company or brand owned, but rather owned by their own mavens. See http://howardforums.com/ for cellphones or http://priuschat.com/ for cars. Brands can support and participate in these communities, but they are well advised to understand the community motivations first.

In general the results of the MIT study are interesting and useful, but I would want to understand the particulars of a given community before engaging, because individual community dynamics, motivations and characteristics vary widely.


Why We Loved 10 Things SM Can’t Do

November 3, 2009

Yesterday BL Ochman published a blog post titled: 10 Things Social Media Can’t Do. This post went viral among a certain community on Twitter – you know who you are. BL was surprised that this post got something like 4,000 ReTweets which is remarkable.

Why the huge response? I think it is because one of the primary themes around SM is the (negative) myth of the SM Guru/Expert. This post lays bare that myth, and exposes all the hard work it takes to make SM into something meaningful that drives ROI and contributes to an organization’s success.

Most of us working in this business aren’t walking around pretending to be experts, but we are working hard on behalf of our clients and companies to do a better job connecting with customers to drive sales and profitability. BL’s post is an acknowledgement of the hard work hundreds of people (consultants, agencies, companies) are doing all over the country to drive organizational success using SM as one of many tools.

Let’s re-imagine BL’s list as requirements for SM success, because that is what they are:

1. Coordination with marketing strategy.

2. Top management buy-in.

3. Long-term commitment.

4. ROI model reflecting long-term commitment.

5. Requires a professional team of agencies & experts.

6. Must be coordinated with PR and products efforts. SM can’t substitute for either.

7. SM Requires multi-year budget commitment.

8. Don’t expect to guarantee sales or influence.

9. Must be led and staffed by senior internal people who understand the over-arching strategy.

10. SM should always be coordinated with PR, Marketing and Product.

My $0.02


9 Things About Social Media

November 2, 2009

Two weeks ago I was on a panel for the AC Nielsen Center for Marketing Research at UW talking about social media and market research to executives from Wal-Mart, General Mills, Kraft, Microsoft, Johnson & Johnson and 50 or so others. I was asked to share some lessons learned about SM – from the perspective of a brand marketer.

Here are my lessons learned personally and professionally over the last 10 years working in this space.

  1. What people say to each other is more important than what we say to them.
  2. People no longer rely on brands for information.
  3. Advocates are more important than influencers.
  4. Brand mentions are just the tip of the iceberg – somewhere between 5% and 30% of the relevant category conversation. You should listen to the whole conversation.
  5. If you want to participate be helpful, human and humble.
  6. When you participate, put the community’s interests & motivations first.
  7. Connect to existing passion, don’t just make stuff up.
  8. If you want new ideas, look beyond your category.
  9. Brand advocacy is the most important metric today – are people recommending your brand to others.

I could elaborate – for a long time on each of these, but  you get the gist.


Healthcare debate analysis

September 9, 2009

We (MotiveQuest LLC) have decided to start tracking & analyzing the healthcare debate using our online anthropology tools and techniques.  The first report in this series can be found here:  The Raging Debate

For this series we will be monitoring & analyzing the online conversation around healthcare and providing weekly updates as to what is driving the conversation, advocacy for different options and the emotional tenor of the chatter.Healthcare Topics

Here is one chart from the report showing the key topics and drivers of concern – you can see the landscape has changed significantly from June through August.

You can see that rationing shows the biggest increase from June through August.

We will be posting a follow-up report next week which will reflect today’s speech by President Obama.

If you are interested in more information you can contact me at tobrien at motivequest dot com.

Thanks – TO’B

How the h*ck do we do social media

August 10, 2009

We are getting lots of questions from our clients about how to scale social media.  At first, the discussions are “tools and tactics” focused.  Then it quickly becomes apparent that “doing social media” is a major commitment that will take real people and real funding over time.  No freebie here.

The other day Scott Monty the SM guy for Ford blogged “A Year @ Ford – Part 1″ and I knew this was one to share.  (A year ago Scott quit his agency gig and moved his family to Detroit and joined Ford to head up digital communications – and what a year it was.  Can you think of a more turbulent year for the automotive Industry?)

Here are my takeaways – but if you (or your clients) are trying to figure out how to do SM – then read the whole thing:

  1. Teamwork, teamwork, teamwork: Scott didn’t set out doing, he set out meeting everyone he could across the organization and learning what they needed.
  2. Inventory: All big companies are doing something in SM.  Find out what it is and leverage it.
  3. Sr. Management Support: Without this you are doomed to failure.
  4. Stakeholders: Marketing, PR, Product, Customer Service, Legal all have a stake in SM initiatives.  Figure out what it is and how to incorporate it.
  5. Strategy: Before tools comes strategy.  What is the organization trying to accomplish.
  6. Horses for Courses: Different SM channels for different Ford constituencies.  Mustang fans don’t care about the same thing as Fusion Hybrid fans.
  7. Help: Once the strategy was in place, Scott brought in some really expert agencies (advertising, PR and SM) and people to help execute.  That means budget.

While this is a long term initiative, the early returns are quite good with very positive press coverage for Ford, and significantly improved perceptions of the brand. 

As an outsider, I’d say that Ford has stopped relying solely on mass media & big advertising and they are taking the Ford Story direct to the people.

What will your clients do?

Baking a social media cake

April 27, 2009

(The other day a client was probing about our methodology. They were asking lots of smart questions and as we worked through the answers, they asked me to send a write-up. Technically, it isn’t a social media cake, but a social media analysis and insight cake. Here it is.)

During our discussion, you asked how we bake this cake – here’s my diatribe answer to that question. (BTW, baking a cake turns out to be a great analogy!)

To bake a cake you need ingredients (data), mixers and pans (tools) and cooks (strategists).  Your questions were focused on developing a better understanding of each one of these. (Disclaimer, I’m not the CTO or the head of research, so my answers may be a bit shallow.  I promise that I’m happy to get both/either of those people (cc’d above) on the phone to dive into more detail.)

Any good cake starts with the right ingredients.  For MQ this means starting with the right data.  The right data is always category, project and client specific.    Here are our thoughts about data.

  1. Including the data you want while excluding the data you don’t what is hard.  We discussed the Visa example, and you have experienced this with your brand.  De-spamming and de-duping is an important part of the job.
  2. Brand mentions range from 2% to 30% of the relevant data (depending on category, so only collecting brand mentions will miss most of the relevant conversation.
  3. It isn’t helpful to get all of the data.  (Splogs – or spam blogs have LOTS of brand mentions – but aren’t real and VERY hard to eliminate.   Focusing on and gathering the sites where the most people are participating virtually guarantees the elimination of Splogs.
  4. 5 years of expertise in solving the challenges above with a combination of technology tools and linguistic programming expertise provides MQ with a significant advantage over most of our competition.

You can’t bake a cake without measuring cups, mixers, whisks, spatulas, pans and an oven.  We can’t do our work without a broad sophisticated toolkit.  One of the fundamental challenges in analyzing large amounts of unstructured text data is that you simply can’t make sense of it in any sort of manual fashion.  Sophisticated software tools are the answer, but how those tools are developed and deployed makes a difference.

  1. Language is fluid over time and across categories.  Tools must be too.  Every one of our tools is parameter driven and allows the strategist to adjust the linguistic model and other parameters for the category and project at hand.
  2. Simple measures (counts, brand mentions, sentiment) are not useful for understanding why people do what they do and without understanding, we don’t gain the insight of what to do next.
  3. Understanding requires more sophisticated tools.   That is why we have tools for passion peaking, measuring motivations, word association, brand advocacy and many, many others.
  4. We have many tools available, but the tools used and the order of use is very project dependent.

Finally, you can’t bake a cake without a cook.  Well, I guess you can use a box mix from the grocery store and bake a cake without a cook, but if you have a special occasion and hire a chef to bake a cake, you don’t expect to get something from a box mix.  You expect a cake cooked to your specifications for your occasion.  You expect something unique, professional, surprising and delicious for your special occasion.  In our world, the dashboard and organized data providers are the box mixes.

MotiveQuest brings the experienced professional chef who will design and deliver a custom cake according to your exact interests, needs and specifications.

  1. Experience matters.  We have very sophisticated toolsets and it takes at least 6 months to get a strategist (most of whom have advanced degrees and backgrounds in consulting or planning) trained and productive.
  2. The tools are complex because the problems are complex.
  3. A single strategist is responsible for the entire project including data collection, organization, analysis, insights and recommendations.
  4. Each project has its own specifications and requirements.  Communication, solid project management and client involvement are all required to achieve good results.
  5. MotiveQuest Senior Leadership is deeply involved in every project to ensure results that meet your needs.

I will send the MQ capabilities presentation in another email.   Our case studies are very marketing (not data or technology) focused for a reason.  We don’t get hired to provide data or technology, but instead to solve real world marketing and communication problems.  I’ll be happy to provide more detail about any of them.

Thanks very much for your time on these issues, and I hope this helps answer some of your questions.


5 Things about Social Media

November 10, 2008

I had a call with a client today. They are a huge, global company, and we have been doing brand tracking & analysis for them for several years.

They have a newly formed social media team, and I had a call with them today. I thought their questions (and my answers) might be relevant to others as well. Here is my follow-up email:


It was great to talk to you and your team just now.  You have a big (and exciting) job ahead; here are my thoughts.

  1. Social media is about human scale engagement – not technology
  2. SM is about relationships, not campaigns.  Plan accordingly
  3. SM cuts across silos.  It will involve marketing, product, customer service and legal (at least).  Doing it well will require C level approval AND support.
  4. Success in SM requires putting the community’s motivations first.  This is very hard for most companies to grasp.  It is not about selling something, but about getting people to love you so they will do more business with you.  A subtle, but important distinction.  Put the community’s motivations first.
  5. Successful SM will connect to something people are already passionate about.  Figure out what it is first.

I could go on, but you get the idea ;-)

Links & Info

Here are our decks on slideshare:

MotiveQuest SlideShare

You already read Groundswell – which I think is a really good book on this subject – here is my review of Groundswell.

Peter Kim @ Mashable: List of Social Media Marketing Examples

Another good one with lots of comments from Peter Kim: What is Social Media Marketing

Chris Brogan: A good Blog on social media marketing – pretty PR focused.

Jeremiah Owyang – analyst for Forrester has good coverage of SM but heavy on tools: Web Stratgy by Jeremiah

And finally, a really interesting and different social media execution: Layer Tennis – watch a match and you will get it – be sure to click thru the volleys.


Take a look at the results the CS3 launch was a HUGE success for Adobe (and their agency – Goodby).

CS3 Launch

CS3 Launch

Call me if you have any questions or would like to discuss further –



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