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Brandwatch ebook


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Today, the social web is transforming how the world communicates and shares information. Brands that understand and use social media in a targeted, productive manner are realizing true competitive advantage. 9 Best Practices for Becoming a Successful Social Brand covers all the essentials needed to get your brand ready for social media.


9 best practices for becoming a successful social brand

Designed to help you get the most out of social media, whatever your goals might be.


9 best practices for becoming a successful social brand









contents/ Welcome to the first of our series of eBooks designed to help you get the most out of social media, whatever your goals might be. In the following book we’re going to cover all the essentials needed to get your brand ready for social media: Foreword:

The Social Media Imperative for Brands And how are leading brands responding?

Best Practice:

#1: Make Being Social an Enterprise-Wide Revolution #2: Establish Social Media Goals Before Jumping into the Fray #3: Listen Well #4: Monitor Broadly but with Focus #5: Broaden Your Internal Audience #6: Engage and Respond to Add Value #7: Customize Social Media Monitoring by Discipline #8: Measure What You Have Heard #9: Continuously Improve through Measurement

We hope you find this eBook a valuable resource as you start to take on the exciting new world of the social web! Thanks, The Brandwatch Team

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foreword/ the social media imperative for brands Today, the social web is transforming how the world communicates and shares information. Brands that understand and use social media in a targeted, productive manner are realizing true competitive advantage. In fact, brand companies with leading social media programs grew 18% from 2009 to 2010 while social media laggards declined by 6% – in terms of revenue, margin, and gross profit1. Consider these recent statistics regarding the use of social media by YOUR customers, prospects, and brand influencers: • As of June 2011, 59% of US adult Internet users access at least one social media site.2 • 30% of active Internet users worldwide became a fan of a brand through social media in 2010, and 72% of them said they thought more positively of the brand as a result.3 • 53% of people on Twitter recommend companies and/or products in their Tweets, and 48% of them actually purchase the products they are intent on buying.4 • 81% of social media users said they’d received advice from friends and followers relating to a product purchase.5 • 55 million mobile users in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the U.K. accessed social networking sites or blogs via their mobile devices in September 2011.6 • More than 72 million Americans accessed social networking sites or blogs on their mobile device in August 2011.7

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quote “With digital technology, it’s now possible to have a one-on-one relationship with every consumer in the world. The more intimate the relationship, the more indispensable it becomes. We want to be the company that creates those indispensable relationships with our brands, and digital technology enables this”.8 Robert McDonald President and CEO of P&G

foreword/ how are leading brands responding? More and more brands recognize the need to “join the conversation� over social media and are establishing their presence on social media sites. A recent study by the University of Massachusetts found that 62% of the Fortune 500 has a substantial number of followers on Twitter, while 58% of them maintain Facebook pages. The Inc. 500, which represents the fastest-growing private companies in the US, is even more involved. 71% of Inc. 500 companies are on Twitter, and Inc. 500 companies have established twice as many corporate blogs as the Fortune 500.9 It isn’t just Facebook, Twitter, and corporate blogs that leading companies leverage. They recognize that their social communities exist in a broad range of social networking sites and forums and are following them to stay in touch, relevant, and top of mind. In fact, a 2010 study by Altimeter Group found that the average large enterprise has 178 official social accounts.10 178! The number sounds astounding until you reflect upon the vast array of social media channels that online communities use.

fact Of 10 social marketing tools studied in an Etailing 2009 survey, 5 were already in use by at least half of the companies surveyed.11

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/cont... Here is just a sampling: • • • • •

Networks – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Google+ News sites – BBC, Fox, CNN Media-sharing sites – Flickr, YouTube, Vimeo Niche forums – gaming, parenting, cars, movies, etc. Technology and product user groups

It’s easy to see why brands have jumped into social media in a big way. Given the variety of social networks and platforms, there are sources relevant to nearly every part of the enterprise. This eBook presents nine best practices for launching your brand into social media. We hope you find it a valuable reference tool as you start to make your organization social.

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best practice #1/ make being social an enterprise-wide revolution People often mistakenly view social media for brands as merely another marketing channel. Yet, social media interactions often involve people from a variety of disciplines, such as customer service, new product development, marketing, PR, etc. Take P&G for example. Well known for its stellar brand management practices, P&G strongly reinforces that reputation through social media. P&G’s CEO Robert McDonald explained in an interview with McKinsey that P&G truly integrates social media across all parts of the organization. The company scans the universe of social media comments, categorizes them by brand, then puts them on the screen of the relevant individual. According to McDonald, “This allows for real-time reaction to what’s going on in the marketplace, because we know that if something happens in a blog and you don’t react immediately—or, worse, you don’t know about it—it could spin out of control by the time you get involved.”12 Imagine having an automated system for transforming tweets about customer issues into trouble tickets that customer service can act upon within minutes, or funneling cool product enhancement ideas from user group forums directly to your new product development teams, or even gaining word of a competitor’s looming crisis and preparing your sales teams to swoop in to attract their customers. The Bottom Line: Being social across the enterprise makes your brand and company more agile and adaptable as it attempts to keep pace with the demands of 6 today’s social consumers and communities.

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stats 60% of 18- to 34-year-olds say they want to give product improvement recommendations over social media.13 45% of all companies now use social media assets for product development.14 93% of CMOs plan on leveraging user-generated content to inform their product and service decisions.15

best practice #2/ establish social media goals before jumping into the fray Starting a social media program can be easy, but success requires discipline from the outset. You must set goals and focus your efforts around those goals. Otherwise, you risk weakening your brand by stretching your social media team too thin, sending the wrong messages, improperly responding to inquiries and postings, and potentially irritating the very communities you hope to benefit from. Know your purpose. Are you seeking to achieve one of the following? • • • • • •

Make your target audience want you.

Gain mindshare for a specific product or service Improve customer service Build brand equity Gather market intelligence Find new customer leads Increase social mentions

Having a clear purpose enables you to identify your target audience and begin to listen for them over social media. This will uncover who they are and what motivates them to be social about your brand or industry. When you understand these two things, you can quickly uncover the social media destinations where they gather and the most effective ways for interacting with them.

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Customers value brands that relate well to them and help to solve their problems consistently. So regardless of your goals, you must always guide your social media efforts with actions that improve the lives of your target community members. Keep in mind that 70% of consumer loyalty and spending decisions are based on emotional factors, which means your social media efforts need to connect with community members in a way that has them saying, “Wow, these folks are very helpful.”16

best practice #3/ listen well Listening represents the single most important thing a brand can do in the social media world. You simply cannot succeed in social media without a comprehensive and structured listening process. It helps you understand how and what your most important audiences think about you – and why they feel that way. Of course, what you listen for depends on the objectives you set for yourself. Clear objectives will help you focus on what you need to hear and how to appropriately respond. They will also help you down the line when you need to measure results and provide upper management with the “so what” impact statements and data of your social media success. Social media monitoring tools enable you to know who is saying what about you, where and when they say it, and why they say it. This allows you to form the optimal strategy for when and where to reach out to your targeted communities with messages and actions intended to win them over. Leading social media monitoring and analysis tools can benefit almost every area of your business. You can use the information they gather to discover findings around market research, campaign-monitoring, customer service, crisis management, and multiple other disciplines.

quote “Listening, learning and adapting is where the real value of social media will show its true colors. Listening leads to a more informed business.”17 Brian Solis Principal Analyst, Altimeter Group

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best practice #4/ monitor broadly but with focus As the saying goes, you don’t know what you don’t know – and this has never been truer than in the fast-changing world of social media. Conversations about your brand can take place almost anywhere, so make no assumptions about where you will find the most crucial ones. As you start out with your listening process, it is best to do so broadly across all kinds of social media first. Then, after you’ve obtained a solid grounding in the “who, what, when, where, why, and how” behind the conversations about your brand, you can narrow your focus on the key sources you’ve found. Homing in on the social media sites that matter to you most is vital as your monitoring becomes an ongoing process. It can be easy to suffer from information overload, so make sure you prioritize properly so that your team’s time is well spent. Once you get comfortable with your results and the process for acting upon them, you can then expand your search terms. Remember, the terms that you monitor should not only reflect your brand, they should reflect the areas of your business that relate to your high-level social media objectives and goals. For example, if your social media goal is to improve customer service, then monitor keyword terms related to both customer service and your brand name(s) together. Equally, if your goal is to better understand your consumers, consider looking at wider terms related to your typical customer – perhaps around their interests and brand preferences in other sectors.

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tip Types of keywords to monitor: • About your own brand: brand names, services, products, events, campaigns, etc. • About your competitors: Their keywords and brand names as well as special campaigns or events that affect their business. • Industry terms and trends: These will help you to keep a pulse on the broader industry on behalf of your organization and to identify key influencers whom you should engage.

best practice #5/ broaden your internal audience Gone are the days when most brands monitor social media strictly for marketing communications and PR purposes. With the majority of brands bringing multiple departments into the fold, social media teams now commonly include managers, directors, and VPs from such areas of the enterprise as customer service, market research, sales operations, field marketing, and product development. You should assign owners from each functional area of your organization that is likely to be called upon to assist in social media efforts. Using an enterprise-level social media monitoring tool, you can unify disparate team members by establishing collaborative workflows and processes within the tool. This streamlines your response time to “social situations” and makes a tremendous difference to the customers and prospects who engage your brand over social media. While owners from each functional area control the workflow and messages that go out, you can use a social media monitoring tool to deploy an enterprise-wide process for the ways in which information is gleaned, tagged, escalated, tracked, handled and reported in a timely manner to the people who need to know. Each area’s Outbound messages should stick to your company’s guidelines for tone and branding. But keep in mind that stiff-sounding, patented responses do not go over well with social media audiences. They want authenticity. Bring together different disciplines and develop a social media policy that guides you in dealing with various scenarios. Adhering to the social media policy, each team member can still use his/ her own voice while responding in a manner that is consistent with your brand values.

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best practice #6/ engage and respond to add value Unlike the consumers in social media forums, brands have much less leeway to operate. For one thing, brands are not always welcome participants. Many consumers of both B2B and B2C products and services don’t like the feeling of being watched by a company, so you need to put them at ease with the best behavior possible. Here’s a list of best practices for engagement: 1. Be transparent. This helps community members see your brand as something more than a company logo or product. If you tell them your motivation for helping them, many will approve of you as a person who is accepting a degree of brand accountability. 2. Add value. People use social media to learn or solve problems, so help them do so if you can. If you cannot, get out of the way and don’t hurt your brand reputation by wasting their time. 3. Be realistic. Don’t have a PR person answering customer service or product development inquiries. Better to wait for the right person to respond. 4. Inform and educate without selling. Make sure the content you share really helps answer questions versus promoting your product/service. 5. Never lie. If unsure, check and double-check your facts before posting anything to a social media site. Remember that your gaffs will live on in perpetuity.

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comment A frequent business traveler commented over social media that he was disappointed by his stay at the Four Seasons Hotel in Palo Alto, California. Within an hour, Four Seasons customer service contacted the traveler and provided him with an apology and special discounts for future stays. He instantly became transformed from an online detractor to a big fan of the brand.18

/cont... 6. Adhere to a social media policy. Avoid rogue posts and always ask yourself if the item you are about to share completely complies with your policy. 7. Converse. Once you participate, be ready to field responses to your postings. Social media participants despise having their comments and feedback ignored. 8. Participate in others’ forums. Assuming you have established your own online forum, show that you respect others’ opinions by participating in some of their forums. 9. Sustain your social media effort. Nothing says “we don’t care” about the community more than an on-and-off presence in social media.

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best practice #7/ customize social media monitoring by discipline Advanced social media monitoring tools enable customized dashboard views per department, making your social media efforts more effective while increasing user adoption. After all, product research teams have vastly different priorities from PR teams, just as customer service managers need data in formats that do not resemble marketing campaign data. Customized dashboard views make work easier and more intuitive for users across the enterprise. Let’s take a look. By Topic (by weeks):


Customer Service


Online Banking






Interest Rates




16 Jan

23 Jan

30 Jan

6 Feb

13 Feb

• Branch • Interest Rates • Charges/Fees • Security/Fraud • Online Banking • Customer Service

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/cont... By Country:











As you can see above, this social media team segmented their data by country. Following are some of the most common segmentations that leading social brands implement: • By mention-type: complaint, referral, sales lead, customer inquiry, review, etc. • By author-type: past/present or prospective customer, advocate, detractor, influencer, etc. • By topic: customer service, product/service by name, product feature, etc. • By sentiment: positive, negative, neutral continent, country, state, etc.

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/cont... Once your dataset is segmented in these ways, you can start to find patterns and glean powerful insights and answer questions that affect your organization’s growth and prospects for the future, such as: Which part of your brand is most complained about? On what basis do people refer or recommend your products or services? In which country do you have the best reputation for customer service? The insights gained from listening can give the social media team a “seat at the table� when it comes to corporate strategy for brand companies.

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best practice #8/ measure what you have heard A common knock against some social media programs has been a lack of sound measurements of progress. Anecdotes are great, but you need to know where your brand discussions are going and how they are doing along the path to Shangri-La. When it comes to your brand, you can easily track both brand sentiment and brand reach. Social media monitoring tools incorporate sentiment-gauging functionality so that you can parse the favorable comments from the negative ones. First establish a baseline of sentiment as soon as you can, and then measure weekly or monthly to see the delta in both negative and positive sentiment. You can do this for your brand in general or for specific product names, individual campaigns, and even your own company’s executives. Measuring brand reach can be real simple at first. Track your growth in Twitter followers, Facebook friends, and other metrics of community members engaging with or about you (e.g. volume of third-party recommendations and number of people who re-tweet your tweets).

quote “Those who hold the keys to the kingdom want to know the ROI [of social media]. They want to know how you’re going to measure this new-fangled thing.”19 Larry Chase Best-selling author

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/cont... Having a goal of improving product development is great, but ask yourself, “What are the smaller measures that will get me there?” For example, you can measure the volume growth in feature requests from user communities, the number of social product feature ideas your product development teams actually adopted and how successful these were, or the number of new engineers you recruited through social media sites. By drilling down to this level of data, you will be able to backup what everyone intuitively knows – that being engaged with your communities through social media really pays.

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best practice #9/ continuously improve through measurement The ability to measure allows for continuous improvement. You will quickly see which efforts are meeting your expectations and which are not. Then, as you gain comfort with the basics, you can expand the universe of keywords and terms that you monitor. The likely result will be one or more important discoveries in areas your social media teams never considered. Perhaps your entire industry is shifting. Maybe new competitors are creeping into your territory. Whatever it is, finding out as early as possible will help reap the rewards of becoming social media-savvy. You should also measure the influence of different channels over time. Audiences can shift social venues fast and frequently, or they can gravitate toward certain channels for certain needs. You will want to understand these behaviors so that you are prepared to listen and engage your community based on the different scenarios facing your brand in the future. Adhering to a continuous social cycle that starts with listening and eventually leads to adaptation makes a company agile through social media. Like never before, your social media teams will build awareness of what your customers, prospects, and influencers are doing and saying at all times. By being so “plugged in,� you will naturally make your entire organization more responsive and higher performing.

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/end We hope you’ve gleaned some useful insights into the realm of social media and the ways in which social media monitoring tools can help you undertake your first social steps. By following the best practices we outlined in this eBook, you’ll be well on your way to adopting a social media strategy that quickly becomes a win-win proposition for you, your customers, and your prospects.

about brandwatch/ Brandwatch is one of the world’s leading social media monitoring tools, with offices in the UK, US, Germany and Brazil. Innovative brands and agencies all over the world use Brandwatch for: Research – Understanding the market Sales – Identifying leads Customer Service – Responding and engaging quickly Marketing – Targeting new networks Reputation Management – Limiting negativity and building on positivity

to see how brandwatch can help give your business the edge in social media, visit the website and book a live demo with our team.

Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 License Please feel free to copy, share and reference this e-book. All we ask is that you acknowledge Brandwatch as the source and link to when citing the publication.

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thank you


references/ 1.

Altimeter Group, New study: Deep brand engagement correlates with financial performance, July 20, 2009


Pew Research Center, Social networking sites and our lives, June 16, 2011


Universal McCann, The Socialization of Brands, Social Media Tracker 2010, October 2010. Accessed online November 26, 2011 from the following source: http://

11. Bazaarvoice, Social Commerce Statistics, Accessed online from the following source December 4, 2011:


ROI Research, ROI Research for Performance, June 2010. Accessed online November 26, 2011 from the following source:


ClickZ, Reach Your Customers While Social Media Peaks, January 28, 2010. Accessed online December 4, 2011 from the following source: column/1699974/reach-your-customers-while-social-media-peaks

13. The Nielsen Company, How Social Media Impacts Brand Marketing, October 14, 2011. Accessed online from the following source December 4, 2011: nielsenwire/consumer/how-social-media-impacts-brand-marketing/


PCWorld citing comScore study, Social Networking Use Among Mobile Users Grows in Europe, November 21, 2011. Accessed online December 4, 2011 from the following source: users_grows_in_europe.html


comScore press release, Social Networking On-The-Go: U.S. Mobile Social Media Audience Grows 37Percent in the Past Year, October 20, 2011. Accessed online from the following source December 4, 2011: Releases/2011/10/Social_Networking_On-The-Go_U.S._Mobile_Social_Media_Audience_ Grows_37_Percent_in_the_Past_Year


McKinsey & Company, McKinsey Quarterly: Inside P&G’s digital revolution, November 2011


University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research, The 2011 Fortune 500 and Social Media Adoption: Have America’s Largest Companies Reached a Social Media Plateau? November 2011.

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10. Altimeter Group, Survey for Social Media Program Managers, Q1-Q2 2011. Accessed online December 4, 2011 from the following source: blog/2011/07/29/number-of-corporate-social-media-accounts-hard-to-manage-risk-ofsocial-media-help-desk/

12. McKinsey & Company, McKinsey Quarterly: Inside P&G’s digital revolution, November 2011

14. Business 2 Community citing Forrester Research, Social Media Online Courses – Where Are They?, February 8, 2011. Accessed online December 4, 2011 from the following source: 15. Bazaarvoice, What’s the real value of the customer voice?, January 26, 2011 16. Loyalty 360, Engagement is the Journey, Loyalty is the Destination, November 8, 2011 17. blog, The End of Social Media 1.0, August 29, 2011. Accessed online from the following source December 4, 2011: 18. Mashable, 9 Ways Top Brands Use Social Media for Better Customer Service, October 28, 2011. Accessed online from the following source December 4, 2011: http://mashable. com/2011/10/28/social-customer-service-brands/ 19. Chase Online Marketing Strategies, 10 Things to Know About Measuring Social Media, 2011. Accessed online from the following source December 4, 2011: http://www.wdfm. com/marketing-tips/jim-sterne-social-media.php

Brandwatch: 9 Best Practices for Becoming a Successful Social Brand  
Brandwatch: 9 Best Practices for Becoming a Successful Social Brand  

Brandwatch ebook 87654321 9 best practices for becoming a successful social brand Brands that understand and use social media in a targeted,...