Archive for July, 2010


People on the Move in the Social Business Industry: July 11, 2010

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More job changes continue to sprout forward, more folks are being hired into senior positions and there are few high profile moves like Tony Zingale as the new CEO of Jive. I’ve been tracking new hires in this space since 2007, see the archives.

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People on the Move in the Social Business Industry

  • Ben Smith launches his own business out on his own.  I’ve known Ben since keynoting his conference in Kansas and can see he’s one of the lights of the community.  Wishing him success in his new venture, as he hangs out his own shingle.
  • Samir Balwani joins PMK BNC Digital as a Marketing Strategist and will Continue to grow digital communication strategies across all accounts
  • Stephen Monaco joins NextGen Marketing Group as Managing Director – Social Media Marketing.  He’ll Practice Overseeing Principals an Consultants at NextGen Marketing Group to help medium-sized businesses develop best practices in social media marketing.
  • Jim Milton joins SelectMinds as Regional Sales Director Jim will focus on expanding the footprint of SelectMinds’ industry-leading corporate networking and referral products.
  • Suzanne O’Neill joins SelectMinds as Regional Sales Director With the recent launch of SelectMinds’ TalentVine Referral Recruiting Solution, Suzanne will be introducing this new product to customers and the marketplace at large.
  • Cecilia Dominici joins FreshNetworks as Community Manager Seeding, growing and managing online communities for a variety of external clients.
  • Michael Lowe joins The Golf Channel as Senior Director Business & Strategy Oversee strategy and operations of golfchannel.com. Coordinate with editorial, marketing and sales teams to develop and promote content & applications that drive traffic, build community, and deliver revenue.
  • Silicon valley executive Tony Zingale joins Jive Software as the CEO, he’s an extensive track record, read more on the official blog.
  • Valeria Maltoni joins the team at Powered and is now part of the strategy team.
  • Edelman today announces that Robin Hamman joins the agency today as a Director in the agency’s Digital practice, thank you David Armano for the submission.
  • Chris Boudreaux has joined Converseon as an SVP leading the Social Media Management Practice.

Submit a new hire

Seeking a job?

  1. See the Web Strategy Job Board, which includes paid submissions from the top brands in the world.
  2. Community Manager jobs by Jake McKee
  3. Social Media Jobs by Chris Heuer
  4. Social Media jobs, filtered by SimplyHired
  5. Social Media Job Network by James Durbin
  6. 25 places to find social media jobs by Deb Ng

Additional Resources

Please congratulate the new hires by leaving a comment below.

Research and Webinar: Facebook Marketing Criteria for Success

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We’re embarking on yet another research report to identify how some top brands are using the Facebook platform well.

While no longer a one-off effort, many brands are already using Facebook for customer communities, word of mouth marketing, and are starting to integrate it with their own corporate website.  At the end of July, I’ll be publishing our findings, as well as grading some of the world’s top brands on their Facebook efforts.  We’ll be conducting a heuristic evaluation (acting like actual customers) and rate and rank these efforts with a variety of diagnostics.

After we publish this independent Altimeter research study in late July, I’ll be sharing the findings on a webinar sponsored by LiveWorld, where I’ll discuss what we found in the study. Sign up for the webinar to learn more about the success criteria, the research findings, and to join in on the discussion.

Now back to you, what criteria to you deem as key for brands to use in Facebook?  I’ll kick off with a few:  1) Enable social features.  Some brands have disabled the ability to have discussions or post information.  2) Encourage efforts that spread the experience to friends. Many brands are just talking directly to their members, but don’t explicitly enable the community to pass it on to others.  3) Engage in a dialog.  The social web is about behaving in a way that consumers already are, and this means brands should also participate in the existing conversation.  4) While we have a list of over 10, we’d love to hear from you.


Update: The submissions are pouring in, to date, we’ve included, Vendor Contributors such as:

360i, AKQA, Awareness Networks, The Community RoundTable, Context Optional, Digital Evolution Group, Edelman Digital, Facebook, Horn Group, Janrain, Inside Facebook, Kickapps, Gigya, Lithium, LiveWorld, Ogilvy’s 360° Digital Influence, Razorfish, RockYou, SHIFT Communications, Spredfast, StepChange a Powered Company, Vitrue and Wildfire Interactive.

Matrix: Challenges of the Social Technology Industry, July 2010 Edition

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While the opportunities for social technologies to change the world, business, and our individual lives continue to unveil, it’s also key to focus in on the challenges that impact the industry.  For many folks who have decided to invest in social technologies to improve their careers and business, it’s even more important to pay attention to these challenges.

First of all, have the right mindset. The savvy person will realize this isn’t a list of gripes, but instead an opportunity list.  Leaders at vendors, agencies, or brands will see these list of challenges of problems to fix and monetize.   If you’re in this space, you’ll want to send this list to your product teams, or strategy teams so they can think about how to solve many of these issues –or at a minimum, be prepared for it.


Matrix: Challenges of the Social Technology Industry, July 2010 Edition

Challenge Description Why it’s Painful How it will be Resolved
1. Noise overwhelms signal With over 50mm tweets each day (more stats here), and more coming, there’s an excess of noise. Expect this to increase as the ‘Internet of things’ and inanimate objectives emit signals. A compounding problem. Finding the needle is an incredible challenge as the haystack continues to grow.  As a result, individuals and companies will rely on analytics tools to derive what’s important, meaning they have less time digging in deeper as their viewpoint becomes larger. Expect social inbox aggregators to filter signal like Facebook, Google, Bing, Salesforce, and eventually social analytics and then social insights vendors, We’ve mapped our a roadmap in our Social CRM report, but expect companies like Crimson Hexagon, Crowd Factory, to be the filter and conduit for advanced listening and analytics.  On the consumer side we can already see the Facebook news feed pruning the most relevant information from our average of 150 contacts.
2. Amateurism threatens expertise The social web is like a vuvuzela, everyone has one, blows it, resulting in a pure buzzing sound. Now, this means that non-experts are commenting and asserting influence in areas where only experts had voices.  Andrew Keen has explored this topic at great detail. Media, journalists, photographers, videographers, and all other IP or media based industries are impacted as everyone is on the game.  The challenge is, with amateurs and prosumers in, it’s created challenges.  For example see keynote panel at SXSW debating crowdsourced graphic design vs the elite professionals New markets are being developed that meets the needs of both the expert elite class as well as those of the masses.  We’re seeing experts adopt these same tools of the masses, for example, nearly every online newspaper has integrated social technologies.
3. Power shift to participants Those who use social technologies like ratings and reviews are sapping power from those that don’t.  Furthermore, voices from those with simple tools like blogs, score well in search engine results pages, a common starting place for information seeking. Research on trust, such as Edelman’s trust barometer indicates that people trust others like them, in almost every situation.  As a result, institutions and organizations are being cut out as an unneeded middleman. In order to get back trust, these institutions have to use the same tools as the commons.  The challenge is developing a significant shift in mindset and deployment.
4. Fast moving industry creates confusion There are few other industries that move as quickly as the social space. A combination of low barriers to entry of commodity technologies fused with injections from venture money there’s constant innovation. The technology is innovating faster than companies and institutions can’t keep up.  Furthermore, the list of choices is staggering, such as the 145 brand monitoring vendors and 125 community platforms. In the end, consumers will define which technologies are adopted and at what rate.  To keep track of these trends, a combination of research from analyst firms and vertical specific media sites like AdAge and News blogs like Techcrunch, Mashable, RWW will provide illumination.
5. Risk of overhype Fast growth, consumer adoption and celebrity adoption of these tools has lead to a media frenzy.  Yet this space can quickly get overhyped as small changes in Facebook features yields huge news coverage. Perspective is lost when we’ve over focus on the disruptions from such simple technologies.  If there’s excess hype, then there will be a continued flood of investor money spurring more cloned companies –exasperating the situation. Decision makers should focus on business needs and business goals before succumbing to the latest headlines about Facebook changes and look at the long term aggregate view. Use data to construct a long term view.
6. Lack of qualified talent Finding the right talent is a challenge. For example, within the corporate space, companies have only been adopting these tools with great fanfare for a few years (Scoble, being one of the starting block at Microsoft in 2006-2007) Companies are ill-equipped to take advantage of this fast moving pace.  As a result, while those with experience and talent will quickly find an increase in salary, the demand for recruitment will result in a lot of job hopping. Time will slowly give experience to this budding industry, it’s not something that can be rushed.  Yet professionals should continue to tap into education, blogs, books and conferences to stay abreast.  This is an opportunity for publishers, educators, conference creators, and existing experts.  See this list of those in these roles in corporate now.
7. Measurement elusive While engagement (the interaction) of these tools and technologies is high, it’s not an effective form of measurement.  Secondly, while the interaction is high, it’s been difficult to tie back to commerce. While it’s easy to measure pokes, RTs and likes, they don’t tie back to true business measurements or KPIs.  Companies want more fans for their Facebook page but aren’t sure why.  As a result, efforts will spin focused on less meaningful metrics without a clear impact to business. All companies and professionals should measure their efforts based on business objectives.  In our latest report on social analytics, we’ve categorized this into 4 major areas: learning, dialog, supporting, and innovation.   Then, you can work with brand monitoring vendors, insight vendors, and eventually business intelligence software vendors.  Lastly, we’re hosting a conference on social commerce to tackle many of these issues head on.
8. Disparate Data and Irregular Standards. There are many vendors that are constructing their own systems.  Each social network has their own API, and despite efforts to bring standards, the fast moving landscape makes it difficult While the cultural impacts have been severe for many companies, gluing together ever-changing data sources creates confusion.  As a result, data will end up in silos that the CTO will have to glue together later, as well as the ever constant management of data formats. Although foundations have been setup to lead OpenSocial, there are other vendors like Gigya and Janrain are starting to provide technology that can manage the multiple identity systems.  Expect new tools like Social Inbox Aggregators to start to fuse information into one place, and eventually passing to Business Intelligence systems.
9. Culture shift creates an internal rift inside institutions. For nearly every institution, this has caused an internal cultures shift.  A few reasons: Power has shifted to the participants and companies realize they must now participate.  The ‘always-on’ mode means that business doesn’t stop at office hours, and now employees can choose the technologies to be used over the CTO. As a result, companies are struggling to get organized internally, and formerly silo’d groups (like Marketing and Support) must come together to support the same customer.  Furthermore companies who stem from command and control must give way to anarchist Cluetrain talk in order to stay relevant. The biggest opportunity is for internal evangelists and change management teams to lead the charge.  However they won’t do it alone as analyst firms will provide education and guidance and an emergence of new types of consulting agencies like Dachis Group, Ant’s Eye View,  will enter the fray along with traditional agencies like Organic, Razorfish, Ogilvy, and Edelman.  They won’t be alone as consulting firms like Deloitte and McKinsey will quickly come on board.
10. Privacy Woes scare companies and consumers. As more individuals share information the greater the risk that this content can cause harm by malicious parties.  Furthermore the more brands use this data to do accurate marketing, the fear of ‘big brother’ will increase. Facebook is the most telling example, as information that was first promised to be ‘just for your friends’ continues to be more open. As they slowly shift towards a more open model, you can see the reactions from consumer, press and media. Over time, society will start to normalize (look at Generation Y’s openness) and sharing will often be a default norm.  Expect services to emerge that will remove and hide information from the internet in order to keep consumers safely tucked away.

How to Overcome These Challenges
Taking on issues head on is a powerful way to take control over your own destiny. Use this list and develop strategies to hurdle over them.  Send this list to your leads at your company who focus on the future direction. If you work at a social technology startup or agency, send this to your executives now.  Secondly, print out this list and identify which challenges you’ve already taken on, and which ones that haven’t.  The savvy corporate social strategist or the smart entrepreneur will recognize the many business opportunities and models this list offers.  The truly smart folks will figure out how to improve their careers, add more value, and even profit by taking these challenges on directly.

This is just a partial list, and you can feel free to leave a comment with what you see as the biggest challenges in this space, I’ve kicked off a discussion in Twitter, and you can see more folks add to the list of challenges, see the tag #SocialChallenge.  Disclosure, some of the companies listed above are Altimeter clients.

Video: State of Social CRM

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I find that Paul Greenberg (follow him on Twitter @pgreenbe), one of the early adopter who mapped out the CRM space gives a succinct overview of what’s happening in the Social CRM space. He points out the two converging forces ‘social’ and ‘CRM’ spaces that are coming together, yet the third force, ‘companies’ themselves aren’t yet ready for the internal changes that are coming.

He raises a good point that social media empowers everyone in the organization to now have a customer touchpoint in this flattening tools. Yet this means that customers will need a consistent experience regardless of who they talk to in sales, marketing, support, or in-person. As a result, this is creating some unique cultural changes inside of companies, companies with many silos will start to have to come together to provide those consistent experiences. Do check out Charlene’s book Open Leadership which can help leaders make sense of how to approach this cultural change.