Perficient Digital Transformation Blog


Posts Tagged ‘Social Media’

Sharper Picture of Social Media Influence

McKinsey has a great article on recent research defining the impact social media has on consumers.  While I’ll let you go to their article and get the complete picture, I can say I was surprised that they found that 26% of purchases were influenced by social recommendations.  Keep in mind that a social recommendation counts word of mouth and the sneakernet version of social.


26% of purchases are influenced by social recommendations. (tweet this)


They also found that top influencers accounted for a disproportionate share of the overall influence. The top 5% accounted for 15% of the recommendations.  What does this have to do with digital transformation?  Consider that companies across the world are still trying to figure out their new marketing mix and whether or not social tools have a place in their budget and outreach.   This highlights that for many companies it does and it’s bigger than originally thought.










It’s worth reading the entire article.

Five Social Media Skills That Move Beyond the Ninja

Social Media Ninja


There are a plethora of gurus and ninjas in the social media space, aren’t there? They are early adopters of new social platforms and they can tweet, text and snap at the same time.

But does your company need a ninja? Maybe…or maybe not.

It’s important to be agile and to adapt to new tools and technologies quickly, but those skills are merely the skin of the onion. There are many people that you can hire who can master skills, but when you peel away the layers, what will you find at the center?

These are five skills that will define your business in social media:

1. Empathy

Modern companies must be customer obsessed. Putting your customer first is a nice catch-phrase and it makes for a wonderful mission statement, but you absolutely cannot fake it. You either put your customer first or you don’t. You sincerely want to help them or you don’t.

Customers are human. They have a lot going on in their lives. When they have a problem, they would really like a kind person at your company to listen and understand. Being compassionate towards your customers frustrations doesn’t just make good business, it makes good humans.

Be human.


2. Transparency

When someone has a problem, they will often try to contact you offline via phone or email. If you don’t fix their problem, or you make it worse, they may choose to go public. When they do this, respond.

Respond publicly and honestly.

If you made a mistake, acknowledge it. If your product was disappointing, apologize. And publicly let them know that you will fix it. Complaints on social media are a gift. They provide you with insider information about where your weaknesses are and they allow you to show your human side publicly.

Don’t ignore complaints. Don’t be defensive.

Be honest. Always


3. Responsiveness

When someone asks you a question on social media, respond…quickly. Ideally, you should be responding within the hour. Most companies don’t. Your customers are talking about you and technology allows you listen in. Let them know that you hear them. Help when you can. Take conversations offline when you need to.

Don’t ignore the chatter. Engage in it.


4. Ninja Skills

There they are!

Social media changes daily. New tools pop up. Favorite tools change (or charge). What worked great yesterday may not work at all tomorrow. There is no point in complaining or mourning. This is where you get to be like water and adapt to whatever situation is thrown at you.

The internet will go down. API’s will change. Pay walls will be built. Content will be most important…then images…then video…

Adapt, overcome and mind the gap.


5. Connectedness

Social media lives in many different places within a company. It’s part marketing, part sales, and part customer service.

You have many masters to serve, but at the end of the day, your master is your customer.

You can serve your customers best by working well with every team in your company. Customers aren’t speaking to “someone on your social media team,” they are speaking to the brand. The twitter response IS your brand. Make sure it is a true reflection of what you represent.


Social media has come a long way in a very, very short time. Technology is moving faster than most people can keep up with. The days of Don Draper sitting down to write one catchy headline that wins over customers everywhere are long over. The copywriter isn’t in the drivers seat anymore.

The customer is.

Let them drive…but pave the road for a smooth journey. (tweet this)

11 Strategic Issues Facing CIOs in 2015

When we talk about digital transformation here at Perficient, we are often talking about big data, cloud, mobile and social.

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In a recent Forbes article titled “CIO Lessons Learned: My Approach To The Top 10 Strategic Issues Of 2015“, Mark Sunday of Oracle says, “the CIO must be adept at understanding and responding to business requirements, executing on technology projects, and supporting customers in new and better ways.”

We couldn’t agree more. Sunday then outlines 11 strategic issues that CIOs are facing in 2015, and digital transformation has a lot to do with them. I’ve summarized each of his 11 points here: Read the rest of this post »

Lessons from 2014: How to get more clicks on Facebook.

Merry Christmas!  As I have some time off at the end of the year, I’m looking back at information I have gathered in my reading list that I find interesting.  I came across the article We tested all the best advice to get more clicks on Facebook. Here’s what worked by Kevan Lee at Buffer’s Social blog.  As I re-read the article I had a funny feeling that I’d commented before on posts by Kevan Lee.  Sure enough, I found two other blogs posts from this year that contained information from Kevan.

What is intriguing to me about this article is that Buffer used a very methodical approach to testing each of their theories.  Too often I see companies just try things without really following a good scientific methodology.

First Buffer started with a baseline of how their Facebook page performed.  This is critical because you can’t measure what works without having a baseline.

Here are the seven techniques Kevan used to see which were the best at getting users to click on a Facebook post:

  1. Post to Facebook at non-peak times
  2. Post more frequently to Facebook – six times per day
  3. Post less frequently to Facebook – once per day
  4. Ask questions in the updates
  5. Change the style of the update
  6. Post only link updates
  7. Post different types of images with the links

That seems like a pretty good list of techniques. I won’t go through the results for each test here – you can read through Kevan’s blog post for the details.  However, here is an example of the results from the first test – posting at non peak times:


Here they found a big increase in clicks at 11:00 pm, even though they were posting less frequently at this time.  Very interesting.

Here are the three techniques that worked the best for Buffer:

  • Share link posts
  • Share in the evenings
  • Create a main image/graphic for your post

Of course this is data only for Facebook for Buffer.  You should follow a similar test regime to see what works best for you on Facebook and other social media sites.

Lessons from 2014: The Problem with Sentiment Analysis

As we wind down 2014, I’m taking a look back at some items in my reading list and bringing forward the ones I found important from a learning standpoint.  The article The Problem with Sentiment Analysis by Sarah Kessler at Fast Company in November 2014 qualifies as one of those “aha” articles.

Analyzing social media has been a hot topic in the past couple of years.  Ms. Keller points out that during the 2012 presidential election season USA Today had a daily story about President Obama’s “sentiment” score versus Mitt Romney’s score.  The score was calculated by analyzing social media posts about each candidate.  In theory, the analysis could show which candidate is getting more positive comments versus negative comments.  And, in theory again, this could tell us about public opinion for each candidate.

However, Ms. Keller interviewed Marc Smith who pointed out that this type of sentiment analysis is inherently flawed.  Marc Smith is a sociologist who specializes in the social organization of online communities.  He went so far as to say about the USA Today stories that “This is remarkably poor data. That this is borderline criminal.”  As Keenan Thompson says in Saturday Night Live, “What up with that?”

Tight Crowd Pattern Graph: NodeXL Graph Gallery

Mr. Smith argues that this type of sentiment analysis only reveals which group of supporters “shouted” the loudest that day. It really tells us nothing about public opinion of either candidate.

What I found really interesting is Mr. Smith’s work on how crowds form around a topic on social media in six different shapes:

  • Polarized crowd in which two groups form and rarely interact with each other.  This is akin to the political sentiment described above.  The Obama crowd did their thing and the Romney crowd did theirs independently.
  • Tight crowd where a small group of people cluster around a conference.  The image in this post shows a tight crowd pattern.
  • Brand cluster in which people talk about a brand, but rarely interact with each other in the crowd
  • Community cluster where multiple small groups form
  • Broadcast network in which many people connect with a media outlet, but not with each other
  • Support network where something like a service center connects with lots of people, but those people don’t really interact with each other.

According to Mr. Smith, looking at the shape of the network lets you see that not all social media posts can be treated the same.  He argues that you should report on the size, volume and content of each major cluster over time.

This makes a lot of sense to me.  If you are measuring sentiment for a particular brand, event or anything else, you should be interested in how the network aligns with your goals.  Say you are hosting a conference – you’d want to see the social network form into a “tight crowd” pattern.  If it doesn’t then something is probably not working right.  Likewise if you are a brand and see the “brand cluster” pattern emerge, you may want to take steps to encourage your followers to interact more with each other, if that is a goal.

If you are involved in sentiment analysis or any social media analysis, I encourage you to follow the links here and take a look at Marc Smith’s research in this area.  Let me know what you think.

A Day in the Life of a Social Media Manager

In the BufferSocial blog, Kevan Lee posted an article for Social Media Managers.  The post takes a look a “typical” social media manager’s day and breaks down that day into many different activities, represented in the info graphic here.   

Mr. Lee also provides several different views on how other people spend their days managing social media.  One person, Finola Howard, manages to compress all her daily activities into just one hour per day. Her tasks include:

  • Use SocialOomph to figure out which new twitter followers to accept
  • Measure which posts are performing the best so you can take advantage of them
  • Schedule tweets and posts for the day.  She uses Buffer for this, other use tools like Hootsuite.
  • Find content
  • Respond to others
  • Monitor engagement of fans and followers

In general, the post identifies 12 tasks of a social media manager.  The twelve tasks are shown here and the article does a great job of explaining each of them.

If you manage social networking within your company, say using IBM Connections, Yammer, Jive or others, you should also pay attention to the tasks.  Each of these 12 tasks apply to internal as well as external social managers.

In addition, Mr. Lee provides a series of checklists for the social media manager.  These lists come from places like Mindbrew Creative, HeroX, Hootsuite and others.  Even by itself, the various checklists are well worth your time to understand.

Overall, A day in the Life of a Social Media Manager is extremely valuable and full of great information.

Adobe Summit: The Convergence of Search and Social

Marc Blinder, Director of Social Marketing at Adobe and Jon Beeston, Director of New Product Innovation at Adobe presented on the trend of search and social convering.  Twitter is a great example of that where we share but also search.

Theme: Search and Social platforms are converging – which  means successful marketers musth have one unified team with one set of data.

Key takeaways from this session

  1. Connect: facebook to offline experience. feed the metadata
  2. Bring: search and social teogher. People, process, and technology
  3. Expect: social SEM data unification and all our war among Google, facebook, and twitter for ad dollars


Paid, owned, and earned are converging.  Look at facebook where you can have your owned pages, people who like you and you also buy ads. They might even be on the same page.  Google search results even shows paid and owned assets together, especially with Google + and it’s continuing growth.


Quote: “There’s no free lunch”

Quote: It could be argued from a consumer point of view that the better the search engine is the fewer advertisement  you will need. (Google)

Note that they followed that with a picture of a Google results page with TONS of ads.

  • Social will become more like search and search will become more social.  As social becomes more like search, you will pay for it in some form or fashion.
  • Search is improving within facebook and users are starting to use the natural search.  The results are like a combination of Yelp and Bing
  • Point, you should search for your company or product to see if the results look good or if you need some work.
  • Google Hummingbird search uses natural language processing.  They actually followed facebook on this
    • Google is trying to tie in Google+ as much as they can.  There’s a lot of
  • Twitter has marketing events but it will depend on real time interactions and key words. You social guys should be talking to your search team.
  • Look at all the reviews on facebook.  Although there seems to be some major rate inflation.  It could become the best way to find a restaurant.
    • Note that Google moved their reviews to Google plus so you’ve got something similar going on.
  • The clunky: three results for Thornbury Castle on the facebook search right now.  It needs some cleanup.
    • natural language search on facebook is still a bit clunky
  • Stalker: Can now search for divorced women over 30 years old. (Creepy)
    • Or divorced women who like a specific tv shows
    • key learning, watch out what you like. It will come back to you.
  • Political implications: Femen is illegal in Tunisia but it’s a piece of cake to find people who like Femen in Tunisia.

How to improve your search and your social?

  • Update your metadata
  • use checkin to your locations
  • encourage offline customers to go mobile with likes, checkins, and recommendations
  • Great idea: everyone checks in when they upload a picture.   So put something photo worthy in it.
  • Don’t forget stickers like rate us on trip advisor, etc.
  • It will be easy to get yourself to the top of a list by checking in a fair amount.
  • Be careful and remember that Facebook is still working on this. Graph search isn’t even available on mobile.
    • It’s early in the game. They’ve got a lot to do. they just had to index 1 trillion pieces of content.  So something has to slide
  • Publish at least one per day on Google+
    • Find something to push out once a day to get decent looking results.
  • use Google + social to put content in display advertising in Google ad network
  • Twitter strategy
    • Conversation analytics
    • keyword strategy
    • creative development
    • bid optimization
    • Looks a lot like search ad strategy doesn’t it……….

Integrate Search and Social

You need to evolve your approach.

  • Disparate teams with social, search etc need to come together.  Adobe uses a hub and spoke framework
    • Other options for approach include centralized, distributed, and holistic
    • Don’t just use a PR agency for your social. Become social yourselves
  • Inconsistent KPI’s need a common framework across teams
    • and if you aren’t doing a good job tracking then start.  You need analytics and key measurements
  • Siloed tracking and report becomes common tracking and reports
    • Common tracking will push you to channel optimization
    • Which will push your towards attributions.
    • Which will lead you to media mix modeling
    • It must become unified between social and search.  Of course, that’s the whole point of campaign management services.
  • Volume, sentiment need to become something that proves value to the business
  • In evolving, define what you want to do. Recognize the role of social in YOUR organization
    • PR and communications?
    • Marketing and ecommerce?
      • Search probably belongs mostly in this bucket.
    • Customer service and support?
    • Product innovation?

The ultimate aim is to get to the right mix of search, ads, email, and social media.  Doing that depends on how well you converge it all.


CMO and CIO Need to Work Together

We’ve been reading and commenting about CMOs and CIOs lately (for example, see Is There a Blurring Line Between CIO and CMO?).  With the maturing of Customer Experience Platforms (CXP or CXM) and Marketing Automation, the interplay between marketing and technology is rapidly growing.

Virginia Backaitis published today at CMSWire an article titled Hey CMO! Hey CIO! Work Together or Lose Everything. She argues, as we have done here at Perficient, that CMOs and CIOs need to be in lockstep when it Gartner Digital Marketing Transit Mapcomes to digital strategy and customer engagement.

Ms Backaitis shows an image from Gartner showing a Digital Transit Map – a hypothetical map of how all the technologies, marketing teams, and everyone are connected. The map is complicated because there are so many different technologies and people involved.

Here are a couple of her tips to get starting working better together.  You can read the article on CMSWire for the rest of the tips.

  1. Look at your business processes. Imagine them with the customer at the center of everything you do. Literally. Walk a mile in your customer’s shoes.
  2. Look at what it’s like to do business with your company. Ask: is it easy? Is it satisfying? Learn the customer’s journey first-hand.

I think many CMOs and CIOs realize that they must work together, but of course there are many who resist.

What is your response to Digital Disruptors?

James McQuivey, an analyst at Forrester, discusses the concept of Digital Disruption, and has a book out by the same name. It’s also available in the Kindle Lending Library. I’ve not read it yet, but will post a review in the next few weeks. However the gist of the concept is that the traditional corporate view was that only a few very large companies had the budgets to bring a few disruptive offerings to market. Since around 2010, and the dawn of the “Age of the Customer” barriers to entry have been falling to extremely low levels, which results in more ideas coming to market at a significantly low cost per idea. This is happening in all industries, from automatic to zinc extraction.

digital-disruption-book-3d-200x243I believe key components of Digital Disruption are collaborative and digital experience technologies. They enable disparate groups to initially share and exchange ideas, and by the way, this could include sites like popular blogs or Wikipedia articles. And, they ultimately enable better interaction with a diverse range of customers, and developing an important feedback loop.

A new startup called, called Coin, hopes to disrupt the wallet or purse industry by helping customers lighten their load of credit, debit, membership and store cards. Essentially what they hope to do is consolidate all your cards onto a single “Coin” card and your iPhone. I doubt the wallet industry has seen this coming.

Turns Out Companies Are Investing in Social Media

Google’s Wildfire commissioned a study on the How Brands Staff and Budget With Social.  It’s far too long for me to replicate but here’s a couple nuggets:

SocialDepartments SocialTeam

















There’s a lesson here and it’s that social media has become a defacto part of corporate life and interactions with customers.   See the whole info graphic here.