Over 70% of Social Media initiatives FAIL

Here is what happens:

Customer: We need to get our number of fans up, some more follower and some really hot buzz campaign. We need some agency who can really deliver.
Agency: We can do that for you. We have people who setup your presence, tweet for you and do some blogging. We upload a few photos and take care of feedback. We also do social media monitoring.
Customer: Great – here are $3,500 per month and I expect you double my followers, grow my fan base, steer up some noise and generate solid leads for me.
Agency: Done deal – we’ll start tomorrow morning.
Now – our agency has 1,700 followers on Twitter 900 friends on Facebook and over 500 connections on LinkedIn. She tweets, posts, uploads images and produces a few cool videos here and there. And because all of this is new and a new deal, all her friends chime in, like stuff and get excited. And so these “leads” are as bad as the contact lists the marketing department bought the other day but the numbers go up :)
First review with the customer:
Agency: Hey – this was super cool. We created 20% more follower for you, you got 20 more @Messages, we grew fans by 25% and the views on YouTube grew by 50%  – how cool is that?
Customer: Awesome :)) Making notes to share it with his boss. Next Marketing meeting is going to be cool. He just can envision the impressive chart. OK what are we going to do next? I need some more details from Social Media Monitoring and an ongoing lead flow now.
Agency: Sure – no problem. We’ll drive traffic to your registration page
The next few days get a bit hectic but the agency is able to tweet, post and blast out the registration page promising some super cool product from company X. The registration key “social media’ will show the company how much power is behind Social Media.
A few weeks later
Agency: Hey – how’s going? Did you see a few leads coming in?
Customer: Hey – you are terrific. Yes we got 35% more lead flow in just 3 weeks this is outstanding…
Agency: Cool – we’ll keep rocking
Six month into it
Customer: Hey – we got to talk. Sales is complaining about those ‘Social Media Leads” they are all crap. We have to shift gear!!!
Agency: I’m so sorry to hear that. Not sure what the issue is we drove hundreds of leads your way.
Customer: I know – I know – but we have to shift gear.
Agency: Well that brings me to another point. One of my clients hired my to work for him full time. I’m really sorry but I won’t be able to continue the engagement.
Customer: Arrrrrgggggg
Customer seeking a new agency
Customer: Here is where we are – the whole story – We have an event in 8 weeks and I really need to show some traction. I need to ramp up the signup rate.
Agency: Totally understand. We have a large team that can tweet for you and generate some substantial buzz. But it’s gonna cost you.
Customer: I understand. I’m ready to make some more substantial investments….
The event didn’t show any serious improvements in signups.
Agency: You know that was way to short notice. Social Media is more long term, building relationships and such.

Does that sound familiar to you?

Does that sound familiar to you?

Why that could never work and bring any tangible results:

1) The Network Mistake

Whoever tweets or posts does that to the network they have. If a person from an agency is tweeting, the audience are her friends and nobody else. Unless the business motivates all their customers and prospects to follow and befriend the people from the agency – there is no connection and no one from the target audience will likely get the posts. Of course they may listen to specific hash tags but that is such a weak connection that it is not worth the effort and cost.

SOLUTION

The market facing teams in the company need to build their connections to partners, customers, vendors and prospects in the first place. If those people tweet and share interesting and valuable content, likelihood of somebody relevant is reading it is much higher. And even more important those teams will develop much better and more intense relationships with their relevant audience.

2) Feedback Mistake

Now lets assume the customer would read about any of the interesting things. Most likely they would get in touch with the agency. That is probably not what a customer understands as very “social” – more so the agency probably doesn’t know all the relevant contacts in the company so they forward new contacts as “leads” to a central person in the company who then in turn looks for the right person. But hey I expect to talk to the author and have an instant dialog – and 5 seconds later I want to go on in my business. So I would follow this age old process only one time and never again. Let alone the load and inefficiency within the organization.

SOLUTION

Have the person who is in charge be the one who provides the content – see previous topic. A customer with a question would be able to get in touch with the person right away and a tweet later he or she has a response. And if the team member does not want to get in touch with a customer – move to a different department.

3) The Content Mistake

The typical “social media marketing campaign” is filled with “valuable content” – but in reality it is a product promotion, event invitation or other business announcements. And obviously why should our agency team build friendships with those unknown customers. Just imagine for a second that your sales team is not very customer oriented and sends people from an agency to play with them golf. What would that conversation look like?  You get the idea.

SOLUTION

Instead of blasting “valuable content” into the face of our new relationships, request the teams to build and strengthen the relationships in the first place. Like they would be on a golf course. The only difference is that 18 tweets cost 2 Minutes 18 holes a full day. The business relevant content can later on be carefully be woven into the conversation – like on the green.

 

I know I know – you don’t have the time to train your team – you need to get it done now. And you don’t see a reason for creating a sound and solid strategy. And you probably don’t have the patience to think through all that in great detail – come on it can’t be that difficult and it looks like the majority of companies do it exactly that way.

I hope this is at least fruit for thought when you start your next social media marketing blast party.

 

 

Conference Review – Digital Agenda 2012 Conference Brussels

Presentation in parliament

The great work finishes with a great presentation by workshop moderator David Smith at the parliament of the European Commission.

The pan European Social Media Strategy was already mentioned as a great effort of the Digital Agenda Assembly in the morning of that day. No question, thinking out of the box and just doing what needs to be done receives more attention than arguing about what others should do. :)

 

Impact

During the workshop and its presentations on Thursday (June 21)  #da12social  was “trending” on Twitter. This is an outstanding achievement because Twitter is recognizing only the most intense discussions. So far no public sector discussion ever reached that level. We grew to 90 Million impressions and reached 20 Million people during the Digital Agenda event (per reported data by the Digital Agenda). A HUGE thanks to Berrie Pelser and all of those power networker, some of the best connected people in Europe and approximately 1,900 people who helped spread the word during that day. You know my mantra: “We may achieve the extraordinary – If nobody notices, it won’t make a difference!”

 

Three major achievements

a) We demonstrated that a highly skilled team has the ability to crowd source important research and then develop a market relevant and success oriented pan European strategy proposal in less time than 6 weeks.
b) We demonstrated to tens of thousands (apparently up to 20 Million people) that Social Media is a serious way to collaborate across an entire continent and allows to achieve results in extreme short period of time at an unprecedented low cost: no travel expense, absolute minimal administrative overhead and on top: next to no environmental deficit.
c) We demonstrated on a broad level that with initiative and courage combined with an open and democratic society – everybody’s contribution does make a difference.

The huge feedback from participants, such as EC members, politicians,  event attendees and people from the outside following our activities, made it very clear: We already made a difference.

 

Execution

Obviously that was only the beginning. During the participatory workshops we explored in total 9 activities from which 5 seemed to resonated most. We will make a formal proposal how we can execute those activities and what measurable results we can deliver:

1) Education
Educate social media professionals across Europe gaining the skills necessary to quickly expand what we started. We trust we can educate at least 2-5 professionals in each EU country that can in turn educate others down the road and lay the foundation for a homogeneous understanding how social media can create measurable business improvements and create new jobs as a result. We have already over 20 applicants from 7 EU countries who are interested in such a program.

2) Growing Export
Create and roll out an initiative that inspires more than 1,000 business leaders across all 27 member countries  expanding their export capabilities by leveraging social media, creating success stories others can follow and new jobs based on the expanded business. During the conference we have so far 5 businesses who would like to benefit from that.

3) Business Competition
Initiate a business competition where at least 500 business leaders compete for best possible customer experience, creating business advocates and inspire other business leaders to follow. It is also essential that we not only help entrepreneurs to start a business but equally important grow a sustainable business operation and jobs.

4) Public Sector Involvement
Involve the public sector, such as local authorities, chamber of commerce, unions, local EC outlets in the above initiatives so that we get additional local support on one side and the public sector is “learning by doing” the effects of social media. Also during the conference we saw interest from participants from the Sweden, Spanish and UK government to participate.

5) Industry Collaboration
Cooperate with large enterprises who also want to grow their business in the mid market and are interested in sponsoring a significant amount of money for a pan European awareness campaign that provides the needed visibility to make as many companies as possible aware of the advantages of a single digital market. We have also here some larger enterprises considering to support the initiative.

 

Commitment

All of the above have very clearly measurable objectives and an achievable execution deadline: Summer 2013. Currently approximately 20 people each day express their interest to join the initiative. The EC officers clearly encouraged us to continue with what we started.

 

Next Step

1) We will document the Social Media Strategy details that we worked on during our preparation meeting and work on a detailed execution and resource plan as well as cost structure over the next few days.

2) We will present all details and an initial time table for going forward on Thursday July 5 Please Register Here. This will include how we can involve other countries (the Swedish and the Spanish team are already constituted), how we can execute the above topics, how we can get funding for the initiative and how we can eventually help creating 2 Million new jobs across Europe by 2016.

3) We will prepare a concrete proposals for each of the five topics explaining how the EC can support our plans.

 

Taking a break

Again, I want to thank all of you who helped us get that far. This was an unprecedented initiative and I trust we can make a significant contribution to the European economy. I  also want to thank everybody from the EC for their encouragement and support for our engagement. It certainly changed my picture about the work of the EC.

For now, take a break, focus on your current priorities and think about to what extend and capacity you can help going forward. I hope I will see most of you at the July 5 online presentation.

AxelS

#da12social‬ Is Europe ready to strategically leverage Social Media for business? – Interview with Axel Schultze @AxelS

#da12social‬
Is Europe ready to strategically leverage Social Media for business?
Interview with Axel Schultze @AxelS

Original posy by Elza Confluencemedia

In 4 weeks time, 30 strategists, 250 volunteers created 1,000+ pages of crowd sourced research and 1 strategy proposal for the Digital Agenda Assembly 2012 of the EU Commission. Yesterday I had the privilege to talk to the man that initiated this group of highly qualified volunteers; Axel Schultze.

Axel Schultze, CEO of Social Media Software company XeeMe, Palo Alto, California – Chairman of the Social Media Academy, Palo Alto and active social media practitioner since 2003.

As part of the Digital Agenda Assembly 2012 of the EU Commission, you created a Digital Agenda Strategy Team. Can you tell me more about your motives to create this team? When and how did you come up with this idea?

The EU commission invited me to do an opening keynote at the Digital Agenda Assembly conference at the 21st of June in Brussels. I reviewed the European situation and realized not only is Europe 4 years behind the US but also not ready to strategically leverage Social Media for business. I proposed to the EU Commission to develop an open strategy to stimulate small and medium business to create growth and to compete on a global market. The scope is huge, so we need a clearly defined strategy to go after that objective. But as an experienced strategist I know it is possible. My motive is to make Europe a more stable and better place to live and work.

Very high goals: sustainable growth, additional jobs and being able to compete in a global market. In the meanwhile we see the news that Europe is struggling to keep their (financial) heads above the water. Do you think Social Media can ‘save’ Europe business wise?

If you look at the struggle Europe is in, there is a difference in what the press is saying and global reality. A large part of the EU, northern countries are economically very strong compared to US and Latin American countries. All in all, we see a rather strong Europe. We are always challenged around the globe. Even when disaster strikes there will be a way to create business.

There are various aspects of growth. If you look at the shoe industry, in Italy and Spain, the leather industry is big. However, both Italy and Spain are struggling. On a global scope, DC Shoesin California, has 8 million fans talking about their shoes on Facebook only. Falco is an Italian shoe factory which is not present on social media at all. Both companies target young people – but the US one is clearly ahead of the European one. If we can stimulate the Italian and Spanish shoe industry online, people don’t need to order shoes from the US.

Then there is the Fascino Group Guangzhou Shoes Manufacturer from China who is a very potential competitive risk. These shoes are not known in Europe because Chinese companies don’t allow Facebook in their marketing strategy. Renren.com is a chinese social network and they are present there. As soon as Fascino is able to deal with western social media platforms, they will come to Europe over-night. Whilst Falco is still not present at all and doesn’t even know how to deal with it. We need to prepare our local businesses. If businesses like Falco are not present other than through old fashioned business concepts, they will not be competitive. And the shoe industry is only one example.

The US and China are big countries with a lot of people speaking the same language. In Italy and Germany almost all television broadcasts are synchronised into their respective languages. Young people can only learn English from music channels, online and a bit from school. What about this language barrier?

Look at the kids in Europe. There are 230 million Facebook users who talk to friends in their native language but also to friends around the world in English. The common language has become English. As such we are initially focusing on those groups of people and businesses who are open minded, have typically a better financial position, and thus are more able to buy the products. They will lead the track and the slow mover will follow.

What if the Euro falls, what strategy will be needed for Social Media and business?

Companies who feel they have no time for Social Media need to learn that it is not a nice-to-have or fancy marketing play but a strategic tool to grow the business. The whole focus of our particular social media initiative is to help grow a business through widening the potential market – which today means more export. Whether the euro falls or not, business will need to continue selling their wares. And if they can’t locally right now, they can find consumers in other parts of Europe or the world.

The US economy almost collapsed 4 years ago. The US grocery brand Whole Foods was known as expensive. In that crisis even rich people saved money but Whole Foods grew. They understood they had to be as human as possible. Albertsons groceries was 10 times bigger at that time but closed more than half of their operation and almost vanished away, others even went out of business because they did not act on the opportunities to get closer to their respective marketswhich is one of the key advantages of social media. (read more about Whole Foods Social Media strategy on Mashable).

Zappos is an online shoe dealer. They had a hard time selling shoes online because people want to try shoes on. They started to send 10 pairs of shoes to fit on and let customers send the ones back that didn’t fit.  In a few years time Zappos grew to a 1 billion business. They recognized that social media is not about fancy, but about building relationships with as much consumers as possible. The prejudice that you can only talk to a few customers in so much time is not true when you apply social media as a business relation tool and not as a spam tool.

What is it exactly that your group is working on, what the European Digital Strategy is in need of? What is this groups added value?

This group has worked through thousands of pages of research. The real work is to make sense out of this information, to distill it. We focus on the 3 biggest industries in the countries. We look at the perception of social media in European countries, at obstacles, rules & regulations and what business owners think of social media. We need to know where they are and identify the opportunities. If we would be pure data junkies, we would see construction work is important because it is big in all countries. But knowing construction is very local, we rather focus on industry segments with a sustainable impact on a country’s economy. The most notable effect for businesses in this situation in Europe is to grow outside their country. We won’t be able to come up with that objective without knowing what is going on in the respective countries. Now, going forward, we cannot continue doing this for the next 4 years for free. We need to find funds and hope to get funding from various sources. And we will look for resources to execute this project in the next couple of years.

What outcome do you hope to present in Brussels.

We developed an execution plan where we hope to assemble a team for the entire project. We would like to see country specific teams and funding to get them going. We build a 3 tier engagement model, where we conduct an awareness campaign with sponsoring from industry leaders to fund this campaign. We recognized the need for profound education for business leaders, business teams as well as consultants and that will be the first problem we need to solve.

On the 20th of June we will reconvene with the team on how we will go forward. We will install more country teams where we get educated resources. We hope to reach 7-10 countries for the remainder of the DA 12. Cutting through the noise is the biggest challenge for all groups on the Agenda. I believe our group demonstrated that we are well able to cut through that noise.

Elza Xeeme 

Stimulating growth and business revenue through social media – Stimulating growth and business revenue through social media #da12social

At DG INFSO, we are impressed with the drive and enthusiasm of a project being managed from a variety of independent social media experts throughout Europe in the run-up to the Digital Agenda Assembly 2012. (#da12social)

We asked Axel Schultze, leader of the project to tell us what he is aiming to achieve:

The overarching objective of the project is to stimulate small and medium size businesses and innovative start-ups across the EU leveraging social media to create a sustainable growth, additional jobs and being able to compete in a global market. Specifically we want to double the number of businesses, who grew their revenue and added new jobs by leveraging social media, year over year till 2016.

We seek new ways for a more stable European Union and like to make business leaders and entrepreneurs aware of the opportunities Social Media holds and help them to apply it in a professional and pleasant way.The first few steps of the current DA12 Social project were orchestrated with smart, highly skilled and very motivated people. With nearly no administrative overhead and a leadership style of the social media age, executives, manager, business development people and social media consultants worked all hands on deck together. Autonomous work groups achieved in only two weeks what traditional consulting teams hardly complete in several months.

This is an ambitious project – how long will it take?

The project life span is expected to be from fall 2012 until end of 2016. Teams in every EU country will work with country officials, collaborate with chambers of commerce and related government groups to help SMEs leverage social media to thrive. The teams will be between 10 and 100 people working in the respective industries or geographies by country  – making it a total of approximately 500 engaged mostly part time people in the project. Funds will be sought from many sources, possibly in part from sponsoring industry leaders. We will build a scalable finance model to ensure relative success by 2016 – meaning even if underfunded we will demonstrate partial success.

So what does success look like?

Success is if any of the team members can motivate 25 companies each quarter to leverage social media to grow their export and hire additional employees to do so. Over the course of the next 4 years success is if the team of 500 was able to help 200,000 companies across Europe to grow plus 200,000 who basically learned on their own. If those companies hire just 5 additional people, we created 2 million additional jobs.”

Source

Three Tier Engagement Model

While we keep you updated with progress of the project, we also share the techniques and methods we are using to actually be able to manage such a project.

In order to manage this kind of  ‘mega projects’  we created a three tier engagement model that should help all of us engage, be able to work with extreme team sizes and still professionally and timely execute.


1) Strategy Group

A highly engaged and focused team for assessment and strategy development. The team are mostly certified social media strategists or highly experienced social media consultants. The current group is 34 people and we will selectively add more in the future. This group won’t be much more than 100. To join this group, please help us understand your skill set and share it with us in 10 answers :) http://surveymonkey.com/s/da12social-t1

Continue reading “Three Tier Engagement Model”

Online Engagement Digital Agenda Assembly 2012

(11/05/2012) #DA12 More than 450 members are now discussing on the online discussion platform which Neelie Kroes launched on 19 April. Outcomes of this debate, and the feedback which we pick up from other platforms, will contribute to the next meeting of the Digital Agenda Assembly (Brussels, 21-22 June, plenary programme recently update online) and to the review of the Digital Agenda for Europe (to be adopted later in the year). Continue reading “Online Engagement Digital Agenda Assembly 2012”

The Digital Agenda EU Project

This project is to help the EU Commission and the EU in general to help business leaders within the EU to understand, adopt and leverage Social Media with the intention to more successfully grow their respective businesses.

OBJECTIVE
Enabling 25,000 medium size businesses and innovative start-ups across Europe to leverage social media to create a sustainable growth, additional jobs and an becoming a poster child for other businesses in Social Media adoption by the end of 2016 – We will further fine tune this objective on our workshop at the EU meeting in Brussels. Continue reading “The Digital Agenda EU Project”

The Overall Project Information

The EU is committed to invest Billions of Euro specifically into the digital advancement of EU Member countries and their respective businesses. The EU Commission fully comprehended that the digital infrastructure is the next most important investment of a developed nation. The typical infrastructure evolution starts with clean water supplies, then transportation infrastructure (Water ways, roads, air traffic), radio communication, and now Internet and Social Media. Continuous infrastructure development is the pathway to a successful and globally competitive nation.

Continue reading “The Overall Project Information”