When major change occurs, likely to improve our lives in meaningful ways, a new phrase is born to capture its innovation and transformation.
But if the change doesn’t become reality or keep pace with expectations, the phrase turns into a buzzword meaning many different things and never being clear.
A phrase that could be in this category is the Internet of Things. Have you heard it? Do you know what it means?
Some experts are about to explain its meaning. They will tell you the Internet of Things (IoT) is about connectedness that will make our lives significantly better; that it is one of the most active areas of innovation and, in fact, is already here.
But you will also learn the Internet of Things is a phrase well over 10 years old and, if it ever really occurs, is going to put huge amounts of secure information into the hands of those where it doesn’t belong.
Is the Internet of Things the next level of technology or a terrible thing? Is it already here or never going to arrive? Here are 12 experts to explain what the Internet of Things really means.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a computing concept that describes a future where everyday physical objects will be connected to the Internet and be able to identify themselves to other devices. The term is closely identified with RFID as the method of communication, although it also may include other sensor technologies, wireless technologies or QR codes. – Techopedia
Simply put this is the concept of basically connecting any device with an on and off switch to the Internet (and/or to each other). This includes everything from cell phones, coffee makers, washing machines, headphones, lamps, wearable devices and almost anything else you can think of. – Jacob Morgan, Forbes
At its core, the Internet of things means just an environment that gathers information from multiple devices (computers, vehicles, smartphones, traffic lights, and almost anything with a sensor) and applications (anything from a social media app like Twitter to an e-commerce platform, from a manufacturing system to a traffic control system). – Galen Gruman, Infoworld
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a scenario in which objects, animals or people are provided with unique identifiers and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction. – Shashi Kiran, SAP
Instead of most data on the Internet being produced and consumed by people (text, audio, video), more and more information would be produced and consumed by machines, communicating between themselves to (hopefully) improve the quality of our lives. – Geoff Duncan
I could be wrong, but I’m fairly sure the phrase ‘Internet of Things’ started life as the title of a presentation I made at Procter & Gamble (P&G) in 1999. Linking the new idea of RFID in P&G’s supply chain to the then-red-hot topic of the Internet was more than just a good way to get executive attention. It summed up an important insight—one that 10 years later, after the Internet of Things has become the title of everything from an article in Scientific American to the name of a European Union conference, is still often misunderstood. – Kevin Ashton, RFID Jounal
There is no agreed-upon definition, but there is a test for determining whether something is part of the IoT: Does one vendor’s product work with another’s? Does a door lock by one vendor communicate with a light switch by another vendor, and do you want the thermostat to be part of the conversation? – Patrick Thibodeu
There is also a dark side to the Internet of Things. Security is a huge issue, and when that security is compromised the consequences can be absolutely horrifying. The Internet allows us to reach into the outside world from inside our homes, but it also allows the reverse to take place as well. Do we really want to make ourselves that vulnerable? – Tyler Durden
Much of the innovation in the Internet of Things is being fueled by young, dynamic companies, and the “maker generation.” Gartner research reveals the Internet of Things (IoT) as one of the most active areas for innovation — some 71 Cool Vendors in Gartner’s 2015 research are focused on IoT technologies. These recent startups are competing with traditional giants to bring IoT products to business and consumers. – Gartner
As Internet of Things projects go from concepts to reality, one of the biggest challenges is how the data created by devices will flow through the system. How many devices will be creating information? How will they send that information back? Will you be capturing that data in real time, or in batches? What role will analytics play in future? – Patrick McFadden
Marketers would then have access to vast amounts of consumer data the likes of which Google’s data crawling team could only dream of. All these items would have the potential to host screens from which they could deliver us adverts like a scene from an intrusive sci-fi movie. These already exist in a simpler form and include a person with a heart monitor implant, a farm animal with a biochip transponder and a car with built-in tyre pressure sensors. – Profoundry
IoT is already here. According to technology research company Gartner, 4.9 billion connected “things” will be in use in 2015 which makes it up 30 percent from 2014. By 2020, a projected 25 billion devices will be part of the Internet of Things. – Business.com
Below is an infographic to explain the Internet of Things
Does this help you understand the Internet of Things? Do you think Internet of Things is going improve the way we live or create more problems than it solves?
Social Media Intelligence is the collective use of monitoring, listening tools and solutions that allow organizations to monitor social channels and conversations, respond to social signals and synthesize social data points into meaningful trends and analysis.
Benefits companies realize from Social Media Intelligence are:
Key Influencer Identification
These benefits suggest Social Media Intelligence can transform the way a company does business.
Do you think so? If these aren’t enough, here are 31 crystal-clear facts to support a company’s use of Social Media Intelligence.
87% of B2B marketers use social media to distribute content (NewsCred)
86% of U.S. adults interact with social media in some way (Forrester)
85% of customer relationships with an enterprise will occur without interacting with a human by 2020. (Target Marketing)
85% of B2B buyers believe companies should present information via social networks (Iconsive)
78% of companies now say they have dedicated social media teams, up from 67% in 2012 (i-SCOOP)
They are the measurable values that demonstrate how effectively a company is achieving key business objectives. KPIs operate as the actionable scorecard that keeps the strategy on track.
The video above from Erica Olsen of OnStrategyHQ.com shows how to develop KPIs and set up a KPI scorecard.
But KPIs differ depending on the objectives and type of business and industry. For example, if a business relies on marketing, or a sales force, social media, SEO or financials to achieve objectives, there will be different KPIs. The same can be said if a business is retail or pharmaceuticals.
What are the most important KPIs for your business? Here are 10 essential KPIs for 7 different industries.
Acquisition by Channel
Goal Completion Rate or Conversions
Cost per Acquisition
Return on Investment (ROI)
Sales per Rep
Number of Leads
Cost Per Leads
Average Purchase Value
Quote to Close Ratio
Usage of Marketing Collateral
Clicks from Sales Follow Up Emails
Social Media Usage
Debt to Equity Ratio
Gross Profit Margin
Net Profit Margin
Budget Creation Cycle Time
Reports Produced per Financial FTE
Finance as % of Revenue
SOCIAL MEDIA KPIs
Average Response Time
Fans and Followers
Audience Growth Rate
Share of Audience
Share of Engagement
SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION (SEO) KPIs
Keyword Monthly Search Volume
Keyword Click Through Rate
# of Inbound Links
# of Indexed Pages
% of Website Traffic from Organic Search
Bounce Rate of Organic Search
Goal Completion Rate from Organic Search
Goal Completion Rate or Conversions
Average Customer Value
Point of Purchase
Cost of Goods
% of Doctors who are Aware of Brand
% of Doctors who are Willing to Prescribe Brand
Target Price vs. Actual Price
# of Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs)
Brand Share of Voice (SOV)
Unaided Brand Awareness
Unaided Recall of Brand Message
These diverse areas have been examined to demonstrate how important the objectives and industry are to the selection of KPIs.
54% of people find a website from natural search results (source: Forrester)
33% choose the website in the #1 position on the first search page (source: Chitika)
32% find a website from social network sites (source: Forrester)
The numbers say high search ranking and strong social media presence give a website the best chances of being found.
But a website has an even better chance if social media and search engine optimization (SEO) efforts, the strategies, techniques and tactics used to increase the amount of visitors to a website by obtaining a high search engine ranking, work together.
Here are 10 real ways social media participation raises search ranking.
KEYWORDS SET GOALS: To get to a top rank, you have to start with the keywords you want to rank highly for. No software platform is a substitute for your own judgement. But Google Webmaster Tools can tell you what keywords people use who come to your website. Google Keyword Planner can tell what is the monthly search volume for those keywords and social monitoring tools like Topsy, Social Searcher and Radian 6 can tell your what people say about these keywords and your brand. Together, they give you a road map for the keywords on social network sites and your website that are likely to attract the most attention and interest.
SOCIAL MEDIA IMPROVES LINK POTENTIAL FOR SEO: Social media activity helps increase awareness of a brand’s website content. This increased familiarity leads to links that signals to search engines your brand is an authority on your chosen topics. Tools like Alexa and Marketing Grader measure if social media is increasing links to your website.
SOCIAL SHARES ARE THE NEW WAY TO BUILD LINKS: Because links raise search rank through authority, they have been manipulated in the past through black hat techniques such as invisible text and creating “fake” websites. Google now discredits these tactics. Instead, they have chosen to look at links through social signals like blog mentions, Tweets, Facebook Posts and+1s as a non-manipulated way of getting links and demonstrating authority.
AUTHORSHIP SHOWS AUTHORITY: Google+ allows an author’s picture to appear next to search results of content they have created. With Google authorship, you can improve your search ranking and brand yourself as a thought leader in your field as well as add a face to your work.
GOOGLE FAVORS GOOGLE+: Google+ may not be a great social network but Google has given their Plus button a big advantage when it comes to their own ranking factors. If you have a Google+ button on your website, sharing on Google+ can have a big effect on search ranking.
SOCIAL MEDIA PROFILES RANK IN SEARCH ENGINES: While social shares may or may not affect a webpage’s position in search listings, your social profiles definitely influence search results. In fact, social media profiles are often among the top results in search listings for brand names. They can double, triple and quadruple the number of times your brand is seen on a search engine page.
SOCIAL NETWORKS ARE SEARCH ENGINES TOO: People don’t just go to Google or Bing to look up things. For example, YouTube is the #2 search engine. If your business is active on a particular social network, it’s likely people are going to find out about you there as well as search engines.
GOOGLE AND TWITTER EQUAL STRONGER SEARCH: In February, Google and Twitter penned a deal giving Google access to the “fire hose” of Twitter’s public data, generated by its 300 million users. Now, all of Twitter’s profile information, Tweets, and other public data are immediately accessed and available on Google in real time.
CONTENT LIVES IN TWO PLACES: Even with all these ways social media and SEO can work together, great content is still the primary ingredient that raises search ranking. Now, it can live and be distributed in two places – on your social networks and your website.
IF YOU CAN’T MEASURE IT, YOU CAN’T MANAGE IT: Now, with a plan and process in plan, a measurement plan can help measure your progress and optimize results. Look at goals and track progress through metrics like keyword rank, website visits, Likes, Re-Tweets, Shares, Comments, Views and conversions. Make the measurement that are most important your Key Performance Indicators.
SEO doesn’t have to be technical or handled by technical people. In fact, if you are consistently putting out strong keyword-based content in a variety of places, you should see the impact of social media and SEO working together in short order.
Did these ways convince you that social media participation raises search engine ranking? Does your business need help making it happen?
60% of Facebook fans and 79% of Twitter followers are more likely to recommend those brands since becoming a fan or follower.
51% of Facebook fans and 67% of Twitter followers are more likely to buy the brands they follow or are fans.
Facebook users who ‘like’ a brand’s Facebook page are 33% more likely to buy a product, and 92% more likely to recommend a product to others. (source: Chadwick Martin Bailey)
These facts suggest social media builds brand loyalty. But does it and how?
See for yourself. Here are 11 compelling case studies that prove social media builds brand loyalty.
CARS.COM. Encouraged rating, reviews and sharing (versus no ratings, reviews and sharing) and it showed that pages that had ratings and reviews had a 16% higher rate of conversion and a 100% higher rate of traffic through to dealer’s sites.
DOVE: As women love to sing in shower, Dove launched a campaign titled “Showeroke”. The campaign “Showeroke”was designed to see the influence of music in the lives of younger women. And the brand preference for Dove because they connected with this value. Videos were posted on YouTube. Dove created a microsite called the “Shower Remixer” where users customized their shower experience selecting different fixtures, floor designs, shelves and window scenes and as they remixed the shower experience. The music changed along with it. Dove Bar annual penetration went up from 13.7% to 18.4%. Dove Body wash loyalty went up from 24% to 27.6%.
FOLICA: A well-known retailer of health and beauty products, noticed they had many referrals to their website, but no way of tracking and identifying these referrals. By engaging their customers and encouraging them to share the secrets of great hair by Facebook, Twitter, email and personalized URL’s. There was a reward for both the referrer and the referee. Each party would receive $10. After 30 days of running the new Social Referral Program 6,000 brand advocates were identified. The average number of shares per advocate was four. 21,000 shares had been generated via Facebook, Twitter and email and a 16% conversion rate was driven by the program.
GENERAL MILLS: on French Toast Crunch, wanted to get the brand into the hands of the company’s best and most socially connected consumers. A tweet was sent from the French Toast Crunch brand, basically saying, “Hey, who wants this?” The brand’s Twitter followers were urged to retweet to their followers and use the hashtags #sample or #MoreFTC to receive a free sample of French Toast Crunch in the mail. The popup window collected an email address and a physical address for delivery of the cereal. Once that social media attention died down, a follow-up email was also sent to the freebie recipients, giving them a coupon for 50 cents off a box of French Toast Crunch in-store as a reward for their social media engagement. Nearly 40% of those who received the 50-cent-off coupon opened the email. About 20% of those who received the email redeemed the coupon, 4X higher than the industry norm.
J. HILBURN: A retail, apparel brand for men was receiving many referrals from existing satisfied customers. J. Hilburn wanted to identify their most valuable customers and reward them for their ‘word of mouth’ recommendations. By offering customers $50 for each friend referred and encouraging the advocates to share the offer using social media, they identified and rewarded brand advocates. Any referred customer who spent over $100 received a $50 discount on their purchase. Once again, a two sided offer for the referrer and the referee. After 45 days, 1,000 customers had made referrals. Averaging 12 shares per advocate, the referral program produced 10,000 social shares via Facebook, Twitter and email. The bottom line result was 600 transactions which created over $250,000 in sales.
SENDGRID: An email delivery and transactional service company, created an offer for existing customers which could be shared socially. Customers received $20 cash and the referred customer would also receive a 25% discount on their first three months of service. By giving the existing customer a gift and the new customer a discount, a “Captive Offer” had been created. The share could be made using email, Facebook or Twitter. SendGrid achieved a 111% return on investment after the first six months of running the newly implemented referral program.
SEPHORA: Tiers are one of the most effective ways a loyalty program can motivate a desired behavior. The tiers that Sephora has set ($350 for VIB and $1,000 for Rouge) have effectively segmented shoppers. The Rouge status is tough to reach, but obtainable, which leads to the most effective form of motivation. The tier rewards like exclusive events, access to the beauty studio, and early access to products and sales align perfectly with what Sephora stands for. These rewards create a sense of luxury and assign an exclusive status to members in the upper tiers. The rewards are announced on Sephora’s social media sites to build greater brand loyalty and let their already loyal customer know of special events and offers.
STARBUCKS: Since 2008, MyStarbuckIdea.com has been advocate-driven idea tank where Starbucks drinkers submit ideas for new products and coffee concoctions. It has worked as a hub for all Starbucks customers to share all their ideas, suggestion and even their frustration. “We used to launch a new product and it cost millions of dollars. Now, when we launch a new product, we already have millions of fans,” say Chris Bruzzo, Vice President Brand, Content and Online at Starbucks.
SUBWAY: Sponsored the “Slim Down Challenge,” a live speaking event consisting of some of America’s hottest speakers and celebrities. Its mission was to travel from city to city across America delivering powerhouse information that challenged your mind, heart, and waistline. They used social technologies and promotion apps to raise awareness of the Slim Down Challenge and recruit speakers. The strategy included a social competition. This was part of a full marketing strategy for the campaign. They found that 71% of site traffic that went to the registration page, came directly from Facebook.
TREK: Offered customers a Trek Care loyalty and warranty package when they buy a new Trek bike, but cyclists can take coverage to the next level by purchasing the Trek Care Plus package. Trek used social media giving away free repairs for a widely read post to make customers aware of the Trek Care Plus Package. By tying in benefits with social media usage, Trek was at the forefront of consumers’ minds.
US AUTO PARTS: Decided to shift marketing investment from customer acquisition to customer retention for its loyalty program, APW Rewards. Working with 500friends’ customer success team, U.S. Auto Parts began to leverage capabilities such as increased rewards for high-margin products, personalized post-purchase enrollment offers, a status tier, and triggered email campaigns based off of a person’s repurchase history to maximize customer lifetime value. U.S. Auto parts increased its spend per member by 20%, its repurchase rate by 14%, and its enrollment rate by 45% after updating the loyalty program of its flagship brand,
Do these case studies convince use social media builds brand loyalty? Is one your favorite? Are you using social media to build brand loyalty for your business?