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How Social is the City?

Has ‘the City’, that bastion of British financial institutions, heard about social media yet? Well some parts certainly have. The Bank of England, the Financial Services Authority and the City of London Corporation itself have all embraced social media to at least some degree.

But what of the big companies listed on London’s Stock Exchange?

Anecdotal evidence is that participation is patchy so we thought we would carry out a comparative study of the FTSE-100, the largest UK-listed companies.

Many of these companies own famous and well-promoted consumer and B2B brands but we’re keen to focus on the City/corporate social media profiles (i.e. the owned social media) that serve the entity which is actually listed on the London Stock Exchange.

So, this week we’re contacting all the FTSE-100 companies we can (unfortunately some don’t list any contacts at all on their websites!) to help validate the online profiles we’ll be assessing as part of our biggest comparative analysis of social media performance yet (here are some of the others).

Then next week we’ll start our research and, by the end of November we hope, we’ll publish the results.

If you want to register now for the report, just send an email to [email protected].

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London 2012 ‘Socialympics’ Report [+Infographic]

We’ve just published our report into the London 2012 ‘Socialympics’ and also made available the underlying dataset, which runs to some 43,500 data points.

We reckon this is the longest and most comprehensive study ever undertaken into the comparative performance of key Olympics sponsors in activating their sponsorships through social media and networks. It used our PRINT™ performance measurement system to provide a purely quantitative assessment of sponsor brands’ performance on websites, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube over nearly 5 months from 18 April, 100 days before the opening ceremony of the Summer Olympics, to the end of the Paralympics on 9 August.

Key Findings

You can download the full report here, but below is a quick visualisation of the change in rankings from 16 July to 9 September (click to enlarge)…

…and a few highlights:

  • Some brands (e.g. BMW, Cadbury, Cisco and P&G) benefitted from starting early while others (like adidas, British Airways, Coca-Cola, EDF and VISA) concentrated their efforts later on when Olympics fever was at a peak.
  • By contrast, a significant number of brands did not appear to engage with social media at all – or only sporadically.
  • For some, it appeared that social media activation was undertaken in isolation or as an afterthought – or as merely an amplifier for advertising campaigns.
  • Few campaigns seemed to be centred in ‘social’ or had social fully integrated.
  • Some smaller brands outperformed larger ones on the Sociagility PRINT™ rankings by adopting what appeared to be a more proactive policy of engaging in real social dialogue.
  • Ambush strategies by non-sponsors did not appear to generate impact in social media sufficient to compete with sponsors.
  • The brands that led the Sociagility PRINT™ rankings were those that used social media to focus on engagement not just brand awareness.

Results available as Open Data

After tracking 25 brands for 145 days across 4 social networks and 5 dimensions of social media performance, we’ve amassed 43,500 individual data points. In the spirit of Open Data, we are making the data from this study available for anyone to use, reuse and redistribute, subject only to a requirement to attribute and share-alike.

The full data set can also be downloaded from: http://www.sociagility.com/socialympics

No doubt there will be lots of qualitative and anecdotal studies of this year’s Games but we’ve tried to make useful quantitative contribution towards  planning for the next Games and towards a more rigorous approach to planning the social media aspect of sponsorship activation.

Let us know what you think.

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Objective social media metrics for agencies

An example PRINT™ Scorecard

Ever since we launched our PRINT™ methodology about eight months ago, we’ve had requests from agencies – PR, advertising and digital, amongst others – to license our algorithm to them so they could have an easy, low cost way to help plan their social media campaigns for clients – and an objective measure of their success. So today we’re announcing a new set of licensing options to address the specific needs of agencies.

Having made and been on the receiving end of many pitches whilst agency-side, we know some of the challenges only too well: a desire for independent validation; an approach that clients can trust; easy access and fast turnaround; and all at the lowest cost possible!

By licensing the PRINT™ methodology, agencies get access to a simple, comprehensive system to benchmark prospects’ and clients’ social media performance, providing the independent, objective evidence they need to:

  • Make the case for social media strategies and campaigns
  • Take informed decisions when directing limited client budgets
  • Demonstrate the value that their work has delivered

We’ve put together a trio of simple licensing levels – Gold, Silver and Bronze – each with different features and price points, that will allow any agency to start benefitting from the PRINT™ methodology quickly and cost-effectively.

There’s more information here. To enquire about trial access, email us at [email protected] and we’ll be in touch.

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The Final Sprint to London 2012

As we approach the last two weeks before to the London 2012 opening ceremony, marketing activity from the official Olympics sponsors shows no signs of letting up. Quite the reverse, in fact, as new campaigns are announced daily.

It’s a far cry from the situation we faced when we started our social media performance tracking on 18 April, with only a handful of brands having activated their sponsorships using social media – and fewer still having any kind of dedicated presence (we’ve examined the ins and outs of these contrasting strategies before).

Over the course of the last few months, we’ve invited any of the sponsors to inform us about their social media activities so we can ensure the London 2012 Social Scoreboard closely reflects the reality. Some have taken us up on that offer, and we’ve updated our tracker accordingly. But for the final fortnight and throughout the games themselves we thought we’d up the ante and take a more proactive approach.

With that in mind we will be reviewing and, if necessary, updating the websites, Twitter accounts, Facebook pages and YouTube channels that contribute to our rankings – for each of the sponsors. Only those profiles with no apparent Olympic-related content anywhere will be excluded from our analysis.

And with less than half the brands previously having a dedicated or designated presence relating to their sponsorship, this will probably result in some interesting changes. So make sure to check the London 2012 Social Scoreboard from Monday 16 July to see how the rankings have altered.

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Our new venture to provide in-house social media talent

Our whole business rationale is based on the belief that in-house capability is crucial to brands’ social media success. So we are delighted to have teamed up with  CloudNine Social Media & Digital Talent (a firm we’ve already been working closely with) to create Sociagility Talent, a recruitment service devoted to providing in-house social media talent.

This is a highly specialised area. Companies need the right people to fit existing roles but also future needs. The key to getting it right is a deep understanding of in-house requirements plus specialist recruitment experience in the digital and social media field.

The venture brings together our (ahem) social media consultancy experience and CloudNine’s expertise as a leading recruiter of social media and digital talent. The  combo will cater for the increased demand for high calibre in-house social media and digital specialists, to meet changing marketing and communications needs.

Social media talent is one of the fastest growing areas of recruitment in the UK. Figures from Altimeter Group show  enterprise-class corporations were to spend an average of £180,000 (approx US$270,000) on social media talent in 2011 compared to £120,000 (US$180,000) in 2010. According to the 2012 Marketing Week/Ball & Hoolahan Salary Survey, a widely-anticipated restructuring of marketing departments is having an above-average impact on the salaries of digital specialists.

There’s a big difference between the social media talent you find in agencies and that needed to succeed (survive?) in an in-house role. Like us, Steve Ward – who is owner of CloudNine and becomes Head of Talent for the new venture – has found that successful integration and execution of social media by a brand is completely dependent on the calibre of its in-house social media talent, how they build advocacy internally and their ability to manage external agencies. But unlike the agency generalists who work across multiple clients and sectors, in-house specialists need the attitude and aptitude to succeed in a single sector, corporate environment.

Sociagility Talent will immediately tap into both our companies’ existing talent communities, as well as source additional expertise on- and off-line. You can see some of the current positions we’re hiring here and – if you’re looking to hire – we’d be happy to show you how we could help.

We’ll also be represented during Social Media Week London, 13 to 17 February. Our event “Social Media Survival – How To Make it In-House” on Thursday 16 February, 3.30–5.30pm, will see presentations from some leading in-house social media specialists – including Chloe Williams of Boden, Stuart Witts of Marie Curie Cancer Care and Kiera Doherty of BSkyB – as well as an exchange of ideas on in-house challenges and successes, and the announcement of our Community Manager of the Year!

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Political Brands Need Social KPIs Too

The analysis below described Iowa as the first truly ‘social’ primary in this year’s Presidential race. But – along with other studies – indications about voting intention based on analysis of the candidates’ social media performance proved premature. Click here for an infographic comparing each candidate’s share of the vote and some of the key social media metrics published in the weeks leading up to 3 January.

A very Happy New Year to all – and what better time to launch another study?

As I am sure you know, 2012 is US Presidential Election year and the fun starts with the Republican party primary elections, state by state, to decide who should challenge President Obama in November. First up is the Iowa primary tomorrow so we decided to apply PRINT™ to analyse the candidates’ social media performance. Here are the results:

  Rank PRINT Index™ Popularity Receptiveness Interaction Network Trust
Ron Paul 1 145 87 50 279 164 145
Newt Gingrich 2 109 92 195 46 107 106
Michele Bachmann 3 84 76 108 66 67 102
Mitt Romney 4 79 86 38 69 98 105
Rick Perry 5 78 170 94 -21 148 -2
Rick Santorum 6 70 66 102 70 37 75
Jon Huntsman 7 64 64 78 17 80 82

The full results are probably mainly of interest to followers of the US political scene but what we found most interesting is the amazing correlation between our survey results and actual voting intention.

Comparing our study data with polling data from respected independent US political polling firm Public Policy Polling, we discovered a strong, positive correlation between social media performance and voting intention in the Iowa caucus.

We also found an equally positive correlation between an effective Facebook page, as measured using PRINT, and national voting intentions.

Both were at a statistically high 95% level of confidence.

For the statisticians among you, here are the details:

  1. Pearson product-moment correlation coefficients were computed to assess the relationship between the social media performance of each candidate (using the PRINT Index™) and their polling results in Iowa (using data from Public Policy Polling). There was a positive correlation between the two variables, r=0.825, n=7, p=0.05.
  2. Pearson product-moment correlation coefficients were also computed to assess the relationship between social media performance of each candidate’s Facebook page (using the PRINT methodology) and their national polling results (using data from Public Policy Polling). There was a positive correlation between the two variables, r=0.818, n=7, p=0.05.

We are not, of course, suggesting a predictive quality for PRINT – our study was 21 December anyway and a lot can change in days during primaries. But these results suggest that the connection between social media performance and voting intention cannot be ignored and that it is not just commercial brands but politicians too who need real social KPIs.

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The social brand value of the world’s leading brands [Infographic]

Like the infographic? Download the summary report

In November 2011, we looked at the social brand value of 50 of the world’s leading brands, creating a revised top 50 ranking according to their social media performance, as measured by our PRINT Index™ KPI.

The PRINT system compares brands on five key dimensions or ‘attributes’ of social media performance – popularity, receptiveness, interaction, network reach and trust – across multiple platforms. The Sociagility Top 50 report analyses the social brand value of the world’s leading brands and the competitive influences that determine their social media performance. Here’s a visual representation of just some of the report highlights.

If you like it, please feel free to share.

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PRINT™ links brand value to social media performance

Today, we’re launching a solution to some of the more common questions marketers and social media strategists are asking of their organisations’ social media performance:

  • Does our brand’s social footprint add value?
  • Can this be defined and measured in a meaningful way?
  • How can we use this information to make improvements?

We, like many of our clients, have been frustrated by the lack of a practical set of metrics, or even a common measurement framework. The tools we found were too narrow in scope, too vague in their outputs or simply too expensive.

So we set out to develop our own methodology and it is launched today.

It is called PRINT™ because it measures social footprint based on five attributes – popularity, receptiveness, interaction, network reach and trust. We think it has the potential to become a valuable KPI for marketers and social media strategists because it allows brands to compare their social media performance directly with other chosen brands, across multiple channels. And the output is a set of specific actionable insights.

Above all, unlike other public measures of ‘influence’ (e.g. Klout, PeerIndex, etc.)  PRINT™ correlates closely with established measures for brand value and growth from respected sources like Millward Brown (BrandZ) and Interbrand.

It comes in three flavours:

  1. PRINT™ Benchmark – a one-off report for £950 (US $1,500)
  2. PRINT™ Annual – a one-off report plus 2 updates over the course of a year for £1,800 (US $2,900)
  3. PRINT™ Tracker – a one-off report plus 11 monthly updates for £4,250 (US $6,800)

There’s more information about PRINT™ available on our site – including a sample scorecard, insight charts, FAQs and a summary of our investigation into the link between the PRINT™ Index and brand value/growth.

If you like what you see, please share it. If you’d like to become a customer, go straight here.

We’re already applying the PRINT™ solution to our own clients, but we’re also keen to investigate different sectors too. So watch out for the Sociagility Social Top 50, our list of the top global brands ranked using PRINT™.

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Check your company’s social agility score

How social are our organisations, really? For anyone tasked with navigating their company through the social quagmire, it’s a question often asked and rarely answered meaningfully.

We’re hoping to change that with our new social agility benchmark.

By going through the 5-10 minute online assessment (which is completely confidential), you receive an instant response that ranks and categorises you and your organisation against others.

At the end of the assessment, you’ll receive a report that gives you:

  • Your Social Agility Score – an indication of your organisation’s social agility on a 0-10 scale
  • Your Social Agility Profile – an assessment of your organisation’s progress towards social agility
  • A benchmark for how your organisation compares to others
  • Recommendations for how you can improve

Early indications are already showing that the most important factors for organisations trying to achieve competitive advantage from social media include:

  • the ability to change
  • understanding its impact on marketing
  • awareness of what is being said and
  • ensuring that activity reflects the personality of the brand

We’ll be producing a full report in due course, which you can opt in to receive as part of the assessment.

To take the assessment on behalf of your organisation, click the button below.

Start

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Sociagility teams with CloudNine

Very pleased to announce a partnership that will ensure our clients achieve competitive advantage from social media. Steve Ward’s CloudNine is one of the best recruiters of social media talent in the UK and, given our focus on helping clients build their own in-house social media capabilities, it makes complete sense for us to work with them.

As part of the final step in our DISC capability-building process, Steve and his team will ensure that our clients find the best personnel to deliver the social strategies that we help them develop.

You can read the full announcement here and can follow CloudNine on Twitter: @CloudNineRec.

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