Posts Tagged ‘Social Media’

Social Media Policies Are Not So Simple

March 17th, 2010

Hot topic of late is the need for social media policies. I have heard it from CMOs, CIOs, and even CEOs. VPs of HR are definitely there along with Legal. I think that there are really four camps in terms of approach…

Camp 1 -Just give me someone else’s that I can find/replace their company name with mine. For you who want to use this approach, I recommend going to which currently as of this posting has 119 different organizations to choose from. Kinda like taking someone else’s marketing and inserting your own name, but expediency does have its virtue, I get it…

Camp 2 - We need to wordsmith this document as it is part of our policies. Bureaucracy has its place. from my perspective, this is kinda like the “Mission Statements” of the 90′s. Everyone had to have one. You would lock your whole team in a room for 6 hours debating the nuances of the words; and or maybe…. then they would have you memorize it like the greek alphabet during pledging.

I had a guy at my last company suggest that we needed a retreat to discuss our mission statement. The rest of us almost chucked him out the 28th floor office. My suggestion is focus on the intent and let legal wordsmith it. You pay your corporate attorney a lot of money to protect you, let them. There are actually now whole legal practices springing up to focus on social media law. If you are that worried about it, then I suggest you engage an expert once you have a direction.

Camp 3- Those of us who realize that is opens a whole new can of worms for our organizations. We need a strategic approach to developing our social media engagement programs because of the very “squishy” nature of social engagement lends itself to potential judgement calls on behalf of our organizations. Not saying that 20 something’s are not responsible, but how many beer drinking and partial nudity facebook pages do you have to go through before you start thinking that maybe this isn’t the corporate image of trust and responsibility that we want to project to our customers to reassure them that their money is well spent. Could just be me…

I have framed 10 questions to open the dialogue for your organization:

1. What level of Corporate Transparency do we want to have? It is a spectrum and you need to figure how open do you really want to be. It ain’t a democracy, but the world is changing so worth thinking about.

2. What is our definition of Intellectual Property? Your corporate IP is a corporate asset; think copyrights, patents, trademarks; but also corporate proprietary information, customer information, etc. How do you define what is yours, your employees, your partners, your customers, and what do you share with the market?

3. What is the customer’s level of expectations around the customer experience? Do they expect to be engaged? Do they expect real time feedback and response? Do they expect your people to be empowered to participate in social engagement? Knowing how much will also drive the organization’s view of how you should participate.

4. What is our employee’s level of expectation around employee engagement? Do they expect a wide open policy for everyone? Is there industry regulations regarding participation? How is management participating?

5. Is there internal vehicles to vent for employees? Are you giving them an outlet for voicing feedback? How is morale? Most I hate… sites are actually from ex-employees. Did you just go through a round of lay-offs? You may want to think about how your employee base will react.

6. How do you describe our corporate culture? Do you have a clear idea of your culture? Do your employees? It will come out so be prepared. If your management team is more paranoid than North Korea, well, don’t expect to see a rosy picture put forth to potential customers. Corporate culture is one area that definitely shows up on social media. Good cultures show through, bad cultures also…

7. What is the line between personal and professional? If an employee posts information on our company on their page, who owns the content? Can we influence what someone posts in their spare time about themselves? Short answer is that if they put out to the world that they are an employee of the company, then they are responsible to the company to protect the brand image.

8. What do we want the world to know about us as a company? Our employees are ambassadors for our company, for good or bad. For many prospective buyers, there first point of introduction may be through the social interactions of an employee; whether professional or personal. If we don’t have a clear message, what do you think will happen in the market?

9. What are our expectations around professionalism for our employees? If you have a dress code, code of conduct, etc. then it would be logical to have a more restrictive code of social media conduct. If you have a more loose expectation around how employees are expected to engage, then you probably don’t expect to have a corporate image projected from your employees.

10. Who owns the relationship /account?If your junior account team person connects to one of your customer employees, what happens when that employee leaves your employ? Who owns the customer when a sales rep leaves who is directly connected to the customer on linkedin? How about when they have build their pipeline over social media? What happens when your customer service people build a following on twitter over a personal/ named account? What if your employee starts an account on behalf of the company?

Tough questions, but also leads to..

Camp 4- The Ostrich effect is alive and well within corporate America. How many IT groups really think they have really locked down the network from social media? I have heard bandwidth, viruses, time wasting, etc. As Dan Webber, who is a CIO, put it as he whips out his smart phone…. “Do you think I can’t use this?” Also, just because they can’t use it on your network, doesn’t mean that they can’t use it at coffee shops around the corner, at home, or even at the airport.

If you are locking it down because you don’t want your employees to participate because you are worried about the effect on your brand marketing; you are right. It is working…. but probably not like you intended when your biggest competitor is allowing their employees to engage with the market and is using social media to lower their cost of customer acquisition.

Socially Enabling the Product Lifecycle

March 16th, 2010

Last week, I participated on the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG) Product Management group’s panel discussion on social media “Building Better Products through Social Media”.

Per our discussion with the group that attended (approx. 40+ product management professionals) on slideshare The presentation starts with the Pragmatic Marketing Framework as the standard product lifecycle and then we mapped “social” to the product lifecycle to show how social engagement can impact different parts of the product development lifecycle; from requirements, planning, ideation, prioritization,collaboration, release management, launch planning, launch execution, etc.

A couple of interesting thoughts came out of the session; notably about the need to treat product information as a product in itself and to create a “Social” Product Roadmap to manage the social interactions as a product and build standardized processes to build social initiatives in the organization.

This is the first of many planned conversations around socially enabling the enterprise; customer, product, information, employee, operational lifecycles.

Not So Simple Definition of Social Market Leadership

March 1st, 2010

As we have gone around the country speaking on Enterprise Social Strategy, we have struck upon a simple concept that seems to resonate with senior executives; social market leadership.

On the surface, it seems simple:

  • Thought Leadership – Stepping into the vacancy in the market
  • Market Offense – demonstrating market leadership via social media
  • Brand Defense - protecting brand reputation on social media
  • Associations – creating the forum for market best practices
  • Social Influence – building relationships with key market influencers
  • Social Marketing – influencing the market’s requirements for competitive products

However, ask we dig deeper, we realize that how you measure or even how you define what you measure is critical. We have been asking industry leaders “Who is the Social Market Leader in Your Industry?”. We get a lot of “We are…” then after we ask them “how do you know?”, we get “What do you mean?”. Then when we explain what social market leadership means to us, we get “We’re not sure…”

Our definition of Social Market Leadership… defining the thought leader in the social market with influence over public social networks like Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, etc, as well as, industry communities, groups, forums, blogs hosted by vendors, associations, publications, enthusiasts, etc. In some industries, we do an audit and find over 100 unique platforms excluding the blogs.

How do you define thought leadership? Are you sharing your information with others? It isn’t what you say, it is what other say about you. How frequently do they interact with your information? Do they react positively? Do they tell everyone about what you say?

How do you define influence? Do you have credibility and reach? it isn’t about reaching everyone n the market. It would be nice, but for most businesses, that isn’t realistic. The brand icons already have a well established brand reach and they are considered a market “brand name” that define a standard. For the rest of the companies, there is a trade off between reaching everyone and reaching the right market cost effectively. Influencers are really about prioritization. Do the influencers have the “mojo”? Do they have the reach AND credibility? Can we hit the top 10% of the market and get them to evangelize on our behalf.

Market Leadership is not just Branding – There are algorithmic formulas out there that try to measure brand strength over social media. But, I think true long term social market leadership is really about creating a better customer experience through better engagement and interaction. With the transparancy that social media provides, companies are more and more realizing that architecting a better, holistic experience is critical to leveraging and maintaining brand equity and market share. If your social market share doesn’t represent your market share, might that be an indication of a problem in the market. If they don’t feel the same way about your company as you advertise, does that negate your market investment? Does your cost of customer acquisition go up because you don’t have brand evangelists and satisfied customers?

How do you measure Social Market Leadership? I think that this is the reason most organizations are struggling. There are simple measures from: simple Facebook fans, twitter followers, retweets, etc. To a little more sophisticated; social mention frequency benchmarking, sentiment scoring, number of influencer relationships, online community membership. To more complicated; taxonomy ownership, multi-criteria customer satisfaction, reputation management dashboarding, social lead scoring, share of customer voice, sentiment analysis benchmarking.

For those really pushing the limits of unstructured data analytics – the tools are rapidly moving towards ability to build a comparable, multi-dimensional dashboard to measure market perception differences between public social networks, online community members, and customer satisfaction surveying. Social media give such a dimensionality into buyer behavior, we think that we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg in terms of behavior analysis leveraging structured data analysis to build deeper analysis of unstructured social interactions.

No so simple an answer, but potentially worth a market.

Enterprise Social Architecture: Need My House Jack?

January 21st, 2010

We spend a lot of time with larger enterprises discussing how to integrate these newer technologies; web 2.0, community, social media, collaboration, etc. into their existing environments.

There are similarities to owning an older home. Learning a lot lately about how older homes were constructed. Our house was built in the 1950′s and they used a center beam and wing construction model. Think of a ship, center beam and wings fanning out from there. Over time, the center beam begins to sag a little, not very flexible so you put in house jacks, bracket the beam, and put in supports, etc. In older homes, you always find that the previous owners have added their improvements; rewired electricity, added a bathroom, added an addition built on a different foundation, etc.

If you think about many of the larger enterprises, they have the same challenges. Centerbeam for support which isn’t very flexible and sags. The center beam is the ERP system and the wings are the other systems that hang off of it; payroll, onboarding, content mgmt, crm, business Intelligence, supply chain, logistics, intranets, portals, various biz apps, email, etc.ERP. Added a lot additions; business intelligence, CRM, content, web apps, intranets, supply chain, etc.

 We spend a lot of time with enterprise organizations and their domain experts talking about how to socially enable the core business systems and processes custom lifecycle management. We hear all the time from CIO’s that they don’t want to make any major system changes as they are still paying for it; with all of the additions and changes, they still have a hefty residual mtg payment or amortization and  would like to get more life out of the systems without having a payment.

 The good news is that the home remodeling busness has advanced with new technologies, techniques, and implementation processes to retrofit an older home with the latest green and or backbone and foundation strengthening and life extending techniques for older homes.

Same thing for larger enterprises looking retrofitting their social backbone for their organization to gain effiencies, competitive advantage, or keep up wth their customer requirements. They can implement a social architecture without requiring them to rip out existing systems or do major infrastructure changes.

 We have begun to develop social program and system implementations with the variuos partner organizations to take advantage of enterprise class social for lead generation, customer lifecycle mgmt, business intelligence, new product development, project collaboration, and emploee engagement as just a sampling of initiatives that we are seeing.

Retrofitting a home is harder than new construction in a lot of ways, but for many homeowners who want to keep the charm of their home intact or who cannot afford to major home repair, it is an attractive option.

Retrofitting older information infrastructures to take advantages of social and collaboration can provide similar life extending and or cost reducing alternatives to upgrading without disruption.

What We Know About the Social Enterprise for 2010

December 17th, 2009

As we wind down 2009, I have had a few moments to think about where we are going with this whole enterprise social media, online communities, social marketing, etc. So, here are my “true-isms” for 2010:

1. Marketing via Social Media is becoming mainstream. Most of it is ad hoc  and mediocre, but there are some notable exceptions and that list is growing. Finding less people saying “why” and more people saying “how”.

2. Innovators are starting to change the rules. When you see a market disruption, the early indicators are the ability to gain market share at low cost by disrupting the status quo. Doesn’t mean that twitter is your end all strategy, but you are finding companies that are leveraging multiple web 2.0, social, community applications to streamline the way they do business; either gaining new customers or efficiencies in servicing the ones that they have.

3. Customer Experience is becoming transparent – if your service sux or is barely mediocre, you need to be concerned. Social media is optimized better that static websites. This means the ANGRY blogger who writes a scathing review of their poor customer experience will get ranked higher than all of the money you just spent on broadcasting to the market.

4. Social Marketing is a “downhill” spend versus some alternative marketing channels that are “uphill” – Means that you get the snowball effect from a $1 spent in social marketing because you get the target audience, influencers, and search benefits. Alternatively, if you are having to spend dollars at trade shows, etc. you have to spend to counter the social marketing of your competitors, it is to a limited audience, and it is gone once you spend it.

5. Social Marketing doesn’t work if you apply a traditional marketing approach to the social networks. You cannot just message and broadcast your advertising or PR messaging on social networks and expect people to engage. The analogy is word-of-mouth marketing in the offline world. Do you hire a street team and then have them drive up and down the block with speakers blanketing the neighborhood with a speech? You laugh at the analogy, but that is exactly what many “interactive” major brands are doing online.

6. Social Media, Marketing, etc will extend from the public networks into the enterprise. We are having conversations with partners and CIOs around business intelligence, lead generation and tracking, customer experience management, enterprise application integration into internal communities, information architecture, employee engagement, organizational productivity gains, integration of external and internal communities, contact center integration, supply chain enabled applications, business process integration, corporate governance and compliance, MBOs, cross-functional alignment, ROI, etc.

7. Social Media is following the same path into the organization that the original “website” did… in the process became web applications, processes, ecommerce, etc. The original web solved a problem for people in aggregating and distributing information. Social Media solves the opposite problem in that it helps people with context and filtering.

8. The “Social Enterprise” is growing up. The last three years have seen pockets of cottage industry level “consultants”… but, everyone claimed to be a social media consultant. Saw the same thing in mid-90′s as everyone was a web consultant, but the difference by the end of the decade was that the real consultants figured out how to map back to business strategy and tie the web to business objectives, ROI, and core business issues. The real consultants figured out that they needed standardized, repeatable methodologies that were scalable across the enterprise (and enterprises) and transferable to their clients. The applications they developed focused on “big” problems and the size required sophistication and strategic understanding. 2010 will be the breakout year for many consulting organizations as they move from tactical point applications to enterprise solutions.

9. Organizations that have embraced the new collaborative economy and all of the challenges and opportunities in 2010 will face hurdles in converting to the social enterprise, but the smart ones will understand that the risks are too high. Smaller companies, non market leaders are looking for an edge or opening to exploit and grab market share or enter new markets. In a down economy, you have to leverage what you have better. The larger companies that cannot adjust can find that market share is a trailing indicator of performance (how we did) versus social media which is a leading indicator (what people think).

10. From 1989 to 1999, 62 of the top 100 companies on the Fortune 100 list changed. 62 came off and 62 new ones entered the list. If you think about it, 62 of the top, most respected market leaders got caught from behind and eclipsed in one decade with the selective use of a new technology and widespread business process reengineering. 62 of those CEOs and other executives probably said, “web?”, not going to affect our business. I wonder how many of them retired early…. I wonder how many of the top companies and executives will still be on the list in 2020…