Cisco and calculating ROI

Return on investment (ROI) is a method of calculation to determine the amount of profit returns for a particular investment. A higher percentage result from the calculation means a higher return in profit. Cisco as most people would know is a large multi-national corporation responsible for the creation of networking equipment. Ranging from servers, router, phones and much more. Since the interaction of Cisco in social media including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, the company knew these technologies were aiding their sales, but could not provide proof. That is until Cisco decided their new ASR router product launch would only be presented on social media rather than conventional methods. This decision produced amazing effects by both outlining the popularity of their social media presence as well as shaving an astounding $100K off their product launch. Cisco’s entire ASR launch campaign cost a staggering six times less than the conventional launch.

How does this product launch tie into ROI’s you might ask? Well…Cisco would have used ROI’s or similar estimation calculations to determine the amount of profit return on the product long before the campaign even began. Read below to have a look how.

ASR

(click to enlarge, Cisco ASR 1001 router)

While Cisco has not released any information regarding their ROI calculation, some assumptions can be set, and a suitable ROI can be formulated. Some initial facts regarding the success of the advertising campaign will also aid in the processes of setting assumptions.

Cisco Social Media facts

  • Blogging: 22 external blogs with 470,000 views/quarter
  • Twitter: 108 feeds with 2 million followers
  • Facebook: 79 groups with 100,000 fans
  • Youtube 300+ channels, 2000+ videos, 4 million views
  • Flickr: 300+ Photos, 400,000 views
  • 3D online game, attracted 20,000+ network engineers
  • 9,000 consumers reached
Cisco ROI assumptions (derived from social media facts)
Timeframe Marketing period for the ASR = 2 months
Cost Posting and monitoring of social media: 10 employees = $120,000
Cost 3D interactive game and prizes = $1,100,000
Revenue approx 200 units sold (during the timeframe) x $18,000 /per unit =  $3,600,000
Revenue social media advertising also earnt Cisco sales in other areas = $50,000

ROI is calculated on a very simple formula that produces a percentage rate of return. The formula is as follows.

ROI(click to enlarge)

By using the previously stated assumptions regarding revenue, we can easily substitute the figures into the equation to achieve the ROI result. The calculation is as follows.

ROI = ((3,650,000 – 1,220,000) / 1,220,000) x 100 = 199%

199%! That is an amazing revenue return and was said to be one of the most successful company launches to date. Of course this percentage result is only a very rough estimate as Cisco and many other corporations are unlikely to reveal the rate of success regarding product lauches. However it is known that this product launch was defiantly a large success, and ROI figures similar to this are not unrealistic.

For a more realistic and accurate approach to a ROI for Cisco’s ASR launch would require much more in-depth thinking regarding possible cost and revenue avenues. Judging by many product promotions form other corporations, it would be expected that there would be hundreds of cost and revenue factors involved.

Cisco has had tremendous success with many of their product launches but this one surely proves the usefulness of social media alone. As mentioned before, while Cisco has not release any figures stating the use of ROI for the ASR launch, it is almost certain that Cisco would have used the calculation (or some formula similar) to gauge the possibly of return. However in saying this, even their calculations may have been inaccurate due to the unpredictability of social media and viral advertising. In summary its great to see the potential that social media adverting can offer, and how ROI’s can really outline the potential for great return.

Until next time readers. Peace

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Social media monitoring the iPhone 5s

Social media monitoring entails the analysis of social media postings for a particular brand or product, and acts somewhat as a gauge to discovered the popularity of the object. In this instance the recent release of the iPhone 5s is a perfect example of a large global product release that can be expressed on social media. I know this item along with the new iPhone operating system is currently in large discussion within social media, mainly because my own Facebook feed is littered with posts and comments regarding the subject. However as me, just a regular Facebook user, how can I really find out how popular the iPhone topic is on social media? This is where social media monitoring comes into play. The service works on the simple idea of scanning keywords from multiple sources including blogs, significant social networking sites (Facebook, twitter ect.), forums and content communities. The tool then returns results that provide some indication into how popular and discussed the topic remains. Depending on the chosen monitoring site, results are sometimes displayed in textual, statistics or graphical form. You can check out more about social monitoring over at goldbachinteractive.

HowSociable

For this particular exercise and after some research (including lengthly trial and error) it was decided that I would use 2 popular social media monitoring tools to aid my discovery of the iPhone’s popularity. These tools were HowSociable and Socialmention, both which are easy to use and offer a free limited functionality. First up was the use of HowSociable, where the product ‘iPhone 5s’ was searched. HowSociable uses a very simple statistical display that really only has one number to focus upon, the ‘magnitude’. This score rates the popularity of the product out of 10, 0 being almost no mention at all, and 10.0 inferring almost everyone on social media knows about the topic. (check out more at HowSocialble scoring). The tool also give each individual social media source a rank, thereby showing you which sites you are most succeeding in, and sites which need more focus. For this experiment and free version of the tool only 12 social media sources were  provided, the other 24 were unlocked when the user purchased a membership.

Capture

click to enlarge

For the iPhone 5s it was not surprising that the product scored a flat 8.0 from Sep 16th-23rd, showing that the products mention on social networking sites was high. Take a look at the results below regarding the iPhone 5s.

Socialmention

Socialmention is very similar to many other social media monitoring tools, however displays the results in a more interesting format. Firstly the tool provides 4 main statistics that show a range of different information, these consists of strength, passion, setiment and reach. Firstly strength is a statistic calculated to show the likelihood that the topic is being discussed. Passion refers to the chance that someone who has mentioned the product before, will post about it again. Sentiment is comparison of positive and negative posts relating to the topic. Finally reach is a calculation to indicate the reach or influence on the audience. As you can see this type of social media monitoring tool gives much more in-depth view about your products status. For a real preview of your products mention, the tool also shows a list-style view of posts that contain your mentioned products. These posts can then be sorted by a date/time frame and specific source. Check out a screenshot of the results below.

SM

click to enlarge

The main aspect that I really found interesting and was left wondering my whole experience, was the fact that while most of the social media monitoring tool sites listed what they could do (eg. what sources they could scan), not one would mention what content they couldn’t access. Now I can see how this would be a downfall to their advertising if these sites were to advertise their negatives, but when you really thing about it, how many times has your product been mentioned in chats, closed groups and private status’s that the tool cannot simply access? Which ultimately leads to the question, how accurate are these tools?

This leads to the conclusion that these tools are a great way to gain insight into public content containing or mentioning your product, however they cannot be used to fully confirm your social media presence. The statistics should only be used as a general guide. Thanks for reading guys, hope to see you in the future.

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Till next time, peace!

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Direct2Dell, the official corporate blog

Blogging…an increasing method of community collaboration about any issue imaginable, think of a topic, there will be a blog about it. Blogging can be very useful when successfully utilized, however we need to pause for a second and highlight the main keywords…successfully utilized. Studies conducted by the Wall Street Journal (WJS) about corporate blogging for 90 of the fortune 500 companies, show that many organisations attempt to start corporate blogs, but ultimately and miserably fail. The article re-posted by sitepoint explains that “Sadly, two-thirds hardly ever get any comments, 70% stick strictly to business topics, and worse 56% just republish press releases or already public news”. I mean with such big name companies failing to utilize the benefits of blogging, surely someone out there can provide a good example? The answer is Dell. Dell is a very well known and renowned IT company that is responsible for providing IT solutions for everyday users and businesses alike. Their blog Direct2Dell provides the dell fan base community with a range of updates (usually about 1-2 posts per day) about product developments, company news and responses to user questions.

I wish I could simply state the ways to get a perfect and popular corporate blog, but to tell you the truth, methods that have worked for some have absolutely failed for others. However for the rest of this blog post I plan to outline some of ways Dell uses its blog to an advantage, and how some of the social media value levers apply.

Marketing / Co-creation of products

Dell is one corporation who are very fond of marketing and advertising, and they’re good at what they do. Therefore it’s not surprising to understand that Dell uses their blog as a means of marketing and direct communication with their customers, I mean the viewer has visited the blog to find information regarding Dell why not present them with your latest product range? The thing that makes the advertising-based posts interesting is the way Dell outlines how the new product can benefit the everyday user, whether that be showing specific examples of how to increase productivity or shorten the process to complete the job.

Co-creation of products are also a slight addition to the Direct2Dell blogging scene. From what it appears users cannot actually create blog posts themselves (most likely for span reasons) but are more than welcome (and encouraged) to comment on new product roll outs, which Dell then monitors these comments, and if enough public support is shown future revisions of the product model will likely incorporate the desired changes.

D2D

 

The Direct2Dell blog

Customer service

Customer service is also another key social media value lever that is covered by the Direct2Dell blog. These customer service techniques usually involve the posting of news and other events that concerns customers and aid them in solving issues that are widely recognized. Users can then comment on the post and chat with other users who are in the same or similar situation, hoping to come to a resolution provided either officially by Dell or a collaboration effort by the user community. Dell, like all its posts also monitors these comments and appears to attempt to respond in a professional and timely manor. One such example was back in 2007 where Dell Inspirion Notebooks had massive product delays due to a number of reasons. Dell managed to successfully utilized their blogging strategy to provide customer updates and news to ensure the consumers where all ways ‘in the loop’ about what was going on with their purchases. One particular post regarding the notebooks managed to receive over one thousand comments, ranging from angry to just simply confused consumers.

ProductDelays

 

Now that’s what I call a lot of comments!

While Dell attempts to provide a range of services via the use of their popular blog, I still feel like this technology is hard to fully grasp and I also personally feel that other enterprise 2.0 technologies succeed further and perform better. Reading the most recent posts by Dell show a limited number of comment responses compared to that of a few years ago, possibly signifying the decrease of interest in the blog. However this does not seem to concern the team at Dell as their recent posts are still engaging, interesting and positive as usual.

It really is a great plus to see a company trying hard to ensure their news, product updates and events are easily accessible by the consumer. Even though the blogs popularity may have diminished since its creation, it is also very positive to see Dells commitment to providing up-to-date content, something which many organisations ditch once their readers have left.

Thanks for the read guys, hope I showed some insight into how such a large corporatation such as Dell attempts to keep interactive with theri customers. Feel free to leave a comment on any of your thoughts.

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Till next time, peace!

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Lifeline social media levers

Lifeline is popular and well-established non-profit organisation originally based in Australia, that serves as a free 24/7 contact help line in case of crisis or non-life treating emergency. Lifeline offer services both in-person, over the phone and online to provide support for many areas including suicide prevention, mental health support and emotional assistance. Since Lifeline’s establishment in 1963, the organisation has spread internationally with over 11,000 volunteers and 1,000 administration staff working every hour around the clock to provide essential and potentially life saving services.

Like many other organisations, Lifeline uses social media as a form of customer communication to not only engage in customers seeking help, but to also advertise and campaign community events. The Lifeline Facebook page currently has over 14 thousand likes with several posts from the Lifeline organisation on a daily basis. On the recent topics of social media value levers, Lifeline is another intriguing example of how the organisation successfully utilizes some of the social media levers outlined in the Mckinsey Social Economy Report, 2012. Within the rest of this blog post I hope to give some insight into how Lifeline make use of social technologies to provide support and ease of access.

Providing customer care via social technologies

Due to the nature and aim of the Lifeline organisation, many of the social media posts are targeted to support any Facebook users who can closely related to the issue presented, whether this be concerns about suicide or other serious mental health issues. The posts often encourage viewers to seek help via a range of different media mentioned within the post including numbers, websites and emails that the viewer can pursue in order to receive support. While Lifeline cannot discuss personal issues over Facebook (obviously for privacy concerns), this method of social media use by Lifeline is an amazing way to reach an extended audience in my opinion, because the internet is able to provide a some-what anonymous method of communication for users who wish to discuss their issues without compromising their identity. This method of emotional support can be easily included in the notion of providing customer care via social media technologies.

Marketing and customer interaction

While Lifeline remains non-profit and a free to use service, the organisation still uses social media as a method for advertising and marketing. However unlike many other organisations on Facebook, Lifeline does not use the advertising for their own gain, but more for providing promotion of other institutions and websites that also provide similar content and support. This is a great initiative by Lifeline to extend support for other organisations that offer emotional support, but may not be as well recognized. This type of social media behavior is supported steadily by actions of ‘using social media technologies for marketing communication/interaction’ outlined in the Social Economy Report.

LifelineSupport

A perfect example of Lifeline’s method of social media marketing (click to enlarge)

Customer interaction is also a very fantastic aspect of the Lifeline Facebook community with many Facebook users often commenting and messaging the Lifeline page seeking quick answers to FAQ’s. As mentioned before while Lifeline cannot offer services via social media, they do regularly monitor their notifications to ensure their consumers are promptly answered with appropriate guidance. This is a feature of support that I greatly admire, and if you have read my previous post about McDonald’s Australia, not even large multi million dollar organisation provides the level of response Lifeline offers. This type of behavior from non-profit organisation really puts to shame monopolizing organisations like McDonald’s who could easily afford this type of social media monitoring.

Thanks for tuning in guys, hope I was able to outline the support and guidance that Lifeline offers to people in need. I would defiantly check them out if you have concerns about your life or someone close to you, or if you would just like to have a chat to someone! Visit Lifeline

I recommend people to leave a comment about any other non-profit organisations doing similar acts of such kindness.

Till next time, peace.

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Legal issues concerning social media

Social media is an amazing way to stay connected. Especially for businesses to connect with their customers, however some legal concerns are raised when content is accidentally posted, or misinformation is fed to customers. In an age when digital technology is hugely endorsed, its understandable when businesses jump on the social media band wagon to reach the extra length to target their customers. While some Facebook pages can be annoying or excessively posting content, who can really blame them? Its essentially free advertising!

Spearmint Rhino, Melbourne Australia

However much care and attention to detail must be taken when uploading content to a public domain. A prime example to take care comes directly from the Facebook page of a gentleman’s club in Melbourne’s notorious King Street clubbing district. The club posted an image on their Facebook page which depicted a baby photo of one of their exotic dancers, however they unfortunately didn’t realize that the image was time stamped and that the date pictured on the image reveled the true age of the dancer. Basing from the image and date provided, it appeared that the dancer was only aged 15 or somewhere around that age, but certainly too young to be performing at the club. Many user comments were posted a short time after the photos upload pointing out the obvious mistake.

Only 15? Wow that ain’t cool!

Damage of reputation and potential breach of employment act

Firstly the image poses legal risks to the business in a factor that it provides some evidence that the club is hiring underage performers, and not employing girls that are of appropriate and legal age (18 of course). This could mean bad news for the club with the possibility of authorities auditing the club to verify the age of the female performers. The fact of underage performers also spells bad publicity for the club as customers may think twice before making a visit.

Confidential information

Legal factors could also arise due to the fact that the performers age has been publicly displayed, and if the actual performer was to be named in the comments, the employee could sue from release of confidential information. Not to mention that the caption of the posted photo specifically states the name starts with the letter “S”, this not only gives major clues to the Facebook audience about the performers real name, it also invites users to comment their thoughts.

This example of a social media fail demonstrates the kind of legal risks that are associated, when what seems like harmless content is posted to the public domain. A few solutions could prevent these types of situations, but the most obvious would be the implementation of a social media policy. A social media policy would act as a guideline and provide boundaries about the type and content of posts on social media sites. In particular and in relation to this incident, the social media policy would outline the factor that professional and personal content should not be mixed in a way that would lead the gentleman’s club into dispute. (Essentially meaning not to post personal images of the female performers)

Thanks for the tune in guys, hope this opened your eyes into the potential legal risks with the introduction of social media. Until next time..

Peace

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Social media value “Levers”

McDonald’s Australia is a renowned restaurant and brand name in today’s society and is currently the world’s largest chain of hamburger fast food stores, serving over 68 million customers per day. While McDonald’s main focus is directed at the production of fast food products, the company successfully utilizes social media technologies in order to gain insight in areas of product development, marketing and sales. One major utilized social media technology is their Facebook page which currently has over 700,000 likes. This Facebook page labelled ‘McDonald’s Australia’ doesn’t include the other 29 million likes their global Facebook page holds. However for the rest of this post, I shall only refer to only the Australian variant.

Along your journey into the rest of this post I hope to explain some ways in which McDonald’s achieves success using value levers in this ever expanding social media environment.

Product development – Co-creation of products and menus

When it comes to down to food service, the customer is always right! Heard this before? If you have ever worked in the retail industry i’m sure its been ingrained into your mind. This is where McDonald’s social media marketing techniques really come into play. The Facebook page enables McDonald’s to achieve a collaborative environment in which customers can comment and share their ideas to co-create and further develop McDonald’s range of fast food items. In a very recent McDonald’s campaign, customers continuously shared their opinions which resulted in the fast food chain returning the long awaited Oreo McFlurry back to the menu.

Customers spoke, McDonald’s listened! (click to enlarge)

Marketing – mass advertising via social media

Besides McDonald’s feedback on product development, the fast food giant also uses social media to advertise their new upcoming products and promotions. These advertisements are well thought out to provide the viewer with only the important details, keeping the viewer intrigued and interested about what will come next. Some of the McDonald’s promotional material go that one step further by including competitions in which viewers can win prizes by simply participating, liking or sharing their content.

The best thing about utilizing this advertising source is the simple fact that its essentially free! Hundreds of thousands of Facebook users who have liked the McDonald’s Australia page will be informed about new posts directly to their news feed.

Capture

An example of recent promotional material with enticing competitions

Customer service – responding to queries via social media

The one major downfall I have noticed about the fast food giant’s Facebook page, is the lack of response they provide to their many customers. The McDonald’s Facebook page is cluttered with questions and comments from users, whose posts go essentially unanswered. These timeline posts range from positive feedback that rave about the delicious menu items, to angry customers who did not receive what they paid for, or had a bad experience at a local store.

I am a strong supporter of good customer service, but this lack of response seems careless. Surely the fast food mega-company could employ full time social media moderators to answer these queries, why not? Adapting to new world communications is a strong step in the right direction to improving customer service skills. After all, Facebook is such a huge part of our society today.

MaccasPosts

Many unanswered comments (click to enlarge)

Thanks for reading today guys, stay tuned for more interesting blogging. If your intrigued about the marketing and sales strategies used by McDonald’s Australia, you should head over to their Facebook page to check it out personally. Who knows…you might even win a prize yourself! 🙂

Next post I discuss some legal issues regarding companies and use of social media.

Peace.

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Web 2.0 tools

Web 2.0 provides a very useful set of tools that makes interaction with technology all that easier. Many of these tools are used by people on a day to day basis, without them even realizing the benefits they offer. Personally I am somewhat behind the ‘curve’ when it comes to web 2.0 tools as I generally tend to stick to the same technologies that help me perform my daily activities. This means that I rarely experiment and trial new methods of networking and communication.

Web 2.0 Tool (1) – Facebook

Web 2.0 tools play a huge part in my everyday activities, and help me in a range of areas from university work to organizing my social lifestyle. One major tool is so widely recognized that even businesses and corporations use the technology to advertise their products and broaden their target audience. This tool is known as Facebook. Facebook is a huge part of my life, and i’m sure I can’t miss much when I say it’s a huge part of a many people lives. Facebook in my opinion is an all-in-one networking, communication and collaboration tool that is constantly adapting and changing to suit the growing needs of its users.

Facebook helps me to stay in contact with many of my friends as well as plan, and organize social events using the in-built event planner. Groups within Facebook allow you to create network of specific people which compliments my study habits as a collaborative environment to share ideas and comment on work topics. Overall Facebook is a great tool that semi manages my entire social life and helps me to better understand my university studies with my peers. However be careful, as Facebook can be very distracting when actual work needs to be done!

Facebook gets my thumbs up of approval!

Thumbs up!

Web 2.0 Tool (2) – Google Drive

Another useful web 2.0 tool that I commonly use is Google Drive. While this technology is more commonly known as a cloud storage service, Google  Drive also offers a wiki type document service that allows you to share your online files with others, and simultaneously edit them! How cool is that? It’s like working face to face but potentially being on other sides of the globe!

As you can imagine, this service unlocks a huge amount of potential when working within groups, not matter how large or small. This web 2.0 service really aids my university studies by ensuring my work is always update to date, and with mobile platform support, always available on the go. No more excuses about leaving your final work at home, with Google Drive, your work is everywhere and anywhere.

Google Drive is also very flexible with its documents by providing support for text, presentation, spreadsheet (Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel equivalents) form and drawing file types. This gives you almost unlimited uses for this service, and best of all its free! (upto 15Gb of storage)

Keep everything, Share anything.

In an attempt to expand my IT knowledge and get more ahead of the web 2.0 ‘curve’, I have decided to try my efforts into the use of RSS feeds. I could see how this tool would be very useful by allowing you to stay updated of your favorite content without actually having to visit each site individually.

My preference has always been about having the information ready and easily accessible, therefore the idea of a desktop RSS widget would suit me perfectly. By following the the tutorial over at HowToGeek I managed to integrate feeds from TechCrunch, Facebook, and News.com.au. Overall I think the RSS desktop feed saved me a decent amount of time. I could see all my recent notifications and any news that interested me in the blink of an eye.

I leave you with an interesting article by Wired that really gets me excited about transport of the future. Thanks for tuning in, hope to see you next week.

Peace.

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