Synthesio Picks My Brain on Social Media Listening, ROI and the Super Bowl Blackout

Blog originally posted by Julie Meredith, Marketing Manager at Synthesio, at:

This week we had the opportunity to chat with Eric T. Tung, Social Media Manager at BMC Software, and well-known social media blogger and speaker. Eric has over 30,000 personal connections in his network – he is one of the most followed people on Twitter in Houston.

We picked Eric’s brain about social media monitoring, the next big innovation he’d like to see, and his latest blog post – Best Marketing Responses to #SuperBowlBlackout

What are your recommended top 3 best uses for social media monitoring? Why should brands listen to social media?

The top use for social media monitoring is for maintaining brand reputation. This includes customer service, monitoring ragers and trolls, and engaging influencers. Second and third, as a social media marketer, is competitor monitoring and marketing. Brands need to listen to social media because of so many reasons, it’d be impossible to name them all here. To help answer questions from prospects or customers, to help defend the brand from ragers and trolls [detractors], to gauge marketing message reach and content sharing.

Perhaps one great example is just this weekend, when alert marketers were able to respond with amazing creative within moments of the Super Bowl Blackout. By creating highly relevant creative, several brands were able to relate to everyone else waiting in the dark for the game to re-start, all while creating a unique brand experience. Social media listening can mean all the difference.

Who do you feel should ‘own’ social media monitoring in business / which departments (if any) have owned it in social media monitoring companies you’ve worked for?

Everyone owns social media. All the employees, and if you have amazing brand advocates, they can help too. If there’s a negative tweet, blog post or otherwise, everyone needs to have the proper training to refer the incident for speedy resolution. It should be the ultimate goal of every social media manager to empower employees to have social just be another tool. There’s no “director of email”, social needs to be a part of everyone’s jobs.

The overall structure of your social media team isn’t as important. Some groups have it within marketing, others within communications, sales, customer service. As best practice, I think there should be a social media “Center of Excellence” or a SMAC – Social Media Advisory Committee. It works in a hub-and-spoke where the core of social lies with a core group. Selecting tools, creating strategy, documents, training, policies, and running corporate channels. From the center, there should be champions within each department. Someone within customer service can help promote the social media agenda within that group – perhaps another within human resources can champion posting job postings on social.

What’s your most hated social media buzzword?

ROI. Sure there’s a way to calculate it, but at this point, it’s more a matter of whether you’re represented or not. Prospects are beginning to evaluate social media activity as much as having a website. Being involved in social means your company is more open, communicative, and possibly easier to work with, and that’s more important than whether the channel directly results in a return. Social is like a billboard. You can’t be expected to see one and drive directly to a store to purchase, but the lack of them will surely have an impact.

What’s your favorite example/use case of ROI in social media listening?

Geez. Didn’t you just read my last response?!

Just kidding. I would say the Super Bowl Blackout again. By being agile, having creative agencies on call, and by listening to the conversation, companies like Oreo, Tide, Audi, Walgreens and even PBS were able to communicate on a more personal level with people experiencing the 34 minutes of the blackout. They were able to put themselves in the same boat as us, the consumer and the social audience as we were waiting patiently for the game to resume.

What do you feel are the biggest challenges with social media listening solutions right now, and what would you love to see as the next big innovation(s) in listening?

I think a system to better gauge individual employee or influencer interactions when mentioning the brand. Although there are some work-arounds to gauge influence, it can be difficult to build dashboards to find out how many posts a particular employee may have contributed to, whether in a blog post, comment, tweet or otherwise. It would be amazing to be able to upload a CSV with names, twitter handles, blogging handles and see which employees are most active, or even better, a tool that automatically detected this info. [This is something Synthesio provides by the way, through theirSynthesioRank influence-ranking platform ;-) ]

Also, something else that would be great would be a tool that can tell you which topics, channels, or media is most receptive to your social media community. Is it when you talk about help desk software, or when you talk about mainframe software. Are photos or videos more shareable? What times are people most likely to share? There doesn’t seem to be an easy way to get that information either.

Thanks for this opportunity to share my thoughts! I really enjoy what Synthesio does.

Thanks to you too, Eric! We always enjoy chatting with you!

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