Friday Wrap #38: CEOs passive on social media, consumers are more engaged, the value of online media

Posted on February 15, 2013 7:37 am by | Brands | Channels | Internal | Media | Social Media | Social networks

Friday Wrap #38

(c) Can Stock Photo
Another week come and gone. This week’s Friday Wrap covers studies, reports and news that didn’t get widespread coverage, along with the occasional post that was just plain interesting. Throughout the week, I collect the items I’ll consider for the Wrap (and my podcast) at

More insights into CEOs’ use of social media

CEOs engage differently depending on the social channel they use, according to a study conducted last April by the Conference Board and Stanford University’s Rock Center for Corporate Governance. CEOs do engage, according to “What do Corporate Directors and Senior Managers Know About Social Media.” “Over 60% of respondents reported using it in some way in their personal life,” writes Robert Berkman in the Sloan Management Review, “with over 82% saying that they use it specifically to keep up with activity of friends and acquaintances.” The number of CEOs using social media jumps to 70.8% when it comes to professional and business uses; 76% use it to stay current with peers and other contacts. However, CEOs tend to use these channels passively—reading and watching rather than engaging. But not on Twitter, were more CEOs actively tweeted than followed. CEOs also continue to derive value from online message boards and forums. The Sloan report doesn’t capture some of the more interesting elements of the report, such as the fact that only slightly more than half of executives and board members claim they have a good understanding of the impact social media can have on their business. You can get the full report here. (Watch for a blog post dedicated to the report next week.)

Customer engagement is the ruling trend for 2013

A new consumer insights study from Anthem Worldwide “points to customer engagement as a ruling trend in 2013,” according to a report from Bulldog Reporter’s Daily Dog. Anthem listed a total of 10 consumer and shopper trends in its report. “The results of the study support the conclusion that despite the pervading belief of marketers that consumers and shoppers want to simplify as much as possible, 58% of total respondents believe ‘Getting into the details’ will be a more prominent trend in 2013 compared to the counter trend “Skimming the highlights,’” according to Anthem’s Kathy Oneto. “One could argue that today’s consumers are more engaged with brands than ever before.”

Consumers place a higher value on media consumed online

People get more value from their online use of media than they do from offline counterparts, according to a Boston Consulting Group report that determined the average U.S. online user got a “consumer surplus” of $970, versus $900 from offline media. A consumer surplus, according to BCG, is “the value consumers themselves place on a media-related activity or product over and above what they paid for it.” All Things D‘s Kara Swisher writes that seven categories were explored in the report: books, radio and music, U.S. newspapers and magazines, TV and movies, video games, international newspapers and magazines, and user-generated content and social networks. “The largest chunk of online consumer satisfaction came from UGC and social, such as the use of Facebook and Google’s YouTube,” Swisher writes, “which makes sense since the actual cost is nearly zero, making any benefit essentially digital gravy.”

Some marketers eschew social media management systems

Social media management systems make it easy to oversee a company’s activities without having to sign in to every platform to contribute a post, tweet or update. These dashboard-like tools have limitations, though; not every platform has released the APIs that enable connectivity through a management system. Google+, for instance, still requires posting directly on the site, as do Instagram and Vine. This requirement to post directly to the site isn’t a drawback, according to a lot of social media veterans, as reported by Tim Peterson writing for Adweek. Peterson quotes a 22squared executive saying that reliance on publishing tools can be a drawback. “For the most part, you always see better performance using native publishing platforms out of the gates.” This “artisanal” publishing approach “forces marketers to confront how others are using the program,” Peterson writes. “That prevents a brand from completely hijacking a platform to communicate some on-brand message sanitized to the point of emptiness. Instead, brands need to behave like people, and forcing them to use the same experience as regular users can help. Of course, this argument dismisses other features of social media management systems, such as the centralized review and approval of messages contributed from throughout the organization, the archiving of messages, and the integration of tools that let you respond queries or turn a message into a sponsored ad or promoted tweet.

Tangible benefits of internal social media

There’s no shortage of studies and reports demonstrating the value of well-executed internal social media. Chief among these is the improved speed with which employees can get answers to questions and deal with exceptions (as Deloitte calls them) that arise in their jobs. McKinsey’s annual review of internal social media shows benefits to organizations that range from reducing the cost of communication to eliminating travel expenses, from speeding the development of new product ideas to improving customer service. But wait! There’s more! A Baylor University case study appearing in the European Journal of Information Systems looked at the efforts of a financial services company to “acclimate new employees into the organization.” Because they had access to internal social channels, those new employees had a “great sense of well-being and organizational commitment and better employee engagement,” writes Jesse States in a Meeting Professionals International blog post. “For millennials, mixing their work life and their social life via an online social networking created positive emotions for the employees who use the system,” said Hope Koch, Ph.D., Baylor University associate professor of information systems in the Hankamer School of Business and study co-author. “These emotions led to more social networking and ultimately helped the employees build personal resources like social capital and organizational learning.” Turnover dropped as well.

Are brand responses to real-time opportunities now a requirement?

The Oreo brand got a lot of attention for tweeting a link to a digital asset created as the Super Bowl screeched to a halt as technicians tried to get the lights back on. While some suggest the cookie is getting too much attention, other evidently think that the failure to capitalize on such moments is worthy of criticism. (I’ve even started to wonder, when listening to conference presentations, “Where’s the real-time response plan?”) C|Net‘s Daniel Terdiman called out the Poland Water brand for missing the chance to grab the spotlight earlier this week when Florida Senator Marco Rubio paused while delivering the Republican response to the State of the Union address, reached out of the camera frame, picked up a short bottle of Poland Water, sipped it, put it back and then returned to his speech. “Unfortunately for Poland Sprint, its social media people—if it has any—dropped the ball,” Terdiman writes, noting that its official Twitter accounts"were both dormant after Rubio’s instantly panned water break.” In fact, the most recent tweet from either account was posted more than two years ago. Terdiman suggested the company could have inaugurated a #watergate hash tag, or bought a promoted tweet. Does real-time marketing now have to be part of the mix? Is it really worth reporting on how companies don’t use it?

Payment by hashtag

Speaking of hashtags, a collaboration between Twitter and American Express will allow you to buy a product by including the right hashtag in a tweet; registered members you use the service will get a confirmation tweet back from the @AmexSync account. After that, you’ll have “15 minutes to confirm you want the product. Your card will be charged and the goods shipped to your billing address,” according to CNN‘s Heather Kelly. Companies participating in the process will tweet out the hashtags, or you can visit a new American Express Favorites site. Early offerings include an Amazon Kindle Fire, a Sony Action cam, a bracelet designed by Donna Karan and an Xbox 360.

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