SXSW Summary 2013 – How Social Were the Brands?

Meltwater was lucky enough to be on the ground at 2013 South by Southwest (SXSW) learning, listening, and running data until the wee hours of the morning to measure the social chatter.  Our collection of SXSW 2013 infographics that reflects our findings is live for you to enjoy on the Meltwater blog (and on Mashable).

As SXSW is the largest interactive media conference in the world with 25,000+ attendees, we were not surprised by the high level of chatter, nor were we particularly surprised by all the talk about parties, lounges and free food.  What surprised almost everyone, though, was that internet sensation Grumpy Cat managed to upstage all the human keynote speakers and declare herself “Chairmeme Meow” of the whole kit and caboodle.  Move over, Elon Musk.

Mashable’s genius in bringing Grumpy Cat to the event reminds us that getting heard above the roar of the crowd requires one thing most of all: know your audience.

The internet community loves its memes, and particularly loves its cat memes.  While the drinking word cloud would indicate that more than a few attendees were flexing their late-night beer muscles in search of Olivia Wilde, by the light of day folks were a lot more excited about the prospect of being on the inside of this timely feline interactive joke.  Heck, even PETA didn’t object.

Despite Grumpy Cat’s domination of mammal-based social chatter, though, party talk still won the day.  All business travelers love free food and drinks, and SXSW had a wide variety of sponsored parties and lounges.  The “Lounge” and “Party” word clouds give us a good idea as to whose budgets were giving them the most bang for the buck.  VegasTech showed up consistently in both lounge and party chatter, so hats off to you, VegasTech.  If disrupting the conference with chatter about your brand was your PR goal, you did well, even without a cat.

As traditional PR and social media continue to converge, it’s important to remember that a social media initiative does not even necessarily have to involve someone facing out and managing your Twitter and Facebook accounts.  One of the main advantages of social media is that it allows PR and marketing professionals to listen to the public at key times such as before they craft strategy, during crisis communications, and after a campaign is complete.  This sort of social listening allows marketing and PR professionals to filter out the noise from an analytics standpoint, and measure how effective their program was versus others.

If you were at SXSW and want to know how effective your efforts were in generating positive PR, please contact your Meltwater account manager or sign up for a free Meltwater Buzz trial.  We have the data, and would be happy to provide you with a brand analysis report.


SXSW Infographic 2013 – Final Wrap-Up – Grumpy Cat, Parties & Food

The interactive portion of SXSW 2013 has ended, with Austin making way for the music fans.  The 2013 SXSW Infographic summary below gives you a good idea as to what folks were twittering about, as measured by our Meltwater Buzz social media monitoring software.  Grumpy Cat upstaged all the human keynotes to be the most talked-about mammal of the conference, proving once again that the internet loves its feline memes.  Move over, keyboard cat: there’s a new gal in town.

Insofar as sessions chatter went, Elon Musk was the most talked-about presentation of the conference.  The “lounge” word cloud gives you a good idea as to what brands succeeded in resonating with the 25,000 folks who showed up to enjoy free drinks, food and popcorn while they networked with other like-minded web professionals, but overall, free beer seemed to be the most sought-after prize (along with Olivia Wilde).

An interesting data point to note is that Al Gore’s chatter was higher the day after his keynote than the day of it.  Gore was roundly taken to task for selling Current TV to Al Jazeera, which filtered out to the world post-keynote and caused a ripple effect that amplified beyond his keynote speech.  An inconvenient truth, indeed…

One hilarious data trend that we noticed is the mention of extremely attractive celebrities attending SXSW film (Olivia Wilde, Ian Somherhalder) within the “drinking” word cloud specifically.  With all the interactive parties going on and easy access to free beer (and tacos) throughout the conference, it would seem that folks were flexing their late-night beer muscles and looking for a celebrity run-in.

We’d like to thank our friends at Mashable for bringing Grumpy Cat to delight her loyal audience with her supreme grumpiness (this blogger is incredibly disappointed at missing an opportunity for a photo op with the famous feline), and for publishing our daily 2013 SXSW infographics.


The New Social Listening – Big Data Lessons from SXSW and Beyond

Social Listening | The Signal, The Noise

Being the largest interactive conference in the world with more than 25,000 attendees, South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, Texas brought together a wide variety of industry professionals united in the spirit of education, debate and – as evidenced by social listening we did to pull SXSW data – a sincere appreciation for free beer and tacos.

Nate Silver, statistician and author of the blog, gave a keynote speech about his approach to Big Data.  His main point was that, as more and more information is available, business and society become polarized by a human tendency to cherry-pick the material we want to notice.  As Silver put it, “You have a gap between what we think we know and what we really know.

Social Listening in Social Marketing

This disconnection between what we think we know and what we actually know is one that marketers have been trying to resolve since the advent of advertising; it was raised obliquely in a few social media sessions throughout the 2013 SXSW conference phrased, typically, like this:

“How do I know who my influencers are?”

But the most common question asked in social marketing sessions was the age-old question of all marketers, particularly those not tied to a direct marketing discipline, and that is:

“How do I measure the effectiveness of my campaign?”

The answer to both of these questions lies in the data, but no one data point is going to give us a holistic answer.  Big Data requires big solutions, and cutting through the noise with a social listening solution that provides truly valuable insights requires sophisticated tools that synthesize information in such a way that we marketers can make heads and tails of it.  Nate Silver uses an algorithm; Meltwater employs social listening via the Meltwater Buzz social media online intelligence suite.

Any tool is only as good as its usage.  With Silver’s warning in mind, we come back to the common question of how to measure a social campaign.  The problem with this question is that it’s so often asked before a sound campaign strategy is crafted.  In focusing primarily on how to measure social media marketing results, we’re taking a backwards approach to the question of how to be effective in our marketing campaigns in the first place.

Social Listening for Dialogue Marketing

The number one way to succeed in any marketing campaign, social or otherwise, is to recognize that social media has transformed marketing from a monologue model to a dialogue model.

This means that we marketers need to do something that isn’t second nature, and it’s something that Nate Silver does quite well: be quiet for a moment, and listen.  Social media is not just a platform that allows us to deliver a pre-scheduled message from our phones via three different channels, but rather an opportunity to inform all of our marketing efforts by social listening: first and foremost, we must tune in to what our customers are saying.

In the new Meltwater e-book, The 4 C’s of Social Media Marketing, we explore social listening as the first step in applying traditional marketing principles to the new social dialogue marketing model.  (Spoiler alert: the 4 C’s are Conversations, Communities, Channels, and Campaigns.)  The 4 C’s will soon be examined in this blog with real-world examples, but in the meantime, anybody interested in how to craft a thoughtful, informed marketing strategy can download the e-book and get started.

Big Data is a big deal.  Our current and prospective customers are conducting billions of social conversations, and in those conversations lie the insights and information that we marketers need to create reasoned, targeted campaigns, regardless of medium.  Using Nate Silver as inspiration, we can all do well to take an attentive, data-driven approach to our own predictions with social listening.  The good news is that once we craft a campaign based on this sort of circumspect intelligence so that we know what we’re looking to accomplish, measuring effectiveness is the easy part.

If a Tweet Falls in a Forest… | Social Dialogue Marketing & Word of Mouth

Social Dialogue Marketing Drives Word of Mouth

If a tweet falls in a forest and no one is around to share it, does it make a sound?

The short answer is: nope.  If your content isn’t shared socially, it simply isn’t social marketing.  As social media marketers, driving word of mouth is our only goal.

Social Dialogue Marketing Metrics are Based on Action

Word-of mouth marketing is a hallmark of social dialogue marketing gone well. It’s a form of engagement, and online community engagement is trackable.  Measuring the success of social media marketing campaigns is therefore best accomplished by using metrics associated with action: tweets, shares, emails, likes, other cleverly-named clicks.

Traditional PR and advertising models use impressions to measure performance.  Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn do too, and for good reason: it’s the biggest number, and it provides an idea as to the possible number of people in the forest.  The old advertising adage is that people won’t remember your brand until they’ve seen it 7 times, so the number of impressions is a good metric to track, especially in advertising and PR.

Successful Social Dialogue Marketing Leads to Earned Media

In a social media marketing program, the inherently participatory nature of social media can increase your impression number exponentially.  When someone with 700 followers re-tweets your content, and 5 people in their network in turn re-tweet that content, your community members are giving you earned media on their personal networks.  This is where word-of-mouth becomes incredibly powerful, and it’s a primary reason we as social media marketers strive for inciting the share over everything else.

The most compelling advantage of social media as a communication channel is that it combines the scale of traditional broadcast advertising with the dialogue of a personal sales call.  By using impressions as an indicator of a sound channel strategy, but using the actions themselves as a measure of performance in a social media marketing campaign, we’re well on our way to word-of-mouth greatness.  (Psst… tell a friend.)

Social Dialogue Marketing & The Four C’s

The 4 C’s of Social Media Marketing provides a framework for applying traditional marketing principles to the wild west of social media marketing.  Social listening is the first step in leveraging the available tools and technologies out there to understand what a target audience is saying; as we discussed here, the second step is to use this information to jump-start interpersonal, credible, and viral word-of-mouth sharing.  We’ll dive into the 4 C’s themselves in future blog posts, but in the meantime, you can download this free social media marketing how-to guide in order to provide some context for driving social media marketing strategy and ROI.

Social Dialogue Marketing is Social

At the end of the day, we must remember that social media marketing is supposed to be social.  Being social implies some sort of interaction between people.  The hallmark of honest social interaction is, you know, honest social interaction.  So when we’re thinking about pre-scheduling all those tweets, we have to bear in mind that placement on a social media channel doesn’t make our marketing social.  The difference between monologue advertising and social dialogue marketing is word-of-mouth sharing.

Tweet wisely, soldiers.




SXSW Infographic 2013 – Day 2 – Elon Musk, Parties & BBQ

Meltwater Buzz social media monitoring software provided some pretty interesting insights for Day 2 of SXSW 2013, which wrapped up with a whole lot of conversations around the after-dark activities.  Elon Musk gave an inspired keynote that rocketed him to be the most talked-about person of the day, but even the man conquering space couldn’t compete with the chatter surrounding the various parties happening in and around SXSW.  BBQ, beer and tacos were also popular topics.  Hey, when in Austin…

Meltwater is on-hand at booth 1425 to conduct free demos and provide brand analysis reports for folks on the ground.  If you’re not in Texas but would like to see what this sort of online social media monitoring intelligence can do for you, sign up for a free trial of the new Meltwater Buzz and we’ll be happy to provide a social snapshot of your brand.