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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Pulling More Sales Through Social Media; The Value of a 'Like'
While corporations are spending billions on social media with the hope of creating new customers, according to a 2016 CMO Survey sponsored by Deloitte, the AMA , and Duke’s Fuqua School of Business, 87% of CMOs acknowledged that they can’t really document that social media campaigns actually achieve their goals!

An Experiment in the Real World

With that realization in mind, researchers Leslie John, Oliver Emrich and colleagues set out to provide some insight.  They conducted a series of fascinating experiments that you can read about in the HBR article: What’s the Value of a Like? They examined a number of related issues.  In one experiment, they asked 728 people who had recently ‘liked’ a brand to provide the e-mail addresses of three friends. The researchers then sent a coupon for one of that brand’s products to each of those subjects’ friends randomly assigning each friend to a different set of conditions:

  • Group A - Was told that his or her friend liked the brand in the conventional, offline sense and had sent the coupon.
  • Group B - Was told that his or her friend liked the brand on Facebook and had sent the coupon.
  • Group C - Was told only that his or her friend had sent the coupon.
Those spending their marketing funds on social media campaigns would hope that Group B, with a connection to a Facebook ‘Like’ would be shown to produce superior results. 

What Do You Think Happened?
Using coupon redemption as a measure of purchase attitude they found that 6% of those in Group A, who had been told about an offline endorsement, redeemed the coupon.  4% of those in Group B, who had been told about their “friend” liking the product on Facebook made a redemption. The redemption rate for Group C, the control group which was told only that his/her friend had sent the coupon was 5%.  These very nearly identical redemption rates are hardly a strong proof of the value of Facebook Like.

But Surely 'Likers' Must,Themselves, Purchase More!?
In another study the researchers invited half their sample to like a new cosmetics brand on Facebook (they report that most accepted). The other half of the sample did not receive the invitation. All participants were then given coupons for a free sample. The results: Members of the two groups were equally likely to redeem the coupon. 
 
So, How Can Social Media Help?

But Customer Experience Partners and the authors of these studies are quick to remind all that results don't mean that Facebook and other social media cannot be powerful forces in helping to increase sales.

As demonstrated by two MIT researchers, Aral and Walker, when customers indicate on Facebook that they are using a product - and not just that he or she likes it - that increases the chances that their followers will use the product too.  Additionally, brands can monitor Facebook and other social media channels and integrate positive stories and comments they find there into their marketing messages. Brands can also provide sample products and services to influencers with the aim of gaining endorsements in their posts to their social media followers. Finally, because social media pages can be identified as reaching audiences with identifiable demographics and interests they can effectively serve as channels for targeted advertising.

9:44 pm edt          Comments

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Insuring Your Employees Are Serving You As Ambassadors; Not Detractors
When we speak or write about advocacy we’re usually focusing on customers; what they’re writing and saying about businesses, hopefully positive comments.  But there’s another side to advocacy – the value of employees as advocates or ‘ambassadors’.  And, while we probably accept the need to stimulate customer advocacy, we may be less likely to recognize the need for stimulating our employees to be positive advocates; both on the job and off.  The common, incorrect, assumption may be “employees know where their pay is coming from, why wouldn’t they act to build business?”  But, human nature often defies logic!  So we ask the questions, “Do you know how well or poorly your employees advocate for you on or off the job?” And, “Do you know what your employees are saying about you?”  Few organizations can answer either question.

If your organization assumes employees act in rational ways (and therefore are effective advocates for your brand) it’s unlikely you’re either: actively building an ‘internal brand’ or monitoring how they feel or what they might be saying about your organization in (personal and public) word of mouth .

The Value of an Internal Branding Campaign
What is an internal brand?  It’s simply a series of messages and actions that are compatible and synergistic with your company’s external brand, but is reformulated for an ‘internal audience’. It’s a strategic program that develops your employees into knowledgeable communicators.  And, it treats employees as true ‘insiders’, people “in the know” about your company’s operations, products and future plans.  This perspective boosts employees’ morale, self-esteem and ability to advocate your brand.

How to Monitor Employees' Feelings and Actions
As to monitoring if and what your employees are currently communicating about your company, employee-research is every bit as important as customer-research.  This is especially true considering the control you have over them.  Don’t assume they know your products; test them to find out!  Cheesecake Factory hosts regular staff meals and impromptu menu tests to ensure that their employees are completely comfortable with the restaurant’s menu and have experienced a wide selection of its entrees.   Despite its potential, employee research is fraught with at least two problems:
  • Monitoring employees’ social media postings (as some companies have attempted) can be considered illegal or, at the very least, of questionable ethics.(For an example of consequences from monitoring employees' social media postings, see “Cisco fatty”.)
  • Surveying employees, while offering tremendous potential value, suffers from the unlikelihood of employees answering in total candor.  As a substitute for formal surveys, one could try gauging employees' willingness and preparedness to advocate using brief, informal and anonymous quizzes or something as non-threatening as 'blog kiosks'/’listening posts’ located in strategic public locations throughout the workplace.
Priming the Pump
Once you have a ‘baseline understanding’ of your employees’ current activity-level, you’ll probably want to improve their ability to advocate for you.  To equip your employees to serve as effective, positive advocates (ambassadors) consider CEP’s word of mouth model to help manage their feelings and beliefs about your organization and to promote their subsequent word of mouth.  The tested process consists of three key ingredients…
  1. Motivation – Reminding employees how much they can help your organization (and ultimately themselves) through their word of mouth may encourage more communication. Let them know that you encourage them to do so (with a few simple rules). Your organization might even run internal contests inspiring employees to communicate more.
  2. Content – While employees hopefully know their job and their function very well their corporate perspective is probably less certain.  Considering today’s siloed corporate structures and cultures most employees likely only have a ‘small window’s view’ of your brand’s or organization’s ‘big picture’.  It's a mistake to assume they’re familiar with all the good things the organization does for customers and the community and how this may differ from competitors.  They need ‘content’ (stories) that can be provided to them by disseminating sharable and even possibly entertaining information.
  3. Opportunity – Help to ‘ignite’ employee conversations both online and offline.  Alert them to sharing sites beyond their own Instagram or Twitter accounts, sites on which your brand is currently being discussed.  Equip them with something to wear, carry, wave, stick-on or otherwise personally display that identifies them to the world as your employee and suggests that they are open to a conversation.
Employees represent an underdeveloped resource for positive word of mouth.  We have some 'control' over them and it's in their own, best interests to become our brand advocates.  It's a classic, "win-win" situation
2:25 pm edt          Comments


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Customer Experience Partners, LLC
Measurement, Management, Optimization
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pruden@customerexperiencepartners.com

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