How HR professionals score as social networkers

December 14, 2009 at 3:28 pm | Posted in Research | Leave a Comment
Tags: hr, Research, social media, word of mouth

We like to share the great research and thinking around word of mouth and social marketing that is constantly being done by our members, so take a look at the whitepaper WOM UK member and social media agency Pass It On Media have created in collaboration with CHA, the workplace communications specialists.

Conversations at your fingertips: How HR professionals score as social networkers looks at “how well HR professionals and consultancies are embracing this new medium, and how their organisations could benefit from a strategic approach to social networking to build closer relationships with clients and customers, employees and suppliers.”

As the graph above suggests, the findings might come as a surprise; the majority of work and career conversations are positive, despite the current difficult environment. The study found that HR professionals’ nervousness about embracing social networking is not vindicated by the online content, and that the field is still wide open for commercial players to get involved in conversations to build their brands, position themselves as thought-leaders and attract staff, clients and interest from influencers through word of mouth.

Look through the full whitepaper below and let us know your thoughts in the comments; if you’d like to discuss further or set up a WOM UK debate or workshop on the subject, drop us a line.

January Espresso Briefing: Dr Robert East on moving your WOM measurement beyond Net Promoter Score

December 10, 2009 at 1:51 pm | Posted in Events, Measurement, Research | Leave a Comment
Tags: consumer behaviour, net promoter score, professor robert east, social media measurement, wom uk, word of mouth measurement

We’re going to kick off the New Year with a corker of an event. At 8.30-10.30am, Wednesday 27th January at Guardian News & Media, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU, Dr Robert East, Professor of Consumer Behaviour at Kingston University, joins WOM UK to discuss: Net Promoter Score is a popular WOM measure but are there better alternatives?

Net Promoter Score is a popular WOM measure for assessing the performance of the brand/company. Along with satisfaction measures, it does predict sales growth. However NPS has several deficiencies as a measure; in particular it fails to measure negative word of mouth. With increasing interest in predicting sales, profits and equity gains, we need customer metrics that do a better job at predicting customer behaviour. In this lively morning event, Dr East will be asking:

  • Why does NPS have shortcomings as a measure for WOM?
  • What are the alternatives and why are they better?
  • What are the implications moving forward?

Dr Robert East is Professor of Consumer Behaviour at Kingston University and directs the Consumer Research Unit in the Department of Strategy, Entrepreneurship and Marketing. He is one of the world’s most authoritative and respected leaders in word of mouth, brand switching and loyalty. He is the author of numerous books and articles on consumer behaviour and his research on word of mouth has been pivotal in improving our understanding of the importance of WOM.

All our Espresso Briefings are FREE and include breakfast and networking. To register for a place please email [email protected] – members get priority booking.

Should social media be paid for? IAB and WOM UK say yes…

December 8, 2009 at 1:19 pm | Posted in Ethics, Events | Leave a Comment
Tags: IAB, should social media be paid for, social media advertising, wom uk, word of mouth

Last night’s joint IAB and WOM UK debate, ‘Should social media be paid for?‘, was intended to be taken with a big pinch of salt. The two teams purposefully dug their heels in, ramped up the drama and pushed their views to the extreme to make the assembled crowd really question the possibilities and limits of paid advertising in the social space – but some genuinely interesting issues surfaced amongst the bombast.

On the ‘for’ side, Kate Box, Head of Social Media Sales at Microsoft Advertising, and Steve Filler, Commercial Director for Unruly Media, made the case that consumers don’t mind whether content is paid for. Brands need to act like brands, and they claimed that visibly advertising is more honest; paid advertising in the social space gets results, and is essential for the survival of the industry.

In the ‘against’ corner, President of WOM UK and WOM Evangelist at 1000heads Molly Flatt joined Ciarán Norris, Head of Social Marketing at Mindshare, to assert that paid media is, and should remain, by definition separate to earned or social media. Although paid can inspire social interaction, the independent social space is all about relationships, flourishing on a currency of status, passion, expertise and networking, and those can’t be bought. Interactive, digital, online PR and the like all have their place – but they’re not truly social media.

The votes came down on the side of ‘for’, but the atmosphere was lighthearted as both sides acknowledged that valuing one did not exclude the importance of the other, and that a mix of paid stimulation and inspired independent WOM and listening is best. For an idea of how an integrated view can look, it’s worth reading Neilsen’s Pete Blackshaw‘s recent post on Maximizing Super Bowl Advertising ROI in a Paid Vs. Earned Media Environment.

Some genuinely interesting grey areas also emerged. Where does inspiration end and payment begin, when brands are providing trials and freebies? Doesn’t the industry need to firm up its definitions so that brands don’t just think they’re ‘earning social’ by throwing a few interactive ads online? And isn’t it essential that brands don’t see social media attention as ‘free’ – more that they must pay for it in man hours for listening, responding and creativity, rather than cash?

If you couldn’t make it to the sold-out event, let us know your thoughts and questions below, and look out for future collaborations. What would you like to see debated next?

When does information become incentivisation?

December 3, 2009 at 2:44 pm | Posted in Ethics | 2 Comments
Tags: social media ethics, word of mouth ethics, disclosure, sponsored conversation, ftc guidelines, paid WOM

Back when the FTC’s guidelines on US bloggers’ disclosure of brand payment and gifting were announced in October, the controversy was predictably loud. The likes of CBS and Media Bistro highlighted the questions and ethical issues that the guidelines left unanswered, and the IAB published an open letter warning that they posed a threat to the Constitutional right to free speech. Search Engine Watch in particular said what many others were feeling: that opinions are different from fact, and the guidelines will be near-impossible to enforce.

Well, we’ll soon see. This week the guidelines finally came into effect and the continued debate around their usefulness will almost certainly have implications for future UK, European and global legislation.

The Boston Globe has collated a number of opinions from US bloggers. Most agree that there is a need to protect the independence of social media word of mouth, but there is also a strong sense that the guidelines ignore the subtleties of the space. Particularly interesting is the view of Ryan Spaulding, of Ryan’s Smashing Life music blog, that certain assets given to him by brands simply facilitate his opinion-making, without obligation: “I don’t look at it as payment. It’s what it takes to get the job done. To me this whole thing is a wide-cast net that doesn’t make a lot of sense.”

In some ways the hostility of the blogosphere has been surprising. Communities are fiercely protective of their independence and any attempts to astroturf, flog or conceal paid WOM have historically been met with vigilance and animosity. As blogger Dan Brown has asserted, the guidelines do have a necessary and positive role to play in maintaining trust. But it’s also evident that developing a relationship with a brand – which may bring certain assets, trials and exclusive information, events or opportunities – is a very different thing to being paid to talk. Bloggers who do the former, with the benefit of their readership in mind, do not want to be tarred with the latter’s brush.

What do you think? if you want to explore these and related issues in more detail face to face, join us at the FREE WOM UK/IAB debate Should social media be paid for? next Monday 7th December. Click here for details and to register.

WOM UK and IAB debate: Should social media be paid for?

December 1, 2009 at 12:48 pm | Posted in Ethics, Events | 1 Comment
Tags: IAB, paid advertising, social media, sponsored conversation, wom uk, word of mouth

We’ve teamed up with the IAB to create a lively and provocative panel discussion. On Monday 7th December, 5-7pm at the IAB offices, 14 Macklin Street, London, WC2B 5NF, Molly Flatt, President of WOM UK and WOM Evangelist at 1000heads; Kate Box, Head of Social Media – Sales at Microsoft Advertising; Steve Filler, Commercial Director for Unruly Media; and Ciarán Norris, Head of Social Marketing at Mindshare will be debating:

Should social media be paid for?

Social media is not a marketing tool; it’s a public platform for conversation. So how does paid and sponsored advertising fit into the space – if at all?

At this debate we will be discussing the many issues that arise around paid-for marketing in social media. Is there a place for incorporating paid-for advertising and distribution? Does sponsored conversation have any real value for brands? Or does the true value of social media for marketers lie in independent peer-to-peer word of mouth and advocacy, inspired by passion not cash? Where do we draw the boundaries with incentivisation and transparency? Should we incorporate all of the above?

Our expert panellists will be looking at where social media fits into earned, owned and bought media, and where it should lie in the marketing planning mix. So join us for what will undoubtedly be an informative, entertaining and ever-so-slightly festive affair.

The event is FREE to all and there will be Christmas drinks afterwards while we continue the discussion, so register with [email protected] asap – we look forward to seeing you there.

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