Archive for November, 2011

Video Interview: The Hierarchy of Social Business Maturity


Below, you can access a video of me presenting the highlights of my latest research on social business maturity.

Screen shot 2011-11-29 at 5.08.10 PM
Above: Click image to access video.

Thanks to Jonathan Gourlay of Search Content Management for interviewing me after my keynote at KMWorld in DC, discussing our latest research report, which you can download on Social Business Readiness. Here’s the slides from my keynote at KM World, which match the report, as well as the video above.

In this video interview (embedded above) I discuss the highlights from our latest report, I also discuss the Corporate Social Strategist, the leader of the social program on the business side within corporations, read a report about their career as well.

I’m looking forward to keynoting at LeWeb next week, the largest European internet conference, where I’ll be sharing our vision and findings on social, mobile, and local for the connected company, see you there!

Below are the 5 levels of the Social Business Hierarchy, read the full report (link above) to learn more

Companies Must Ascend the Social Business Hierarchy of Needs

Corporate Communications, Disrupted, Yet More Important Than Ever Before


Traditional Communications Disrupted: Bigger, Faster, Riskier.
The rise of social technologies over the last few years has impacted the corporate communications department the first and often most severe.  From angry bloggers to ratings and reviews these departments were some of the first to respond, and take ownership.  In fact, Altimeter’s Research (figure 6.3) indicates that 30% of Corporate Social Strategists report to Corp Comm, 41% report to Marketing, where Corp Comm may reside under.  Despite this adoption, these departments have undergone three major changes.

  • Nearly all Employees are ‘Corporate Representatives’. Both a blessing and a curse, now traditional corporate spokespersons are spread to any employee who participates in social communications –even if they don’t ‘officially’ represent the company.  Furthermore, we found in a recent survey that the average enterprise corporation has a whopping 178 social media accounts globally, the amount of communication touch points has drastically increased.  To make matters more complicated, the blur between personal and work usage of social accounts like Twitter and Facebook confused communication professionals and employees alike.
  • Companies Must Respond Faster to Customer Woes in Public. Forever gone is the days of sweeping customer complaints under the carpet, as in an easily findable ‘Google world’ corporations must address customers in public as many watch on.  Furthermore we see that the speed required to respond increase, as minor issues can escalate to larger issues within a number of hours.  Business communications is no longer limited to 9-5, but now a watchful eye has to be put in place, we see an increase of outsourcing to agencies that offer brand monitoring, community management, and real-time response increase.
  • Comunication Crises On The Rise. Lastly, our recent research peering into 50 case examples has found that social media crises are on the rise year to year (see data).  Ironically, we’ve segmented this by mentions of corporations in multiple ‘mainstream’ media rags, as those get the attention of executives and beyond.  Why this increase?  The media love to stick-it-to-the-man by telling stories of single consumers bucking a big nasty corporation, and with the pile-on-effect from social media these stories glean heavy traffic and comments.

Three Actionable Imperatives for Corporate Communications Groups
I’ve peered into many a corporate communications departments as I spend time with the world’s largest corporations and have found a trend among the most savvy.   I’ve seen three clear trends which we’ve articulated in our latest report on Social Business Readiness (slides too), which you should download and distribute today, among them are:

  1. Relinquish Mindset of Control, Instead Usher ‘Enablement’. In business school, we were taught to foster message control and encourage all corporate representatives to stay on message.  Yet today, as multiple business units from support, sales, HR and beyond participate in social technologies, communication is spread to the edges of the company –not just from executive comms.  As a result, corporate communications groups have changed their mindset to safely enabling business units to communicate, based on pre-set parameters they put in place through governance, coordination, and workflow.
  2. Roll out Enterprise Workflows; Education Programs at Four Levels. We’ve found that savvy corporations have detailed workflows, one insurance company I’ve worked with has multiple workflows in place, including sample language in which employees should respond.  Beyond creating these workflows, they must be distributed throughout the enterprise through education programs, and drilled.  We’ve found savvy corporations have up to four types of education programs spanning: Executive team, social media team, business stakeholder teams, and finally all associates.  Even if the mandate is for rank and file employees to not respond in social on behalf of the company, reinforcing education is still required.
  3. Host Mock Crises Across the Enterprise Today. Lastly, we’ve found a few savvy corporations working with agency partners have setup mock fire drills where they approach a week long crises in a number of hours in private.  Not only does this test the mettle of the organization it provides useful training so companies can respond faster, in a more coordinated approach.  We should expect compliance programs to eventually require corporations get ‘social-crises-ready’, I know of two brands that have already gone through this.

That’s my perspective on what I’m seeing in this space, would love to hear from you, what are savvy corporate communications departments doing today?

People on the Move in the Social Business Industry, Nov 20, 2011


While I’m comitted about tracking the roles in the social business space, earlier last week, I asserted that if the Corporate Social Strategist does their role well, it goes away, it drew quite a bit of dialog.

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:

  • Luke Kilpatrick joins Virtustream as Director of Social Media and Community Manage and execute Virtustream’s social media and community strategy
  • Sonny Gill joins U.S. Cellular as Social Media Manager Help lead and manage social business initiatives within the organization.
  • Karthik Chakkarapani joins as Senior Principal Consultant, Social Enterprise Develop social enterprise strategy, solution architecture, implementation roadmap and adoption strategies
  • Susan Elliott joins WebMD as Associate Director, Social Media & Community Charged with developing & managing the emerging media strategy for the site.
  • Scott Levy joins Context Optional as Vice President of Sales, East Leading and further developing the already established East Coast presence
  • Geordie Henderson joins HootSuite as Director, APIs & Integrations Geordie is responsible for the development, integration and publication of the HootSuite API portfolio that enables the provision of highly scalable access to HootSuite data for both HootSuite and partner applications.
  • Louisa Thue joins HootSuite as Director of Analytics Louisa manages the development activity related to HootSuite’s analytics and streaming initiatives. Her top goals include optimizing internal development processes and collaborating on analytic product strategies.
  • Gaurav Bhalla Ph.D. joins Passenger as Chief Innovation Officer. Dr. Bhalla will provide strategic insight on customer collaboration, co-creation, market research and innovation. He will work closely with the client services, business development, and product teams to drive Passenger’s point-of-view and approach to customer-led innovation.
  • Anatol Vetters joins We Are Social in Deutschland GmbH as Account Director Strategy
  • Greg Weber joins Jun Group as Director of Sales Social video sales with brands and agencies throughout the West Coast
  • Connie Bensen joins Dell as Sr. Manager, Community Strategy and Execution Foster community engagement internally and externally at Dell.
  • Ted Shelton joins PwC as Managing Director of Advisory focused on social business.
  • Michael Hopps joins Cisco Systems as Social Media Marketing Specialist in San Jose
  • Last but not least, I had the pleasure of meeting Christy Park who has joined Cisco system, who recently graduated Stanford and will be working as Social Media Marketing, Project Specialist

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.

The Peculiar Marketing Trends Among The Social Software Industry


The social software space has been conducting some interesting marketing techniques, and I’m here to comment on what I’ve seen.  Being an attendee at dozens of shows a year, also receiving more emails than I can count from these vendors, I wanted to provide a broader perspective, and then get your comments.

In addition to the usual forms of marketing from working with PR agencies, press releases, taking over SERP pages of a competitor,  brochures, white papers, case studies, webinars, and the lot, I’m seeing a few interesting trends in their marketing mix I wanted to highlight:

1) Social Software Vendors Ironically Invest in Airport Display Advertising. While I’ve heard about it, I saw it for the first time in Chicago airport this week, Buddy Media’s print advertising was prominantly displayed, here’s their blog post touting the campaign.  Given their hefty investment raise of $54 million a few bones tossed on display advertising seems like a small play.  Yet Andrew Jones, Altimeter Researcher heard first hand from brands we interviewed that they did not want to see a vendor they would hire invest in that way.  I’d argue that Chicago is ripe for brand managers, agencies and the lot, and because no other vendors are deploying on print, this is a smart play.   Marketing  is, after all, integrated, right?

2) In a bite-sized world, Infographics are the new White Paper. I’ve seen a number of changes as our attention span decreases (first of all, thank you for making it this far in my post) as vendors shift from long form white papers to shorter form content.  This trend?  I say we’re moving away from an appetite of content steak to shish kabob –yet the balance is frequently off.  The earliest pioneer in this space was Mint, which aggregated user data and published financial index data to compare young Gen X males to each other.  Lately, we’ve seen a heavy output of infographics from Eloqua (a client) which is used to reach influencers, tap into their egos, and get them to trigger discussions.  Proof? This Blog Tree infographic is such link bait, and yes Web Strategy blog is an orange leaf (but I ain’t fallin yet).   Their team tells me they show an increase in relevancy from these discussion, all tracking using their tool set, and they work with premium infographics firm Jess3 and DIY infographics for marketers from for the rest of us.  Up next?  eBooks are on the rise.  Wait for it.

3) Female Promotional Models Continue to Lure on Conference Floors. As one of the keynotes at a large software conference, I ventured onto the vendor show floor.  Surprisingly, I found many incumbent software and marketing software firms still hiring promotional models (also known as “booth babes” –which feels dirty even to write), do note that Salesforce doesn’t dictate what happens in these booths, it’s dependent on the vendor.  While these attract cameras, and a certain type of eager male, I hesitate on how this may limit bringing executives who don’t want to be seen near them in our always publishing twitpic world.  Furthermore, we know that many of the Corporate Social Strategists are women climbing in their career, I can’t imagine this would attract them to their booth.

4) Humanizing the Brand with Real World Mascots. Beyond just the cutsy logos of Seesmic, Placast, Hootsuite and beyond, we’re starting to see full costumed mascots appearing.  Yet, often, these mascots appear in the enterprise social space, such as Sassy and Chatty from Salesforce, and Get Satisfactions JarGon, an anti-mascot who highlights old school IVR. We’re also seeing street teams at Oracle and Salesforce conferences do battle over your attention, an old trend, not-unlike any local marketing effort.  While they are great for the conference TwitPic and comedic relief, to me this seems more than ironic as social software is to humanize the brand –so why don’t we use humans?

Now, I’d love to hear form you?  Do you think these four forms of marketing from the social software vendors are sufficient to cut through the noise?   Is airport advertising, infographics, promo models, and walking mascots the future of social software marketing?

Number of Fans and Followers is NOT a Business Metric –What You Do With Them Is


Companies are frequently misguided by relying on fan and follower count as the primary measurement for their social media investments, instead they must focus on the outcomes of these fans and followers.

We wouldn’t buy a car without looking under the hood, or buy a house without getting it inspected, or hiring an employee without doing a background check, so we should also ensure we’re providing the right metrics for our social efforts.

Because fans and followers are so easily viewable by all employees of our owned social accounts as well as our competitors, it’s easy to use that as a default index. In fact, strategists should not serve up fan and follower data to executives, as they often self-diagnose this number to be most important and compare themselves to their competitors.

Instead, focus on the business outcomes of the account, whether it be for being involved in influencing them, transacting leads or conversions, fostering word of mouth, improving customer service and support, or generating ideas for future products or the brand.

Don’t focus solely on fans and followers as a primary key performance indicator, instead focus on the business goals the fans and followers yield for you.

Take Action Now

Aspiration: Trusted (Negative) Customer Reviews on your Corporate Homepage


It may surprise you, but a sign of a mature social business is to allow negative customer reviews right on the homepage.

Hard pill to swallow? Absolutely. Many brand managers, CMOs and CEOs will resist tarnishing the brand, yet savvy social strategists know to enable a trusted place for prospects, reviews from actual customers will need to surface during their decision making process.

In fact, consumers often get this data from third parties, and the savvy strategist knows they want this to happen closer to their point of transaction on their corporate homepage. Why? It shows a sign of confidence that a brand is willing to allow all customer opinions closer to them, and ideally they are responding to fix issues.

Yet despite this, our recent survey found (our full Open Research report to come in Q1) that a majority of corporations are not aggregating customer reviews on the homepage, instead they are continuing to link away to social media owned (their own branded FB and Twitter accounts). Let’s continue to adopt trusted consumer content in all relevant digital touchpoints, and ensure we’re integrating across the entire customer lifecycle.

A sign of a mature social business is having trusted, and therefore negative customer reviews on the homepage.