Tag Archives: continuous improvement

Social Media = Cash Cow?

Hey guys and welcome back.

So in the past few weeks I have covered how social technologies play a massive role for companies to boost productivity as well as profits. This week I wanted to talk about how these profits come about, and how companies should be evaluating their social media campaigns to evaluate whether or not their social presence is succeeding or failing, by looking at the impact on their customers.

Enter return on investment (ROI)

You might be thinking, what is the ROI of social media, and how is it measured?

Firstly with the help of social media monitoring tools, such as Topsy or Google Analytics (discussed last week), companies are able to track and understand how customers engage their products via likes, shares, re-tweets, etc. Tools like these become important as companies are able to determine the visitor flow (usually via URL tracking) from social media sites, to eCommerce websites, through to actual purchase (therefore enabling companies to track the traffic driven through any marketing campaign).

Therefore by looking at these statistics, companies are able to calculate the ROI. ROI is simply calculated by the following formula:

screen-shot-2013-10-09-at-11-04-09-am(Source: Watson, 2013, QUT)

In simple terms, by dividing the profit of the social campaign (Gain of investment – cost of the investment) and then dividing this by the cost of the investment one is able to calculate the percentage ROI.

Lets bring this to a real life context, and after doing some research, I was able to come up with a small list of amazing examples of social media ROI at work:

1. Jimmy Choo

  • Channel used: Twitter
  • Geo-located and featured upscale stores that sell their sneakers
  • Sneaker sales increased 33%
  • 40% increase in positive tweets and messages

(source: business2community)

2. Old Spice

  • Channel used: Youtube
  • Ex-NFL player Isaiah Mustafa starred in various humerous youtube commercials that generated a huge response.
  • On Day 1, the campaign received 5.9 million YouTube views, more than Obama’s victory speech after 24 hours (source: Visible Measures)
  • On Day 2, Old Spice had 8 out of the top 11 most popular videos on the web (source: Visible Measures)
  • By Day 3, the campaign eclipsed 20 million YouTube views
  • One week post-launch, the work had been seen more than 40 million times.
  • Twitter followers increased 2700%.
  • Facebook fan interactions went up 800%
  • Facebook fans increased 60% (from 500,000 to 800,000)
  • Increase in web traffic by 300%
  • YouTube subscribers for the brand more than doubled, increasing from 65,000 to 150,000
  • And Old Spice also became the #1 All-Time Most Viewed and #2 Most Subscribed Branded Channel on YouTube
  • Contributed to a 106% sales increase

(source: marketingweek)

3. Kraft/Toblerone

  • Channels used: Company website and multiple social networks used in the Philipines
  • Established October 20th as the country’s “National Thank You Day”
  • Drove 500,000 website visits
  • Sales of Toblerone increased 132%

(source: business2community)

4. Blendtec

  • Channels used: YouTube and Twitter
  • Blender maker produced videos blending a variety of items
  • Some were viewed more than 100 million times
  • Sales increased 700% within a year

(source: business2community)

5. Kotex

  • Channels used: Facebook, YouTube and Twitter
  • 1.7 million Web site visits
  • 17,500 tweets about Kotex
  • 25,000 Kotex discussions in the social space generating 88.5 million impressions
  • a million girls “activated” on the brand site,
  • 93,000 Likes, and 640 million impressions in major print, broadcast, and online channels.
  • 750,000 people requested samples and these converted at a 42% rate.

(source: Peter Kim)

6. Foiled Cupcakes

  • Channels used: Twitter and Facebook
  • Implemented a relationship-building program
  • Received an order for 40,000 cupcakes
  • 97% of customers now come from social media
  • Sales are still exceeding forecasts by 600%

(source: business2community)

7. Cadbury Wispa

  • Channels used: Twitter and Facebook
  • Petitioned by customers to bring back the Wispa bar
  • Sent 40 million bars to market
  • 18 weeks after responding to the petition, all of them were sold
  • Added 30% to annual profits

(source: business2community)

It is important to note that although companies such as the ones listed above made profitable (tangible, or measurable) sales as a result as their social media campaigns, a company’s return on investment can also be broken up into intangible (non-measurable) benefits. Examples of these benefits include:

  • An increase in brand awareness, and increase in customer engagement
  • An increase in sharing through social communication
  • Gaining customer insights through product valuations and feedback
  • Testing new markets, and market analysis
  • Building an online voice, a more ‘relaxed and casual demeanor’ of the brand

It is clear that social media plays an important part in modern day organizations. Through the many techniques I have described over the last few weeks, it is clear   that through these social technologies, these companies are able to capitalize on the inexpensive (or very expensive depending on organizational budgets) nature of social media to increase their ROI as well as their brand.

If you enjoyed this post please feel free to drop a comment below or you can also add me on Facebook 🙂

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The road to social success: Analytics & Adidas

(Image Courtesy of Adidas)

Hey guys, it’s another week so it’s time for another post 🙂

This week I want to explore analytics and monitoring of social media sites. This time I am going to investigate Adidas and their participation and effectiveness within the social community. My first stop was to Google, where I searched for “free social media monitoring tools” and eventually stumbled across a couple of search engines including, sharedcount, social-searcher, icerocket, backtweets, and topsy.

Now what exactly do these these tools and analytics actually tell us?

Not only do these sites tell us the number of likes, tweets, latest comments, but they also contain valuable information such as communal sentiment. For brands such as Adidas, this becomes important as it is in their interest to keep their fellowship persistent and that consumers are happy with their brand and the products they release.

Through monitoring Adidas, monitoring tools such as Topsy, have carefully broken down their social activity. The images below highlight the number of tweets (on average 28K tweets a day or 1.1K tweets/hr), as well as the popular tweets that have an Adidas influence/promotion.



(Image Courtesy of Topsy)

Similarly on sharedcount, this monitoring tool breaks down URLs such as their Facebook page (which interestingly enough tells us that there are 14,809,526 likes and 111,148 people talking about this) and allows companies like Adidas to know how many shares, likes and tweet’s people prescribe publically.

But at the end of the day isn’t this just tweets and likes though? What does this actually mean to Adidas? Can they actually just base their social performance centered upon the number of tweets/likes they have?

Luckily, with upgraded monitoring tools (Topsy was kind enough to offer me a trial version) we can also view user sentiment, i.e. breaking up the positive and negative tweets (see below image). In addition to this we are able to view graphical areas of where these tweets are coming from. From this, Adidas can retrieve information on areas where they may want to increase their reach or areas in which they feel they need to develop and allow for better marketing power.



The geographical activity breaks down the information down to the number of tweets and location where they were posted.


Sentiment is also calculated and these tools are able to filter through the positive and negative comments regarding Adidas.

(Images Courtesy of Topsy)

Some applications such as social-searcher can break down posts into more granular information, below is an example of their analytics showing the percentage of links, photos, video’s and statuses as well as link domains relating to Adidas. Knowing where people are posting information regarding Adidas becomes important in brand development and advertising. Furthermore, Adidas can potentially capitalise in these areas and have more viral marketing in these popular websites.


(Image Courtesy of Social-Searcher)

With so many kinds of marketing tools on the market, it is increasingly clear how much potential social media can play when attracting a customer base. With social media being the public’s voice it is in these companies best interests to be utilising these social technologies to their advantage by not only prescribing posts but also to monitor and manage their social sites from an analytical point of view. This information is valuable to any organisation as it allows them to have direct real time feedback and therefore allowing them to continuously improve.

If you enjoyed this post please feel free to drop a comment below or you can also add me on Facebook 🙂

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Zaha Hadid Architects, an insight into Professional Services, portfolios and branding

Innovation Tower, Hong Kong Polytechnic University by Zaha Hadid Architects (Image courtesy Zaha Hadid Architects)


Over the past few weeks I have covered how organisations and the social sector utlise social technologies. This week I want to talk about how social media plays an important role in enhancing businesses within the Professional Services Sector.

Zaha Hadid Architects, are an international architectural design firm founded by Zaha Hadid based in Clerkenwell, London. Her firm creates work on different scales and sectors and she currently holds 950 projects within 44 countries and has 400 staff in 55 nations. Zaha Hadid Architects are world reknowned and they are famous for their design aesthetic of “powerful, curving forms of her elongated structures” (and in the top 100 list of largest architecture firms in the world).


            The design Aesthetic of Zaha Hadid Architects (Image courtesy Zaha Hadid Architects)


So what have Zaha Hadid Architects done in the social media domain?

Online you can find their Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Vimeo pages filled with images and news showcasing the firm’s latest work. Being an architectural firm, it is important for companies such has Zaha’s firm to be constantly updating their design portfolio. By creating posts regarding their work, not only is Zaha showing off her design aesthetic to the rest of the world, this plays an important factor for developing and improving her firm’s brand (social levers of – deriving customer insights, and social commerce).

Posts showing her latest wins in design competitions such as her latest victory in securing the 2020 Tokyo Olympics stadium (especially right after designing, winning and building the 2012 London Olympics Aquatic Centre), plays a pivotal role in keeping the wider community informed as well as a way in which she can market and sell her professional services as an architect.


            The Tokyo 2020 Olympics stadium design (Image courtesy Zaha Hadid Architects)


Being an international firm, showcasing an online portfolio with her latest designs and awards through social media and her website therefore becomes important in branding as well as retaining and receiving new clientele.

It is important to note, that her firm interacts quite frequently with the press and other social media websites such as dezeen, arch daily, arcspace, designboom, and even their non-official Zaha Hadid Facebook fan page have the latest news and imagery from her projects and have cultivated a large audience and discussion amongst readers and architectural lovers (social lever – social commerce, and generating and fostering sales leads).

It is clear that in the professional services sector, social media portrays an important part in developing organisational branding and is a means of developing and distributing product offerings as well as highlighting an organisation’s awards and recognition, but more importantly their portfolio of work (which is essentially their professional service).


Question for the week: Have any of you readers heard of Zaha Hadid, and if you haven’t would you look into her work?

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Enterprise 2.0, the Social Sector’s best friend?

(Image Courtesy RSPCA)

Recall a couple of weeks back when I discussed briefly how social media can enhance productivity and opportunities, today I want to describe how organisations from the Social Sector (i.e. not-for-profit organisations), can also benefit from social technologies. McKinsey explains how there are nine social-sector value levers (image below), in which organisations can realise the value of using social media, as well as the importance of integrating these values when creating a social strategy.
Lets have a look at the RSPCA, a not-for-profit agency that aims to “prevent cruelty to animals by actively promoting their care and protection”. According to their website, RSPCA runs “40 shelters and employs around 1000 staff and spends more than $80 Million every year on the services it provides. Most of this money comes from public donations and fundraising initiatives, as well as business partnerships, grants and RSPCA patrons”. Their online presence especially with their Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages have become a large forefront for supporters and the general public, and allows the RSPCA to benefit from the following value levers:

Fundraising, creating and expanding volunteer networks and retaining support:
With over 134,117 likes, the RSPCA has a large online marketing campaign, with their Facebook and Twitter pages, consistently updated, prioritising educated the public whilst engaging their supporters. Posts like their fundraising campaign “cupcake day” (see below video), generates public interest by encouraging the community to partake in baking and selling baked goods to generate funds to help animals in need. Moreover, the RSPCA, encourages participants to actively spread the word by posting images of their cupcakes online, which in turn has generated the attention of the greater public. The effectiveness of such a campaign can be seen by last year’s cupcake day results, where they received an impressive $1.6Million in donations. This year, the RSPCA has already raised over $776,570, retaining a strong, loyal support base for their aim to fight animal cruelty.

(Video courtesy RSPCA)

Improve collaboration and communication:
By effectively utilising social technologies, the RSPCA is easily able to, inform their followers and the public of its upcoming events, news and education. By actively promoting the use of social media, the RSPCA encourages people to actively post and to raise awareness on animal cruelty. For example, one of their most recent Facebook posts, encouraged voters in this years federal election, to tell local candidates how important animal welfare is and even offer suggestions as to what people can post on Twitter and Facebook to spread the word. By using an social technologies as a tool to increase collaboration and communication, therefore allows the RSPCA to increase their fellowship as well as continuing their ongoing mission (see images below).

Screen Shot 2013-09-10 at 2.42.19 AMScreen Shot 2013-09-10 at 2.42.31 AM
Screen Shot 2013-09-10 at 2.48.57 AM

(Images courtesy of RSPCA Facebook)

With many organisations implementing Enterprise 2.0, it is definitely clear that social technologies serve as an effective tool in creating value. In addition to this, it is becoming inherent that organisations from the social sector are utilising this forefront as an economical yet successful method of reaching the greater public.

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Why Apple Inc. and Facebook aren’t friends

(Image courtesy of Techbeat)

So in the past few weeks, I have talked about how social technologies are an invaluable (yet free or low cost … funny paradox isn’t it?) marketing tool for organizations to enhance their brand, communication, collaboration as well as a means to boost productivity and sales.

However what issues can arise out of the business use of social media?

Let’s talk about Apple Inc. once again. Being one of the biggest companies in the world its interesting to note that they don’t have an official Facebook page. What is the reason for this? Why wouldn’t apple want to have Twitter, YouTube or even Tumbler?

Whilst this is a broad question, there are several answers that give insight to their anti-external social media campaign, outside of the social interaction that occurs within their official website/forum (Apple Support Communities). One general reason of why Apple has not ventured to these social technologies can be explained by the legal issues that pertain to creating these profiles, in which are related to legal issues, risks and reputation.

Apple is known to be secretive when it comes to their products and new releases as well as any business secrets. Having a Facebook/Twitter page puts their company at risk of exposure. Intellectual property issues, disclosure/control and defamation of confidential information all spring to mind. What would happen if an disgruntled employee posted information on their Facebook page highlighting all of the details of the next iPhone before it hit the markets, or even then what would happen to Apple’s share price, and what do Apple’s competitors such as Samsung have to gain from finding this information.

Apple’s reputation is at stake whenever any media or customer’s respond to their products, services etc. Without adequate control over who or what can go onto their Facebook page, (in which can be difficult Facebook). The amount of good/bad publicity is growing everyday, Apple’s fan base is incredibly large, and the last thing Apple want’s is for people leaking sensitive information. BBC News even discusses how Apple has slapped bloggers lawsuits over publishing such information over the internet.

Even social technologies such as LinkedIn have proven to be a threat to companies like Apple, demonstrated by Malcolm Burrow in his article where he explains that employee malpractice or even lack of knowledge can mean uploading employee email address-books to these social sites, subsequently, breaching information assets and even leading to future cases of spam emails.

It is also interesting to note that even though Apple doesn’t have any official pages, there is still a large number of ‘fake’ or ‘unofficial’ Apple Facebook pages floating around the internet, which poses a severe risk to Trade mark infringement or even defamation of Apple as a company. Have a look at these two fan pages which have 9.5 million likes and 1.2 million likes respectively. What’s even more concerning is that one of these pages are full of people’s comments/recommendations on Apple as a company and its products. Although some of these comments might be harmless and commending Apple, you can also see the nasties that appear. One of these comments even has curse words and other comments describe their frustrations and hatred to Apple (see below image, press to enlarge).


(Images by Author)

The other issue in which organizations face is of the grey area of where an employee work’s for a business and what they may post during their private life.  Whilst the normal employee may not post anything slanderous or leak any information assets publicly, companies need to ensure that they are protected and are able to act if this were to happen. If you don’t believe that it could happen, have a look at this huge list of 689 published cases involving social media evidence. Furthermore, the power of social media stems even further than personal or organisational use, the negative impact of the social ‘voice’ can have a detrimental impact on events even like fair court trails as ECU explains.

To combat this, companies need to establish a Social Media Policy (SMP), and Burrow explains its use as:

supplement[ing] a contract of employment to be legally enforceable by an organisation on its employees. The aim of an SMP is to clearly communicate what is acceptable conduct on Social Networking Sites by an organisations employees and contractors and what conduct is unacceptable and would make an employee liable to dismissal… [It is a] high level document that communicates how an organisation plans to participate within social media”.

By prescribing such a policy, organizations can control or assign information owners and make them liable for what they potentially post online.  This in turn mitigates the risk of companies being exposed and left reputationally damaged.

Finally it is clear that whether a company utilizes social technologies or not, they should be made aware of any potential ‘fake’ or ‘fan’ pages that are created on their behalf and that the company should at least reserve any domain names in order to mitigate the risk of defamation or damage to reputation.

Dear Tim Cook, please look out for the fake Apple pages, and I know its hard but lets get more apple social sites, yes?

Thanks for reading and see you guys next week.

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Enhancing productivity and opportunities through social media

As discussed in my previous posts, it is pretty clear that social media has been a useful tool for organisations. In this week’s post I want to focus more on how these organisations can improve their ‘business value chain’ (as McKinsey calls them, pp15-19 & 35-43) such as marketing and sales as well as their customer service through social technologies.

Let’s have a look at DealExtreme (DX), an international eCommerce business that sells gadgets, electronics and home goods for low prices with free shipping around the world (yes that’s right, you heard right, $0 world-wide shipping on goods even if they only cost $1).

(Image courtesy of DealExtreme)

But what makes DealExtreme so successful?

Their social Media campaigns on FacebookTwitterBlogForum, and YouTube are examples of how this company is capitalizing on social media as a tool for marketing and sales, as well as customer response/support. On their Facebook page you will find posts filled with competitions, advertising for their products.

Campaigns such as their  ‘share pictures of your DX products and win prizes’, is a great way for customers to tell other potential consumers about their existing buys/favorites as well as a way for people to share their thoughts, feedback and insight on many other product offerings  (below image from their Facebook page and video from their YouTube Channel).

(Image courtesy of Dealextreme)

This allows DX to communicate to its consumers at a very low cost (Facebook is free, and they currently have over 1 Million likes), and are able to directly target this audience by providing promotions and viral marketing. As well as this, their Facebook page is a front for their business to communicate with the customers, building a small online community where feedback is appreciated by the DX team. On this page, users can ask questions or provide feedback on products, or even track or inquire about current deliveries.

McKinsey explains the business benefits with social technologies as ‘value leavers’, and companies are becoming more and more effective in increasing communication, knowledge sharing and consumer/business collaboration. Furthermore, developing customer insights allows for a boost in interaction as well as productivity. As can be seen with the case of DX, they have successfully, utilized this forefront for marketing communication as well as gaining insight on market perceptions as well as customer care, thereby allowing their business to thrive and continuously improve and provide the best products (at the lowest price) to their consumers.


How cool are these bedsheets from DX? (Image courtesy of Dealextreme)

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