Tag Archives: social sales

Part 3: Getting Value from Social Media

In Part 1 of our social media tutorial, we spoke about how to start building your B2B social media profile. In Part 2, we spoke about how to maintain your profile. Now, in part 3, we’ll talk about how to get value out of your social media profile.

There are many ways to potentially translate social media into additional business value. You can use social media to get in contact with journalists and thought leaders in your space. You can bring users and readers together by hosting social media jams focused on a specific topic. You can identify people with specific questions and help them with their problems. You can build friendships and relationships with the most important people in your field. You can ask users what they want out of a next generation product or service. You can find talented people in specific niche fields. All of these areas can provide value, but it is hard to do all of these at once.

From a difficulty perspective, these use cases basically go from Business Development < PR < Talent Acquisition < Marketing < Sales.

Yes, I said that business development is the easiest of these use cases. In fact, I would argue that any professional who is responsible for alliances, partnerships, channels, and consultant relationships needs to understand how to use social media both because the barrier to entry is so low, the immediate gains are great, and the basic tools are all free. You can meet executives from a wide variety of industries through social media just by having a basic interest in their business and their focus areas. If you truly share a passion and an interest with a well-connected executive, chances are that you should be speaking to each other anyways. Social media just helps to close that gap more quickly.

PR is the next easiest because every good journalist is now on Twitter and pays attention to their feeds. All you need to do is be genuinely newsworthy to get their attention. If you're not genuinely newsworthy, you may need to spend more time developing your core products and services….

Talent Acquisition is a fantastic use case for social media because it is hard to fake being, so interested in your subject matter that you are willing to blog, tweet, and post about your topic. At this point, I check the social media profiles of all of my potential candidates and have done so for years. I don't care if they have drunk pictures of themselves of Facebook or the typical HR concerns. But I do care about if the candidate loves their topic so much that they share their knowledge with others. Social media is a good way to show your personal passion. Even if a candidate hasn't managed to gain a significant audience, sometimes it's more important to simply see their github or LinkedIn profile than to build an audience. Not everyone knows how to build an audience, but everyone has the ability to show the world their interests.

Marketing takes slightly more work, since this involves brand, attracting an audience that is not as directly interested in your company, and a higher level of quality of social media content. To me, it always seemed odd that social media at the B2B level seemed to focus so much on marketing. I studied marketing for my MBA and know about the branding and messaging aspects of social media, but social is fundamentally about creating a personal connection whereas traditional marketing has been more of a mass market and demographic based activity. In fact, marketing has had to fundamentally change its approach to focus on the Power of One partially because of social media. Remember as you look at the marketing aspect of social media that the power of social is in engagement. Social media does not create clicks or views in and of itself. It's only when you actually engage and interest your user into a shared engagement (such as answering a poll, voting on a question, or chatting with an audience) that social becomes useful. Design social marketing to elicit a response that will give you new and interesting data.

And then there is sales. One of my heroes in the social world is Jill Rowley, who bravely took on the world of Oracle as their Social Sales Evangelist and was fired for daring to actually be social. But there is no doubt that social sales is the hardest of the basic business use cases in social to accomplish. You need to find people who are asking the right questions. You need to engage them without being creepy. And then you need to build the relationship to the point where the potential customer wants to set up a real-life email, phone, or personal exchange with you. This is not a Social 101 accomplishment and, to be honest, it takes a pro to teach how to do this correctly. Although I consider myself to be an expert in social media, I would estimate that only 10-15% of my sales pipeline comes directly from social. In other words, it is one of many channels, but it may be the difference between getting your bonus and not. There's a reason that even an inbound marketing monster like Hubspot has a small army of inbound sales people.

So what are some of the next steps that companies can take to start supporting these actual use cases? Let me provide a few examples along with the use cases that are best supported by these initial tips.

1) Create content such as paper.li
2) Hold a Tweetchat on your favorite topic by scheduling a half hour or hour with friends and colleagues.
3) Use aggregations/mashups like Storify to summarize events
4) Start a LinkedIn Group on your topic of interest or join a group.
5) Blog on LinkedIn – I will blog separately on the importance of blogging on LinkedIn, as this is a new opportunity. Any time you see a social platform or interaction that has a built-in audience or represents a new and different form of interaction, you only have a few months to get on board and establish yourself to get first mover status.
6) Master at least one visual social platform: Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram, Vine
7) Engage specific individuals for a focus group
8) Identify specific users as potential partners or buyers

There are a lot of different directions to go in building out your social media efforts for B2B success. To get a better idea of how DataHive Consulting supports B2B social efforts, take a look at our Social Jumpstart efforts.

Defining Social Big Data for Human Insight

Social Big Data for Human Insight
Internet map 1024 by The Opte Project is licensed under CC BY 2.5.

DataHive Consulting is focused on the concept of Social Big Data for Human Insight. But what does that actually mean? For us, there are three key components to this phrase: Social, Big Data, Human Insight.

“Social” is about the engagements and transactions that we use to interact with each other. Social media and social networking are the most obvious examples, but we are interested in the entire span of interactions. Email is a social interaction. Telephony call detail records and text messages are also social interactions. Even our interactions with locations and content can potentially be social if two or more people are interacting with the same location. In short, we are focused on personal and shared interactions.

The most important aspect of “social” is in getting good data. In this case, good data is determined by the quality of interaction. Social data will not be useful if employees, customers, and partners are not interacting with each other and getting value. So, from this perspective, the lessons of effective social collaboration are vitally important for maximizing the value of Social Big Data. Garbage in, garbage out is just as true for relationships as it is for data. Because of this, we care about setting up social engagements properly to create business value and to support ongoing social insight through Social Big Data for Human Insight.

“Big Data” is a bit of a marketing play, to be perfectly honest. We do care about the 3 Vs of Variety, Velocity, and Volume, and we work with video, sentiment analysis, predictive analytics, and data mining. But we also deal with the traditional data management and business intelligence tools that can analyze social data. Often, the key to unlocking the value of social data is as simple as connecting the correct data to the correct applications. In cases like this, DataHive will recommend a basic data integration and connection process rather than a Big Data implementation. The goal is to use the correct business intelligence and analytic tools and not to simply add Big Data tools for its own sake.

At the same time, there are specific challenges to Social Big Data as well. Companies trying to gain value from the full Twitter firehose need to have semantic strategies, sentiment tracking capabilities, focused goals, and a strong knowledge of which Twitter fields are more likely or less likely to provide value to those goals. Video analysis may require packet inspection, natural language processing, metadata creation and analysis, video surveillance, and user participation tools to translate gigabytes of video sharing into actual insight. These social data sources are much more complicated than the relational databases and structured data marts that DBAs initially grew up with. When we conduct data-driven work, it is in light of Social Big Data for Human Insight.

“Human Insight” is the most important part of this model. DataHive is not concerned with data analysis for its own sake. In fact, one of our biggest criticisms of the “Big Data” mentality is concept that the supposed “data scientist” would look at data without hypotheses and look for findings. (We know that not all data scientists take this approach by any means, but we believe in an empirical and scientific approach for analyzing data.) In our world, businesses and organizations have specific goals that they are trying to achieve and Social Big Data needs to help them to improve processes, provide guidance, and foment disruptive innovation.

Although social media is typically in the hands of marketing or customer service, DataHive believes that there are Human Insights that go across the entire organization: human resources, sales, research, operations, IT. The insight may be a simple as picking up website complaints which lead to the realization that the corporate WAN is being impaired at a key node. From an HR recruiting and morale perspective, the sentiment for your organization may be much stronger or weaker online than your internal metrics may track. And the pure insight and educational value of key thought leaders online can provide value to every level of the organization if the correct information is used.

But beyond the sentiment of the social media itself is another level of insight held through metadata, social connections, and context provided through sales, talent, and other key business capabilities. Data has a topology and a specific meaning, especially as we try to collaborate together. Social efforts can be pointless if we are not talking to the right people or if we lack a critical mass of users. There is also a bigger world of human insight associated with global challenges, but we are starting with business challenges. Today, businesses, tomorrow, the world!

As we look at human insight, we want to show you how to gain value from all three of these areas both in isolation and in combination. We use our decades of experience in using social media, our use of metadata and relational data, our social science backgrounds in understanding the sentiment and psychology of social data, and our business backgrounds to provide you with greater insight into using social data.

If you have questions on what social data is or how to take optimal advantage of your social data, we would love to discuss your social strategy and social data use cases. Please contact us at connect@datahiveconsulting.com to schedule a free consultation or read about or starting point for client engagements, our Social Media Jumpstarts. These are 1-2 month engagements to improve B2B social media efforts and clean up the initial data.

What HootSuite Should Do with uberVU’s Analytics

HootSuite acquires uberVU
HootSuite acquires uberVU image courtesy of HootSuite.

Today, HootSuite acquired uberVU, a social analytics solution. DataHive has already written about the importance of HootSuite in supporting B2B social media and we’re a fan of many of Hootsuite’s data aggregation, tracking, and scheduling capabilities. But uberVU will provide HootSuite with opportunities to improve social HR, sales, marketing, innovation, and core social analytics. Continue reading

Part 1: Building a Social Media Presence for the Long Haul

Social Media Construction

Michel Filion via Compfight CC-BY-2.0

This blog is the first in a three part series to show you how to build a social media account that will last for the long haul.  Social media can be a powerful force multiplier to get out your message, connect with new people, and find new and interesting ideas, but your social media tactics need to be aligned with your business goals.  And, most importantly, it is always all about the people.

To take a step back, let me explain how I use social media.  Continue reading