All posts by Mike Spataro

The Social Media Command Center (SMCC) could be ready to capture the attention of “mainstream” corporate America, thanks to a new Forrester Research report detailing best practices around this ‘latest and greatest’ industry trend.

If you’re in the social media business, you’ll think the ‘shiny’ command center concept is old news based on past coverage of the ones created by Dell and Gatorade, to name a few. But trust me, most companies don’t have a grasp of what they really are or why they would even need one.

That, however, could change soon.

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Customer segmentation, database management and technology integration were the dominant themes discussed during a recent Visible Webcast on “Social CRM – the Move from Buzzwords to Action” with guest presenter Zach Hofer-Shall of Forrester Research. Zach shared the four things marketers need to know about social CRM, namely:

  • Start with a Database: Maintaining accurate records, clean and updated customer profiles and customer segmentation data are all critical to success.
  • Think Integrated Technologies: Even though no end-to-end social CRM solutions exist today companies can create the foundation for robust future growth by combining social listening platforms with existing traditional CRM systems.
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I’m here to tell you that corporate social media listening – if not handled correctly – can be detrimental to your brand; an unusual claim considering the company that signs my paychecks. But it’s true.

Corporate and brand social media (insert your favorite term here – tracking, monitoring, listening, intelligence) has exploded over the past three years, driven mainly by the popularity of powerful social networks we don’t need to name anymore.  Social listening pretty much got its start in most companies when one business group, or in some cases, one individual decided it was time to move beyond Goggle News Reader and implement a more robust software tracking platform on behalf of the company.

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I had the pleasure recently to be part of a panel discussion about social media listening at this year’s Advertising Week conference in Washington DC. In addition to the usual basic questions about social media monitoring, measurement and brand activation, the session got me thinking about how much more the advertising industry should be doing to tap into social media to deliver improved results for clients and better service for consumers.

There are plenty of brands and agencies that utilize a social media listening platform to track consumer buzz and sentiment after they launch an advertising campaign, but that’s social media monitoring 101. The objective should be to transition from static after-the-fact social media monitoring to active Social Media Intelligence.

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Corporate social media listening is starting to exhibit the characteristics that will eventually lead to enterprise Social Intelligence. That’s just one of the many interesting new insights contained in the latest Forrester Research Report: Trends 2010: Listening Platforms.

Unlike its earlier WaveTM Report that focused on the top vendors in the industry, this report in many ways is even more valuable for brands. The findings are based on a survey of more than 150 listening platform customers around the world. I can’t give away all the good nuggets since this is a subscription-charged report from social listening expert analyst Zach Hofer-Shall, but here are a few items worth noting.

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I’ve been hearing and reading a lot lately about Social CRM, or as some call it, SCRM, but never thought I’d have anything to say about this topic because I didn’t really think when I joined Visible Technologies five years ago that I would have anything to do with SCRM. Man, I was wrong.

Although I’m certainly not an expert in SCRM, I’ve been working over the past few months with several companies that I would say are building the foundation for what their companies’ SCRM may look like in the future. These Fortune 500 brands are not fully focused just yet on SCRM, or even totally understand the implications of social media on their traditional CRM systems. Most probably wouldn’t even recognize some of the new proposed definitions of SCRM that have been shared across the Web.

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I’ve been reading and participating in Forrester “Wave” reports for years and it’s always interesting to see how people react to the vendor technology evaluations in these reports. Sure, it’s always great to be selected as one of the companies to participate and we are certainly thrilled to continue to be ranked as one of the top providers in the industry, but for me the real value of the Wave Report goes far beyond which companies were named “Leaders” and “Strong Performers.”

The inside information and trend data collected and synthesized by the lead analyst, in this case the extremely knowledgeable Zach Hofer-Shall, is usually as valuable, if not more, than designated vendor bragging rights for the next 12 months. You’ll see all kinds of online discussion and buzz about the report, but virtually none of it will be about the key industry insights and trends highlighted by Zach and his research team. With that in mind, here are a few of the key takeaways that I found most interesting:

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This latest report from comScore, Inc. not only shows the surging popularity of social networking on mobile devices, it also reinforces the idea that social is becoming more and more intertwined into our daily lives and activities. With the release of Apple’s iPhone 4, and an ever growing list of competing products, these numbers are sure to continue to grow. Continue reading to learn about the top activities these new internet devices are being used for everyday.

comScore, Inc. recently released a report on the fastest-growing mobile application and browser content categories based on data from its MobiLensservice. The report found that social networking led as the top-gaining category for both application and browser access, confirming the surging popularity of this service on mobile devices. The study also found that accessing Bank Accounts was one of the fastest-gaining categories via both app and browser, as the convenience of mobile banking continues to appeal to a growing number of consumers.

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An interesting report on social marketing to the Hispanic market care of friends at Hispanic PR Blog, Word-of-Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) and Hispanic Public Relations Association (HPRA). The guide features best practices and some great discussions for leading voices about current and upcoming trends related to Hispanic social media and marketing.

I know most of the clients that we work with are continuing to optimize and expand their best practices for listening and scaling engagement for English Social Business initiatives but adding Spanish to the mix is a key based on US  demographics and an important ingredient for most Fortune 1000 brands that operate in the US.

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