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Social Audience Engagement, Part 2: Insight, Guidance and Best Practices

Posted by Marketing on Sep 2, 2015 10:32:00 AM

The following is the second installment in a four-part series on the Guide to Smarter Social Engagement, where you will learn necessary preparations for smart engagement with your audience, tools to employ, as well as best practices for optimal results. In the second installment, learn what to listen for from your social audience. 


The social world moves fast. In order for companies to keep up with what their customers are saying, what their competitors are doing, and overall brand health, social listening has become an invaluable tool for marketers, customer care agents, and consumer analytics professionals. It is becoming evident that brands have little control over their public standing, and that customer communication through social is best achieved through a strategic listening plan and a robust management platform to boot. 

Social listening is not a passive tool within social media strategy – rather, it’s a vital step to smarter social engagement. It is one part of a whole consumer lifecycle, and without it, proper action and next steps cannot be taken. 


Listening to customers is also an effective research tool for product development. Learning what social users are saying and purchasing portrays an honest, genuine look into what people want or don’t want. used Facebook fan pages to encourage interaction and engagement from customers of the same frequent-flier program to evaluate their pain points, and then out of those conversations, created the products they needed to solve their problems.

Showing that a brand is listening is important in reputation management. When you engage and reply publically, it shows that a brand has a handle on their customer service and they care about what customers are saying and how they feel about their product or service. 

Another important aspect in social listening is paying attention to what your competitors are doing or not doing. A good social listening tool will provide you with clear insights, competitive intelligence and a better understanding of what is lacking or saturating a particular market, and will also show you how your competition is regarded and what you can do to fill in the gaps they have left. 


Listening is also a great way for sales departments to generate qualified leads. It can enable brands to analyze behaviors and purchasing signals. Customer service departments may use social listening to respond to queries in real time, giving the customer a sense that the brand cares on an individual level. 

Daniel Newman, futurist and insight partner to the world’s largest brands writes, “Social listening provides a consistent platform for brands to actively connect and converse with their customers to not only solve problems but to keep customers. 

Many consumer brands like Comcast, Zappos and Bluehost are known for highly engaged teams that manage, monitor, and respond to social queues. This has also been a quickly growing trend in other service industries like air transport and hotels as they seek to build strong communities of active brand evangelists.”

What used to take days to generate, is now instantly available through social listening. Tracking handles, key words, hashtags and specific brand names delivers a competitive advantage straight to your screen. 

In the next installment of the Guide to Smarter Social Media Engagement, learn about the planning practices for effective engagement with your social audience. 


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Topics: Social Media Management, Guide to Smarter Social Engagement

Back 2 School 2015: Shorter Ads, YouTube and Gen-Y Parents

Posted by Todd Wasserman on Sep 1, 2015 12:49:48 PM

The following is a guest blog post from industry expert Todd Wasserman.

I’ve often thought that it must be depressing to be a school-age child these days. Not because of increased academic pressure and gratuitously assigned homework as much as the seemingly truncated summer season. 

Kids still get as much time off in the summer as they always did, but as soon as one school year ends, they’re hit by back-to-school campaigns that seem to get earlier every year, serving as an ever-present reminder that the end is nigh. Such campaigns used to hit in late August, but advertisers have recently started them in late June.

Happily, the trend seems to be reversing. As Ad Age notes, ads this year started in July and July ad volume fell 40%, according to researcher Ace Metrix.

In addition to shorter ads, this year YouTube is once again the go-to channel and marketers are focusing on Millennials as Gen-Y embraces parenthood.

Shorter Ads

In addition to shortening the season, marketers have also cut their ads down. The standard TV ad runs 30 seconds, but Ace Metrix reports that this year, 60% of back-to-school ads are 15 seconds long.

For instance, this Staples ad manages to make the pitch in that short amount of time:

The move towards shorter ads isn’t specific to the back-to-school season. The number of 15-second TV ads jumped more than 80% between 2008 and 2012, according to Nielsen.

The reason, of course, is the growth of mobile and online, where 30 seconds can seem an eternity. Nielsen recommends that advertisers test their :30s with viewers wired with EEGs and then recut the ads to feature only the moments in which the subjects’ neurological responses are the highest.

Tapping YouTube

Advertising is succumbing to the trends that affect media as whole: There’s a simultaneous rise in ultra-short form and longform. Dell, for instance, is running a docu-series this year on YouTube featuring young high achievers. Each video runs about 90 seconds.

Not everyone is so adventurous. Most are hitting last year’s YouTube playbook. Old Navy, meanwhile, has successfully repeated last year’s viral video success with the song “Unlimited” with another music video that’s part of the same series. At this writing, the video had close to 8 million views, which is more than the original.

Not all the attempts are successful. Candie’s inked a deal with YouTube phenom Miranda Sings and launched a back-to-school campaign in June that, along with another deal with music group Fifth Harmony, has failed to replicate Old Navy’s viral status.

Overall though, going with a teen YouTube influencer for a seems to be as much a no-brainer as featuring Santa Claus in your Christmas commercial. At the very least, it can help support a campaign. JC Penney, for instance, is trying to do something a little different with its “Bend the Trend” campaign that asks kids to define their personal style. To ensure maximum currency, the retailer signed up teen YouTube influencers Josh Tryhane, Sierra Furtado and Paulina Cerrilla.

Gen-Y Parents

While such campaigns are aimed at kids, marketers realize that usually it’s moms and dads that are actually making the purchases. 

Target has cleverly addressed both by enlisting 12-year-old Maddie Ziegler, star of the Lifetime reality show Dance Moms.

The other change this year is that perhaps for the first time, advertisers are targeting Millennial parents, rather than Boomers and Gen Xers. That explains why Staples brought back this 20-year-old ad this year: As CBC notes, “they've kept bringing it back because the kids who were victimized by it then are now parents who thoroughly enjoy having the shoe on the other foot.”

Millennials are commonly defined as having been born between 1980 and 2000 or so or 1977 through 1996, which means that some can be as old as 38, which definitely puts them in parenting territory.

According to BSM Media, 65% of Millennial moms say they watch at least two videos online every week and 25% watch daily. Some 64% also say they subscribe to YouTube channels. In addition, many are watching videos on Facebook.

When it comes to actually making a purchase, a white paper by MRY notes that moms like to crowdsource their decisions and are more likely to post reviews and blog than the general population. 

The takeaway? While YouTube and TV advertising is still seen as an effective vehicle to stimulate the nag factor among kids and teens, moms are likely to consult their social media networks and reviews before they go out and make a purchase. 

Interested in Back 2 School campaigns on social media? Be sure to check out our BACK 2 SCHOOL INFOGRAPHIC!

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Topics: Back 2 School

Infographic: Which Back 2 School Retailers Yielded The Best Social Media Buzz?

Posted by Marketing on Sep 1, 2015 9:07:00 AM

Unfortunately, summer is officially over. While the New York City heat continues to try to deceive the Tracxters working in the US headquarters, the one true sign that the most fun season of the year has come to a close is the beginning of the school year nationwide.

Back 2 School season can be immensely stressful for all involved. While children worry about making a solid first impression with their classmates and teachers, and how they will deal with an increased workload as they climb the academic ranks, oftentimes their parents are left fretting over all of the shopping they must do to prepare their kids for the upcoming year.

After hearing some parents in the office joking about how anxious this entire shopping process has made them, we decided to take a look at social media buzz surrounding Back 2 School sales and savings in order to get a feel for which brands did the best job when it came to leaving these stressed out child rearing superheroes satisfied, at ease, and with a slightly heavier wallet than others as they scramble to prepare their kids for the fall season.


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Topics: infographic, Back 2 School

Social Audience Engagement: Insight, Guidance and Best Practices

Posted by Marketing on Aug 31, 2015 10:36:00 AM

The following is the first installment in a four-part series on the Guide to Smarter Social Engagement, where you will learn necessary preparations for smart engagement with your audience, tools to employ, as well as best practices for optimal results. In the first installment, learn to identify your audience, what they expect from brands and their habits. 


There are several elements that comprise a total audience picture that are all essential in achieving smart social engagement. Enterprises must move beyond just audience listening, and should incorporate a thorough understanding and identification of their audience in order to effectively communicate with users and customers. 

How a brand interacts with its audience holds as much importance as knowing who they are and what they feel about the brand, as is where the communication takes place. Once a brand accumulates audience insight, it’s time to apply the information in an effective and efficient social manner. 




It’s not enough anymore to simply gather demographics on your audience; we are now in need of more detail, of psychographics. “Psychographics means interests, affinities, proclivities, biases, sexuality, occupation, education, intentions, politics, health, and thousands of other attributes, [like how many children someone has and what their age groups are]. Targeting is explicit. Also, the ability to add in layers of financial qualification is critical. There’s no reason to market to users who won’t be able to afford your product or services,” reveals Founder and Evangelist of aimClear, Marty Weintraub.

Collecting psychographic data is time-consuming, but worth every effort. Although some social media management software can help the psychographic data collection process begin, and it can also give you lots of insight into how people live, majority of collecting this data is manual and requires time. 

For years, marketers have traditionally segmented their markets by generation, and products and services were mass marketed, hoping to convince most buyers that they related to it somehow. Today’s consumer has evolved, is informed, vocal, and expects social engagement with brands of choice. They also group themselves in much smaller entities within each generation. There are so many “types” of consumers, that gathering psychographic data is really the best way to define and segment your audience to be sure you are reaching the right people for the right reasons. 

One small example of collecting psychographics is sentiment analysis. Knowing how your followers feel about your product or service is the reason they purchased it to begin with. Armed with this information, enterprises can much better understand the “why” as well as the “who” behind the purchase. 

Audience segmentation is vital to big brands; identifying and segmenting an audience by the interests with their highest affinity, brands can better understand their needs and how to meet them. Not all people have the same needs, and if they do, they are met in different ways. 


CEO of Gallup, Jim Clifton, reveals in State of the American Consumer that, “Companies that engage both their employees and their customers gain a 240% boost in performance-related business outcomes. These companies understand the essential role of human nature in driving performance, especially in those critical moments when engaged employees and engaged customers interact.” 


A large part of knowing your audience is also identifying and engaging with influencers. These consumers are highly active on social media and have a significant, engaged following. They are authentic in their views, and respected and looked to by a select audience for guidance on products, services and more. The right influencer is aligned with your brand, has a strong following and can subtly promote it to their network. Since it’s a peer-to-peer relationship, these influencers are trusted and can be better at selling products or services than a brand itself.

“With the emergence of this new type of marketing, technology is being developed to improve the effect and reach of influencers. Existing influencer platforms are becoming more sophisticated in matching brands to influencers,” says Marcos Vicente Blanco of Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments. As brands turn their focus and budgets to this field, so too do the technology developers who seek to tap into advertising budgets. 




Contrary to influencers, the brand detractor must also be clearly understood in order for brands to manage effective and smart engagement in a public arena. 

BJ Bueno, founder and managing partner of The Cult Branding Company makes a valid point. He said, “It’s certainly true that bad word of mouth tends to catch fire faster than good word of mouth. There’s a human explanation: When we lose, it feels bad. But when we win, we get double the good feelings. People who have lost something, like maybe an argument with you, feel good when they talk bad about you. It has been shown that people get a sense of esteem and a lot of social capital when they’re the first to pass on information, and that’s the trouble. People who have had a negative experience will do everything in their power to hijack your brand.”

Bueno advises not to engage adversely, and instead listen to the detractor’s point for any validity. If there is some legitimacy to what they say, it’s something that can be solved internally – not publically. Some social media experts believe detractors merit engagement – strategic engagement. In a Forrester study on Dos and Don’ts for Dealing With Detractors, its authors feel that the validity of the complaint should be looked at, and then managers can evaluate the best way to engage with them. Basic customer service values and strong customer care tactics may actually make a detractor into an influencer. 

In the next installment of the Guide to Smarter Social Media Engagement, learn about social listening, planning and smart engagement tactics or, download the ebook below to read it in its entirety.


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Topics: Social Media Management

The Friday Five for August 28th, 2015

Posted by Marketing on Aug 28, 2015 11:18:55 AM

Following is this week's Friday Five! a quick rundown of our favorite social media content that gained traction online over the course of the week. The articles herein are identified using the Tracx social business management platform. They cover everything from social media industry-related content, to unique projects that we feel utilized social data in a powerful way, to pieces that simply piqued our interest or made us think about a given topic differently.

So, without further ado, we bring you the Friday Five!

Millennials Matter: How and Why You MUST Market to this Generation



They’re well-educated, tech-savvy, information hungry and ambitious. On the other hand, they can also be impatient, have short attention spans and demand instant gratification. And be careful what you say about them because I’m one of them! Who am I talking about? Millennials.

One Billion People Visit Facebook in One Day – Good News for Social Businesses



While many business owners are still unclear about how Facebook works – or whether they should be using it, Facebook announced that on Monday, August 24, 1 billion people had interacted with Facebook in some way – that’s one out of every seven people on earth.

Tweets Officially Land On Google Desktop Search: What This Means



The update, which was not announced by Google, mirrors the changes that it made for its mobile search results earlier in May. Upon the release of the update for mobile devices, users searching through the Google app or through any Internet browser within their smartphones or tablets will be able to see real-time content coming from Twitter in the received search results.

7 Ways To Leverage Social Signals To Improve Content Performance



When it comes to content and improving search rankings, don't shrug off social, says columnist Jim Yu. Instead, think of social, content and search as a three-pronged approach to achieving marketing success.

Seven Habits of Highly Successful Social Media Professionals


Social media has the power to make or break a brand. Today, more than 71% of all adults online use Facebook, and over 250 million people use Twitter. Yet, as powerful as social media is, many people still underuse or misunderstand it.

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Topics: #FridayFive

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about tracx

Tracx is a 360-degree social media management software (SMMS) platform delivering unified social intelligence that allows enterprises to manage, share and extract actionable insights, threats and opportunities from the social web.