Archive for March, 2010

Matrix: Evolution of Social Media Integration and Corporate Websites


Many Brands That Adopt Social Are ‘Throwing Away’ Hard Earned Traffic
Many brands are jumping on the social media bandwagon, without giving proper thought about the impacts to their marketing effort.  In particular, many brands are putting ‘social chicklets’ on their homepage to “Follow us on Twitter” or “Friend us on Facebook” without considering the ramifications.

[Brands that arbitrarily adopt social tools may be unknowingly undermining their own efforts. Instead, first understand the full ramifications as you integrate social with your corporate website. Secondly, have a clear roadmap]

Marketers spend millions of dollars to get people to visit their corporate website, so why would they be so quick to send them away? Use this strategy matrix to help make your decisions. Be deliberate by first understanding the ramifications:

Matrix: Evolution of Social Media Integration and Corporate Websites

Sophistication Example Benefit Challenge
1) Do nothing, no social integration Corporate websites that have no integration with social tools at all. Cheap. Ignorance is bliss, at least in the short term Your corporate website is irrelevant.
2) Link directly away without a strategy Corporate homepages that have chickelts that say “Follow us on Twitter/Facebook/YouTube” sending traffic away, see sharethis, add this and tweetmeme Encourages growth of social channels Sending traffic away, without having a strategy
3) Link away, but encourage them to share with a pre-populated message A chicklet that encourages new Twitter followers to Tweet at their friends “I’m now following X brand” Triggers a social alert as a form of endorsement Better than the above, it may not have a followup or call to action
4) Brand experience is integrated in social channels Extending the brand to social channels, so the corporate experience is somewhat mirrored on social channels Regardless of wherever users go, they are still experiencing the brand Social channels sometimes serve better as a conversational area –not for traditional branding campaigns
5) Aggregating the discussion on your site Aggregating select conversations from Tweets like the skittles homepage did, top discussions in communities or blogs, see Disqus and Echo. Centralizes the discussion on your site, making it a resource to first look at. Low cost content Lack of control over which content can be created, still links off site
6) Social login systems that allow users to stay on site Using FB connect, or Twitter connect allow users to use their existing logins to access site, see how JanRain and Gigya (client) helps May increase sign ups, widening marketing funnel, chances are content is more accurate than a sign up form May not have access to email addresses, as users passthrough using social logins.
7) Social login systems that allow users to stay on site, but triggers viral loop In addition to the above, there’s an actual social or interactive experience on the corporate site that triggers them to share with their friends Users stay on site, interact with brand or peers, yet recruit other members in social networks Requires planning, a campaign, and extensive resources.
8. Complete integration between corporate site and social sites Other than URLs there’s no difference between a corporate site and a social site, the experiences are seamless Customers, prospects, and employees mix together, churning on new members and viral activity It doesn’t exist, yet.

Be Deliberate: Use This Roadmap For Your Web Strategy
Use this guide to map your current situation and where you plan to go, copy and paste the framework into your corporate planning deck, and identify where your assets are now.  Get actionable by taking these three steps:

  • Take inventory of current corporate website assets. Social strategists must determine what level of sophistication they are at now, and document in their project plans.  Take inventory of all corporate web assets and tag with this framework.
  • Identify what the desired state is, and then build a plan against it. Note that the further you go down in sophistication, the more resources and stakeholder buyin are needed.  Start small and slow, and be sure to have a strategy.
  • Don’t arbitrarily jump into the to social marketing space without measurable KPIs. Be deliberate in your actions.  Indicate on paper what the measurable goals are and how they’ll tie back to business metrics:  Increase brand awareness, increase leads, increase site conversion.

Once you’re ready to get actionable, and are ready to integrate the technologies, see this important matrix of Roadmap: Make Your Corporate Websites Relevant by Integrating Facebook, Google, MySpace, LinkedIn, or Twitter.

People on the Move in the Social Media Industry: March 27, 2010



It’s only been one month since my last “on the move” and the submissions are increasing in quantity.  There appears to be either a trend of a lot of job movement right now, or the notoriety of the on the move series is increasing.  I’m going to guess it’s a lot of the former and a little of the latter.

In an effort to recognize the changes in the social media space, I’ve started this post series (see archives) to both track and congratulate folks who get promoted, move, or accept new exciting positions. Please help me congratulate the following folks:

Also, my submission form has changed to a new URL, the former Google form was giving me problems, so please use this one going forward.

First of all, big shout out to BazaarVoice for their focus on human, here’s how they describe their onboarding process. Booong.

  • Long time friend Karl Long joins Netbase as director of Social Strategy and Design. He hails from Nokia, and is fanatical about cool tshirts.
  • Ryan Kruder is now VP of Marketing for Biz360, a social media monitoring and analytics company. Biz360 helps companies track who is saying what about their brand online and provides rich reporting to help make sense of the data.
  • Laura Ramos, former colleague and analyst on the Groundswell team at Forrester now joins Xerox as VP of Industry Marketing, congrats Laura, best wishes.
  • Andy Shaindlin hangs out his own shingle and will be consulting on Ideas, Trends and New Directions in Higher Education, he leaves Cal-Tech.
  • Dana Oshirojoins NetShelter as the Senior Social Media and Publishing Strategist, where she’ll continue to lead conversations, publish great content. She’ll continue to work with Read Write Start, and is one of the famed RWW journalists.
  • James Poulter leaves Ogilvy PR London to join as Digital Director at Euro RSCG Biss Lancaster.
  • Thomas Knoll joins Zappos as a community manager, great way to continue to build community spirit.
  • Jenny DeVaughn joins Bernard HODES Group as Director, Social Strategy Jenny joined the vast HODES digital team and provides clients with first-hand knowledge of best practices in social recruiting, sourcing and communications.
  • Steve Goldner joins Hachette Filipacchi Media as Director, Social Media. With a focus on Increasing traffic and advocates for HFM brand sites via strong relationships with users.
  • Dawn Foster joins Intel as Community Manager for MeeGo. She’ll be Intel’s community manager for the new MeeGo open source community.
  • Lynne d Johnson joins Advertising Research Foundation, SVP Social Media guide members on how they can best utilize social media to gain insights and achieve their business objectives.
  • Cosmin Ghiurau joins Samsung Mobile Strategic Manager Social Media & Emerging Technology. Cosmin will be setting strategy and overseeing Social Media initiatives from a Digital Marketing standpoint for all Samsung Mobile USA.
  • Katy Beale joins Poke as a Strategis focused on social media and digital insights & strategies for global mobile technology brand
  • David Nour founds The Nour Group, Inc. as a Managing Partner focused on Social Networking Strategist
  • Gerardo Dada joins Bazaarvoice as Sr. Director, Product Marketing, focused on Marketing Strategy, thought leadership, messaging
  • Scott Levine joins myYearbook asSenior Vice President of Business Development. Levine will partner with virtual currency sites, application providers, and media companies to advance myYearbook’s vision of creating the best place to meet new people.
  • Alyssa Gardina joins Razor as Social Media Strategist, she’ll be developing social media strategies for a variety of national clients.
  • Scott Gulbransen joins Sony Online Entertainment as Sr. Director of Global Public Relations & Coprorate Communications, and will lead all aspects of global communications including social media duties for the communications group at SOE
  • Calvin Wong has been promoted at appssavvy as Chief Operating Officer, he’ll be leader of operations at direct sales team for the social media space.
  • Matt Ceniceros joins Applied Materials asDirector, Global Media Relations. He’ll develop and execute traditional and social media strategy across the company’s diversified line of businesses and product categories.
  • Jason Abrahams joins FFWD Brands PR/Social Media Manager. Abrahams will play a role in strategy, message development and tactical execution of both traditional PR and social media for the agency’s key small business accounts.
  • Jessica Paponetti joins FFWD Brands asBrand Manager. Paponetti will play a role in strategy, message development and tactical execution of both traditional PR and social media for the agency’s key small business accounts.
  • Ed Lee joins Tribal DDB asDirector, Social Media. He will run the Radar DDB Toronto practice for Tribal DDB
  • Stefano Maggi joins We Are Social, Italy as Managing Partner. He will manage the Italian We Are Social, with Gabriele Cucinella and Ottavio Nava.

How to connect with others (or get a job):
Several people have been hired because of this blog post series, here’s how you can too:

Submit an announcement
If you know folks that are moving up in the social media industry, submit to this form

Seeking Social Media Professionals?
If you’re seeking to connect with community advocates and community managers there are few resources

This list, which started with just 8 names continues to grow as folks submit to it. List of Social Computing Strategists and Community Managers for Enterprise Corporations 2008 –Social Media Professionals.

Job Resources in the Social Media and Web Industry

  • Web Strategy Jobs powered by Job o Matic (Post a job there and be seen by these blog readers, these affiliate fees pay for my hosting)
  • Read Write Web keeps announcements flowing at Jobwire, although is broader than just social media jobs
  • Facebook group for community manager group in Facebook
  • Jake McKee’s community portal for jobs
  • Chris Heuer’s Social Media Jobs
  • SimplyHired aggregates job listings, as does Indeed
  • ForumOne Jobs for Social Media and Community
  • Teresa has a few jobs, some around community
  • New Media hire has an extensive job database
  • Social Media Headhunter
  • Social media jobs
  • Jobs in social media
  • Altimeter Group’s list of social media consultants and agencies
  • Social Media Strategists and Community Managers for 2010
  • Hiring? Leave a comment
    If you’re seeking candidates in the social media industry, many of them are within arms reach, feel free to leave a link to a job description (but not the whole job description, please)

    Crisis Planning: Prepare Your Company For Social Media Attacks


    In case you haven’t been watching, Nestle’s Facebook Fan page has been overrun by critics around deforestation, sustainability and poor social media relations. While this isn’t the place to have a discussion on sustainability, let’s look at the ramifications this has to society, brands, fans, and Facebook.

    I spent a few hours reading and researching, it looks like members of Greenpeace launched an online protest, (read the initial report, then news here, here, here) spurring a groundswell of online criticism, a majority of it on their Facebook fan page.  (Update: It’s clear that Greenpeace helped in part organize this social attack, see hereherehere, and this timeline of events) Nestle’ responded defensively,  threatening to remove off-brand logos from it’s Facebook page resulting in a flurry of negative comments. It’s not totally clear if Greenpeace staged and executed the whole attack, but regardless, the community is relentlessly dog piling on the brand’s Facebook page.  While Nestle’ responded with a Q&A on their corporate site, it appears Nestle’ has retreated from the discussion –leaving the page open for detractors.

    Brands are Unprepared for Organized Social Attacks
    I’m not hear to pile on and criticize either parties, but I’d like to take a look at the ramifications and make pragmatic suggestions to be prepared. The last few days has taught us that:

    • While every company has critics, they can now organize a coordinated attack. Every company I work with has some degree of critics, it’s a natural state of the market.  Now, these critics may start to organize globally by using similar tools and technologies brands are to market themselves.   Expect coordinated and organized attacks from critics.
    • Facebook fan page brand-jacking is the new form of tree hugging. As movements form, the organized groups can stage mass attacks on brand Facebook fan pages, overrunning it with negative messages.  Like sitting in trees with banners to slow down clear cutting and spray paining messages on buildings, this is simply the digital form of real-world protest.  Expect more of this in the future –not less.  (Update: interesting perspective on “social media warfare“)
    • Ownership isn’t clear –yet the power belongs to community. The brands think they own the Facebook fan pages, but the fans can demonstrate power and take over ownership.  When you look closely, neither parties ‘owns’ the property, it belongs to Facebook –but don’t expect them to do much, brands are really on their own.

    Recommendations: Develop a Community Strategy and Practice Crises Response
    Don’t be scared. Instead, develop a plan, resources, and a crises response plan now.  It’s important you do this before it happens, rather than wait for the incident to occur.

    • Companies must have a community strategy –don’t jump without a parachute. Companies (and their agencies) are allured to adopt the latest tools like Facebook pages without thinking it through.  Don’t go without a clear set of policies, roles, and experienced staff, approach your Facebook fan page as you would opening a real-world store –don’t relegate management to a PR intern.   Unlike traditional advertising or email marketing, this is an ongoing relationship, so budget the right set of resources, monies, and programs for this long term effort.
    • Hire seasoned community managers –don’t relegate to PR intern. I know many companies that are throwing the Facebook fan page to the junior intern as they ‘get social media’ because they are Gen Y.  Change your mindset: think of your Facebook fan page as your physical store. Would you anoint a freshly minted student to run that physical store?   Instead, hire an experienced community manager that knows how to deal with angry members, foster relationships with advocates, and handle crises without breaking a sweat.
    • Plan and practice for the worse –yet live for the best. Companies should expect a full scale organized attack from critics.  One that will simultaneously overrun blog comments, Facebook fan pages, and an onslaught of blogs resulting in mainstream press appeal.  Start by developing a social media crises plan and developing internal fire drills to anticipate what would happen.  This doesn’t mean you should live your social efforts in fear, but instead, forge key relationships with members now that will defend your brand in the long run.  The goal?  To stay off this list of brands that got punk’d.

    Love to hear your thoughts from this, what should companies do to be prepared for a social assault?

    Whiteboard War Room Analysis: Nestle’ vs Greenpeace
    Whiteboard War Room Analysis: Nestle' vs Greenpeace Social Warfare
    Update March 24th, a few days later. We’ve done a white board analysis breaking down exactly what went wrong and providing actionable recommendations on what brands should do. Also see Susan Etlinger’s share of voice analysis, yet Howlett suggests this doesn’t impact share prices Also read Ben Kiker’s suggestions

    List of Social Media Management Systems (SMMS)


    Pain: Social Media Teams Are Challenged To Respond To the Distributed Conversations
    I’m starting to get a few briefings and requests from strategists LaSandra Brill, about new technologies that enable social marketers to quickly manage, maintain, and conduct reporting on multiple channels. The issue of lack of scale is resonating with social strategists –as a result, the market is developing new tools that will help them manage them. This is one component of Social CRM, which if you haven’t heard about, please read the report on the 18 use cases of Social CRM. (Update: This is only one software segment in the overall Social Business Stack, which you should first understand)

    Above is the full report, feel free to read, download and share.

    Update: Jan 5th, 2012. After nearly two years of watching this nascent market, Altimeter has published a report segmenting the growing vendor space.

    Solution: As a Result, Social Media Management Systems are Emerging
    Like CMS and WMS for centralized website management, Social Media Management Systems (SMMS) empower social media teams to manage multiple distributed social channels from one location –enabling the opportunity to build deeper relationships by being in more places at once.

    Definition: Social Media Management Systems are collection of procedures used to manage work flow in a disparate social media environment. These procedures can be manual or computer-based and enable the manager to listen, aggregate, publish, and manage multiple social media channels from one tool.

    How it works: Three simple features In the most basic sense, these management tools do the following: 1) connect with social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. 2) Allow the manager to quickly publish from one location to each of those channels, some provide ability to customize to each channel 3) Aggregate and Manage social data. The system allows the manager to see an aggregated view of what’s happening (from views to comments) and may offer some form of analytics and conversion metrics.

    List of Social Media Management Systems (SMMS)
    Sorted by alphabetized order by parent company, not in priority or capability.

    1. Argyle Social: Provides features to publish and schedule, manage a social inbox, measuring tools, and white label solutions.
    2. Awareness Networks, Social Marketing Hub an enterprise class community platform has launched their own tool that has Facebook, youtube, flickr, Twitter, and of course connect with their own community features. In particular, this is an existing enterprise class vendor (previously I’ve published thorough research report on them) which bodes well to their level of potential levels of service, support, and market viability. (they’ve briefed me)
    3. Buddy Media: Has a set of management tools that help brands with Facebook, Twitter, and monitoring and reporting.  You’ll find iterations for both brands and agencies.  They have case studies from large brands and media on their site.
    4. Constant Contact: Purchased Nutshell Mail which has keyword monitoring systems that can empower small business owners to receive alerts about their social networking accounts.  On Feb 28th they acquired SCRM company Bantam Live which has some SMMS features, for sales and marketers. (hat tip to Dan Ziman)
    5. Context Optional offers management tools for moderating Facebook pages
    6. Conversocial: Offers solutions to help managers to  plan updates and learn what type of content resonates the most with your fans and followers in social networks like Facebook and Twitter
    7. CoTweet was recently acquired by ExactTarget.  They provide Twitter integration tools, scheduling, workflow, listening tools, multiple author management, and management dashboard tools
    8. Distributed Engagement Channel by DEC   Their system offers the ability to publish content, moderate UGC submissions, and track and optimize channel performance.  They also have features such as ID integration, media handling, and reporting.
    9. Engage Sciences: Allows marketers to launch social promotions to engage customers on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and corporate websites, whilst aggregating, filtering and storing streams from across the social web to allow companies to easily showcase the voices of advocates.
    10. Engage121: This group focuses on: Enhance brand image through consistent social media messaging, Empower local outlets with social engagement tools to get started in social media, Mobilize employees as brand ambassadors, Monitor and manage permissions of thousands of local agents and franchises
    11. Expion Expion allows large Enterprises to publish and aggregate social media conversations that can scale to hundreds of local based Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, and YouTube channels, etc. The tool has the ability to listen, publish, manage, respond, govern, and glean intelligence across these channels.
    12. Hootsuite Integrates Facebook and LinkedIn accounts. Whereas before you could update Facebook and LinkedIn through functionality, things are different now. Facebook and LinkedIn accounts are treated similarly to Twitter accounts: you can create columns from these social networks, read your friends’ status updates, and update multiple Facebook accounts. Facebook integration offers in-line commenting.
    13. Involver: Audience Management Platform provides marketers with the solution for publishing content, monitoring conversations, managing applications, and tracking performance.
    14. MediaFunnel offers integration with Facebook and Twitter. They have several permission based workflows that include a variety of roles such as a contributor, administrators, publishers.  This is not unlike traditional editorial processes used in CMS systems.
    15. MessageMaker: A social media management system (SMMS) that lets you publish and manage targeted content across a large number of social interaction points while generating actionable intelligence.
    16. Moderation Marketplace Provides Social Media Management and Content Aggregation solution designed to be delivered to your clients under your brand.
    17. Mutual Mind offers brand monitoring, permission based workflow as well as reporting tools.
    18. Objective Marketer provides managers ability to structure their messages by campaigns, features include User Management with roles and permissions and workflows, scheduled content, integration,  analytics and reporting.  The tell me their current client makeup  is 60% Enterprises, 30% Agencies and 10% Bloggers / Independent Consultants.  (in Jan 2011, Objective Marketer was acquired by Email Vision)
    19. Postling allows for individual clients or brand to manage assets like blog, Facebook Fan Page, Twitter account, and Flickr accounts from a single management system. There is also comment aggregation as well as workflow between teams.
    20. Seesmic. Seesmic offers support for multiple Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin,, Foursquare and Google Buzz accounts. Also offered on iPhone,  Android wp7 and Blackberry.  Languages translation support includes: English, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish and more.  Seesmic has received investments from Salesforce and has an integrated offering with Chatter.
    21. Shoutlet offers a multi-user application that helps global brands, small businesses, and marketing agencies build, engage, and measure all of their social media marketing communication via one platform.
    22. SocialVolt Provides STUDIO which is a complete social media management platform that integrates all the tools a company needs to successfully engage with their clients on the social web.
    23. SpredFast is an up and comer who recently briefed me, this Austin based company offers the core features and claims to have a 40% enterprise customer base. They have partners with Convio, Radian6, Crimson Hexagon, Sysomos, Trackkr, IBM, Porter Novelli, Sierra Club, HomeAway. They position their product as collaborative campaign management and offer features such as scheduling content, features that integrate with events and social stream like features similar to Friendfeed. (they’ve briefed me)
    24. Sprinklr offers social media management tools, it’s interesting their website has a strong focus on listening first, before the publication.
    25. SproutSocial: Sprout Social brings it all together to help you listen, engage and build loyalty to grow your audience and your business.
    26. Strongmail, a traditional email marketing platform offers platform that tracks the multi-stage sharing activity of the campaign all the way to conversion, analysis on reach, sharing activity, CT’s, feedback on Facebook fan page wall posts.
    27. Syncapse (formerly SocialTalk) provides integration with Twitter, Facebook, WordPress and MoveableType, this management tool provides governance, workflow, scheduling and other features.
    28. Targeted: Targeted ESP™ (Enterprise Social Port): A social media management system that is designed specifically for large enterprise networks, channel management and distribution networks. Targeted ESP™ is specifically designed to syndicate content and empower the end user while reducing the workload for corporate management. The platform allows not only the distribution of corporate-approved messaging to the local level, but also the aggregation of direct social network data and social intelligence reporting metrics.
    29. Vitrue: Update may 2012: Now acquired by Oracle. social media management systems, that has integration with Facebook and Twitter, they offer scheduling features, and the ability to link multiple Facebook pages together.
    30. Webtrends: Webtrends offers a solution to help marketers quickly define and execute on social marketing strategy. Solutions is offered as self and full service subscription plans to meet various social marketing needs.
    31. Wildfire: Offers features for social sweepstakes that promote word of mouth as well as ability to manage and publish from their platform to multiple social networks, with analytics.

    This vendors never want to market or went into deadpool

    1. KeenKong offers a dashboard like management tool that not only aggregates the conversation from Twitter and Facebook, but tries to make sense of it from Natural Language Processing. (Update March 2011, they have since gone stealth and never launched, hat tip to Blake for pointing this out.)

    Guiding Principles
    Before you jump into the market and utilize these tools, first follow this guiding principles.

    • Get personal with your market –avoid social media spewing: Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Spewing corporate content to every known social channel may make your life easier as a marketer, but could cause serious ramifications to the trust of your community. Remember that like fraternity row, each frat and sorority house has a different set of relationships, language, and interests –don’t think one type of content will fit all.
    • It’s the people stupid –not carpet bombing: One of the promises of social is to build meaningful relationships with customers –not apply traditional spray and pray marketing tactics. By using these tools, you could be missing out on true relationships that could be deeper, with more loyalty, and the benefits of advocacy.
    • Don’t get spread too thin: Being in all places at all times can mean you’re nowhere all the time. Pick your battles and remember that the needs of the LinkedIn community are far different than those of MySpace, be selective by first knowing your socialgraphics of your customer base.

    Use These Tools After You’ve Developed a Social Strategy
    Every technology has upsides and downsides, there are always tradeoffs. While these tools may help social strategists manage an unscalable situation — they have downsides:

    Industry Insights: A Commodity Feature, With Bandwagon Appeal
    Expect nearly every community platform (there are over 100) to launch these types of features, quickly followed by host of startups that specialize in this, then also the CoTweets of the world and other Twitter platforms like Seesmic to quickly get into the enterprise game. In a few quarters, expect the traditional CMS and WMS players to finally wake up and get relevant, followed by app developers in Salesforce appexchange to launch their own iterations. In the long run, this will be commodity set of features, just a check off in the overall suite of social business software but an important component of Social CRM.

    If you know a vendor that offers these features, please leave a comment, I’ll take a closer look, and plan to take some briefings with some of these vendors.  Note: I’m making many changes to this post, it’s being altered in near real time

    Altimeter Report: The 18 Use Cases of Social CRM, The New Rules of Relationship Management


    18 Use Cases That Show Business How To Finally Put Customers First

    Social and CRM: How Companies Will Manage Their Social Relationships
    Over the last six months, I’ve been working closely with Ray Wang who is well known in the CRM space as an expert.  Coupled with my focus on social technologies we did a deep dive on how our worlds are colliding into the trend to Social CRM.  In our opening webinar when we announced our joining of the firm, we made it clear we’re looking at the holistic business, across multiple business departments –not silos or roles.

    Companies are unable to scale to keep up with the social phenomenon
    We know that customers are using these social technologies to share their voices, and companies are having a very difficult time to keep up.

    • For companies, real time is not fast enough. Companies need to be able to anticipate what customers are doing to say and do, in order to keep up. Although Motrin responded to angry mom’s within 24 hours –it was too slow.
    • Companies are unable to scale to meet the needs of social. No matter how many community managers Dell and ComcastCares hires to support, they’ll never be able to match the number of customers happening.  They need tools, and they need them now.
    • Customers don’t care what department you’re in they just want their problem fixed. Dooce’s support problem with Maytag quickly became a PR nightmare –had the support group known she was an influencer (and what it means), they could have serviced her better.

    Framework:  The 18 Use Case of Social CRM
    Above: Framework of the 18 Use Cases of Social CRM

    How To Use This Report: A Pragmatic Roadmap
    Regardless if you’re in IT or in a business unit, we wrote this to meet the needs of both groups.  This architecture lays out all the possibilities (18 use cases) defines the problem and goal for each, and suggests some vendors who to watch.  It’s also pragmatic, as it lays out a process on how to get started, baseline needs (listening) and what to do next.

    Action Items

    1. Sign up for the webinar series. This is a deep topic, and the report is only the tip of the iceberg.  As we’ve done in the past, we’re going to offer a series of free webinars on this topic to explore each of the use cases in gritty details.  Sign up for the webinar now, as we can only have 1000 attendees per webinar, as our last webinar had over 1100 registrants.
    2. Read then spread this report. Like open source, the Altimeter Group believes in open research, we want our ideas to grow, and others to take advantage of it.  So if you found the report helpful, please forward the report to internal constituents, partners, vendors, clients, and blog it.  Use it in your presentations, business plans, and roadmaps.  I’ve embedded it below, and there are download features for your own use.
    3. Have an internal discussion. Evaluate your current situation at your company, then draw up which business needs need to be tackled first, use the use cases as a roadmap by mapping out which phase comes first, and which phase comes second.
    4. Learn more and join the community of pioneers. This is new territory, we don’t have all the answers, so we’ve created at group in which pioneers can learn from each other.  It’s free, and the conversation has started already, jump into the group, and learn together.

    The Altimeter Approach
    Standing behind our belief in open research, the Altimeter Group wants to be part of the community, we:

    Involve the expert community in the research process
    Altimeter is unique as our partners can tightly co mingle our topic areas and see how they converge, we highlighted our vision when we joined. We seek to be stewards of community and during our six months of research we talked to way over 40 thought leaders, vendors, and companies that are approaching this space. We blogged ideas, engaged in conversations with the #scrm hash tag, and had working sessions with thought leaders like Paul Greenberg and Esteban Kolsky.   We approached research in an open way, and allowed for vendors to review the report and submit back their ideas, some of which we incorporated. This effort was a group effort and included a lot of heavy lifting from Christine Tran, operations who helped to schedule countless meetings, and guidance from Charlene Li, our founder.

    Provide a holistic view through deep collaboration
    We see that worlds are converging, and we model our research the same way, through really analyzing the mixtures of our different topic areas. For example, what was interesting is that my ‘marketing-speak’ and Ray’s ‘IT Speak’ often resulted in the tower of babel. Although we were talking about the same topic, he had to translate IT and marketing speak both ways.  After many puzzled looks, we embracing this, and realized that this isn’t unique to us but a sign of companies converging as a result of mass adoption of easy to share social tools.  Thus, we realized this framework that could meet the needs of the various camps would be helpful, companies need to move quickly, as customers have adopted social in rapid fashion.

    Use open research to grow ideas
    We want ideas to spread, and have made the entire report available at no cost on slideshare, and put up images on flickr, we hope you use them, under creative commons licensing of Attribution -Noncommercial – Share Alike Status, we believe in open –not closed research.  We’re trying a different business model, we want to involve the community of experts and publish our findings out there for everyone to benefit from, please support us by sharing it as much as possible, while we trial a new way of doing research.

    Update: I forgot to mention, this report was entirely funded by the Altimeter Group there were no sponsors. Also, we are open about disclosing who are clients are (providing they approve), as a result, we hope you’ll trust as more.

    Related links: I’ll roundup interesting links that discuss this report


    Update: March 10th, From behind the scenes, we’re hearing of SCRM vendors and brands that are interested in deploying are using the framework as a roadmap, market requirements doc, and as a plan of what to do. Excellent.

    Roadmap: Make Your Corporate Websites Relevant by Integrating Facebook, Google, MySpace, LinkedIn, or Twitter


    Finally, your corporate website can be relevant again
    Over the past few weeks, I’ve been conducting research to measure how different social networks allow for integration with corporate websites and their assets. Over 3 years ago, I wrote a piece on how corporate websites are becoming irrelevant, due to trusted decisions between prospects and customers taking place off the corporate site. This piece, which still gets traffic has been translated into over a dozen languages –the market recognizes that corporate sites can no longer operate as silos when customers have left.

    [Companies must integrate customers behavior on social networks to their corporate website to increase relevancy, word of mouth, and trust]

    A plethora of options creates confusion in the market
    Fast forward to 2010, and there too many options for brands to integrate these social features.  While many have used community platforms to allow customers to connect to each other on branded domains, this strategy works for loyal customers and often may not reach prospects.  Social networks, which have your customers and prospects, have taken note, and have launched a variety of products that allows their thriving communities of buyers and prospects to connect with static corporate sites.  The challenge?  There are so many features available, it’s confusing to figure out what to do.

    Use this data as a roadmap and guide
    Companies and organizations are confused by the wide variety of choices that social networks offer to help them connect to their customers, so I’ve created this menu to help them in understanding.

    Matrix: Feature Attribute Benefits of Social Integration

    Feature What it does Benefits Downsides What no one tells you
    Sharing Features Allows users to share content from corporate websites to social networks Free to deploy, as social newtorks offer features or Sharethis or Addthis Beyond sharing and simple analytics, there’s limited functionality It’s scary to send traffic away –but it cause viral effects you didn’t expect
    Embeds and Widgets Embed features on social networks (like Facebook Fan Reactions) on your corporate website Breathes real social interaction to static corporate sites, showing real world customer interaction Control over what’s being said is limited. If you don’t integrate this with your look and feel and use default features your site will look amateur
    Authentication Login to a website using a social networking login, often through two clicks like Twitter connect. Increase chances of interaction. Users hate filling out registration pages, so this allows them to ‘login’ faster using their own login. You have less ability to glean their email address, as they’ve logged in another route. In the long run, you’ll have disparate data. Social networks are really an identity play, by using this, they gain more control.
    Cross Publishing from my site to social networks “Pollination” Users can share information to specific friends in their social networks Rapid sharing of content, and sometimes the ability for users to specifically select who they’ll share to –this is beyond simple sharing features as activities and actions can quickly spread Spreading information means more disparate instances of data, making it hard for brands to maintain control. Careful.  Don’t allow for users to simply spam their friends with content, be selective.
    Real time updates Update websites in real time with social content on corporate sites. Enable your corporate site to really be real time through updates in social networks in real time, and vice versa. Not all content will be relevant, and excessive updates will become white noise. Use this for key events, or important customer transactions, not the mundane activity.
    Social Personalisation Serve up content based on users profile information and previous behavior, see VW’s early experiments Rather than subject customers to a generic user experience on your corporate website, customize the experience based on their social networking profile, increasing relevancy. Create a series of specific content types is costly, as well as the engine to develop this. Don’t assume what a customer does in Twitter is relevant to your own product, one size does not fit all.
    Social Context Present real time information based on their friends behavior, see HuffPo. Allow your users friends to increase relevancy by suggesting content and products to each other –increasing rate of action. This is very complicated system to create, and requires a mindset to let go to gain more as users may say and recommend things you don’t like. Every company is a media company, and the smartest companies realize they are a marketplace.
    Application Platform A platform that offers third parties to create web based applications using the social networks APIs, access to data Companies want to extend unique features onto social networks (like the most popular content on a corporate site) to increase interaction Costs to developing these applications are high, you need specific developers that understand the ever changing nuances of these platforms You’ll need long term resources or budget to do this and your existing team may not have the skill set.

    Now that we’ve established a clear sense of the benefits and risks, let’s dive in and understand who offers what.  I’ve created the following matrix that I will keep up to date, that will fast forward research activities.

    Who Offers What: Social Networking Integration Features

    Facebook Google LinkedIn MySpace Twitter
    Sharing Features Yes Yes Yes Yes, Share on MySpace Yes
    Embeds and Widgets Yes, Fan Box Yes, third parties Yes, 3rd parties Yes, every page offers embed code Yes, see Twitter Widgets
    without password
    Yes, FB
    OAuth Yes, OAuth OpenID, OAuth, and MySpaceID Yes
    Cross Publishing
    Yes Yes (Buzz) Yes (via REST APIs) Yes, Share on MySpace Yes, + with 3rd party tools
    Real time
    between sites
    Yes (PubSubHubbub) Yes (via REST APIs) Yes, Real Time Stream Yes
    Social Personalization Yes Yes Yes (via REST APIs) Yes, this can be done through MySpace’s REST APIs. Yes. Access all twitter profile info and some behavioral data.
    Social Context Yes. see
    Yes, with Google Friend Connect Yes (Most content on the site) Yes. MySpace Real Time Stream to get songs from friends, could also use data to suggest artists to others. Yes. One could show articles from the people you follow have shared or tweeted about. Example: Feedera digest.
    Application Platform Yes Yes Offers
    an OpensSocial platform

    to select partners
    Yes, OpenSocial. Yes. See wiki and getting started guide.

    Update:  Duzins, from Yahoo has left a comment below showing all of the capabilities that Yahoo has to offer, go into the comments to learn more.

    Recommendations: Develop a Pragmatic Strategy

    • First, understand your customers. It’s unrealistic for you to deploy all of the features above, in fact that would only confuse your customers. Instead do research and find out where your customers are.  Then, you’ll know which social network to focus on, and data showing their existing behaviors will tell you which features to focus on.
    • Integrate this with your website roadmap. Start simple then evolve. Don’t try to boil the ocean, start small with simple sharing features, then follow the stack as I laid out in the second matrix.  This is a roadmap that you should use to across the next few years as your corporate website evolves, fusing in social features.
    • Find partners and agencies that will guide you. Don’t go this alone, find agency partners, or technology providers that know this space and have experiences to reduce your risk.  For example, managing all the social connections is more than a brand can take on, for example Gigya, (an Altimeter client) manages all those connections for brands.  Forward this post to agency partners and ask them where they are on this roadmap and who they’ve partnered with to do this.

    Other Resources

    Research Sources
    I did my own research to fill in the matrix as much as possible, then went directly to folks that work at those social networks to verify. Thanks to the helpful and knowledgeable Josh ElmanChris MessinaAdam Nash, (LinkedIn), Amy Walgenbach (MySpace).

    Translations From The Community