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The Social Soap Box: Engaging Customers Through Social Means

November 12, 2010 at 4:37 pm PST

I spoke at PubCon earlier this week on the topic of social media, press relations and brand management. Judging by the well attended conference and the flurry of activity, social media shows no sign of slowing down. It may evolve and we may call it something different, but the idea that everything is connected – a networked economy if you will – is here to stay. We’ve all heard of the great case studies of social media success for consumer brands (large and small) and certainly personal brands, but what about for small businesses?

I recently had a conversation with the Small Business Solutions Marketing Group at Cisco to understand how they used social media to gain mindshare and drive product development, and am pleased to hear their great progress and success. Since the group started incorporating social media into their marketing efforts targeted at resellers and small business owners last year, they’ve seen great return including an approximate 200% increase in community growth across their external social channels.

How was this achieved? Marketing Manager, Jeanne Quinn, outlined the following four crucial steps:

1)      Listening: Leveraging various social media listening tools, the group was able to identify their audience segment on Twitter and Facebook. In addition, they were able to assess the audience’s user behavior and information needs in these social networks.

2)      Content Development: Based on the audience profiles and user behavior, they developed content that met the needs of their audience including how-to tips, product reviews and basic technology explanations.

3)      Amplification: The content was then amplified across their Twitter and Facebook channels.

4)      Engagement: Through their social channels, the team responded to feedback from their community and also participated in existing conversations from third party blogs and social networks.

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TV Network Websites Draw Eager Web Video Viewers

Brightcove Tube Mogul Research on Web Video

Brightcove / TubeMogul research chart showing web video consumption on broadcast TV network web sites far outstrips web video related to any other type of content -- magazines, music videos, radio, etc.

We recently blogged about NBC and how the TV network leads all others in terms of producing original content for the web. During the Fall 2009 to Spring 2010 TV season, we estimate NBC produced approximately 88 ‘web extensions’ related to the network’s TV programs.  CBS, the #1 rated TV network by Nielsen for that same period, we estimate produced less than half that amount -- 32 web extensions. Meanwhile, for Q12010, NBC.com maintained its spot as the top TV network web site with 9.1 million unique visitors while CBS.com only had 5.6 million uniques, even though CBS was tops in the TV ratings.

The traffic numbers seem to show that NBC has the right idea in terms of focusing on the production of web content for NBC.com – we believe their focus on web content production is leading to more web traffic to NBC.com versus CBS.com.  Now there’s new data investigating the consumption of web video content related to the TV networks ; the data supports the idea that original content is crucial to a TV website’s strategy. For this new research report, video platform Brightcove and analytics firm TubeMogul surveyed nearly 2,000 news and entertainment websites representing 3.4 billion video streams (report link)

A main take away from the Brightcove / TubeMogul report -- web audiences are indeed primarily dwelling on the TV sites to watch video related to TV show content.  

Following are a few example data points that support the finding:

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