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Hearsay Social CEO Clara Shih at ad:tech New York: "7 Habits of Highly Successful Social Marketers"

Welcome to the Facebook Era.

Today, over 800 million people actively log into Facebook to connect with their family, friends, and favorite brands. The statistics are similarly mind-blowing on the other big networks: there are over 200 million users on Twitter, 130 million on LinkedIn, 40 million on Google+, and 10 million on foursquare.
Quite simply, businesses can no longer ignore the social media explosion. And they know it: 73.5% of U.S. companies consider social media a top priority, according to Forrester Research. Companies are no longer simply theorizing about social media potential, however, as evidenced by Burston-Marsteller data that shows 65% and 54% of Fortune Global 100 companies to already have a presence on Twitter and Facebook, respectively.
For today’s Chief Marketing Officer, getting a grasp on social media can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. For my keynote today at ad:tech New York, I’m presenting on the “7 Habits of Highly Successful Social Marketers.” Because I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to get through all seven, I’ve published them here in full, complete with tips, tricks, and the Hearsay Social superhero:

  1. Establish home base
  2. Your job as CMO is to build your brand and engage your audience. Well, when Internet users spend over 22 billion minutes each day on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, it’s hard to engage anyone unless you’re actively participating in the social media space. You may not necessarily have to dedicate full-time resources to every single social networking site, but you do need to have branded corporate pages on the ones that matter most. A national coffee brand like Starbucks, for example, benefits immensely from having a place where customers can come find them and give feedback on their experiences. Not only that, but Facebook pages, Twitter pages, and the like are excellent places to link to and send ad traffic to. Establish your home base and users will find you on social.

  3. Claim your pages
  4. You’ve created your corporate brand page and you’re sending out messages, so you’re work is done, right? Wrong! Many brands will quickly discover that there already exist hundreds, sometimes thousands of rogue pages on social sites created long ago by either customers or employees. On Twitter, for example, an insurance company might find that their agents are already actively engaging with clients, with or without approval from management. On Facebook, a retail company has to deal with positive pages (“I love Coca-Cola!”) and negative pages (“Coca-Cola sucks!”) alike. Taking control of your brand on social media means claiming your name wherever it already exists.

  5. Get local to drive sales

  6. Once you’ve established your corporate presence on social media, it’s time to get local. Customer loyalty and acquisition is best accomplished at the local level, because that’s where the strongest relationships are built. And social networking is all about relationship building. For retail stores, this might mean exploring the power of check-ins by offering deals and promotions. For gyms and health clubs like 24 Hour Fitness, one of our key customers, generating leads and fueling traffic to local centers is essential to driving conversions.

  7. Integrate social media across marketing mix
  8. “Social by design.” That’s the latest mantra we’ve been hearing from COO Sheryl Sandberg and other Facebook executives on how CMOs should approach the new world of marketing. Sandberg described a perfect example of “social by design” at the Association of National Advertisers convention last month: Huggies ran a campaign in Hong Kong where people could upload their baby photos to the brand’s Facebook page, and then the brand used the photos in ads on buses and subways. The campaign led to a 4.2% increase in market share and “by far the best quarter in Huggies’ Hong Kong history,” according to Sandberg.
    Personally, I like to think of social media as a spice. Like salt and pepper, social media must play an integral part in every dish you cook up, be it an email or print campaign or something else entirely. It’s not just another layer, it’s not a separate division, it is a pervasive spice that should flavor everything you do.

  9. Learn and live by the new metrics

    Just like we had to “invent” clickthrough rate and CPC a decade ago in the Google era, we have to come up with new metrics for the Facebook era. It’s meaningless to just measure engagement—number of likes, comments, posts, tweets—unless you can tie it all to the bottom line. We’re not just stumbling in the dark, though. Avinash Kaushik, the Digital Marketing Evangelist for Google, recently outlined four distinct, measurable social media metrics for CMOs to use: 

    • Conversion Rate = # of Audience Comments (or Replies) Per Post
    • Amplification = # of Shares Per Post
    • Applause Rate = # of Likes Per Post
    • Economic Value = Sum of Short and Long Term Revenue and Cost Savings
  10. Corral the chaos
  11. With all of the moving parts, people, and regulations, it’s critical that your organization can scale automation and do a lot with a little. Farmers Insurance, one of our most successful clients, managed accomplishments as outstanding as breaking the Guinness record for Most Likes on a Facebook Page in 24 Hours, and all with a social media team of one.
    Instead of assuming that you need a massive social media team, partner cross-functionally and engage multiple departments at your organization, from IT to legal to compliance to customer support and beyond.

  12. Prepare for the future
  13. The last (but certainly not least) important part of marketing in the Facebook era is realizing that the space is in a constant state of flux.
    For example, at Facebook’s f8 developer conference in September, the company announced Timeline, a major revamp to the look and feel of user profiles, and Open Graph actions, which gives users the ability to “read” books and “climb” mountains in addition to just “liking” pages. Then there’s the question of rising social networks like Google+, which just this week launched brand pages.
    CMOs must reserve some time to stay abreast of industry changes like the ones outlined above, and their campaigns and systems need to be fluid enough to adapt in real-time.

Marketing is changing, but that’s not a bad thing. It just means that you can no longer simply read a “how-to-market” manual and call it a day. Social media has shaken up the way things work, and the aftershocks are still rippling out. It’s an exciting time to be a CMO.

CEO Clara Shih to keynote at ad:tech New York alongside Facebook and Google executives

This year’s ad:tech in New York is huge on social. Featuring keynotes from the likes of David Fischer, VP of Advertising and Global Operations at Facebook, and Christian Oestlien, Google Head of Social Advertising Products, the event makes no secret of its new social lean.

Because the evolving ad:tech is all about social media, there’s no way Hearsay Social could miss the event! That’s why our very own CEO Clara Shih will also be keynoting the event.
While we expect that David and Christian will focus on how marketers should be employing Facebook and Google+, respectively, Clara has prepared a brilliant presentation highlighting the “7 Habits of Highly Successful CMOs.” From acknowledging that we’ve entered the Facebook era to learning a new class of metrics to integrating social across entire departments, CMOs must be the ones promoting the proliferation of social media interactions, for the good of both individual users as well as businesses.

A packed keynote room at ad:tech.

Besides her keynote, which takes place at 1:00 PM on Thursday, November 10, Clara will also be sitting on a 10:15 AM panel that same day, entitled The Social-Loco Revolution: How Social + Local + Mobile Will Drive the Next 10 Years of Marketing.

Clara, along with Jake Furst (business development at foursquare), Albert Wenger (partner at Union Square Ventures), and James Brown (Retail Marketing Director at Perry Ellis International), will discuss the new wave sweeping through the intersection of social, local, and mobile. Marc Prioleau, Managing Director for Prioleau Advisors, will act as moderator for the panel.

If you’re a marketer laser-focused on social media, here are some other sessions that may interest you:

Social is making its mark on the Web, and that’s why we’re so excited to hear what comes from the conversations at ad:tech next week. We hope to see you there!

Summary of the Social Media Executive Roundtable

A week has now passed since we hosted our Social Media Executive Roundtable in downtown San Francisco. The night was a huge success, as it provided a perfectly intimate environment where marketing executives from some of the best-known insurance, financial, and retail companies could talk candidly about how they plan to approach social media, if they haven’t done so already.
In this post, I’ve summarized many of the key points made by the presenters that night. On the panel sat representatives from Facebook, LinkedIn, and Farmers Insurance.

What’s my social media strategy?
After a few minutes of introductions, CEO Clara Shih kicked off the evening with a brief presentation on the history behind Hearsay Social. Then she dove straight into the evening’s key topic: social media for marketers.
“Last year was very much the year of social media prioritization,” she said. “Everyone started asking, ‘what’s my social media strategy?’ Chief marketing officers started hiring social media managers and directors—roles that didn’t exist previously.

“This year we’ve seen a shift from social media strategy to social media execution. Now, and over the next eighteen months, people will be acting and building out those local pages and starting to reap benefits, whether that means driving revenue or simply building engagement and loyalty that ultimately leads to sales and referrals.”
Clara then noted how incredible it is that three in four CMOs have cited social media as a top priority at their organizations.
“Even if they don’t really understand why,” chimed in Ryon Harms.
Everyone laughed at Ryon’s perfectly-timed interjection, but it’s less funny how true the statement is. Indeed, we just shared data from a recent IBM study says that while 82% of CMOs plan to increase social media usage over the next few years, over half of them admit to being underprepared to carry out that task.
Local, social, and the new discovery revolution
Clara then gave the floor to Emily White, the Sr. Director of Local at Facebook. Emily began by highlighting the Web’s transition from a place where we hide behind anonymity to a place that’s merely a digital version of the real world.

Back in 2000, “it seemed totally unreasonable that I would ever show my true identity online,” she said, sharing with the room her original, convoluted AOL alias.
But that was over a decade ago. “Today, if you’re online and not you, you’re creepy. You’re the weird one.”
Easily the largest social network in the world, Facebook now boasts 800 million active users and 200 million mobile users, which is why major brands from Levi’s to Starbucks are becoming hyper-social and hyper-local in all their marketing campaigns. Emily herself is thrilled about the convergence of social, mobile, and local forces because it encourages spontaneous social discovery.
With new geo-tagging features, “we’re getting a ton of information about where users are, which is actually really good [for businesses]. If they’re outside a clothing store or a bank, all of a sudden you can start getting that user information [and drive engagement].”
She offered up the example of Sprinkles Cupcakes, a boutique bakery that publishes “whisper codes,” short phrases that you can repeat in-store to receive a free cupcake. In a similar vein, Emily continued, a local Jamba Juice could encourage its patrons through Facebook that they should come early to avoid traffic sure to be brought on by the football game later that day.
Social media, professionally speaking
Next up was Scott Roberts, Head of Monetization Business Development at LinkedIn. While it may not be operating on the same scale as Facebook, the professional social network now has over 120 million members, with droves more added each month.
Scott began with a question: “How many people think of LinkedIn as a jobs site?”
Most hands went up.
“We get that a lot, and that’s understandable,” he continued. “We do have a major investment in talent and enabling companies to hire the best talent. What’s interesting is that only 10% of the activity on our site is actually people engaging in jobs content.”
Though he wouldn’t explicitly break down the other 90%, Scott said a lot of users are also participating in groups and reading company news. (LinkedIn has a partnership in place with Twitter to bring in tweets to LinkedIn’s streams.)
The latest, most important update to the LinkedIn platform gives companies the ability to post status updates to their company pages on the site. This new feature makes LinkedIn a much more potent social media marketing tool, in line with what businesses and brands have already been doing on Facebook and Twitter.
Farmers Insurance: A social media marketing success story
Following Scott was Ryon Harms, Director of Social Media at Farmers Insurance, who shared with attendees his positive experiences in socializing his company, from corporate to local, with the help of Hearsay Social.
Early on, Farmers Insurance managed to capture 100,000 fans thanks in large part to a successful FarmVille promotion. As any social media marketer knows, however, numbers like that mean nothing unless you’re engaging them.
“We started thinking about what to do with our agents,” Ryon said, “because, at our company, everything has to do with our agents. We live and die by our agents.”

So far, Farmers Insurance has 3,400 agents taking advantage of the social media program, which comes out to 30% of Farmers’ really active agents. (Ryon notes that Farmers has 15,000 agents, but only about 10,000 are “really active.”)
Everyone is always wondering how you measure social media ROI. Well, for Ryon, it’s simple. It comes down to revenue and number of policies sold. Since going social, things have been positive, with a 50% increase in policies coming in.
“We teach [agents] that it’s a soft sale, that it’s about the personal side of your business–all the things they already do in the real world that help them sell policies. When someone walks into their office, they don’t just start bombarding [the prospective customer] with insurance talk and try to sell them something. They ask how the wife’s doing, how the local football team did–all those conversations, we tell them to bring to Facebook. And it works really well.”
Ryon strongly believes that people on Facebook want to connect with faces, not logos and brands. With that in mind, his focus over the next year is to leverage all the fans and friends of fans his company’s agents by offering them that public face over social media.

Notes from the Q&A
Q: How do you use social media when your target audience isn’t technically allowed on social networks? (Example: a clothing retailer targeting children under 13 years old.)
Emily: “Every fan you get is a social influencer.” Target parents because they’re the ones really doing the buying.
Q: How many people does a business need to manage its corporate-to-local social media strategy?
Ryon: At Farmers Insurance, it’s “just me.” They also have three or four individuals on a support hotline. The biggest problem on the corporate Page is monitoring spam, but that’s not really a big deal. Ryon admits the ball would be rolling faster with two or three extra people helping him.
Q: Should brands worry about the fragmentation of their audience when considering Facebook Pages for many local franchises or agents?
Ryon: On the contrary, local is actually the big advantage as it allows for personalization of messages. There’s no need to worry about a misrepresented message because Hearsay Social lets corporate Farmers Insurance monitor local agents.
Q: So how do you increase your rank on Facebook so as to increase engagement?
Ryon: Pictures and videos get top priority, then links, then text. Get a little geeky. It actually makes a difference. Additionally, content needs to be about you on a daily basis. Take a picture and put it on your Facebook Page. Don’t overthink it; just be authentic, be yourself.
Q: Is feeding content to local representatives the biggest help or does education make more sense?
Ryon: “That’s a constant debate we’re having… between me and myself.” [That got a ton of laughs.] Does he fish for agents or teach them how to fish? The answer is both. By fishing for them, they learn how to think. The kind of content fed is the big corporate news, which is uploaded to Hearsay Social. Agents then log in and can personalize the message for themselves, schedule for later, etc.

As we mentioned before, last week’s Roundtable was just the first of many we’ll be hosting around the country, with upcoming events already slated in Chicago and New York. Stay tuned to hear more from this fantastic series!

Introducing the Social Media Executive Roundtable series

Knowing that social media is transforming marketing from the ground up is only half the battle. But what about the other half? What about actually executing on that knowledge?
Even though 82% of chief marketing officers say they plan to increase their social media use over the next 3-5 years, over 50% of them admit that they are underprepared to carry out that task, according to a new IBM study published in Reuters. The study brings attention to the fact that, though CMOs are perfectly aware of the changing marketing landscape, they are struggling to figure out exactly how to address that change.

As evidence of this, the study also found that only 26% of CMOs are currently tracking blogs, 42% are tracking third-party reviews, and 48% are tracking consumer reviews. These days, if you’re not staying on top of what the Web is saying about your brand, then you’re not doing your job as a marketer.
Hearsay Social not only understands the secret power of social media, but also how you and your business’ CMOs can best take advantage of that rapidly flourishing power. And we want to share our secrets with you.
That’s why this evening Hearsay Social is hosting a Social Media Executive Roundtable dinner, bringing together marketing executives from several top-tier retail, financial, and insurance companies to discuss the blooming social media enterprise.
The highlight of the evening will feature a panel of experts including Emily White (Sr. Director of Local, Facebook), Scott Roberts (Head of Monetization Business Development, LinkedIn), and Ryon Harms (Director of Social Media, Farmers Insurance) in a conversation moderated by Clara Shih (CEO and founder of Hearsay Social).
Tonight’s roundtable is going down in San Francisco, but it’s just the first of many, with upcoming events slated in Chicago, New York and other major cities.
Stay tuned for a recap of tonight’s event in the coming days.