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SOCIAL MEDIA INTELLIGENCE…….MORE THAN KEYWORDS
The research industry is rapidly adopting social media monitoring as another research methodology but there is more you can do with social data than simply track key words. 
 
1. Audience Mapping / Brand Graph
 
Based on tracking the activity of a defined audience, regardless of the topics of their conversations, audience mapping is used to create a snapshot of an audience to measure not what they are saying about a specific topic or brand but what they are about and how do they behave online. The Brand Graph combines mapping the social graph and the interest graph of a group of people who are connected to a brand online (following their Twitter account, Liking their Facebook page or simply mentioning the brand or the sector of interest on Twitter). Key information delivered includes Demographics, Interests and Passions, Behaviours, Influence Dynamics, Information Flows and Attitudes towards topics, brands, and media channels. Generally used to inform the brand’s social media strategy and/or their content strategy in social media.
 
2.Real-time Segmentation
 
Audience studies provide companies with key segmentation models on the brand audience so that the brand can best plan their activities in terms of product innovation and marketing. The problem with segmentation studies is that they are really expensive and happen once every few years, which results in the segments constantly playing catch up with reality. An evolution of the Brand Graph study is the real-time segmentation study, where the insights about the online audience are mapped against the existing segments of the brand audience and constantly refreshed with real-time data coming from the web. Cheaper, real-time and more effective. Real-time segmentation is key for many areas of the business such as product innovation, product management, campaign planning and service design.
 
3. Content Diffusion
 
Content is the main currency online. This type of study looks at how specific pieces of content travel in social media, through which networks of users, using which channels and to what levels of reach and reaction. Mostly used to assess the impact of a specific campaign in terms of both performance and types of audiences reached. Content Diffusion studies are also key in optimising the publication of online content based on variables such as the specific features of the content, where/when it was posted, impact of metadata (such as use of tags) and content lifespan by network, channel and community.
 
4. Influence Mapping
 
This is about uncovering hubs responsible for routing different types of content within a network or shaping conversations and awareness of topics and brands. Usually done by mining and mapping the static social graph of the user by channel and across multiple channels (the network of people he/she is connected to), and then overlaying the interaction and engagement graph of the same users around specific topics and overall (the network of people he/she interacts with when discussing specific topics). Used to inform Campaign Planning, Social Media and Content Strategy, Campaign Management, Social Media Management and Social Customer Relationship Management.
 
 

SOCIAL MEDIA INTELLIGENCE…….MORE THAN KEYWORDS

The research industry is rapidly adopting social media monitoring as another research methodology but there is more you can do with social data than simply track key words. 

 

1. Audience Mapping / Brand Graph

 

Based on tracking the activity of a defined audience, regardless of the topics of their conversations, audience mapping is used to create a snapshot of an audience to measure not what they are saying about a specific topic or brand but what they are about and how do they behave online. The Brand Graph combines mapping the social graph and the interest graph of a group of people who are connected to a brand online (following their Twitter account, Liking their Facebook page or simply mentioning the brand or the sector of interest on Twitter). Key information delivered includes Demographics, Interests and Passions, Behaviours, Influence Dynamics, Information Flows and Attitudes towards topics, brands, and media channels. Generally used to inform the brand’s social media strategy and/or their content strategy in social media.

 

2.Real-time Segmentation

 

Audience studies provide companies with key segmentation models on the brand audience so that the brand can best plan their activities in terms of product innovation and marketing. The problem with segmentation studies is that they are really expensive and happen once every few years, which results in the segments constantly playing catch up with reality. An evolution of the Brand Graph study is the real-time segmentation study, where the insights about the online audience are mapped against the existing segments of the brand audience and constantly refreshed with real-time data coming from the web. Cheaper, real-time and more effective. Real-time segmentation is key for many areas of the business such as product innovation, product management, campaign planning and service design.

 

3. Content Diffusion

 

Content is the main currency online. This type of study looks at how specific pieces of content travel in social media, through which networks of users, using which channels and to what levels of reach and reaction. Mostly used to assess the impact of a specific campaign in terms of both performance and types of audiences reached. Content Diffusion studies are also key in optimising the publication of online content based on variables such as the specific features of the content, where/when it was posted, impact of metadata (such as use of tags) and content lifespan by network, channel and community.

 

4. Influence Mapping

 

This is about uncovering hubs responsible for routing different types of content within a network or shaping conversations and awareness of topics and brands. Usually done by mining and mapping the static social graph of the user by channel and across multiple channels (the network of people he/she is connected to), and then overlaying the interaction and engagement graph of the same users around specific topics and overall (the network of people he/she interacts with when discussing specific topics). Used to inform Campaign Planning, Social Media and Content Strategy, Campaign Management, Social Media Management and Social Customer Relationship Management.

 

 

7 Tips to Running a Successful Co-creation Workshop

1. Play games

Games are a very important way of getting to know people, and unlocking people’s imagination. They help break down people’s inhibitions and encourage them to be playful right from the start of a workshop, helping set a comfortable and non-intimidating tone for the day.

We tend to run a couple of games at the start of the day and a couple after lunch to provide a kick-start for the session’s work. If the moderator feels energy is flagging at any point, a quick and easy game can pick people up very effectively.

2. Use creative venues

Always try to run workshops in interesting and inspiring spaces. An expansive studio with natural daylight and views of a city will inspire creativity much more than a conference room in a hotel. You want a venue that will let you stick plenty of things up on the walls, has breakout spaces that you can go off into with a group, and ideally has some outside space for fresh air and breaks.

3. Take breaks

Co-creation workshops should never give the impression of being all work and no play. Co-creators won’t necessarily be used to being on their feet all day interrogating ideas for long periods of time uninterrupted, so regular breaks are an essential way of keeping everyone happy and motivated. We usually try and have one mid-morning break, an hour for lunch, and a couple of shorter afternoon breaks to stave off the mid-afternoon crash.

A tip on lunch: we find a lighter lunch packed full of ‘brain food’ like salads, vegetables, and fish can really help keep concentration and energy up all the way to the end of a workshop. Eating a large bowl of pasta or burgers and chips and then spending the afternoon talking about energy drinks will have quite the opposite effect!

4. Keep to timings

At the start of the workshop it’s important to stress to co-creators that in order to finish on time, they need to ensure they keep to the timings you give them, we call this The Pledge. If we say ten minutes for a break they need to be back ready to work in ten minutes time. If breaks drag on and timings slip it means less time for lunch and puts pressure on the moderator to speed up later exercises, which may not be helpful. Equally, as a moderator if you give people an hour for an exercise you need to ensure you keep them to that hour, no matter how long their discussions may be taking, so that you can stick to your agenda and get everything you have planned done.

5. Use good illustrators

The impact of good illustrators on a workshop cannot be underestimated; in fact they can be responsible for some of the biggest creative breakthroughs in a co-creation. Illustrators are briefed to capture visually any ideas that come up, which can be as simple as making sketches of the things people are talking about at the beginning of the day. However these little sketches can trigger other, bigger thoughts and ideas around the subject and help a concept take shape quickly.

by Beci Ward Illustration

As the day goes on and ideas are worked up in more and more detail, so the illustrations become more detailed and elaborate until by the end of the day you have fully illustrated examples of packaging designs and even potential press adverts. These illustrations are so important in bringing the co-creators’ ideas to life. The experience of witnessing an idea start in someone’s head, then be articulated in an illustration, to finally being blown up in bright colours on A1 at the end of the day, accompanied by potential slogans and variants, is one of the most inspiring parts of a co-creation workshop.

One watch-out about illustrations though… Often the illustrations can be so attractive and visually pleasing that an idea gets judged on the strength of the illustration that accompanies it, rather than the insight behind it. When it comes to voting on the co-creators’ favourite ideas, it is the moderator’s job to really communicate the thoughts behind the illustration and the USP of the concept. This way you’ll ensure people don’t just vote for the prettiest picture!

6. Capture EVERYTHING!

There can be so many ideas, suggestions and little gems of insight that fly around a co-creation workshop that it would be easy to lose something, which is why it’s so important to capture everything. Not only does this make clients feel confident that all ideas generated are being documented, but it will also help when it comes to examining and working on the outputs afterwards. It’s easy to forget where exactly an idea came from or what the thought behind it was, so going back to the notes made in workshops is a very useful way of documenting the journey. Take notes when people are speaking, take photographs of any outputs and video record all playbacks to make sure that nothing goes to waste. If you’re providing support at a co-creation workshop the camera should never leave your hand!

7. Finally, listen

It sounds obvious, but the whole point of co-creations is to put brands and consumers in the same room so that they can listen and respond to each other’s experiences and ideas for the brand face-to-face. The consumer’s opinion, while not being gospel, will at least be honest and based on personal experience of a brand or a product, so listen to it. The more a consumer feels they’re being listened to and valued, the more they will contribute. It’s very important to create this sense of openness in a workshop as it really does lead to the best results.

Listening to the consumers in this way has another long-term effect, which is that it actually enhances their respect for, and loyalty to that brand in a way that remains long after they leave a co-creation workshop. I should know, I was once a co-creator myself.

Another successful workshop… done!

originally posted on www.facegroup.com

5 Steps to Make Your Market Research Community Rock

1) Have a Purpose

The best things in life and research start with a clear goal. To get your MROC off to the best possible start you need to be clear about what its role is in your organisation. Is it a rapid response test and learn environment where scale and data are key? Or a more creative place where collaboration and strategic thinking is required? Or both? A clear purpose will help you brief and select the right platform, sample and research partner to work with.

2) Give it an identity

We all need brands to help us navigate the world and the same is true within organisations and communities. Giving your MROC an identity will help to communicate its role within the company and will increase the likelihood of stakeholders engaging with it and crucially briefing the right kinds of projects. For community members it is even more important that they feel they have joined something they want to engage with for reasons beyond the transactional nature of the incentive. In short the right branding will help you gain the right buy in to the community.

3) Mix it up

When you are up and running with the community you must avoid the cardinal sin of taking the people on your community for granted. After the initial excitement of getting it launched this is easy to do – and it is also easy for people in your community to do the same and disengage if they are not stimulated. So how do you keep them engaged? Make sure you post regular missions is the first step – but don’t simply send them surveys, get them to take part in more reflective and creative tasks too. Members can bring their lives and ideas to you by uploading video diaries & images, sending SMS updates in real-time, or generating and rating ideas in forum threads. The key to keeping people engaged is to mix up the types of tasks and make it fun.

4) Bring it to life

The success of any research is judged by the value of the data and the strategic analysis that is provided to help clients make better decisions. This can sometimes be forgotten in the case of community research. Simply having access to a community is not enough for most organisations; stakeholders are busy people and need simple ways of engaging with projects and their findings.  Visualising data via a dashboard is a start, then getting clients into online groups and engaged in tasks really helps too. In reality it is crucial to produce regular easy-to-digest bulletins and nothing beats a great debrief to grab attention and share the value that MROC can produce. Research findings from MROC needs to be brought to life like any other research project if it is to gain traction in an organisation.

5) Feedback

People join MROC as they feel that companies want to listen to them and make their products and services better. It is crucial that this expectation is match by the experience members have when taking part in research. This makes the role of your MROC community manager very important indeed.  The community manager should set the tone of the community by being very open and responsive.  Dealing with questions and issues quickly and in a friendly style that builds trust and collaboration in the community. The Community managers’ job is made easier if clients are able to share some of the results or actions that result from MROC projects.

A commitment to giving quick, friendly and open feedback builds trust and leads to deeper relationship that will reduce churn and increase the quality and levels of engagement in MROC projects.

What role should researchers play in social media marketing?

In 2012 we are reaching a tipping point where marketing strategies are finally moving from traditional broadcast to content led social media engagement. So the question I pose is what role can Researchers play in helping brands succeed in this brave new world?

Here are 3 areas where as an industry we can add real value to the new social marketing process

Return on Engagement Specialists

The rules for this new model of marketing are still being written and this has led to a position where many digital agencies are still marking their own homework. With the larger investments being made in this space by brands research agencies are well positioned to play the role of objective analytics partner. As researchers we should be offering clients advice on developing KPI’s for their social media activity and helping them to design the right measurement framework and make sure they select the right tools for social data collection. Beyond simple measurement researchers also have the opportunity to help clients develop Return on Engagement models that demonstrate the link between behavioural data and the impact on the things that clients really want to measure e.g. consumption.

Fan base Analysts

Many companies are learning to listen to the conversations related to their brands and competitors. However, there’s more to social media research than tracking conversations by keywords. Brands are social entities. People establish connections with them (cognitive, emotional, functional) and these connections foster further connections, to other people. As brands build audiences online, it is increasingly important to understand and map audiences and the content and passions that connect them. When brands understand their social audience they can design content and strategies to engage them more effectively. Research agencies will have an increasingly important role in helping brands segment their social media audiences and give strategic advice on strategies to engage them.

Content Co-creators

Generating content that people want to share is a difficult business for brands as the traditional advertising creative process is disconnected from the communities they want to engage with.

To create social ideas that have the potential to be loved and shared by people in communities it is important to involve them in the creative process. This is why co-creation as a methodology of developing and refining content will become increasingly common over the next few years. Involving consumers in the production and creative development of content via MROC and cocreation sessions is a process that plays to strengths of community researchers and those planners with great facilitation and social media expertise.

Originally posted on www.facegroup.com
5 Emerging roles that are changing the face of Market Research

Following on from my last post – 2012 Resolutions for the Market Research Agencies – I wanted to talk more about how we make these resolutions a reality by creating new agency roles with distinctive new skills sets.

1. Technologist

The MRX Technologist is primarily responsible for keeping up to date with new digital trends and is able to help the agency develop and pilot new research methodologies. This may take the form of designing new platforms from scratch or being the lead decision maker when it comes to buying 3rd party software. Alongside innovation, theTechnologist plays an increasingly important role on project teams where the research briefs are UX or Service Design Orientated.
Skills: User Experience, Digital Project Management, Data Analytics

2. Community Manager

Communities are social places and need to be nurtured by people who are experts in digital communication. With the rise of MROC’s the fastest growing role in MRX agencies is that of the community manager. In fact, most of the problems associated with bad MROC research is when the agency does not have this person on the team. The Community Manager is responsible for setting the rules of the community, setting the tone of voice, making a personal connection with members and ultimately ensuring good quality engagement with the project. The Community Manager is also increasingly leading the way when it comes to applying game mechanics to research and is growing in influence when it comes to shaping research projects.
Skills: Copywriting, Video production, Project Management

3. Social Media Researcher

Real time social media monitoring is now commonplace but many companies are still struggling to interpret the data and use it to make strategic decisions. This knowledge gap is being filled by The Social Media Researcher who is responsible for developing strategic KPI frameworks for social media tracking programmes and harnesses social media data to help answer adhoc brand, product and comms briefs. The Social Media Researcher is quickly becoming a very important role, as they are both an objective and strategic voice advising clients about the ROI of their growing digital spend.
Skills: Quantitative Research, Qualitative Research, Social Media strategy

4. Co-creation Consultants

Companies are opening up and embracing more collaborative ways of working with third parties – including their consumers. Co-creation Consultants are responsible for the successful interaction between all parties on a project. Many of the touch points for this type of co-creation occur in workshop environments of one kind or another that require very skilled facilitation to get the best out of a wide variety of participants. Co-creation Consultants cover a wide range of disciplines, most often those from innovation, brand strategy and planning backgrounds.
Skills: Facilitation & improvisation, Planning, Qualitative Research

5. Big Data Scientists

We are living in the age of data, enabling companies to be more forward looking. Big Data Scientists are hot property in the research world as they are responsible for developing predictive data models & algrorithms using a wide range of data sources including dynamic social media data. Big Data Scientists primarily come from computer science, hard sciences, engineering and business backgrounds.
Skills: Mathmatics, Statistics, Computer programming

Originally posted on www.facegroup.com

Why the rise of the Social Strategist is good for MRX

Over the past five years there has been a great deal of Social Media experimentation going on in big companies – usually within the marketing team and generally at quite a junior level with the help of advertising, digital, PR agencies and self proclaimed gurus. It has been a period of trial and error and not a lot of strategy!

According to a recent survey of blue-chip companies*, a legacy of this experimentation is that the average company now has 178 official social media accounts! With very little co-ordination or consistency between different regions, product lines or business units there is huge potential for confusion for the customer.

In fact, the result in the growth of social media and experimentation is the sheer amount of data it has produced and the white noise it creates. In a nutshell, companies have been struggling to determine what social interactions are useful and profitable because there is so much data.

Hal Varian, Google’s Chief Economist 
“We used to be data poor, now the problem is data obesity, between the dawn of civilisation and 2003, we only created five exabytes of data now we’re creating that amount every two days”

Companies are drowning in a sea of consumer status updates, videos and blogs that has left many brand owners feeling cast adrift from the certainties of the broadcast age. Essentially, many companies fear that they have lost control of communication with consumers.

But this is changing …it is clear the BIG companies have understood that social media is too important to be left to the marketing department. Over the past 12 months they have been busy creating lots of new senior social media roles** with cross functional roles and significant new budgets.

Jeremiah Owyang defines these new roles as the rise of the Social Corporate Strategist:

“The business decision maker for social media programs – who provides leadership, roadmap definition, and governance; and directly influences the spending on technology vendors and service agencies, While this position doesn’t exist officially by title in every corporation today, this role will become pervasive in the coming years!”

So why is this important for the research industry?

When you look at the priorities of the new Corporate Social Strategist it becomes clear that there is a large role for Research Companies to play as objective and strategic partners.

Altimeter asked 140 corporate social strategists to give their top 3 social strategy objectives

*

The 3 areas where we can add value as research companies is clear:

1. Start to create robust ROI models for their social activities
2. Gain insight from social media to help develop better products and communications
3. Launching ongoing listening and social media research programmes to stay close to consumers needs

Of course experimentation will continue but we are entering a new era where decisions will be made within the framework of an overarching Social Media Strategy and will be driven by the analysis of data and not just on gut instinct. This provides Research companies who understand social media data with a clear opportunity to become strategic partners and help shape how companies can become more adaptive to consumers real-time needs.

Altimeter Report: 2011 Internal Goals In Corporate Social Strategy

** @marshallk/social-strategists.

Originally posted on www.facegroup.com

The Future of Market Research Communities

1. Hubs

The value of data is only fully leveraged when multiple data sets are connected. Connecting the data allows us to understand the context of the dataset and turn figures into stories and insights. MROCs will evolve to become Hubs for consumer understanding by enabling clients to overlay other data streams, such as sales

2. Co-creation

The more experience clients have with MROC, the more they will understand that the power of these communities goes beyond gamification of online research tasks. By segmenting consumers by their ability and skill to co-create we will see more consumers being invited to work closely with brands to crack strategic brand challenges.

3. Real-time

MROCs will increasingly be connecting to the social media profiles of their members, thereby giving clients access to selected areas of their real-time social data. Such data might include their status updates, their musical preferences, their Likes, the people they follow on Twitter. This will mean as researchers we will use MROC to ask fewer questions and concentrate more on actual behaviours.

4. Mobile

As smart phone penetration increases, MROC members will be able to use apps to post pictures, videos, soundbytes, status updates, respond to polls, engage in discussions and generally participate in tasks on the go. This mobile interface will enable a richer contribution from members and a deeper and more seamless connection between what they do in their daily life and what they do in MROC.

5. Smarter

Automated analytics tools will enable researchers to gain faster and deeper understanding of MROC data. This will include natural language processing software to run semantic analysis of the contents and cluster consumer feedback by topics. Machine learning will also start to be overlaid to enable more effective categorization of textual, visual and audio content. Real-time interactive visualizations via dashboard will also be adopted to spot patterns quickly and guide in-depth analysis of content.

My blog post from Dec 2011 originally posted on www.facegroup.com

Social listening what is it good for

Social listening what is it good for

SOCIAL MEDIA IS CHANGING THE FACE OF MARKET RESEARCH
Nice visualisation of what we have been trying to do at my company www.facegroup.com for the past 5 years or so!

SOCIAL MEDIA IS CHANGING THE FACE OF MARKET RESEARCH

Nice visualisation of what we have been trying to do at my company www.facegroup.com for the past 5 years or so!