Social data and analytics are all the rage these days, but what precisely should companies do with the information they collect? In the case of hotel chain Best Western, the answer was to engage with customers through social media. It partnered with SaaS customer experience management company Medallia to boost TripAdvisor scores for participating properties.

In this Q&A, Michelle de Haaff, Medallia’s vice president of marketing and a self-declared social media junkie, offer their tips for successful social media engagement with customers, advice on how to handle social data and thoughts on ways that mobile is reshaping how brands and consumers interact.

Companies are collecting more data about their customers, but making sense of that data remains a challenge. What are some best practices for marketers who are trying to glean insights from the vast trove of social data available to them?

At the most basic level, you need a system for organizing that data,Michelle de Haaff benchmarks to measure it against and a process for tracking it over time. (read more…)

“Who ‘likes’ ya, baby?” asks Devon Eyer in her recent presentation at SocialMedia.org’s Brands-Only Summit. In her talk, Johnson & Johnson’s director of corporate communications for social media explains how they improved their corporate reputation by engaging with the right social advocates.

Their influencer strategy is all about finding the people who like their brand and giving them the means to spread the word. Here are three key points from her presentation:

  • Listen strategically. Devon encourages brands to listen to what’s being said about them and the things they care about, so that they’re better prepared to enter the conversation. But it’s about more than trawling for comments on every message board. Find the critiques that will inspire improvement.
  • Let data take you to the right influencers. Devon explains that data can lead you to the people leading the conversation about your brand. It’s not about finding the blogger with the most followers — it’s about engaging with the one whose passions and values match the company’s.
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There is no secret ingredient for successful content strategy, but there is a tried and true recipe. To create brand authority, increase conversion and promote participation from your readers, you have to make sure that you have the right balance of evergreen and timely content.

What are evergreen and timely content?

Evergreen content is the powerhouse of your Web presence. It stands the test of time, and remains relevant for months or years after its creation with little effort on your part. This type of content answers important questions, solves common problems and lends your brand the authority it needs to comment on more timely issues. It can come in many forms, from an infographic to a white paper, resource guide or even a blog post.

Timely content, on the other side of the spectrum, is based in trendy subject matter. It is your springboard for commenting on current events and subjects that don’t hold as much weight long-term, but are highly relevant in the here and now. (read more…)

At any given time, 40% of Americans are planning a move. “Peak” season for buying a new home starts with the Super Bowl in winter and goes through fall. With statistics like that, it’s no surprise that the real-estate space is extremely competitive.

Trulia, a mobile service that helps home buyers find their next house, has enjoyed success in this space. To take things to the next level, Chief Marketing Officer Kira Wampler aimed earlier this year to launch the company’s first ever national campaign. Doing so started with the numbers, she said during a keynote address at the Mobile Marketing Association’s SM2 conference on Wednesday.

Trulia conducted more than 900 hours of research on more than 2,000 people, including interviews and ridealongs as home buyers looked for houses, to better understand their customers before launching the campaign.

What they discovered is that the average Trulia customer tended to be a female who was slightly more affluent than the average American and had more money to spend on the next home than the average home seeker. (read more…)

Advertising Week covers a range of topics, but potty training may still seem like an unlikely one.

Still, toddlers and diapers were all the buzz as day two of the Mobile Marketing Association’s SM2 conference kicked off on Wednesday.

Melanie Huet of Kimberly-Clark and Dwayne Raupp of Organic discussed the implementation of and lessons learned from the Pull-Ups Time to Potty app, a mobile application that gives parents a way to reward children as they transition out of diapers.

Listening to user feedback was key to the app’s success, Raupp said. Initially, it required parents to scan a Pull-Up diaper to unlock the reward, but users complained that the additional step led to a cumbersome process. Eliminating that requirement led to a simpler app that more consumers used.

Such insights by brands that are embracing and experimenting with mobile featured big at the conference. The first day included sessions on the Internet of Things, real-time mobile marketing and case studies by companies such as Toyota Motors and Dunkin’ Brands on how they are using mobile to improve the customer experience. (read more…)