Up next is the final session of today – the keynote roundtable, real social media stories from the field. Featuring Danny Sullivan, Drew Conrad, Social Media Marketing Specialist at Zagg.com, Jean Sceidnes, Social Medida Marketing Editor of Neilman Marcus, and Martin Beck, Reader/Engagement Editor, Los Angeles Times.
Danny Sullivan – So, Drew tell us about what you do?
Drew Conrad – I am part of our internet marketing team. We have two marketing teams. 1 does traditional marketing. I report to the director of e-commerce, we work with the e-commerce team from SEO to PPC to optimization to enhance the site and increase conversions. Also in charge of implementing the social aspect. It’s very marketing focused, very ROI focused. There isn’t a whole lot of focus on customer service. We have a full time employee who kind of responds to tweets, posts on the forum, and tries to kind of keep people satisfied.
Danny – Who do you have for social Media?
Drew – It’s myself, a social media person, and a team of bloggers who churn out content for us. On the other marketing team there’s five of us, for our combined marketing team it’s like 30 people.
Danny – I heard discussion forum you have a forum?
Drew – Yeah, we have a forum it’s customer focused and if anyone has problems they can come there and our social media person can help answer these questions.
Danny – Martin, so what’s your marketing team like?
Martin – So our marketing team is me and one other person. I’m in charge of social media and engagement on our site. We have a couple of part timers who monitor those comments. Essentially our goal is to, and because we’re a daily publisher we deal with that we need to publish out to the major social media networks like twitter and facebook. We have a team of copy editors who handle most of our twitter publishing. It’s about a third of our copy. We publish to that and schedule tweets throughout the day. So after we publish we’re also listening. My assistant does most of the responding to people.
Danny – How many different twitter accounts do you have?
Martin – We probably have about 150 of them.
Danny – So you have roughly…
Martin – We have a good 40ish accounts for people who want to see everything that we publish on twitter. Those that are all certain brands. Branded pages. We have about 20 pages on Facebook.
Martin – That’s one of our biggest goals is to spread this around all of our accounts and gain exposure for all of these articles.
Danny – Does everybody get a response?
Martin – I wouldn’t say everyone gets a response. I’m sure we missed some but everyone that we see that we missed and she’ll forward me an email and tell me about it. The ones that I see need a response is probably about 90%. And if I don’t know that answer I will reach out to a person who can answer it.
Danny – Jean, what do you do?
Jean – My role on a high level is as editor to create and curate the content for our social profiles, which includes Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, as well as a couple of others that are all related to fashion and shopping. And the core piece of our content strategy is to write it daily with our blogs launched in February. Mainly it’s an editorial We want people to think of it daily alongside their favorite fashion blogs. We churn out that content and we respond to it. I quickly discovered that the customer cases on FB were a huge time suck, it’s a priority for us, we have a reputation for exemplary customer service and we need to deliver that in all such ways with our customer but that’s not what I try to do. It’s not what I was hired to do. So I created a duty with our call center and they now, about 24/7, scan facebook and twitter for any negative customer experiences and they respond directly.
Danny – Will they respond directly on Facebook?
Jean- Yes everyone.
Danny – It’s interesting because you talk about having a blog as it’s the core to everything else you’re doing you definitely try to go beyond “hear our specials” and would like to have the publication of your own.
Jean – Yes. We also want to have a hub that is accessible by many keywords and would like to have that be our eventual goal.
Drew – That is an idea that we had around 2010 we knew if we wanted to do blogging we knew we had to have more than 1 blogger in order to do this. We hired interns about five of them – and had them produce 7 articles per week. We have 10 bloggers who are turning out 7 posts per week – it’s all text focused. They try to create content that people are interested in. We tweet out every post, use twitter for all the posts, and add posts to Facebook stuff like that.
Danny – You can never do everything you want to do. We’re reviewing a session model and would like to do a session on blogging. It sounds pretty much that that’s the bedrock of what you’re gonna need.
Drew – Yeah, you create the content that somebody wants. The thing about blogging with content is that you have to create content that people would want to share.
Danny – Tell me about your time with Facebook.
Martin – Yeah, that’s one of our biggest challenges as I’m only one guy. We are a constantly churning content engine and we look at the front page we look a things in different news meetings there are certain things we won’t miss. We will use twitter. We tweet out probably everything that we publish. And content that I don’t think is as relevant will be posted to Facebook. Would like to share things on Facebook that people would want to share. It’s not enough that it’s an important story. It has to be an important story that will resonate with our friends on Facebook. We see the result and then we use it if it shows good ROI.
Danny – Can you explain that it seems that on twittter you can share a bunch of things and you can share those on Facebook as well to really generate extra traffic as you knew that would be shared.
Martin – Right. You pretty much know that that’s going to happen but because our home page producers are somewhat connected with our social media team we use stuff like Overture and Google Analytics to know what to write at times based on keyword research with those tools.
Danny- Does twitter give you a sense of what works on Facebook?
Jean – No there are two different content strategies for each one. You have to have it clear in your mind regarding what content is right for each platform. You have to look closely regarding what content is going to work well for you. It’s something that you have to determine through testing. You have to look at the nature of the content that you’re holding and figure out which platform it lends itself to.
Dany- You mention instagram this is the first time that I have seen it mentioned as a traffic tool…
Jean – Yeah, it’s very popular with business professionals whom you’re targeting.
Danny- One of the challenges you have with Facebook is that everybody can see everything. You share something on your fan page then everyone can see it. How do you approach that kind of strategy?
Drew – That’s really what happenings. We post 10 times a day, 1 time a day, or 3 times a day it really depends on what’s going on with us if we have a sale if we have new products it is a challenge to kind of gauge that we have seen success and I mean there’s a lot of metrics that go into gauging that.
Danny- When you’re doing it you’re not using one tool you do know about Google Plus what about this story do you write it differently on Facebook than you would Twitter?
Martin – We look into a new tweet for content we come across something we think would be tweeted we immediately, and send an email to everyone who’s on twitter and ask them to tweet that. And in the tweet before it goes out we’ll look at it but mostly we’ll just get it out. Facebook, we only do four posts we need to delay because we’ve found the engagement level is significantly less than if you use native Facebook for posting. We then try to communicate that there are times that we won’t post for some things and then we could let someone else post it ’cause like you say not everyone would see everything one may see one post another may see another post we’re backwards on the whole thing.
Danny – Jean, if you could answer what time of the day for a great evening story what do you do or how do you deal with with this?
Jean – On Facebook just try to post every 3 hours. Twitter is me, so I am tweeting morning, day, and night but that’s part of our twitter strategy it’s my point of view that has a little bit of my life treatment and helps me to personalize the brand. I use tweetdeck because I’m monitoring every mention of our brand and I’m looking for things that I can amplify the word. and see people’s reactions.
Danny – Let me ask another question – What do you all think of doing when you ask yourselves – who do I reach out to??
Drew – I look at different things and I look at the follower/follow ratio – to find out who would be most effective. One time I went to klout to find out who would be interested in our ipad giveaway. It’s a good tool to use because it identifies who to tweet but you need to use your own judgment which is important.
Danny – Did you find that it worked?
Drew – Yeah.
Danny – Did you literally see everybody who followed all their accounts and who followed everything that’s coming in?
Drew – I looked at people who were following the ZAGG brand. I’m monitoring both Zagg and Zaggdaily. I follow everything that’s going on it is a challenge but by doing that I am able to get a feel for what’s happening.
Danny – (to Martin) You guys trying to reach out to people?
Martin – We really don’t do a whole lot of that. We’re more reactionary, but we do respond to people who reach out to us. We have had some initiative where we tried to identify who would be good we compiled a list of the top bloggers and twitter accounts, facebook pages, just the people who blog about stuff in LA. So, we reached out to them and gave them a template if they also wanted to reach out to those people. It’s not something that we’ve traditionally done and frankly it’s a little tough, it’s a tough sell to sell work in journalism and we’re used to publishing and hoping that everyone just reads it.
Danny – Jean – You mentioned about reaching out how do you do that?
Jean – All of our articles are tweeted out and we selectively reach out I don’t care if they have 2900 or 29 followers. I work with the members of our team who do all kinds of press media coverage and they’re constantly updating their blogs. Make sure they’re clear on which publications and editors that they treat like celebrities and there are bloggers in that group too.
Danny – If you could choose your favorite channel that would be your most important challenge what would you say?
Drew – If I had to choose regarding revenue I’d have to choose Facebook. We generate a lot of revenue from Facebook. It’s not my favorite but if I had to I would have to use it because of that.
Martin – We have a lot of our referral traffic coming from Facebook. Way more than twitter by far. Kind of started around the time they created a like button. A lot of the social media we get is a lot of sharing of the like, the content of the like button on our page.
Danny – So Google Plus is good?
Jean – If I had to choose it’s Facebook because it is our largest audience. Also our blogs are good because we get a lot of traffic but my favorite is Twitter.
Danny -So Facebook is a big revenue driver?
Drew – I think it’s just another revenue channel there are number of audiences people share things on Twitter just to get different messages on Twitter. The shock and awe approach, however, is the advantage of Tiwtter.
Martin – We use various methods on Twitter
Danny – It’s difficult because the third part would take this, is especially twitter it really should be routing all traffic from twitter to see the traffic. But it’s very easy to undercount.
Martin – We were kind of thinking in our heads that it wasn’t useful to us it was about when we were thinking it was going to be about 4 times as much traffic. So we have to adjust our metric goals because it doesn’t seem like we’re getting that much traffic from Twitter. They’re seeing our message though and because we want more followers and the more followers we have then more of them go directly to our website.
Danny -And personal thing is twitter for you Jean?
Jean – Yeah it’s very personal it’s been very powerful for us to help provide powerful perceptions of our brand and for us to demonstrate our fashion knowledge in a memorable way. Most people would choose their friends for advice because they have that trust. If people are interacting, and people who are following me on twitter are interacting they find that I am a human being, it’s no longer a store you’re gonna walk into I am a human being people are friendly, I’m friendly, I’m helpful and hopefully you’ll find me witty and entertaining and if anything holds true is that it will give people more of an incentive to shop with us.
Martin – And that’s the thing about Twitter it’s really how people in my industry – it’s help the reader contact us or for our journalists it’s much easier than the friction level of trying to find someone’s phone number on a website which is really tough for some. But, on twitter if that person is engaged it’s just as easy and more of our journalists will actually respond on twitter than any other platform I have ever seen.
Danny – Jean one of the questions came back to me. You’re personally talking, writing, and so on. What happens if you go?
Jean – I’m conscious of that. I’m trying to be just as responsible, and trying to make it different between chatting about your brand, and making it about you.
Danny – Is it your personal account?
Jean – Yes.
Danny – Some companies have the employees themselves be well known and the companies don’t have the account.
Jean – I couldn’t really walk away with it but if that happens I’m sure they’d find a social media manager quickly that would be interested in stepping into that role.
Danny – Now how come you’re not on Google plus yet?
Jean – It’s on the list.
Danny – You also mentioned tumblr and instagram as being important
Jean – We’re just looking at what fashion enthusiasts are using but we’re also looking at what people are using for shopping and Google plus just isn’t up there.
Danny – (to Martin and Drew) Now are you guys on Google plus?
Margtin – At some point we’re probably going to go to Google plus. But uuummm…you know, what was the question?
Dannhy – I was wondering if you were on Google plus.
Martin – Yeah on Google plus we’d probably do a similar type of thing but that’s something we’ll build down the road. We hope it’s unique in that, or could be unique in that the potential of having our journalists getting on there we’ll stick around there and partner with the audience it’s a very small part of our audience but the tool is very selective if we can get our journalists to start using it we’ll be ahead of the game.
Danny – Now, foursquare…people are checking daily drawing…
Martin -Yeah we have a page on foursquare where we’ll have restaurants and reviews like that.
Danny – And Jean do you use foursquare as well?
Jean – Yes, we had a foursquare finished recently and we had an approachable event ; one of the customers we entered into a contest to win a clush handbag. I thought what if we could use a different approach on it? And we could hide them in a location in our stores across the country then people could come in and have a status on foursquare about checking into our store for the contest. I was nervous since no one has done anything like it. What if nobody comes? That’ll be embarrassing that – what if no one comes? None of that happens. If you have a lot of good will, people will come in and they have made the effort to come in; they like games because they’re fun and they don’t actually have to win the game. That was one of our more successful efforts.
Danny – Great.
Danny – Do you guys do foursquare?
Drew – No foursquare never used foursquare. We used tumblr for daily deals but each day on tumblr we probably have 80% off a product and use the traditional way for most content. Kind of first come first serve.
Danny -So what’s on tumblr would be good with another audience?
Drew – We just wanted to use tumblr to find out what’s going on we thought tumblr would be huge and it was huge. As far as Google plus is concerned. We jumped on that as early as we could. We’re still not really sure about how we’re going to use it. The guys that are on our marketing team who are into search and ppc they are all about it and say they’re on Google plus. We’re not on Google plus as much as other channels.
Danny – How do you decide which of the ones (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) that would be good to use?
Drew – For me we are so ROI focused we’re going with Facebook and Twitter but we’re also going to be experimenting with other channels and if something sticks then we’ll use it.
Martin- We’ve pretty much thrown everything at the wall and that gives us our insight but because they say it’s evolved we try to stick our toe into pretty much everything to everything that makes sense in our dinosaur brain. We’re not on it but I’m on it. Because I could, and I got the earliest invitation. But some of it is haphazard but not all of it is haphazard .
Danny – Jean, how about you?
Jean – It just comes back to having a clear strategy it is a huge commitment to keeping everything updated we try really carefully we try not to take on more than we can chew.
Danny – Some of the questions have come in.
Danny – This question is for Jean about the call centers mentioned earlier. Are these your internal call centers?
Jean – It’s where people would call or have complaints. There are people responding to those types of issues they’re just using it in a new medium.
Danny -Any advice to someone that doesn’t have a team?
Drew – I think that any strategy can be a social media strategy – even just posting 3 times a week and tweeting 3 times a week. When doing it on a smaller scale there is nothing wrong with 3 posts or tweets a week.
Martin – I think most people most twitter people will follow about 130 people you really don’t need to focus on the amount you need to know what you can do and go from there. If you can take on more then take it on for responses see what people are saying about you on several of these platforms it doesn’t take us much time to take a look at that. All these giant companies can hire several people to do that.
Jean – We’ve decided that we’re going to monitor Facebook to 24/7 we have the resources to do that. We have a sister store in NY it’s just some store they have Facebook addresses posted on their Facebook page.
Danny – Drew – From a b-c standpoint I don’t really have a desire to dive into it.
Maritn- I don’t use it personally so…
Drew – They send me those spam emails that I hate…
Danny – How do you measure ROI? How do you tell what’s working what’s not?
Drew – WE have built our own URL shortener -0 this shortener ties in with our database and helps us on page too when you attrached every click that you post we can track how many clicks and how mnay sales that we have generated.
Danny – I want to know what your biggest failure/success is
Martin – Our digital marketing team has just added in the last several months have hired a bunch of people. We do have less metrics we have so many metrics we have a hard time figuring out where that needs to be. But we’re hoping we’ll get better guidance.
Jean – We certainly track traffic and conversions it’s not perfect but obviously we’re going to do that we also appreciate any publicity or bug or awareness that we create. We consider if we’re enhancing the brand, if we’re modernizing the brand, if we’re providing customer service. What’s the ROI on the customer. There are things that you are not going to be able to quantify you just have to listen. We listen to the feedback between customer sand our stores.
Danny – You bring people in to the stores through social media?
Jean – Yeah it’s not the stores, but it did create a lot of success for us.
Danny -What is the big surprise you got?
Drew – You can create something that people hate but you can have a positive return. One thing we did was a fake iphone 5 it was clearly fake. Upload it to youtube put it on blog put it on Facebook it just drove so much traffic it drove probably 40% of the traffic for our blog for the entire year. You can create fake stuff and it’ll work.
Martin – We have learned that and maybe I knew this anyways but it confirmed it – in my role for a big media organization I find that people are surprised when we respond. There are certain instances, like, I mean someone could slag us in a truly bad fashion – someone was slagging us the other day on twitter. In some cases you can win but being responsible with it can be useful for the brand.
Jean – We had many touch points with our customers and the example before where we engaged through foursquare to drive people to the store with the clush handbag contest, it was a perfect example where each touch point drove to another touch point to bring people into our stores.
Danny – Well great, I could talk to you guys for another hour but they all need to have some drinks now…
Whew!!! That’s it for the coverage of the Keynote Round Table at the end of today’s sessions. Stay tuned for more SMX Social Media 2011 blogging coverage!!