Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Best Time To Post On Social Media is...?

We've all been there before. We are about to post across Social Media (SM) and that foreboding question finally hits us. “When is the best time and day to post on SM?” I mean, we want as many relevant (maybe even irrelevant) people to see our postings and content, right?

This ever evolving digital social process is called “The Science of Timing” (SOT).  If we get it right, everyone lives happily ever after.  If we get it wrong, no one gives us a second thought.

The "Science of Timing" predicts the optimal time to post on Social Media


SOT (a.k.a. the optimal time to post) revolves around 5 different paradigms and approaches otherwise known as: The Common Sense Approach, The Segmentation Approach, The Best Practices Approach, The Auto Scheduling Approach, and the Contracompetitive Timing Approach.

Huh?  Keep reading.

The Common Sense Approach is based on an intuitive sense of when people would or would not be on SM. For example, when people are asleep, at work, or at school, they are probably less likely to interact with SM. Whereas, if people are awake and the timing is before, after, or outside of work or school, their likelihood to use SM increases on average.

The Segmentation Approach involves timing based on the SM habits of your targeted audience, which coincidentally, you've collected over time. For example, if you and your organization are targeting teenage gamers during the upcoming summer, you've likely monitored their SM patterns over time, and will run a campaign based on the SM idiosyncrasies they've displayed. In all likelihood, their SM behavior will be different when compared to the entire online population as a whole.  Hence, the Segmentation Approach.

In contrast, The Best Practices Approach is based on how the entire SM audience acts as a whole and provides optimal timings based on aggregate online behavior.  You can think of it in terms of talking at a cocktail party, where there is a lot of chatter at its peak attendance point.

The optimal time to post on Twitter is late in the weekday, between 2pm – 5pm EST


Dan Zarella, SM Scientist for Hubspot, recently addressed the SOT Best Practices Approach for both Twitter and Facebook.  “The optimal time to post on Twitter is late in the weekday, between 2pm – 5pm EST, as this maximizes ReTweets. Coincidentally, we’ve found there is no significant difference in clickthrough rates according to the time of day or the day of the week, so it’s okay to experiment with your Tweets on the weekends and during late hours.”

Zarella further explains, “We've discovered clickthrough rates dramatically reduce, the more you post within an hour.  The clickthrough rate for a second post drops to 50%. The clickthrough rate for a 3rd post within an hour is almost nil.”  Zarella is not suggesting to Tweet less as he points to a strong relationship between the number of tweets per day and total followers.  Instead, he suggests not to “crowd out” your tweets per hour.

Zarella also suggests three key timing points for Facebook: (1) post every other day as  mainstream pages that did this displayed the most likes, (2) post content on the weekends since it elicits the most amount of shares and (3) post content in the morning as shares tend to do marginally better than those published at other times.

Don't "crowd out" your Tweets per hour


But if everyone uses The Best Practices Approach, wouldn't the SM landscape become overcrowded during those specific times and diminish the likelihood of anyone hearing your message?

Great question.  Keep reading.

The three previous methods require someone from within to personally determine optimal timing.  Whereas with The Autoscheduling Approach, 3rd parties determine optimal posting times.  But what are these 3rd parties’ optimization practices you say?  And how do they measure up to yours?

After investigating Autoscheduling practices, two unique terms surfaced: static vs. dynamic. A static Autoscheduling system optimizes timing based on The Best Practices Approach, not on individual behavior. While a dynamic system optimizes timing through individual / follower behavior, and gets better over time. So which method would you prefer? Find out which method your provider utilizes.

Last but not least, there is The Contracompetitive Timing Approach. This approach is actually the opposite of The Best Practices Approach and circumvents its downside.  This territory lies at the beginning and tail-end of the cocktail party, where crowds are smaller in number, thereby improving the odds of individual engagement.  By utilizing Contracompetitive Timing, smaller crowds are more likely to hear your voice that would otherwise be lost in the chatter of a full-swing cocktail party.

So which SOT approach is the best? The Common Sense Approach of when people are online? The Segmentation Approach that profiles your specific target audience?  The mega-blast to a crowded room, Best Practice Approach?  Perhaps the best is The Autoscheduling Approach which leaves it in the hands of the experts? Or maybe the Contracompetitive Timing Approach seems like a valid alternative, so your messages aren't lost in the masses? Perchance it is a combination of all the above? 

In your personal experience, the best SOT approach is _________. (Please comment below)

Chris Ruby is an award-winning Marketing Research & Consumer Insights Executive with Fortune 500 consulting experience. His niche is the ability to turn complex data into compelling stories that induce a call for action among key decision-makers. His work has been featured by MRA, MRIA, IIR, Norstat Times, Chadwick Martin Bailey & the Optimization Group. Keep up with Chris Ruby by following him on Twitter @ChrisRubyMRX or by reading the Chris Ruby Market Research Blog.





Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Build Customer Relationships that Matter through Social Media

Photo by paul bica

As a follow-up to my post last Friday, “What Your Customers Say When You Don’t – or Won’t – Listen,” I encourage organizations that want to learn how to effectively engage with their customers on Twitter to read “How to Network with Influential People Using Twitter” by Jason Kosarek.

This article offers guidance on fostering relationships to increase your customer reach and to build a strong and engaged customer community: 

  • Find the Influencers in Your Current Network
  • Know Your Competitors’ Connections
  • Search for Influencers in Your Niche
  • Follow and Interact with People on Twitter
  • Set Up Alerts to Track Where Your Influencers are Mentioned or Post Online
  • Add Value Outside of Twitter
If you’ve been thinking about joining the conversation on Twitter and listening to what your customers are saying about you, now’s the time. To take it a step further, don’t miss these Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit sessions about building customer relationships that matter through social media:
  • The Future of Social Business, Richard Margetic, Director, Global Social Media, Dell
  • Move Brands Faster and Longer in the Social Media Era, Nestor Portillo, Director, Social Communities and Customer Experience, Microsoft
Join Richard and Nestor at Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit 2014 in Miami in April. To learn more about the event and register, go to www.iirusa.com/totalcustomer

Stay connected with TCEL:

  • twitter.com/TotalCustomer #TCEL14
  • linkedin.com/Total Customer Experience Leaders
  • facebook.com/TotalCustomer





Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC is an Accredited Business Communicator specializing in corporate communication best practices. Connect with Peggy on LinkedIn, TwitterGoogle+, and on her website at www.starrybluebrilliance.com.

Hacking H(app)iness Reveals Quantified (Whole) Self

Consumer Devices and Apps May Unlock Door to Measuring Unconscious Emotions

By Marc Dresner, IIR

John Havens is on to something that marketers and consumer researchers should pay close attention to, because the implications for insights work are huge.

This trend gets to the very essence of consumer intelligence and it may be the wave of the future...only it's happening now.
John Havens

The research isn’t being conducted by consumer researchers; this research is being conducted by consumers, themselves, for themselves.

Havens—author of “Hacking H(app)iness: Why Your Personal Data Counts and How Tracking it Can Change the World” and founder of the H(app)athon Project--is on a mission to help people objectively take stock of their lives using data they collect about themselves, and to then adjust their behaviors, lifestyles and priorities according to what those data tell them.

“Hacking H(app)iness involves using the devices and technologies we interact with every day to track, understand and optimize every aspect of our lives”

“Hacking H(app)iness involves using the devices and technologies around us that we interact with every day to track, understand and optimize every aspect of our lives,” Havens said.

“We don’t always know how we are feeling,” Havens remarked. 

“The data we can collect about ourselves on our smartphones, using apps and through other devices can serve as a proxy for our emotions and help us to improve our overall ‘wellbeing’ and quality of life,” he added.

“We don’t always know how we are feeling…Data we can collect about ourselves on smartphones using apps can serve as a proxy for our emotions.”

It’s based on the science of positive psychology. After all, Havens is about hacking happiness, not misery—a thoroughly noble pursuit to be sure.

But after conducting an interview with Havens for the Research Insighter podcast series, yours truly has honestly been preoccupied with the potential applications and implications for consumer researchers.

So I hope you’ll  forgive me if I focus less attention than I should on the potential benefit to mankind and more on the possibility that consumers may figure out a way to harness Big Data before those of us in marketing do.

Self Improvement...Gamified?

You’re probably familiar with the “Quantified Self” movement taking the healthcare and wellness industries by storm.

It’s generally associated with using sensor technology in smartphones and wearable devices (think Fitbit) to track and analyze physiological and other health-related data: heart rate, blood pressure, exercise, etc.

Now, “quantified selfies” will tell you that monitoring one’s own blood pressure, pulse and the like barely scratches the surface of the quantified self movement.

And they’re right.

The Quantified Self movement is in many respects the gamification of self improvement.


In many respects, the Quantified Self movement this is the gamification of self improvement.

Some devotees—there are clubs of them sprouting up all over (New York has a “chapter”)—monitor their cognitive functioning, blood oxygen levels—even the quality of the very air in the room they’re breathing.

And they don’t stop there.

Want to know how well you sleep at night? You need not necessarily spend a night in a medical sleep center; you can do it yourself at home in your own bed without a bunch of clinicians watching you thrash around in your sheets from behind glass.

Not all of these data are passively collected.

What you ate for lunch, for example, and its nutritional content needs to be manually entered, but that’ll get easier fast. (Watch for barcodes next to menu items in restaurants that can be scanned to your smartphone to track your diet.)

Technology that was only accessible to healthcare professionals, the military, law enforcement, etc., is now becoming commercially available to everyday consumers.

The point is that much of this, Havens points out, is possible because technology that was until recently only accessible to healthcare professionals, the military, law enforcement, etc., is now becoming commercially available to everyday consumers.

For example, he noted there’s an app available for download that accurately reads your heart rate by just pointing your smartphone’s camera at your face.

“These devices don’t even have to be touching us to collect this data,” Havens emphasized.

This type of stuff was formerly the domain of agents scoping out potential terrorists in airports.

And there are other equally sophisticated, albeit less sexy data collection technologies that are also making their way into the hands of everyday folks.

DIY online tracking? The data collection and analytics tools marketers use are making their way into the hands of average folks.

I’m talking about the data collection and analytics tools marketers use.

Think do-it-yourself online tracking—the activity, time spent, sites visited, Google searches, etc.

What could this information tell us about ourselves?

I recently attended IIR’s Media Insights and Engagement conference—a sister event to the Future of Consumer Intelligence, which sponsors this blog—and I can tell you media researchers are quite keen on getting at cross-platform media consumption data (not just programming content, but social and any other "media," too—all of it).

Meanwhile, Havens in his book proposes that you and I—wearing our Joe Consumer hats—might benefit from looking at how much time we spend playing Candy Crush, streaming YouTube videos, Facebooking, listening to MP3s, bidding on eBay auctions, etc.

Now where am I going to get that data?

My smartphone, my tablet, my desktop computer...Eureka!

So what would I do with this information?

H(app)iness hacking is like looking at a monthly credit card statement...You can see what you truly value based on where you spent your money.

Havens compares it to looking at one’s monthly credit card statement (something else I happen to have access to, coincidentally).

“With a credit card statement, you can see what you truly value because there is a list of what you put your money toward in the past month,” he told the Research Insighter.

Similarly, you know you really like music if you see that you’ve downloaded a ton of it.

Or maybe it’s a lot of pornography that you’ve been downloading?

That’s where the positive change comes into play.

“If you ask someone what really matters to them in life, they’ll tell you things like family time,” said Havens.

“But what if you had objective data about how you live your life? If you could track the things that you claim—that you believe—are important to you?” he asked.

If you could track the things that you believe are important to you, on paper the actual data might suggest otherwise.

“We might find that actually, according to the data, we don’t really value those things—at least that’s how it looks on paper. And we can make a change,” Havens said.

I’m not going to suggest that this stuff is going to make online surveys look primitive, like leaching…but you must admit Havens has a point.

Self-reported behavior isn’t bullet proof. 

And self-reported feelings? 

So much attention and investment is being devoted to unlocking the unconscious emotional motivations that drive consumer behavior in the research community for good reason.

“My hope is that these tools will allow people the opportunity to improve their wellbeing by making decisions based on real data, knowing things about themselves that they might not otherwise be aware of,” said Havens.

Now tell me the research community shouldn’t pay attention to this.



And click these links to check out John Havens' book, “Hacking H(app)iness,” and to learn more about the H(app)athon Project.

Editor’s note: John Havens will deliver a keynote titled, “Hacking Happiness: How to Give Big Data a Direction” at the Future of Consumer Intelligence conference taking place May 19-21 in San Francisco.

As a reader of this blog you will SAVE 15% on your registration to attend the Future of Consumer Intelligence when you use code FOCI14BLOG.  Register here today!


For more information, please visit www.futureofconsumerintel.com



ABOUT THE AUTHOR / INTERVIEWER 
Marc Dresner is IIR USA’s sr. editor and special communication project lead. He is the former executive editor of Research Business Report, a confidential newsletter for the marketing research and consumer insights industry. He may be reached at mdresner@iirusa.com. Follow him @mdrezz.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

What's the bigger social media threat: verification or platform overload?

Evolving is the bettering or worsening of a sturdy phenomenon. Change is a more radical spin on the very same. But when it comes to social media habits, it is tricky to discern what is evolutionary and what is truly changing. Two elements that pose a risk to using social media for marketing are verification, and a simple overwhelm, particularly of visual platforms. Two trends highlighted further in Social Media Habits of 2014.

Ever had a tweet favorite or retweeted almost simultaneously after posting? Or are you guilty of scrolling and liking or disliking? While it may be the signs of an obsessive compulsive behavior, it becomes even more risky in the world of big data. When emergencies happen, or misquotes are leaked, or media puts forth information that is not verified, the habit can become a risky one. Things like events in Boston give rise to the speed vs accuracy paradox, as do weather related calamities like the Polar Vortex or Sandy. The key is to always ensure to verify before sharing, before misinformation leads to virality. But is this even possible in a me-first world?
social media @sssourabh

Similarly, ever noticed how Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr or Snapchat are all driven by a vicarious sharing of images (and off late, videos)? Sometimes even the same ones… with some apps making it easy to cross share. Besides a sense of overwhelm, there is also a notion of déjà vu. Social media is meant to be current, but is getting muddled with the user equivalent of recycling and content marketing. And some of these platforms are aping one another, like direct messaging on Instagram as a war to snapchat. Video was born to Vine, and is now popular with Instagram and Flipagram, alike. One of these photo platforms will surely tumble under the mounting pressure to distinguish and differentiate. Is another MySpace coming our way? Until then, anticipate more scrolling and observing, until there is simply less time spent on certain platforms before the final crash.

Sourabh Sharma, Communication & Social Media Research Expert at SKIM, an international consultancy and marketing research agency, has a background in engineering, marketing and finance from the University of Pennsylvania, and the Wharton School and Rotterdam School of Management. Having worked in marketing and product development at L’Oreal, followed by a stint in management consulting, he now passionately enjoys the world of social media, and can be found on every platform with his alias sssourabh. He is a food critic and a fashion writer, and documents these alongside strategy on his blog called 3FS. He may be reached at s.sharma@skimgroup.com. Follow him on @sssourabh.

Customer Experience Conversations: Crystal Collier

In this next post in our Customer Experience Conversations series, we sat down with Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit’s keynote speaker Crystal Collier, CEO of CX Act, formerly TARP Worldwide.

CX Act has pioneered the science of quantifying, managing and optimizing the customer experience and has remained a leader in the CX market since 1971. Today, through its innovative research, technology and customer interaction programs, it continues to set the standard to improve clients' customer service performance, customer value and "The Profit of Interaction.”

In April, Collier and TCEL will explore these topics and the all of the new realities of building brands and relationships in today’s socially driven and data abundant world. The event will shine an important lens on the power of insights and the critical need for marketers to focus on factoring emotion into the bigger equation to get a return on customer relationships.

Here is what Collier had to say:

IIR: How is empathetic leadership changing leadership in customer experience today?

Collier: Without considering empathy—from the C-suite to the frontline employee—delivering a superior CX is nearly impossible. Customers are driven largely by emotions, and their behaviors result from feelings. If you don’t understand the emotions and leverage empathy to drive change throughout the organization, you are missing incredible opportunities to drive bottom-line results.

IIR: Why are empathy and emotion so important in when it comes to customer experience?

Collier: Emotions govern so many of the decisions we make, so CX must consider and accommodate that reality. Understanding the emotions associated with each customer touchpoint is critical—adding emotions to the customer journey mapping process is a great first step.

IIR: What are the key traits of a great customer experience leader?

Collier:  A great CX leader knows how to balance efficiency and effectiveness metrics for a complete measure of CX performance. A great CX leader knows that satisfaction is more than a score. A great CX leader taps into the voice of the employee as well as the voice of the customer. A great CX leader regularly, frequently, and passionately monitors and observes customer interactions. A great CX leader knows what touchpoints matter most to her customers and ensures they are best in class.

IIR: If your customers have a bad customer experience, how do you reconnect with them moving forward?

Collier:  One of the most important things to recovering from a bad experience is taking ownership. Ownership and accountability can set the stage for recovery. You need to own the issue with a genuine apology and deliver on promises to fix it. From there, putting measures in place to ensure it doesn’t happen again is key.

IIR: How has the digital revolution changed the overall customer experience?

Collier: The digital revolution has revolutionized access—access to customers, to data, to companies. Understanding what channels you control and where resources should be allocated is critical to an effective digital strategy.

IIR: Employee recognition can positively influence employee behaviors and cultivate a customer-centric culture. How do you recognize and motivate your employees?

Collier: Regular, timely, meaningful, and relevant employee R&R can help keep the focus on the CX; linking it to VOC metrics is also helpful.

IIR: How do you strategize and innovate on your company’s customer experience to continuously improve it as the marketplace grows increasingly competitive?

Collier:  You must understand what your customers want in 2 areas: 1- what do they need to make them totally satisfied and 2- how do you best deliver this service to them.

IIR: How do you make the connections between experience, brand and loyalty, which together create customer expectations?

Collier: The brand sets the standard for the experience and the experience drives loyalty. Delivering on the brand promise with employee behaviors is important exercises to increase loyalty and deliver a superior CX.

Want to hear more from Crystal on customer experience in person?  Join her at Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit 2014 in Miami in April where she will be presenting a keynote session entitled, “Bringing Empathy into Your Organization.”

Your experience at TCEL will include three full days of high-level visionary keynote presentations and in-depth case studies illustrating linking insights & data, data measuring & mapping, design thinking, synthesize intelligence from B2B and B2C companies across verticals, disciplines and cultures to march forward with a sound total customer experience plan.

To learn more about the event and register, click here:   http://bit.ly/1dQq6xh

About the Author: Amanda Ciccatelli, Social Media Strategist of the Marketing Division at IIR USA, has a background in digital and print journalism, covering a variety of topics in business strategy, marketing, and technology. Amanda is the Editor at Large for several of IIR’s blogs including Next Big DesignCustomers 1st, and ProjectWorld and World Congress for Business Analysts, and a regular contributor to Front End of Innovation and The Market Research Event,. She previously worked at Technology Marketing Corporation as a Web Editor where she covered breaking news and feature stories in the technology industry. She can be reached at aciccatelli@iirusa.


Enhanced by Zemanta

Speaker Spotlight: Christopher Gutierrez

We were lucky enough to catch up with Future of Consumer Intelligence 2014 speaker Christopher Gutierrez of AIRBNB before the event in a few weeks. Gutierrez shared with us his thoughts on the humanization of data, and how technology has changed the way we do things and the way we understand people. 

We are fortunate to have him share this critical insight with our FOCI community. This year, FOCI explores the emerging role of decision science and the convergence of knowledge points - insights, foresights, social science, marketing science and intelligence with technology as a central driving force and profound connector.

We are barraged by information - and within this sea of data we must remember to think of the problem we are trying to solve and how we can we use this convergence of information to better understand people.  Translating the new "understanding" into future opportunities means that the role of a researcher is changing. FOCI accelerates disruptive innovators in the research space and pushes people to take risks, to think outside of traditional research methods and insights gathering and explore new and alternative tools and technologies. FOCI will bridge the gap between what people say they are going to do and what they actually do.

Here is what Gutierrez had to say:

IIR: A big theme of this year’s conference is “humanization of data.” Why do you think understanding PEOPLE (not consumers) presents an opportunity for strategic action?

Gutierrez: Data *is* the user experience. Customer tickets are the direct voice of a person. Data logged from people’s actual site sessions highlights problems and the magnitude of problems.  With A/B testing, logged data can lead products to potential solutions. Data is the distillation of the human experience.

IIR: How is technology not only changing how we do things, but also how we understand the world, business, and people?

Gutierrez: Technology increases the impact an individual can make. Prior to the advent of recent technologies, a company needed to be large before it could impact a significant number of people. As technology advances, it reduces the necessary size of a company before the company is impactful. Airbnb itself was impactful at 100 employees. More importantly, Airbnb hosts are impactful at an individual basis. Uber, Lyft, and others are making it possible to have many successful “companies of one”.

IIR: How has consumer intelligence strategy and action planning helped drive your business?

Gutierrez: People are communicating with us simply by using our site. How they traverse the site tells us what is frustrating or confusing to them. Data gives our users a voice. The data science team translates their experiences to the rest of the company.

IIR: How has the role of “the researcher” changed?

Gutierrez: A researcher has always developed a hypothesis. A modern researcher spends less time writing proposals, and more time testing hypotheses.

IIR: Describe a situation where you’ve taken a risk or thought outside the box of tradition market research methods. How did that benefit your business?

Gutierrez: I replaced a complex model, with a carefully constructed GROUP BY query. It allowed the system to run in line with daily updates and more features and records. Often, something simple and with better data, can beat a sophisticated model. Maintenance was easier, and profit was higher.

Want to hear more from Christoper in person? Join him at Future of Consumer Intelligence 2014 in Los Angeles, CA in May. To learn more about the event and register, click here: http://bit.ly/1hchuzK

** As a reader of our blog, you get an exclusive 15% discount on your FOCI 2014 pass. Use code FOCI14BLOG when you register **



About the Author: Amanda Ciccatelli, Social Media Strategist of the Marketing Division at IIR USA, has a background in digital and print journalism, covering a variety of topics in business strategy, marketing, and technology. Amanda is the Editor at Large for several of IIR’s blogs including Next Big DesignCustomers 1st, and ProjectWorld and World Congress for Business Analysts, and a regular contributor to Front End of Innovation and The Market Research Event,. She previously worked at Technology Marketing Corporation as a Web Editor where she covered breaking news and feature stories in the technology industry. She can be reached at aciccatelli@iirusa.com. Follow her at @AmandaCicc.

Friday, March 21, 2014

What Your Customers Say When You Don’t – or Won’t – Listen


 Photo by paul bica
 
“When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand. Ideas actually begin to grow within us and come to life.” – Brenda Ueland, 20th century American author
Ideas are the foundation of success. This timeless concept was best expressed by a Deutsche Bank advertisement in the Wall Street Journal, April 2001 that proclaimed: “Ideas are capital. The rest is just money.”
Listen to your customers. They are trying to tell you how they want to be served and how they want to engage with you. Their ideas will support your organization’s continued success and will lead to increased levels of customer engagement and loyalty.
If you’re not listening to your customers, they will find someone who will. The article, "We deliberately ignore customers who contact us via Twitter” by Philip Calvert, Social Media Sales Strategist, shows how an unengaged company culture can negatively affect the trust and credibility of an organization.
This example clearly demonstrates the importance of having a company culture that empowers and engages employees, who are the “key to delivering your customer’s experience” according to Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit (TCEL) keynote speaker Peter Neill, Former Chief Customer Officer, Level 3 Communications.
To take it a step further, Kerry Bodine, VP and Principal Analyst, Customer Experience Research Practice at Forrester, will lead a TCEL session that will show how “customers’ perceptions have a profound impact on business metrics.”
Want to hear more from Peter and Kerry on customer experience in person? Join them at Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit 2014 in Miami in April. To learn more about the event and register, go to www.iirusa.com/totalcustomer
Stay connected with TCEL:
  • twitter.com/TotalCustomer #TCEL14
  • linkedin.com/Total Customer Experience Leaders
  • facebook.com/TotalCustomer



Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC is an Accredited Business Communicator specializing in corporate communication best practices. Connect with Peggy on LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, and on her website at www.starrybluebrilliance.com.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Is your marketing calendar chaotic? Take this one question test.

Wrestling social media to the ground
Every social media manager I talk to tells me one of two things.  One, they are relying on technology to get their mission accomplished.  Or Two, their collaborative process involves spreadsheets, word documents, emails and contentious moments deciding who on the team is going to react to a rogue social post mention.

Well kudos to those with technology, I just want to point out the advantages social relationship management software brings to the table.

Marketing Calendars Have Many Cooks
Think about your organization.  

Here’s the one test question:  Is your agency assembling content, putting it into a spreadsheet or word doc and then sending it off for approval? 

Then does the process involve approvals from:
  • legal,
  • the brand managers,
  • the community managers,
  • Corporate Communications,
  • Public Relations,
  • Marketing,
  • (I don’t know…anyone else?  HR?)?

I suggest you do two things if this is true.  One calculate the amount of expensive labor expended.  And Two, think about how much important information can be lost in that shuffle.

Synergy Not Chaos
The alternative of course is to have a single view into the content so as to support a true team collaborative process.  Think about what life would be like if the team could log into the same dashboard, (each with their own security limitations of course). 
  1. The agency can upload the content. 
  2. The content can be routed via workflows to each approver automatically; alerting each of them it’s their turn. 
  3. This single view of content can be scheduled, pushed, published and then monitored. 
  4. Rinse Repeat

Chaos Squared
For those organizations with global reach, or many departments, stores, etc. you probably have many Facebook pages, Twitter handles, Instagram accounts.  Think about how the process to distribute approved content could be streamlined, curated with confidence and pushed out there if, again, your teammates were alerted by email to look into that single view dashboard.

The platform will also improve productivity by enabling your team to push out communications across multiple pages, multiple social networks at the same time.  Again, count the hours and do the math.

With a social relationship management system, the team at the hub can have confidence those folks on the tips of the spokes will be publishing What you want and in a Timely Basis.

Plus you’ll have confidence that all of your messaging will have a consistent Voice.  Even if those messages are in multiple languages. 

Measuring Performance
For those responsible for monitoring the content’s performance consider merely logging in to view the metrics, to eyeball what’s working instantly. This versus the monthly reports gathered by perusing multiple metric sources.  We all want to know “what’s working” and waiting is never easy.  With the technology monitoring your content’s performance you can specify time periods, social voices, channels, accounts in varied slicing and dicing fashion.

Wrap Up
So if you’re assigning tasks to others and want to monitor their workflow,
Technology shouldn’t rule the roost, but it can be the backbone that supports the creative energy of the smart people on your team.  If team collaboration excellence is your goal, then using a social relationship management set of technologies to manage your marketing calendar is absolutely the best practice.

Ron Shulkin blogs researches and writes about enterprise technology focused on innovation and social media. You can follow him Twitter. You can follow his blogs at this Facebook group.  You can connect with Ron on LinkedIn.  

Ron Shulkin is the Chicago area Director for Spredfast. Spredfast provides a social relationship platform that allows organizations to manage, monitor, and measure their social media programs at scale. Spredfast enables more people, in more places, to engage in more conversations from a single platform on supported social networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ YouTube and popular blogging platforms. You can learn more about Spredfast here.