Social Media Listening: “Brands must better listen to their consumers”

What is the status of Social media listening? What standard business practices do we witness in the field? Has Social media listening evolved over the years? I wanted to understand how Social media listening was developing and I interviewed Digimind‘s Aurelien Blaha. Aurelien covered the different periods of Social media listening. A particularly broad overview since the Grenoble-based company – now present throughout the World – commemorated its 20th-anniversary last year. To sum everything up in a few words: Social media listening is good, but brands must better listen to their customers. Here is a summary of my interview with Aurelien.

First era: before Social media listening: 1998*-2008

At the time, we were not talking about the social Web; it was the early era of the Web. Shortly after its creation by Tim Berners Lee. The challenge of this period, for businesses, was to find relevant information in a data desert, a world of silence, in fact, and this lasted about a decade.

Veille Internet
To take full advantage of Social media listening, you must learn to remain open to your customers’ requests and opinions. A more challenging exercise than it seems for many businesses

* date of creation of Digimind in Grenoble

The second era (2008 2018): find the diamond in the virgin forest

On the contrary, the second era of social media listening is known for its surfeit of information. In the middle of the first decade, a whole bunch of companies were founded: Facebook in 2004, YouTube in 2006, and so on. The 2008-2018 period, therefore, spurred a plethora of information. However, the previous day’s mission remained the same, namely, to find relevant information.

This period was the golden age of social media listening: it was a bit like trying to find a diamond in a coal mine. Continue reading “Social Media Listening: “Brands must better listen to their consumers””

5 Social Media Insights For Businesses In 2017 And Beyond

In 2013 I recorded a video on behalf of Hootsuite in which I was introducing the concept of social mass media. Judging by the number of tweets and interactions we had on our post, I sense that we had struck a chord. We are wrapping up the 2016 version of our Hootsuite/Visionary Marketing barometer of social media use by marketers in France. The insights we are deriving from it are showing clear signs of a maturing market, and indications that there is still a long way to go. In this piece, I will make a few guesses at what this maturing social media landscape could look in 2017 and beyond.


Insight #1: Some tools are born and others disappear

One thing struck me when looking at the results of our new barometer: the list of social media tools quoted by marketers is evolving. Exeunt Vine (definitely killed by Twitter this year), Viadeo or Xing (cornered to very definite geographies). Enter Periscope, Facebook Messenger, Facebook live and Snapchat. Snapchat is appealing more to B2C companies and is also attracting attention, but many businesses are still struggling with its unusual features and unwieldy interface. It will take time before the dust settles but a new social media giant may be born. My hunch is that businesses will be increasingly experimenting with live video. It has already become a usual tool in live event streaming. We are also experimenting with it as a means to increase engagement in webinars (thanks to this, in one afternoon we managed to get a record 117 job applications for the cloud computing arm of local telco Orange). As 2016 is nearing its end and speculations on the survival of Twitter abound, Periscope may well prove to be a real opportunity for the struggling social network we like so much.

Figure 1: social media is one of the main tools for Word of Mouth Marketing, this needs to be remembered and understood

Insight #2: more Word of Mouth Marketing (WOMM) and UGC (User Generated Content)

The old mantra of brand engagement in social media has been often repeated but not always understood by brands. Most of them have struggled with this idea that users, be they employees, customers or the average Joe, would talk about their brands on their own social media pages rather than go to the brand’s account page. Social media is still seen as the old way of bringing eyeballs to an owned Web asset, rather than as a major WOMM tool. But things are changing and I see more and more businesses attracted to inbound marketing. B2B companies seem more mature in this area. Few B2B players have the means of investing in advertising. To them, UGC and WOMM is a credible alternative. Besides, inbound marketing is a major source of lead generation, mostly when it is coupled with marketing automation. As Facebook announced it would diminish the amount of advertisements in its timelines, Word of Mouth and UGC are bound to play an increasing role with brands.

Insight #3: social selling will thrive

Continue reading “5 Social Media Insights For Businesses In 2017 And Beyond”

Technology changes our behaviour

David Shing, also known as Shingy, is a digital prophet. His job is to identify trends for brands, audiences and companies at large. He spoke at the SAS Forum 2015 which took place in Paris on November 5 2015. He delivered a great presentation. Right after the show I had the chance to ask him a few questions..

You are a digital prophet. Could you explain this term to us?

The idea is to look at the trends, to still them down from the industry for brands, for clients, for companies and for the industry itself.

So, you work for AOL. But people probably don’t always know what AOL is about now.

You are absolutely right. They don’t necessarily have to know about the core brand of AOL. They know about services and some of the brands I work with; such as Huffington Post and Engadget. There is some science that we own; people call them ‘love brands’. Within our industry, our job is to bring people to brands and brands to people. AOL Inc. is an organization that classes together all brands that actually deliver these ad solutions. And that is the idea of brands to people, people to brands.

You delivered an amazing and very inspirational pitch this morning, in which you said “technology changes our behaviour; it does not change our needs”. What do you mean by that?

Technology is something you are holding that has changed your behaviour. In fact, I saw a photography piece done recently: an artist who had taken out the divisors to see how people’s behaviours have changed. The result is amazing! We’ve had these touch screen devices for less than about 10 years now, and look how our behaviours have changed. I was thinking about it yesterday: I have all these photographs of people that are completely not interacting and they’re missing actual connection because they think they’re connecting elsewhere. We have a generation of people that are head down. We’re going to end up with some sort of syndrome
I’m sure! But this is almost a disconnection; that’s changing the behaviour of what we are
doing. Now does it change our need? No, we still need to connect. So a younger generation is actually connecting more digitally at physical events like sporting, because they still have a need to connect. They’re just doing it differently now, they’re doing it digitally.

You mentioned something that really struck my mind as well: “the current generation has more to do with their grandparents’ generation that they have with their parents”, how can you explain that?

The values that they have are definitely more in tune  with the grandparents’ generation. They understand consciousness, they understand things like organic and eco. Continue reading “Technology changes our behaviour”

How far can your Twitter bird chirp?

They say “word travels fast”, but today, it can travel the world in a few clicks. Have you ever wondered where your 140 characters on Twitter fly to? I recently re-activated my twitter account. I’ve been sharing and retweeting quite a lot of content with people from all around the world. Indeed, people from different origins follow my account now. Thus, making me curious to know where my followers come from. When I asked myself this question the other day, I decided to try different tools available online. These tools are as practical as scary. I decided to try and compare some of them. Let’s discover what different features they offer.


Mapmysocial is a tool that allows a social media user to map their Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Foursquare followers. It gathers followers’ profile pictures and positions them on the world map. This map can be then shared on social media in 2D or 3D. The use of this application is totally free. There is no obligation to follow mapmysocial on any platform, or publish a promotional post. All you have to do is sign in on the platform, through the mapmysocial website. This authorizes the website to access some of your account’s information.

Twitter map my social


Personally, I found this second tool to be great. It allows Twitter users to map their followers – even to a city level-, to observe their followers’ trending topics, and explore keywords (hashtags). This is useful to analyze further the engagement and effectiveness of a digital activity on Twitter. It also helps Twitter users to Continue reading “How far can your Twitter bird chirp?”

Interactive Intelligence conquers collaboration market from the cloud

The “unified communication space” is a weird space. It has been around for ages (I used to be in charge of that product line for Orange at the turn of the 21st century). Now a new player in that field is rising, and they are no newcomer. Interactive intelligence is coming from the call-centre world, vs. most players in that area, coming either from the Web world (pure-players) or the Telco world (convergence). A little while back, I interviewed Donald Brown who founded Interactive Intelligence 20 years ago in Indiana. He turned his business into a $ 450m revenue machine. The software vendor’s model has evolved into a cloud multi-tenant model filled with innovation and features at cloud prices, some of them quite amazing and incredibly cheap. The hoosier company has performed a complete turn-around and is now planning to take over the world of a) collaboration software b) PBX in the cloud c) turnkey cloud-based call-centres. Here is the result of my interview with the Indianapolis entrepreneur.
The Cloud helps you build relationships with your customers

At the time you founded your company, Interactive Intelligence 20 years ago, there was no such thing as “the cloud”. Could you walk us through how you started by developing solutions for contact centres before turning your business into this huge software company?

Back in 1994, the internet was still in its infancy. So we built a communications platform on a Windows NT server. It was a system that could act as a PBX, IVR, ACD, Voicemail system and provide everything an organisation needed for communication.
Today, we are about 2,300 people around the world. About 3 years ago, we decided we needed to bite the bullet. So we developed an all new multi-tenant cloud solution based on Amazon Web Services. And we invested about $50M in it.


You decided to invest all this money on R&D and come up with a cloud-based solution. This made you change your business model, moving away from contact centres. Can you explain your new strategy?

We really see a convergence happening between employee/client collaboration, of business communications and customer engagement. The lines are blurring to the point that everybody in the organisation needs to be thinking about their role in customer engagement. In fact, collaboration technologies are increasingly being used in customer service.

When you had to start from scratch, did you eliminate your client server solution to go into the cloud on Amazon Web Services?

We did not omit our solution; we still sell it. There are large organisations that still prefer to buy and own a premise-based solution. But we also developed this all new multi-tenent cloud solution because we felt that’s where the future was going.

Continue reading “Interactive Intelligence conquers collaboration market from the cloud”