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.



What if Social Media Doesn’t Matter?

April 7, 2011

Guest Post from MotiveQuest CTO Brook Miller (@brookmiller)

As I’ve worked the last 7 years in building metrics and tools to help companies understand the reasons why people do what they do, 3 facts have become evident:

1) Pretty much everyone is online

2) Online communities are reflective of or an enhancement to traditional social relationships

3) People I know are the best source of product recommendations

The digital trails consumer conversations leave online are a good approximation for the world at large.  The latest pew Internet research report show online population reaching  79% of all Americans.  Furthermore, rather than asking people questions about what they think, we can just observe what they say.  We don’t have to ask people if they do or don’t do something we can observe them.

Online communities are as real and vibrant as any other and are built around long term relationships.  Whether it’s a community like Facebook that looks like friendships I’ve developed throughout life or LinkedIn, the connections I’ve made in business, or on a forum like Rennlist, my boss’s favorite Porsche aficionado site, the community is strong and vibrant, with lots of on-going relationships that grow and fade with new people coming into ask questions from experts or lurkers that keep up with the community without contributing or the occasional visitor that just wants to see what the experts think.  These communities are strong, vibrant and have their analogs in social situations in the offline world.

The impact of person to person recommendations is stronger than advertising or other methods of company sponsored communications, when you want to know what car to buy you ask a car nut, when you want to know how to get the best deals on frequent flyer miles you ask a friend with a passion for travel.  Increasingly, though you’d find your friend saying “go look on flyertalk” there’s a thread for that (can I trademark “there’s a thread for that?”).  I was recently browsing flyertalk to figure out international fares for a 2 year old ( I’ve never booked a child fare before and didn’t want to get screwed) while I was there I saw a new miles promo on United it had been posted and had hundreds of comments before it even reached my inbox from United later that day.

Given that people online are pretty much everyone, the communities represent real social relationships and people I know give the most trusted recommendations we should clearly expect to see that a social media metrics measuring peoples’ recommendations to each other would be reflected in sales.

We measure advocacy, which is the number of people recommending a brand above any others, and have seen strong relationships between the metric and sales in a number of categories. (I’ll post more in the future specific to the nuts and bolts of it)

While the scales are different we can see the positive correlation in advocacy and luxury market share for BMW. Looking at the scatter plot and doing the regression confirms the relationship and it’s statistical significance with a p-value of 5% (we’re 95% confident that there is a positive correlation between advocacy and luxury market share).

Given the complexity of the automotive category and the economic conditions in this time frame it’s amazing that a single factor model can so nicely line up.  With an understanding of incentives to dealers/buyers, advertising spend and supply issues I’m certain the model could be improved but at the end of the day we’re validating that social media does matter.

Social media clearly has an impact on sales in this category and others.  Many times the relationship will not be this clear or the category may be so complex that a single variable model cannot tease out the results or there could be errors in the metric (source spam/problems, bad language model, etc…)  but if you believe in the 3 tenets, it’s not surprising and quite intuitive that there should be a link between a social media metric and sales.

Dilbert on Social Media

September 15, 2010

Yes, this is everywhere – but need it here for the archive.
Dilbert SM Part 1

And Part 2

Enjoy – TO’B

The Problem in Social Media Marketing

February 9, 2010

Have you seen the 2010 edition of the Edelman Trust Barometer? I have – and frankly, it has me worried. Specifically the precipitous drop in trust among friends/peers is a concern. I think this drop in trust has three root causes.

In the AdAge article about this, Richard Edelman attributes this drop in trust to a “sign of the times” and I agree that’s a contributing factor, but there is much more to this plunge. I think it’s a direct result of social media marketing. Yes, the mere fact of abusing SM channels (which are p to p conversational channels) with marketing messages causes everyone participating to trust less. Finally, the definition of what a “friend” is has been bastardized by Twitter, FB, etc.

I am a hardliner on “pay-per-post” and “crowds-for-hire” to go out and review things – I just think it is wrong. The term “Sponsored Conversation” is an oxymoron.

I think commercial endorsements (especially outside of their specific field of expertise) are bad for big bloggers, even if it does get them paid. It makes me (and everyone else) think less of them. I don’t think much of “influencer marketing” schemes.

Our business (MotiveQuest) depends on people having real, organic, honest conversations with each other on the web. We collect and analyze these conversations to understand why people do what they do. Our clients pay for these ideas, insights and recommendations to help grow their business. This only works if we don’t WRECK social media by using it to try to sell stuff to people.

Tom O’Brien

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 –


Social Media Measurement & ROI

November 16, 2007

This is a big and popular topic, and having just read a few posts about it – Patrick Schaber over at the Lonely Marketer and Francois at Emergence Marketing motivated me to put up my own post about it.

Of course Social Media is a huge space, so I am focused on what we (MotiveQuest) do around here – which is listen. (We collect millions of topic-specific consumer conversations from blogs, forums and newsgroups and then analyze them to develop an understanding of the core human motivations & drivers and competitive dynamics within a category. Results used for branding, communication, product development and issue management)

Anyway, in conjunction with Northwestern University, MotiveQuest has been developing something called the Online Promoter Score. This is a measure of the frequency and willingness of consumers to advocate strongly for and recommend your brand or product.

Strong Predictive Relationship to Sales

MotiveQuest worked with MINI and their agency BSSP to measure the impact of online promoters to sales. The analysis covered 16 months of data from January 2006 through April of 2007. The graph to the right shows the correlation the monthly change in online promoters for the previous month versus the change in sales. For example the point in the upper right is MINI’s monthly change in sales from April to May 2006 and the change in online promoters from March to April 2006. Statistical analysis gives 99.8% confidence that the metrics are positively correlated.


So, if your marketing activities (social media and otherwise) can drive your online promoter score – then we have ROI!


Tom O’Brien