Archive for August, 2011

(Report) Social Media Crises On Rise: Be Prepared by Climbing the Social Business Hierarchy of Needs


What’s a crises? We did analysis on the list of social media crises aka “punkings” to find out what went wrong, why, and what should have been done.

First, a workable definition on Social Media Crises for this report: A social media crisis is an issue that arises in or is amplified by social media, and results in negative mainstream media coverage, a change in business process, or financial loss.

To refine further, while crises may happen on a daily basis we wanted to focus on crises that had the actual outcomes: We categorized each crisis according to three severity levels: Level 1 is for crises that result in negative coverage in mainstream media; Level 2 is for crises that result in negative coverage in mainstream media, and a significant response or change by the company; and Level 3 is for crises that result in short-term financial impact.


Above: Social Media Crises (as defined above) are on the Rise

To make matters worse, we also saw a slight uptick from unavoidable NGO attacks against brands (like Greenepeace vs Nestle/Mattel), which is a new form of one organization and its members attacking another, causing their social media efforts to quickly be overrun from hundreds to thousands of NGO fans.

Most Crises Could Have Been Diminished or Averted if Company Was PreparedCauses of Social Media Crises

Above: Yet most can be Diminished or Averted, and Causes of Most Crises Originate from Company

Interestingly, we found that 76% of these crises could have been prevented or diminished had the brand been prepared and had proper training, staff, and processes to respond (Read the report in detail to learn more).


Above: Embedded is the report, which details the methodology, findings, and recommendations. 30k views in 24 hours on slideshare.

In this Report, Learn How Advanced Companies Prepared
What you’ll find in this report, is we found out how the advanced companies (I’d also add that many of them have experienced crises as a turning point, like Dell) used this to their advantage to spearhead internal change momentum.   We found there are four common ways brands are investing in internal readiness, and we dissect their business benefits, as well as where they need to continue to invest.   Here’s the full report, embedded below, you can download it from slideshare at well, there are no registration pages.

Social Business Hierarchy of Needs
Be Prepared: Companies Must Ascend the Social Business Hierarchy of Needs
In a tribute to Maslow’s work on our individual hierarchy of needs, we noticed a pattern than companies undergo a similar growth.   Companies must fulfill the requirements at the bottom of the pyramid and then layer on top of success, building each layer.  To date, we found only a few companies that are getting near enlightenment, which we will feature in our upcoming work. Here’s a pattern we found from the advanced companies:

1) Foundation: First, develop a business plan and put governance in place.
2) Safety: Then, get organized by anointing a team and process to deal with crises.
3) Formation: Next, connect business units to increase coordination and reduce duplication.
4) Enablement: Grow by letting them prosper – give business units the support and flexibility to reach goals
5) Enlightenment: Finally, weave real-time market response into business processes and planning.

Open Research: Read it, Apply it, Spread it
The more you spread it, the easier it is for me to produce more reports. This research was 100% funded by Altimeter Group, and we are releasing it under Creative Commons so you can use it in your planning, presentations, and blog posts. You can download the report directly from Slideshare, and use the images provided below for your slides. I’ve embedded sharing buttons on the upper right side of this post, for your convenience. This six month plus research project was conducted by a team, and I’d like to thank Andrew Jones, Christine Tran, and Andrew Nguyen.

Coverage: Related Links About This Report
I’ll cross link to valuable reviews and mentions.


Brand Side

Press, Media, Interviews

Thought Leaders


Social Software Providers

Professional Organizations

Learn More: Upcoming Speeches and Webinars Discussing These Findings
Here’s a few upcoming locations I’ll be discussing these findings, to learn more, see my speaking page.

Related Reports:  Career Path of the Social Strategist, How to Budget for Social Business, Facebook Best Practices, view all research.

Update: Thanks Jon Spangler for noticing a typo, which I’ve corrected

People on the Move in the Social Business Industry, August 27, 2011


The hires in the social business space continue to heat up, in fact the market research data (read the report) shows that hiring is the top spend in 2011. Expect there to be more hires over coming quarters.

Both the submissions on this job announcement board, as well as available social media positions at corporations continue to pour in.

In this continued digest of job changes, I like to salute those that continue to join the industry in roles focused on social media, see the archives, which I’ve been tracking since Q4, 2007.


People on the Move in the Social Business Industry:

  • Louis Gray, joins Google+ team as Product Marketing Manager. I’ve known Louis since he made his big splash a silicon valley tech blogger, and it’s so great to see him join a growing team, big win for Google, Louis and the industry.
  • James Andrews Introduces Social People TV.  I’ve known James for a few years, and have continued to keep in touch with him, congrats to him on his latest venture.
  • Daniel Reynolds joins DigiSynd (a Walt Disney company) as a Senior Manager, Social Media Strategy, having watched Dan’s work at Lexus, I’m sure he’ll continue to spearhead great work.
  • Katie Glass joins FreshNetworks as Social Media Executive Implementing social business strategies for clients.
  • John Fell also joins FreshNetworks as Account Manager Managing and developing existing clients and growing new accounts.
  • Lauren Vargas joins Aetna as Community Management Strategist Developing enterprise community management policies and rules of engagement for both internal and external communities.
  • Bastian Scherbeck joins We Are Social as Managing Director, We Are Social Munich Bastian will work with a locally recruited team both on the German aspects of Pan-European client work already won by other European We Are Social offices, and also on growing a base of local German clients.
  • Niall Cook joins Sociagility as Owner/Advisor Advising clients of building in-house social capabilities
  • John Kahan joins 33Across as Board of Director Kahan’s Depth of Data Experience to Accelerate 33Across’ Rapid Growth
  • Sloane Berrent promoted at Lippe Taylor and ShopPR as Vice President of Digital Marketing Lead the agency’s digital efforts to develop integrated strategies that combine digital, PR, communications and branding for clients in the beauty, fashion, lifestyle and health/wellness spaces.
  • David Binkowski joins Large Media as Partner Strategic counsel and big ideas to brands and agencies
  • Larry Berkin joins Tapjoy as Chief Financial Officer Mr. Berkin will be responsible for expanding Tapjoy’s operations in Asia-Pacific countries. Mr. Berkin will work closely with key partners in the region to build Tapjoy’s ad-funded model of mobile application distribution into the mobile ecosystem throughout the Asia-Pacific region.
  • Anurag Wadehra joins Baynote as CMO He’ll be leading the company’s marketing and communications strategy, and playing an integral role in aligning Baynote’s product roadmap with the challenges eCommerce organizations face to maximize multi-channel conversions.
  • Jeffrey L. Cohen joins Radian6 as Social Strategist where he will work with B2B and B2C enterprise companies to assess their social media strategy and adoption, and advise them on how social media marketing, communications and engagement can help them meet their business objectives.

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.

Finding: 1 in 330 Employees Publishes on “Official” Social Media Accounts


We’re measuring how companies are using social media technologies to connect with their customers and have data back from the field of over 140 enterprise class corporations, many of which have the coveted social strategist role and formalized programs. To find out how far reaching the social media programs stretch into the enterprise we asked two questions: 1) “Approximately how many employees post content to official social accounts?” and then to derive some ratios for cross-tab analysis 2) “How many employees are in your company?”.

We wanted to pose these specific set of questions as it helps us to better understand the proliferation of social business of customer engagement within the hub and spoke model, “Dandelion” and “honeycomb” models. If you’ve not read our report on how companies organize in social media, read the report, and 2011 data.

Screen shot 2011-08-26 at 6.41.52 AM

How Does Your Company Stack Up?

The data set is enterprise class companies, most who are reporting have the social strategy function in a marketing function in global national and US national companies, across multiple survey sets and sample size is 140 respondents.  Additional breakdown: So to crunch down the math here’s what it breaks down to for how many are publishing at a company I’ll take the medium of each range of employee set then divide by publisher ratio:

  • Companies with 2,500 employees have about 13 employees publishing on the official accounts.
  • Companies with 7,500 employees have about 22 employees publishing on the official accounts.
  • Companies with 30k employees have about 83 employees publishing on the official accounts.
  • Companies with 75,000 employees have about 182 employees publishing on the official accounts.
  • Companies with 100k plus average have about 280 employees publishing on the official accounts.

Over Time,  Expect More Employees to Publish On Official Social Media Accounts
Here’s my take on what this data means, while we’re seeing a broad ratio now, that ratio will decrease over time, as more employees are anointed to use official accounts, and as the internal culture relaxes, giving more access to publish.

  • On average, 1 out of 330 employees uses “official” social media accounts. Overall, few people are publishing on official social media accounts, only 1 out of 330 employees posts to official accounts. One important caveat is the assumption is many are using for their own personal uses, and I would expect the average to be in the ranges of 70-90% as consuming the social content with variations on different production activities.  I expect, over time, that more employees over time will use “official” accounts, and connect with customers as processes slowly allow for safe distribution of these roles.  Expect that social inbox, and social media management system tools will start to merge with email inbox systems, a push that we already see Salesforce with Chatter and Cisco’s Quad, and IBM’s push into the social enterprise (all are clients btw).
  • Smaller companies have more employees publishing, ratio-wise. We found that smaller companies in the 1-5k range had one out of 200 employees publishing, more likely due to a more flexible culture, less regulatory concerns, and well, less red tape.   For medium sized companies, we know that social media is an opportunity as a force multiplier as successful content can be amplified many times over at lower cost, and support costs can be reduced by leveraging the customer crowd base.   While smaller companies that have more feet on the social street ratio wise, they are likely still at a 1:1 battle with the larger companies with over 100k employees.
  • Over time, expect all ratios to drop, as prolific next generation rises into senior roles. We’ll be measuring this over periodically, but for now, I would assert that more employees will be using the official accounts over time, as the younger generation learns their way around the business, climbs up the ladder, and is granted ability to publish.  With that said, we already know that employee personal accounts can quickly be associated with a corporate brand, even if they have all the disclosure and polices in place.   As you might expect, this all ties into our Social Media Management System research, where we’ll be looking closely at how software, service, and solutions, will help companies coordinate and measure their customer engagements in many social channels.

Thanks to Andrew Jones, Christine Tran, researcher team for their ongoing contributions, see the rest of the “Social Media Management Systems” posts to learn more about this space.

Trend: Some Community Management Activities to be Outsourced


As we continue to conduct research in the social business arena, it’s important to point out the trends in the space. In particular, a role that is so key to success for customer engagement (marketing and service) is the challenging (and often under-appreciated) community manager role.  Lately, I’ve found a few trends that community managers (and their bosses) need to be aware of, as the space continues to grow.

Third Party Community Management Specialists On The Rise:
Here’s what we’ve been seeing based on a few briefings and interactions I’ve taken in the past few months: 

  • Recently, I spoke to a group of community managers at Weber Shandwick (invited by Stephanie Agresta) a communications agency, they work closely with their clients and are often representing the brand on behalf of the client who is unable to scale with limited resources. They also offer an interesting service called Firebell which simulates crises in a safe environment.
  • A few days ago, I was briefed by Cap Gemini who offers BPO (Business Process Outsourcing, a term I’ve found most on the marketing side don’t know), and they are partnered with Attensity (software) to provide community management services and support.
  • While many community platforms offer CM services, Liveworld (client) has focus here and, is one of the seasoned mainstays in community management and offers services (and software) to brands that seek community management services on demand.
  • I’ve been briefed by Sean O’Driscoll at Ant’s Eye View and they offer a range of services at the strategy level for their clients but also offers community management and analytics services.
  • A few weeks back, Chief Strategy Officer Peter Kim from Dachis group briefed Altimeter on their various strategy, implementation services, including community management as a managed service.

Altimeter Data Shows Staff and Agency Spend Top Spends
If you look at Altimeter spending data in Social Business, we already see a significant amount of revenues going to internal staff as well as agency folks, and it’s interesting to see how boutique social media agencies overtake traditional agencies in spending, I’m seeing an increase of community management staff be on demand from agency and third party side.

Expect Emerging Markets to Offer BPO Services, Outsourcing Some Activities
Last year, I went out to Manila to meet with the local web, agency, and business groups, and met some folks who work within the established BPO industry, most of these companies are known to manage the overseas call centers that you speak to for customer support. While I found they were not ready for ‘social support’ I’m starting to get briefings and hearing how they are gearing up to move into outsourced community management.  Based upon my experience, I see a range of Community Management services, I’m open to adding to this, based upon your feedback:

Matrix: Four Levels of Community Management Services:

Activity What it looks like Trends
4) Strategy Often behind the scenes, they lead the overall strategy of how customers fit into multiple business units. Often does reporting and responsible for return on investment. This activity is likely to stay within the corporation as they have understanding of business goals, and key relationships
3) Brand Representation Represents the story of the brand (and of course that of customers) and is often a primary face of the company in online communities on an ongoing basis. Often within the corporation, sometimes this role is being held by agency partners, such as “Jenny at Axe” who was a full time Edelman employee.
2) Member Response Responds to frequent product inquiries such as “Do you have this or that?” or “Does anyone know how to X” Often this is being served by a Product Marketing Manager, Product Manager, or Customer service representative –all who have been trained and know where knowledge is. Like other customer service channels, expect more of this role to be shifted to third-parties.
1) Moderation, Curation, Analytics Often behind the scenes, this group reviews content, and conducts triage for the content. They also may curate content and conduct basic reporting. Frequently, I’m hearing these skills are being leveraged by outsourced providers as they have minimal impact to customer relationships, I expect this to continue

Expect A Change in Community Management Sourcing:
The one constant of business is that it is always changing.  Due to weak financial markets and inability for most to measure social business, scrutiny of resources is always top of mind, as a result, expect the following trends: 

  • An increase in offerings of community management services from “emerging” markets. While in many cases, I’ve found that community managers are often in the brand or agency side that are close to the corporate HQ, expect to see an increase of service providers from Philippines, India, and perhaps in South America.  They’ve over a decade of experience managing customer service operations for brands on channels like phone –and can benefit to use channels accents won’t be a distraction to the customer experience.
  • Brands to continue to outsource some community manager activities –while strategic skills stay in house. Expect that brands will outsource activities such as moderation/curation and often reporting, and rely on knowledge workers who have specific product information or key client relationships to stay close to the brand.  In the case of a few companies who enter the “holistic” formation, they will enable thousands of employees to respond –spreading the role across the company.
  • Backlash from embedded community managers –yet savvy will “skill up” now. While we see that the number of social media accounts a brand has to manage on the rise (data), this trend won’t be met without opposition, in fact, many voiced their concern on my Google+ page how outsourcing key relationships between brands and customers is what gets companies into hot waters in the first place.  Yet, I expect many community managers to move into high echelon activities such as community programming on the content side, reporting and analytics, and learning to manage outsourced teams.

While I’m no longer in a community role (I used to be on brand side for social media), I wanted to provide my perspective from my vantage point.  Lastly, remember that Community Manager Appreciation Day is every fourth Monday in Jan, every year (this coming Monday, Jan 24th 2012), and should be used to celebrate all community managers, whether on brand side, agency, or outsourced.

Update: Taking a briefing from Crowdflower that have some of these services, but it must go through their platform and API. They do crowdsourced BPO

Updated List of Social Media Corporate Buyers: Corporate Social Strategist


I’ve updated the list of Corporate Social Strategists, for 2011, see it here.

These are the hard working open leaders within corporations that are making cultural change using new technologies to connect with customers and employees. It’s important to salute their efforts.

I wanted to first apologies for my delay in updating, but I’ve gotten around to it now. To submit, please carefully read the post, and follow the submission guidelines, which includes leaving a comment. I responded to all comments after reviewing the submission, so you can see verification.

The folks added in this round include:

  • Christina Sponselli -Director of Social Media University of California, Berkeley
  • Laurie Meisel Manager -Social Media and Digital Marketing McGraw-Hill Construction
  • Tiffany Winman – Community and social media strategist IBM
  • Colin Burns -Social Media Manager
  • Mike McCready -Web & Social Media Strategist Lethbridge College
  • Gregory Gerik -Global Social Media and Interactive Strategist 3M
  • Shane Barnhill -Digital Strategy Manager Honeywell
  • Cindy Kim – Director of Marketing and Social Media JDA Software
  • Desiree Porcaro -SEO / Social Media Specialist Ultimate Software
  • Alex Romano – Social Media Business Analyst Cisco Systems
  • Kelly LaVaute -Social Media / Community Manager Quicken Loans
  • Debbie (Schultz) -Svoboda Interactive Marketing and Social Media Pabst Brewing Company
  • Alana Taylor -Ecommerce Marketing Manager Panasonic

To see recent hires, see the “on the move” series I’ve been maintaining since 2007, since I had this role at Hitachi.  If you really want to understand this role, please read our research report Career Path of the Corporate Social Strategist.  Thanks to Anita Wong for her help in vetting submissions, next we will scour the on the move posts to pull out the submissions and add to list that fit the criteria.

Google’s Browser OS “Chromebook” is Start of New Lightweight Era –Yet Lacks Productivity Features


Altimeter's office The HangarRecently, I got my hands on the new Chromebook, a light featured laptop using the Chrome browser as an OS, and a Samsung laptop as its physical frame. While the market is still discussing the end state of HP’s Web OS, now’s a good time to see how other companies are launching their platforms. In particular, the war over eyeballs, desktops, and devices between Microsoft and Google is a long strewn out battle. In Google’s most recent move of Chrombook, they launched an incredibly thin version of an operation systems, Chromebook OS.

While I’m not a device guy (I leave that to colleague Chris Silva) I do want to discuss the future of the web, which is most suitable for the Web Strategy blog. In our continued quest to watch the web evolve, let me share with you what I found.

Strong First Push –But Lacking Features For Knowledge Workers
First of all, I was surprised when getting the Chrombook and booting it up, I expected to see the Honeycomb OS which I have on a tablet, this one allows for multiple applications, a robust UI, and is deeper in features. However the Chromebook was well, just as lableled: A browser. If you’re familiar with the Chrome browser that’s really all the device is. You can open multiple windows, and then tabs in each browser, but you can’t install other applications, although plugins are said to be available or coming. Overall, there’s very limited local storage, so most files have to be saved in Google docs. Like most knowledge workers, access to office applications and documents is key, and working my powerpoint files within Google Docs isn’t sufficient (although I’m mainly on the cloud and have created hundreds of Google docs, sheets, and forms through the years). Perhaps one stinging feeling is that it crashed twice within the first two days, despite me doing all the software updates.

The Pendulum Swings Back to Decentralized
The big trend? Every decade, we see the trend shift from local to network, from central to decentralized, from desktop to terminal. Now, with Chromebook we can see Google placing their bets on a ‘terminal’ based system that’s constantly connected to the ‘Google mainframe’ and internet. Yet despite this push, the limits of Chromebook are clear, you have to be online all the time, and due to the lack of local apps and extensive storage (you can plug a somewhat cumbersome USB storage device in) the device is worth it’s weight when on a plane (although a 3G version is available while on the ground). Until internet access is ubiquitous, don’t expect the Chromebook with no local storage to be fully useful in the sense we currently think of laptops

Chromebook OS not a Winner Till they Bridge Full Feature Functions
While the Chromebook (the one I have is from Samsung, which has an ok frame but a lackluster screen) is priced at $429 on Amazon, it feels a bit high as I could get a low end laptop, or a tablet with a bluetooth keyboard for just about the same price. While this device is an important milestone in the evolution of web based operating systems, there’s still a ways to go. There are a few saving graces for the Chromebook: Companies that seek to create online kiosks in their physical stores (hospitality, airports, and airlines like Virgin Air‘s offering of Chromebooks while in flight) can stand to benefit from this very light weight tool.  What would satisfy my needs and that of other knowledge workers?  A Chromebook that doesn’t cross completely over to a “terminal” browser only system and offers local storage and a handful of office productivity tools that can easily be accessed when offline.

I’ve asked our mobile analyst Chris Silva (follow him on Twitter) to jump in the comments, should you want to get his point of view on the future of mobile and devices.  The Google Chrome team is responding to me in Google+, (herehere and here) come join the discussion and see other comments.

Update: The conversation is also spilling into G+.