Spredfast e book-the-social-experience

12 Leading Brands & Visionaries Explore the Elements of Great Social Programs THE SOCIAL EXPERIENCE
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12 Leading Brands & Visionaries Explore

the Elements of Great Social Programs

The Social experience

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Features Great Social experiences

20radioShack is Giving customers what they likeThe electronics retailer is driving in-store traffic with Facebook offers, tying loyalty to business impactBy Cosmin Ghiurau

16Going local with Social: how Whole Foods Builds engaged communitiesDoes your brand treat customers as equal partners in social conversations? here is why you shouldBy Natanya Anderson

The Social experience is brought to you by Spredfast.

Editors-in-ChiefCourtney Doman Jordan Slabaugh

Art DirectorAmanda Donaldson

Copy EditorsBrittany EdwardsAdrianne Gallman

Contributing WritersNatanya AndersonJay BaerSam DeckerCosmin GhiurauSandeep Gill Ann HandleyJackie HubaBrian MarksJon SanderAndy SernovitzJennifer StaffordBrian Stokoe

Please send us your comments and suggestions to @Spredfast

18U.S. cellular is answering the call for Social customer careWhat does it take to make social care great? Sonny Gill outlines U.S. cellular’s approachBy Sandeep Gill

8constructing content that Drives awareness and loyaltycaT’s Brian Stokoe reminds readers that great social content serves both the new fan and loyal followerBy Brian Stokoe

21Why Being helpful is Better than Being amazing The difference between helping and selling is just two letters—here’s why those two letters make all the differenceBy Jay Baer

22incorporating Social into your Sales ToolkitSee how iBM and others are using social media to drive demand and connect with B2B prospectsBy Jon Sander

9a cautionary Tale on authenticity (or the lack Thereof)Why it isn’t worth it to write fake reviews online. (and why it is to respond to the real ones.)By Andy Sernovitz

135 Ways to Wreck your content Marketingcontent is a huge opportunity for brands in social media—avoid these 5 pitfalls on your path to successBy Ann Handley

26an inside look: The 3 Keys to araMarK’s Social Successinsider tips to turn your social presence into more of a social business and less of a social activityBy Brian Marks

11paid, owned & earned: Marketing’s new Triple Threat Trying to align your converged media strategy? Take note from these three big brandsBy Sam Decker

24Would you like your own private island? homeaway’s approach to testing and measuring content is maximizing fan engagement and growing awarenessBy Jennifer Stafford

7ask Jackie: customer loyalty is the holy GrailJackie discusses the importance of customer loyalty with a marketer making the case for more social TlcBy Jackie Huba

6letters to the editorsWhy is your brand social? We asked social practitioners from today’s top brands—see what they had to say

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1. natanya anderson is the Director of Social Media and Digital Marketing at Whole Foods Market. She has been working with new media for over a decade with a focus on both strategy and execution, helping organizations change the way they engage and communicate with customers. Through her non-profit work with the Austin Food Blogger Alliance, Natanya is helping shape the future of social content creation, as well as brand/blogger relations.

2. Sandeep Gill is the Social Media Manager at U.S. Cellular where he helps lead social business and marketing strategies. While at U.S. Cellular, he’s helped develop & implement its social customer service and customer advocacy programs. Sonny has been immersed in and evolving the marketing & social industry for over eight years, with experience in telecommunications, higher education, and automotive.

3. Jackie huba is the author of Monster Loyalty : Creating Customer Evangelists, and Citizen Marketers. Named as one of the 10 most influential online marketers, Jackie co-authors the award-winning Church of the Customer blog. Her work has frequently been featured in the media, such as the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Businessweek, and Advertising Age. She was a founding Board Member of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association.

4. cosmin Ghiurau leads the Social Media Practice at RadioShack Corporation with over 6,000 locations and 35,000 employees. Prior to RadioShack, Cosmin established and led Samsung Mobile’s Social Media practice that led to record-breaking profits and standing for Samsung Mobile within the Mobility space. Cosmin’s experience spans retail, telecommunications, automotive, agency, and non-profit work.

5. Brian Stokoe is the Social Media Strategist for Caterpillar Inc. With 10+ years in various traditional and digital marketing roles for Caterpillar, Brian helps define the way customers in very diverse industries perceive and interact with Caterpillar across Blogs, Forums, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and many other social networks.

6. andy Sernovitz teaches word of mouth marketing and social media. He is the New York Times bestselling author of Word of Mouth Marketing: How Smart Companies Get People Talking. He leads SocialMedia.org, the community for social media leaders at the world’s greatest brands, and WordofMouth.org, where marketers and entrepreneurs learn to be great at word of mouth marketing.

1 Natanya Anderson | Director of Social Media and Digital Marketing, Whole Foods @NatanyaP2 Sandeep Gill | Social Media Manager, U.S. cellular @sonnygill

3 Jackie Huba | author, Monster loyalty @jackiehuba 4 Cosmin Ghiurau | Director Social Media & Digital Strategy, radioShack @cosguru

5 Brian Stokoe | Social Media Strategist, caterpillar inc @Brian_Stokoe 6 Andy Sernovitz | ceo, SocialMedia.org @sernovitz








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7 Sam Decker | ceo, Mass relevance @samdecker 8 Ann Handley | chief content officer, Marketingprofs @MarketingProfs

9 Jay Baer | president, convince & convert @jaybaer 10 Jon Sander | Digital Strategy Director, Mason Zimbler @thejonsander 11 Jennifer Stafford | Social Media Manager, homeaway @jennstafford 12 Brian Marks | Senior Manager, Social Strategy, araMarK @bmarks

CoNtriButorS continued






12 7. Sam Decker is Co-Founder and CEO of Mass Relevance, a social engagement platform that discovers, filters, and displays real-time content anywhere. Prior to Mass Relevance, Sam was founding Chief Marketing Officer at Bazaarvoice, the leader in Software as a Service (SaaS) social commerce technologies serving over 1,000 brands, where he was responsible for building the company’s brand, products, and platform.

8. ann handley is a veteran of creating and managing digital content to build relationships for organizations and individuals. Ann is co-author of the best-selling Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and More) That Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business.

9. Jay Baer is a hype-free marketing strategist, speaker, and author and President of the social media and content marketing consultancy Convince & Convert.

A digital marketing pioneer, Jay has consulted with more than 700 companies since 1994, including Caterpillar, Nike, Visit California, Allstate, Petco, Columbia Sportswear, and 29 of the Fortune 500.

10. Jon Sander is the Digital Strategy Director at Mason Zimbler, a Harte-Hanks company, an international creative demand generation agency. He is responsible for leading the overall digital strategy and social media plans for a B2B client-base that includes the likes of IBM, Sage Software, and CenturyLink Business.

11. Jennifer Stafford is the Social Media Manager at HomeAway.com. She has worked at HomeAway since 2007 in both SEO and social media, and managed social media efforts for the 2010 and 2011 Super Bowl ad campaigns. She manages social media strategy, advertising, analytics, vendor and social network partnerships, global corporate communications for social media, and the employee social advocate program.

12. Brian Marks has over a decade of experience working with businesses to find solutions for their web, digital, and social media efforts, using these channels to help meet business goals and objectives. Brian leads a digital center of excellence at ARAMARK for social media, sharing and building resources, designing strategies and success measures, and developing scalable tools and rules of engagement for the company’s businesses. He also builds and executes live and online social media training sessions for the enterprise.

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LEttEr from tHE EDitorS

This belief is foundational to everything we do at Spredfast. We are energized to be in an industry where the nature of communication between brands and their customers is fundamentally changing. And we see a huge opportunity for brands to create social experiences that are useful, unique, fun, touching, or otherwise meaningful, because we believe the sum of these individual social interactions is greater than its parts. It’s about better relationships—more open, more loyal, and with more value—for both your customers and for your business.

There are a seemingly endless number of questions that brands face as they continue to expand their social programs. Where are we going to build presences? On what channels should we engage? What are our campaigns going to look like? Who inside of our organization is going to

Courtney Doman & Jordan Slabaugh@cjdoman, @jordanv

work on social? How do we stand out creatively in a sea of social conversations? How do we measure success?

In the pages of this eBook, we have gathered opinions and insights from today’s leading social brand strategists and visionaries that address many of these questions. Like Natanya Anderson’s feature on how Whole Foods Market is thinking about engagement at the brand and local level that discusses not only where the brand is present, but how messaging changes at these touchpoints. Or Jay Baer’s passionate argument on why marketing that is useful is better than marketing that is amazing. And Brian Marks’ recap of three ways ARAMARK has made social impactful to its business.

We believe great social experiences build lasting relationships. It’s our mission at Spredfast to provide products

Great social experiences build lasting relationships.

and services to our customers that help them achieve this with their customers, as well as living out this pursuit in all we do as a brand and a business. We are focused on creating those great social experiences with our communities, which we believe drives lasting relationships as we move our business forward with our customers.

We are thrilled to share the perspectives of our customers and friends with you in this eBook and hope your reading experience will be both great and social. We’d also love to hear your thoughts on the ideas presented here and why your brand stays social.

We’re only a tweet away.

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“We believe in standing for something beyond a product. We believe in cultivating a fuller relationship that consumers can trust outside of the snack aisle and in their everyday lives.” GLOBAL CPG FOOD BRAND

“We believe the next generation of scientists and engineers will use social to share and collaborate—and we want to add to this dialogue.” ENGINEERING TECHNOLOGY COMPANY

“We believe that social informs, involves, and empowers our viewers.” TV NEWS NETWORK

“We believe that engaging our investors, clients, and potential clients inspires money management and helps informed clients to meet their goals.”GLOBAL INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT ORGANIZATION

“We believe that social builds community with our customers and friends around values we share with them as a brand—thus increasing trust and interest and adding value to the customer experience.” NATURAL AND ORGANIC GROCER

“We believe that providing relevant information in social media increases the likelihood of renewal and builds loyalty to the brand.” NATIONAL INSURANCE PROVIDER

“We believe that we can inspire outdoor recreation and member loyalty through digital engagement.” OUTDOOR CONSUMER COOPERATIVE

“We believe our customers want to engage in a dialogue to co-create a better dining experience. Social allows us to meet them where they are and build something meaningful.” AMERICAN FOODSERVICE, FACILITIES, AND CLOTHING PROVIDER

“We believe that our mission in social is to be the best sales associate, in the best store, on the best day of the year. We’re the next generation of service.” ICONIC AMERICAN CLOTHING RETAILER

“We believe that food is an integral part of the community. Using social allows us to sit at the table with our customers and understand them better.” UNIVERSITY FOODSERVICE PROVIDER

“We’ve proven that the more active & engaged customers are in our social communities, the more likely they are to purchase new products, repeat purchase, and refer us to their colleagues.”ENGINEERING SOFTWARE & HARDWARE PROVIDER

Why is your Brand Social? We asked social practitioners from today’s top brands to tell us why their brand is social. here is what they had to say:

“We believe that we can enhance the ownership experience of our customers. In addition, social allows us to create brand advocates and can persuade aspirational owners to buy our products.” LEADING AUTOMOBILE MANUFACTURER

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dear jackie, I am working to grow social programs at my company and my CMO is hung up on Fan and Follower metrics above all other things. I am trying to explain to her that while (network) size matters, it is just one important measurement of social program success. I am pushing to invest more in providing great social experiences for our existing Fans and Followers, but I think she is too focused on the size of the forest and not the individual trees. How can I help her understand the importance of building relationships for our existing customers on social channels? SMarT MarKeTer in aTx


it is five times cheaper to keep a customer than to get a new one

customer loyalty is the holy Grail Jackie huba @jackiehuba

dear smart marketer,It’s really easy for someone

to “like” or “follow” your brand on social media. What’s much harder is developing an emotional connection with that customer such that they keep buying your stuff, give it as gifts, and tell everyone they know about you. That’s called customer loyalty, and it’s the holy grail (or it should be) for all marketers. I say “should be” because many marketers are too focused on acquiring new

customers to worry about the ones they already have.

In a 2011 study by Forrester Research and Heidrick & Struggles, CMOs were asked to name their current top three marketing objectives. Fifty-nine percent of CMOs said acquiring new customers was one of their top priorities. What about current customers? Only 30 percent of CMO respondents said they were focused on retaining customers as a top priority. Just over a quarter

of respondents, at 26 percent, said better customer lifetime value and customer satisfaction/advocacy was a key objective.

I believe these CMOs have gotten it wrong. According to the tried and true research from TARP Worldwide, it is five times cheaper to keep a customer than to get a new one. The CMO priorities heavily focused on new customers don’t add up. And this focus is often at the expense of existing

customers—customers who, if you retained them, would help bring in new customers just on the basis of customer satisfaction and word of mouth. Social media allows us to connect with people who want to start a relationship with us. Smart marketers are leveraging that initial connection to deepen the relationship through amazing service, remarkable products, and engagement with brand employees online and offline.

Good Luck!

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@Brian_StokoeCaterpillar inc.

constructing content that Drives awareness and loyaltyby Brian Stokoe

The relationship and differences between brand awareness and brand loyalty may seem dramatic in nature. Your audience is a diverse set of individuals who benefit from content that is hyper-relevant to their needs and relationship to your brand. But as a brand, most of the time content must be mixed together and published to your audience as a whole. This is why it is critical to develop strategic content that can both introduce and properly represent your brand, while providing avenues for your already loyal audience to participate in the story and propagate the message through their networks as powerful brand advocates.

Always keep in mind that each message your brand publishes is both an introduction and a reflection of the expectations of your company. This provides a healthy reinforcement of the responsibility to uphold and strengthen the positive sentiment of your brand.

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Trust is FirstWhen we have great tools for analyzing social data, it’s easy to find ourselves focused on the quantity of conversations about our brands—because we have the ability to do it.

But smart marketers know that no matter what the tools are, great word of mouth and social media marketing is grounded in trust. Without trust, nothing else matters.

Have you ever thought about planting a shill in online review forums to get people talking about your business? Wordofmouth.org’s Andy Sernovitz provides a word to the wise on the importance of authenticity and disclosure in social media.

a cautionary Tale on authenticity (or the lack Thereof)by andy Sernovitz


Word of Mouth Can’t Be FakedWord of mouth marketing can only succeed when people trust each other to talk honestly about what they like and don’t like.

You cannot fake word of mouth. It just doesn’t work without the trust. You might be able to fool a few people for a little while, but in the end, people will figure out that you faked it. Then you get embarrassed, you make enemies, and you lose sales.

Let’s say a restaurant posts fake reviews to a website. It will get noticed. No matter how good you are, website operators are great at sniffing out fake reviews. It’s their job to keep their reviews clean and credible. If they didn’t police them and pay attention to what is being

posted, no one would trust their sites.

On a bigger scale, if you post the same review to a bunch of blogs or message boards, people will catch you. You can try to hide it, you can try to vary the message, you can use a bunch of user names. You’ll still get busted. It’s too easy to search for and compare similar posts. The more you post, the more people know you are posting. As soon as one blogger gets suspicious, they’ll look you up and see that you’ve been posting all over the place.

Guess what happens? All of that positive word of mouth that you were hoping to create turns negative. The very same audience that you were hoping to reach with

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your fake posts will feel deceived and lied to. And they will out your company all over the web. You’ll lose far more business than you ever could have hoped to gain.

Just Be Yourself ProblemAs a marketer, you can comment online, you can post on message boards, and you can do it a lot. Participation is welcome in the new world of online communications and communities. But you have to do it the right way.

The difference between deception and honest participation is disclosure.

You can be an eager participant as long as you do it in your own name, clearly identifying who you

are and what you stand for. Also, insist that any relationship between your business and the people who speak for you be clearly disclosed from the beginning, whether they are employees, customers, or volunteers.

Disclosure is a positive thing when done well. Smart marketers understand that disclosure makes messages more powerful because it makes them more trustworthy. Disclosure gives status to participants in a word of mouth program, giving them credibility.

Disclosure is good. Demand disclosure.

Word of mouth is about genuine communications. Always be honest. It’s the right thing to do—and it works better.


Why the real Deal Matters

honesty really is the best policy. Why bother posting fake reviews when there are so many benefits to responding to the real ones as your brand? Shoppers who read helpful brand responses to reviews show a 186% higher purchase intent and 157% stronger brand sentiment. Shoppers also find reviews with brand responses up to 15x more helpful than user reviews without responses.



↑ purchase intent

↑ brand sentiment

more helpful with brand responsesBazaarvoice, The Conversation Index Vol. 6

Smart marketers know that no matter what the tools are, great word of mouth and social media marketing is grounded in trust.

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The new world order of media and advertising demands that brands find new ways to drive consumer engagement. They

must now look for ways to optimize paid, owned, and earned media, and the trifecta is integrating all these sources of media into a single, consistent brand experience.

paid, owned & earned: Marketing’s new Triple Threatby Sam Decker

paiD MeDiaDisplay or broadcast ads that require a media buy like banner ads, PPC, or social ad units.

oWneD MeDiaA brand’s content assets such as websites, blogs, and social media presences.

earneD MeDiaMedia mentions and user-generated content such as consumers’ social media posts.

Converged media refers to a company’s paid media buys, owned digital properties, and earned user-generated content working in conjunction to inform and involve the user. A good converged media strategy makes the end user want to consume and partake; meanwhile, the brand is reaping the benefit of unobtrusive advertising.

See how three brands are implementing successful converged media strategies.

Incentivize participation by tapping into user curiosityIn order to increase affinity and

buzz around their brand, Hollister rallied consumers to unlock a promotional product via social interactions. Fans tweeted the #InHollister hashtag to release the brand’s special deal for the day.

Hollister leveraged Twitter promoted hashtags to increase campaign exposure. The hashtag drove consumers to the social experience, where they generated earned media. This earned content subsequently directed people back to Hollister’s owned destination thus completing the paid, owned, and earned loop. The strategy was hugely successful, earning Hollister over 40,000 #InHollister Tweets


@samdeckerMass relevance

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and driving a 600% increase in mentions. This exposure translated into conversion as Hollister’s site sales increased by 45% from the average day.

Leverage paid advertising to align your brand with an experienceOne way that brands are entering the converged media space is through social sponsorships. Brands have seen value in spending ad dollars on sponsorships as a way of tying themselves to informational, unobtrusive advertising that doesn’t disrupt the user experience.

AT&T did just this through their sponsorship of American Idol’s #IdolAgree/#IdolDisagree experience. They leveraged Idol’s active built-in audience to engage with their brand in a way that enhanced the viewing experience of the event. Of the total volume of Tweets around American Idol during the featured week, 27% contained one of the two voting hashtags, sponsored by AT&T.

Enable and inspire amplificationFree Cone Day is marked on the calendars of ice cream lovers around the world. To generate global awareness and buzz, Ben and Jerry’s utilized the hashtag #freeconeday to inspire amplification around the special event. Scaling across multiple touchpoints, Ben and Jerry’s was able to successfully generate earned media by asking fans about their favorite flavors.

Using Twitter Promoted Products, Ben & Jerry’s was able to own the social conversation surrounding the campaign by targeting the right audience with a brand-specific hashtag. This resulted in a massive social reach generating brand exposure globally to about 10% of the world’s population.

Converged media is now the ultimate marketing imperative. You have an audience and they are talking about your brand. It’s time to make the valuable parts of this conversation visible across multiple channels to allow for further user interaction and amplification.



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5 Ways to Wreck your content Marketingby ann handley

Your content is about you.This sounds obvious, doesn’t it? Shouldn’t your content marketing focus on your products and services? Not quite. Your marketing should focus on what your products and services do for your customers. It’s a subtle but important distinction: the former is corporate-centric, the latter is customer-centric. Take yourself out of your marketing, and put your customer at the heart of it. In other words, make your customer—not your company—the hero of your story.

Content has always been part of marketing, of course. But advances in technology and the rise of social media bring new and (I think!) exciting opportunities for organizations of any size. Increasingly, the social and online interactions we have with one another are leading us to brands…it’s no longer simply brands leading us to their products.

I don’t use the word “opportunity” lightly, because it’s gargantuan. But what’s key to taking advantage of its gargantuanness (Is that a word? I say yes.) is that you have to retool your marketing—not do the same-old, same-old—but,

@MarketingProfsMarketing Profs

You market to yourself. Don’t mistake yourself for being your target customer (unless, of course, you are). You can skew your marketing if you make assumptions about your customers based on your own preferences and behavior (or that of your friends), and not those of the people you actually want to reach. Your marketing could well end up discordant with your intended audience—out of touch with their true wants, needs, preferences, likes, behaviors, and so on.

rather, shake things up and embrace this whole “brands as publishers” mindset.

So you get that. You know that world-class marketers in this new era consistently create and share information that is useful, inspired, and honestly empathetic in order to attract customers, as we wrote in Content Rules. You work hard to create a social brand and a credible reputation, and to generate positive word-of-mouth to build your business.

But are you unwittingly undermining your own efforts by making some classic content marketing mistakes like these?

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You market by committee. Marketing is often like parenting: everyone is resolutely secure in their belief that they know how to do it effectively (especially those who don’t have children). We talk about this at MarketingProfs all the time, but the best way to neuter the know-it-alls is to ensure that you’ve got the data to back up your plan: you know who your customers are, you know how to reach them, and you have insight into their mindset.

You don’t have customer data. I know I pretty much already said this. But it’s so important that it’s worth repeating. Research, not opinion or gut instinct or feel, should be the foundation of your marketing program. That doesn’t mean art and creativity aren’t part of it. But think of data and research as giving you the necessary insights into new opportunities, and as the foundation of marketing that’s truly inspired.

You aren’t shaping shared experiences. In our newly social world, marketers are no longer the sole influencers of purchases. Nor is traditional media. Many consumers today rely on the connected social web of their peers with similar interests. So the question becomes; How are you enabling those connections? Are you encouraging and supporting interactions by rethinking the way you market to reach customers before they identify themselves to you as prospects? If so, that means listening on social media, having a search and content strategy, and engaging with your potential customers on those channels (among others).


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There isn’t just one way to provide great social experiences to your communities. From rewarding loyal fans and followers, to providing a new level of customer care through social channels, to delivering the right content at the right time in the right places, three leading brands share how they are building lasting relationships with social.

Great Social experiences Build lasting relationships

20radioShack is Giving customers what they likeBy Cosmin Ghiurau

16Going local with Social: how Whole Foods Builds engaged communitiesBy Natanya Anderson

18U.S. cellular is answering the call for Social customer careBy Sandeep Gill

Does your brand treat customers as equal partners in social conversations? Here is why you should.

What does it take to make social care great? Sonny Gill outlines U.S. Cellular’s approach.

The electronics retailer is driving in-store traffic with Facebook Offers, tying loyalty to business impact.

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Going local with Social: how Whole Foods Builds engaged communitiesby natanya anderson

A combined brand plus local approach to social media

provides an opportunity to explore different approaches to engagement with the same customer base. it also allows us to effectively tell the same story to customers based on the different types of communities we are building at the brand and local level.

@NatanyaPWhole Foods Market

Finding the right channel fit

For every engagement we want to create, we first assess if it’s a better fit at the brand level or the local level, or if it’s appropriate to share at both. Trying to force-fit transactional store messages into the brand level rarely succeeds and similarly, telling too many lifestyle stories at the local level tends to reduce engagement. We have to honor the relationships our customers want to have with us through our different communities.

To create cross-channel strategies

When an engagement is appropriate for both brand and local channels, we work to create a complimentary approach instead of a redundant one. At the brand level we look for the information or inspiration in the story and highlight it strongly. At the local level we work to strip the engagement down to the most useful information to encourage the customer to take what they’ve learned into the store to support their purchase.

Brand and Local Engagements Are Fundamentally Different

We have found that at the brand level our customers are looking for a lifestyle-focused relationship and they appreciate engagements that are focused on information, inspiration, and aspiration. Conversely, at the local level customers are most attracted to engagements that support their in-store experience. Sales, events, special products, and team member stories all help connect the customer’s social experience to their next in-store experience, enriching it with useful information they can use when they walk through our doors. We apply this understanding of how customers engage with our content at the brand and local levels in two ways:

We have to honor the relationships our customers want to have with us through our different communities

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A Real World Example: Blueberry One-Day SaleThroughout the year we offer a handful of compelling one-day sales available at every store in the country. In our business model each store is able to choose their own products and create their own promotions, making these sales a significant retail event. We also typically feature a compelling product aligned with our quality standards and the type of products customers regularly look to us to provide: grass-fed beef, organic cherries, organic whole roasting chickens, and avocados just to name a few.

This summer, at the height of berry season, we offered organic blueberries for $1.99 a pint—a deal so good we had customers lining up

outside of the store to buy flats of berries. To promote this content in brand channels we focused on ways to select and cook with berries.

This approach drove engagement around favorite ways to cook with blueberries, options for freezing and preserving them, and even memories involving blueberries. Even though we weren’t overtly promoting the sale in every post, and we didn’t feature sale signage, the inspirational approach to the blueberry story kept them top of mind for the customer.

At the local level, we worked to create a glimpse into the blueberry display in the store, showing customers exactly what to expect when they walked into our produce department.

A stronger product focus and

the “from the store floor” visual created a connection for the customer between their Facebook engagement and their store experience. While asking a question to generate discussion, we kept the primary messaging focus on the sale price, which was key to drawing the customer into the store.

Engagement (Still) Starts with the CustomerOur experiences with different engagement successes at the brand and local levels are an important reminder that customers are equal partners in social conversations. The more we can understand what is most interesting and helpful to them in any given social channel, the stronger our engagements will be.

Customers are equal partners in social conversations



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in the last two years, U.S. Cellular has embarked on a journey to

provide customers with a level of service on social media that further enhances the experience they are accustomed to receiving in traditional mediums. The question we asked ourselves was, “How do we build an efficient and sustainable program?”

First, we analyzed our Facebook and Twitter communities to determine the current state of customer service requests. What were our customers asking for help with the most? What answers did they need? Knowing the answers to these questions helped us determine

U.S. cellular is answering the call for Social customer careby Sandeep Gill

@sonnygillu.S. Cellular

how to approach our strategy.Our analysis revealed that

our customers wanted technical, account, and device related support. This led to the realization that the program needed to live within our call center where our customer service reps were the subject matter experts in these areas. Logistically, we connected with our cross-functional teams within customer service to develop resource and staffing models to build the appropriate team, provide training, and map out operations.

Next was the technology. Selecting Spredfast allowed us to scale our program through a platform that provided solid team workflow and performance features. Knowing the technical capabilities, we were able to build two important aspects of our social care program:

Training We covered the ins and outs

of the program for our new social care team members – from understanding the basics of social media and our brand to performance expectations and trainings on the Spredfast platform.

Performance Management To measure team effectiveness, we first needed to identify and track the appropriate metrics. As your organization looks at social care performance, several key indicators you should consider are:• Number of issues routed• Number of issues resolved• SLA —service-level agreement, or

resolution time• Average handling time• Individual and team performance

measured against the above• Community sentiment


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Fast forward to present day: we’ve seen tremendous growth in our social care program. Starting in beta, we had just 5 associates working normal business hours. We worked out the kinks with this smaller team. Today, we have 11 associates working 7 days a week and into the evenings.

This expansion reflects the increased activity of our service channels of Facebook and

Twitter. Customers have become increasingly aware and accustomed to contacting us in social and it shows. We saw over 29,000 service inquiries in 2012 alone, a 205% increase from 2011, and that trend has continued in 2013.

In answering these thousands of monthly requests, our social service team has met and exceeded our social SLA of < 1 hour. This has been an important metric as we continue to evaluate team and individual effectiveness, along with overall program efficiency.

Social customer service continues to be an integral part of organizations today. It’s an opportunity to better understand, connect, and service your customers – and a program that continues to grow and evolve for U.S. Cellular.


Customers have become increasingly aware and accustomed to contacting us in social and it shows. We’ve had over 29,000 service inquiries in 2012 alone, a 205% increase from 2011.

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20 | The Social experience

As most brands focus on acquisition and content after they have listened and engaged their fans, at RadioShack our growth led to a deeper study of the behaviors and psychographics of our fans. Doing this allowed us to better understand the type of content they will engage with personally and when the highest likelihood of engagement happened in order for us to deliver content that

radioShack is Giving customers what they likeThe electronics retailer is driving in-store traffic with Facebook offersby cosmin Ghiurau




Social media marketing at radioShack has gone through multiple phases since the first social channel was started in april

2009. in 2012, there was a strategic focus to acquire a larger fan base for key social channels, specifically Facebook and Twitter as these channels consistently led in overall conversation around radioShack, its products, and heritage. From May 2012 to the end of December 2012 we saw our fan base grow 2x across all of our social channels.

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21 | The Social experience


had a higher virality to produce maximum earned media awareness of our brand and relevancy.

Once we understood our fans beyond the Like and Follow, we tested multiple offers via the Facebook Offers product to learn what and when the best offer resonated with our fans as a “reward” for their engagement with us as a brand. This approach allowed us to understand the right offer for our fans and produce loyalty that extended beyond the traditional social engagement of likes, comments, and shares. We converted our fans into loyal customers that sought out content

from our social channels on a consistent basis.

The offer that produced the highest return was that of $10 off a $40 purchase. We saw consistent lift on claims in our Offers month over month as we shared it with our fans via a TGIFacebook Campaign over the course of 3 months with a 7% redemption on all claims. Not only did the offer drive redemption, also drove a significant increase in basket size which was key for us to prove the success of the offer and showcase loyalty.


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22 | The Social experience

Consumers are being subjected to an invitation avalanche, with every company of every size,

shape, and description asking people to like them, Follow them, friend them, click, share, and +1 them. “please engage with our company,” we plead, again, and again, and again. at best, it wears thin. at worst, it does more harm than good to brand equity and contributes to the distrust of business.

There are only two ways companies can differentiate themselves within this din and derive meaningful business results. The first is to be disproportionately amazing, interesting, human, wacky, irreverent, or timely. This is where advice to “humanize” and engage using social and new media stems from. It’s also the wellspring that feeds the quest to deliver knockout customer experiences—doing so creates “buzzworthy moments” that boost awareness and loyalty. I believe in the premise of amazing, interesting, human, wacky,

Why Being helpful is Better than Being amazing By Jay Baer irreverent, or timely so much that

I cowrote a book in 2010 (The now Revolution) that is partially devoted to it—especially the human and timely components. But here’s the truth: I’ve worked with more than 700 companies as a marketing consultant and I’ve come to realize that while “be amazing” can work, it’s also extraordinarily difficult. The marketing of “be amazing” is the marketing of the swing-for-the-fences home run hitter. There are two byproducts of that approach: an occasional home run, and many strikeouts.

You can do better. You can break through the noise and the clutter and grab the attention of your customers by employing a different approach that is reliable, scalable, functional, and effective.

What if instead of trying to be amazing, you just focused on being useful? What if you decided to inform, rather than promote? You know that expression, “If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day; if you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime”? Well, the same is true for marketing: if you sell something, you make a customer today; if you help someone, you

make a customer for life.I call this Youtility. Not “utility,”

because a utility is a faceless commodity. Youtility is marketing upside down. Instead of marketing that’s needed by companies, Youtility is marketing that’s wanted by customers. Youtility is massively useful information, provided for free, that creates long-term trust and kinship between your company and your customers.

The difference between helping and selling is just two letters. But those two letters now make all the difference.

@jaybaerConvince & Convert

if you sell something, you make a customer today; if you help someone, you make a customer for life.

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23 | The Social experience

“Can we use social media to drive demand and connect with B2B prospects?”

t hree years ago, when IBM asked this of us, it was both a simple

and somewhat terrifying question. It was June of 2010, well before searching the term “social selling” would yield any Google results. (That didn’t happen until August 2011.)

At the time, I wasn’t sure we had an answer to the question, and I even remember joking around with my boss that if we actually pulled this off, we would “break” social media. At that time, posting about something other than Justin Bieber or what you ate for dinner was somewhat frowned upon.

Hindsight has proven that we could absolutely use social media to help IBM achieve their business goals. And by partnering with their

innovative sales leaders, we’ve built a social selling program that now spans across North America and EMEA and a sales force of 1,700, plus IBM Inside Sales Reps. As recently as October 2012, upwards of 15% of all wins for IBM’s Inside Sales Public Cloud Computing Group were being directly attributed to the current social selling effort.

A true “social selling” effort includes more than just a LinkedIn profile and a best practice guide of how to engage on Twitter. It involves not only activating your internal sales force to integrate social media across their broader digital sales kit, but also using social media as another way to stay tuned to your audience’s pain points and leverage key insights to inform future content creation efforts to drive leads.

Working with IBM and other comparable organizations, I’ve picked up a number of valuable tips for implementing and scaling a social selling program within an enterprise organization. The following elements are essential to getting things started:

Training & Enablement:Prior to kicking off any social selling effort, take the time to assess your sales organization’s social selling maturity. How many of your reps are novices? How many have experience with social sales? Knowing this will inform the level of training and enablement that needs to be done prior to a full launch across the organization, as well as reveal the social selling tactics that your organization can take on immediately. Training and enablement can include anything from activating sales reps’ social accounts to upgrading LinkedIn profiles to social CRM-tool training.Social Listening & Analytics: Implement a social technology set

@thejonsanderMason Zimbler u.S.

As recently as october 2012, upwards of 15% of all wins for iBM’s inside Sales Public Cloud Computing Group were being directly attributed to the current social selling effort.

incorporating Social into your Sales Toolkitby Jon Sander

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24 | The Social experience

that helps you listen to both internal and external conversations for your social selling program and spans across your organization.INTERNAL CONVERSATIONS:

What are your employees saying? Are they on target with your broader marketing strategy? Are they talking about the right topics and engaging with the right type of influencers and prospects?ExTERNAL CONVERSATIONS:

What are your prospects and known audience talking about in the social graph? What can you do to make your next social engagement with them as timely and relevant as possible while maintaining credibility?

Tools & Technology: There are certain capabilities that you need within your social technology that help enable an enterprise social selling program.SOCIAL LISTENING AND ANALYTICS:

You need a tool to tap into the current conversations in the social graph in order to align a social selling editorial calendar.SOCIAL COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT AND CRM:

You need a tool that’s scalable across your inside sales force so you can get consistent governance, workflow, and reporting to measure success.WEB ANALYTICS:

You need a tool that connects to your social CMS/CRM in order to better understand where you’re driving top-of-the-funnel traffic from — and how successful these efforts are at converting unknown-to-known lead opportunities.

Location, Location, Location: Aside from a socially active sales force, you need a destination for prospects to land on. One that offers valuable information that allows them to do their own research first and/or contact you through more traditional means on their own terms. This is the equivalent of a social selling rep page and can be used as a destination site to facilitate future conversions.

Measurement & Tracking:Connecting your social selling efforts internally to an existing CRM solution to track the total volume of social leads and opportunities is vital to tracking success.


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25 | The Social experience

Our testing strategies vary across social networks, but have included engagement and traffic-driving experiments such as: day of week and time of day combinations; post length; photo and call to action variations; types of site content that receive the most traffic from social channels; and content categories that drive traffic versus engagement. HomeAway uses other data such as social sharing and inbound link trends, as well as seasonal and popular content trends to help build out our content testing plan.

After defining a strategy for ongoing and test content, performance measurement is essential to ensure that we’re growing reach, engagement and traffic, as well as keeping content

A t HomeAway, we’ve taken a focused approach to

content testing and performance measurement in order to build a strategy that maximizes engagement from both our fans and those who are not already connected to our social accounts. Over several years, we’ve identified content categories that consistently perform well, and have incorporated those into monthly editorial calendars in order to have both our high performing and test content running concurrently. To grow a social program you have to know your audience, what content they respond to, how to blend engagement and business messaging, and the expected results from your various messages.

Would you like your own private island?homeaway’s approach to Testing & Measuring engaging content by Jennifer Stafford



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fresh. Developing a consistent set of reporting that measures engagement weekly, and looks for traffic and strategic content trends on a monthly and quarterly basis is key. Reviewing engagement weekly enables us to quickly identify positive and negative trends in content, which can then be adjusted in our daily editorial calendar. Monthly and quarterly data reviews enable us to adjust our overall content strategy throughout the year.

One example of our testing and measurement results can be seen within our “Aspirational” content category. Throughout 2013 we’ve tested various aspirational vacation rentals such as castles, oceanfront mansions, and private islands

on Facebook and Pinterest to determine which is most engaging. Testing revealed that private islands are our best performing content type in this category; our most recent post received over 17,000 points of engagement. Based on these results, the decision was made to begin featuring island properties as a separate content category, and a more frequent topic in our editorial calendar.

With a continuous testing and measurement approach we’ve been able to increase content engagement by 74% year over year. Social media referring traffic is also up almost 100% in the June to August time frame, year over year.


to grow a social program you

have to know your audience,

what content they respond

to, how to blend engagement

and business messaging and

the expected results from your

various messages.

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You have made social media a priority at your

company. Great. it all starts with commitment. But it’s 2013—how are you going to get your social presence to be more of a social business and less of a social activity? here are three simple ways we cut through the mud and started seeing real results.

thought leadership—everyone wins. Know your audience and understand what it takes for your business to be successful. Then use Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn to help reach those goals. You will see results and executives that buy-in to the madness of your methods.

We worked together. At the end of the day, you’re all on the same team. So why don’t companies do more to work better together? At ARAMARK, tackling social media was a collaborative

an inside look: The 3 Keys to araMarK’s Social SuccessBy Brian Marks

affair, one that allowed us to work across all of our businesses and functional areas. This allowed everyone to learn more about social media and see what success really looked like. Our marketers didn’t tentatively dip their toes in – they dove in headfirst with confidence in leveraging social media, building stronger strategies, and creating a team that spanned all of marketing.


We made it practical. The truth is that execs will always have a hard time getting behind posts featuring cute cats, crazy memes, and everything else that has nothing to do with your products or services. And why should they support that when value has been difficult to track even in the best of campaigns? But when you’re actually using social media as a tool for doing your business—adressing customer needs, presenting offers that incentivize customers to visit your locations, or generating

We used the right tools. Big new initiatives usually mean big, new shiny objects. And big, new shiny objects…well, they quickly become rusty old relics if they’re not being used correctly. Know the gaps your community managers have in managing social media and equip them with the best tools that will allow them to be successful. If you can’t build adoption, it will be because the tool wasn’t valuable for the people using it.


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The final wordToday’s top social brands know that by investing in great social experiences, they are building longer lasting and more meaningful relationships with their customers. We hope that the contributions from social brand strategists and marketing visionaries in The Social Experience have given you ideas and inspiration to create great social experiences for your own customers. Share them with us @Spredfast.

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