I love this presentation from Barbra Gago. A timely reminder on why creating good content truly matters. The presentation looks at how it can be shared with your customers, how it adds value, and some main do’s & don’ts to think about. Genius.

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Microsoft’s Mel Carson and all round good guy, has released an excellent Social Media White Paper this week.

Mel works within Microsoft’s Advertising Community Team, which has been engaging with online advertisers through social media since 2006. The document entitled, “Learn and Earn” tells the story of how the Advertising team embraced social media to connect with the advertising community. Well worth reading.

During my time at Microsoft, I modelled the MVP Award Program Facebook Fan Page on the Microsoft Advertising Fan Page! So thank you Mel and team for the inspiration!

Read the document in full below.

Learn and Earn – Social Media White Paper – Microsoft Advertising

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Welcome to Social Media Week! This week, conferences are taking place simultaneously in New York City, Berlin, London, San Francisco, Toronto and São Paulo. The overall goal of Social Media Week is to advance the use and understanding of social media and the impact it has on culture, business communications and society. Also, it is a great opportunity to meet other bloggers, tweeters and thought leaders in the social media space.

I attended a talk entitled “Social Media in the Enterprise” at Cass Business School earlier this week. Each speaker had 10 minutes to present their thoughts to the assembled collective of approximately 40 people. The remainder of this post are the notes I made from listening to each of the speakers. I hope you find it interesting.

Alan Patrick from Broadsight, kicked off the event with the challenges social media faces when looked upon by Enterprise. He looked at three areas where it can present a Return On Investment. These include:

  • Innovation (Crowd sourcing and buzz catching)
  • Operational Value (Sales, and reducing operating costs)
  • Speed to Respond (Business agility, JIT and the speed to react to market changes)
    Alan’s presentation can be seen below:

Umair Haque presented an enlightening talk on how organisations can be improved. He argued that today’s Enterprises are built around an outdated structure of rigid hierarchies – this structure is no longer efficient. Creativity is stunted and thus these organisations can be termed “Peak Organisations.”  A new dynamic structure could be the answer. Today’s social media tools allow the most skilled individuals to lead, not just the the hierarchal manager. Gifted leaders emerge organically. Therefore, do we need leadership at all? Social tools allow us to connect to people with the knowledge to help us make decisions that maximise value

Benjamin Ellis’s talk focused on how people are the key component in business. However, most Enterprises are scared of going social. (They associate social as a term relating to a “lack of control.” They prefer using email, as it is the quickest method to get your point across in the shortest time. He went on to state that businesses also spend a lot of time examining ROI. However, in the businesses that Benjamin has worked with, ROI actually meant Randomly Oriented Integers! :-).   Social Media, (if not used with caution) can cause more problems than solve answers. Knowledge and access to information could be withheld. For social media to succeed, the tools have to be simpler than using email.

Mat Morrison delivered a presentation detailing the research that he has carried out within organisations. An interesting insight from his research showed that, if an organisation grows organically, a few people within the company are actually the most connected to other parts of the organisation. If they are removed, the network fails. Therefore, some level of design planning is required to ensure that everyone within the network is “properly” connected to everyone else. Therefore, if some people are removed, the rest of the network does not suffer. Mat also juxtaposed market norms versus social norms. Employee social capital is good for the business, especially if they tweet about the company and products. However, it is difficult to account for all the positive benefits that it can bring to the balance sheet.

Mat’s presentation can be seen below:

Dr Sue Black described her live case study on how she used social media to raise awareness and funding to save Bletchley Park. Since the war, the historic site has fallen into disrepair. Through an adhoc Twitter campaign, Sue managed to get support from London Twitter users to raise awareness. Twitter also proved to be a disintermediary.  She managed to reach out to Stephen Fry, without the need to go through PR agents or other traditional “blockers”. Fry, visited Bletchley Park and used his public image to further spread the message. Sue’s (part time) campaigning, saw her blog traffic jump to over 8,000 visitors! Her success was due to her passion, and her ability to use Twitter to find and connect with people who were equally likeminded about the cause, and were able to help.


Flickr Credit: Benjamin Ellis  Dr Black and I talk to J G Rae at the event

Adriana Lukas’s talk looked at how social media can act as catalyst for business. However, she pointed out that transforming companies from within is going to be difficult. Not everyone is convinced at how social tools can help the business. Some departments may not understand them and therefore may support the use of them. Thus, she suggested it may be an idea to deploy the use of social media tools secretly and completely independent of the IT department as a “skunkworks” project. Build a successful pilot, before proving the worth of it to others in the business. (This scares me). The idea here is that the creativity and “openess” that social media brings, does  not affect existing business processes.  A classic line from her presentation read “Wave good-bye to business cases, say hello to case studies.” Those who want to change are not the ones building the barricades!”

Finally, David Terrar presented an opposing view to Adriana’s talk. Rather than deploy an “under the radar” approach. David, discussed that the way forward was to get management buy-in, before deploying social tools. His overarching point, social tools MUST work together with existing business processes. Over time, the social tools will help to modify existing business processes as their value is demonstrated. He went on to show examples of how social tools have been successfully applied to large businesses such as Cisco, Swiss Re, and ICAEW. 

Overall, it was a very stimulating evening of discussion surrounding Social Media, and how people view it both internally and externally to the Enterprise.

A big thanks to all of the speakers and especially Alan and Patrick for putting on the event.

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Andy Serovitz posted a very interesting blog post on how Coca Cola have devised a new set of social media principles. Coke have developed 10 “Principles for Online Spokespeople” which make good sense for other brands to follow.  You can read the main set below.

  1. Be Certified in the [Coca Cola] Social Media Certification Program.
  2. Follow our Code of Business Conduct and all other Company policies.
  3. Be mindful that you are representing the Company.
  4. Fully disclose your affiliation with the Company.
  5. Keep records.
  6. When in doubt, do not post.
  7. Give credit where credit is due and don’t violate others’ rights.
  8. Be responsible to your work.
  9. Remember that your local posts can have global significance.
  10. Know that the Internet is permanent.

Watch Andy’s interview with Coca Cola’s Adam Brown, on how they developed the social media principles.

    Coke’s complete policy document can be found below. At three pages, I like this a lot!

Coca Cola’s Online Social Media Principles

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Trendsspotting posted their annual Social Media Trends Predictions earlier this week. Predicting trends is a dangerous business especially in Social Media. However, the slide deck does offer some very interesting insights from a variety of social media commentators. I have included some of the ones that I found interesting in this post.

Across many of the predictions, Trendsspotting identified the following trends that are “suggested” to influence Social Media in 2010: Mobile, Location, Transparency, Measurement, ROI, Privacy. Though, you could argue that these same trends were visible in 2009.

Pete Cashmore from Mashable predicts:

Fuelled by the ubiquity of GPS in modern smartphones – location sharing services

Geo location of our "social movements" – Twitter, Facebook, blog comment, videos that we post.

Augmented Ready – cool technology, but will it be useful?

Social gaming and virtual currencies  – Will big players seize the mobile payment opportunity?

Expect personal privacy – or rather its continued erosion to be big in 2010

David Armano – Blogger Logic and Emotion predicts:

Social media begins to look less social… more "exclusive"  – getting value, while filtering out the clutter.

Firms will look to scale and uncover cost savings by leveraging social media e.g.  Best Buy’s Twelpforce

Firms will have a social media policy  – social media to social business

Mobile becomes a social media lifeline

Sharing no longer means email – content producers will use other means to distribute their content e.g. iPhone and Android apps.

Marta Kagan – Managing Director, US Espresso Brand Infiltration predicts:

Real-time reviews will scare the pants off many a brand & foster a new ‘radical-beta’ mindset.

Tracking & Alerting" become the new searching.

Business finally admits that social media ain’t some fad for kids and B-list movie stars.

Dan Zarrella – Social & Viral Marketing Scientist Hubspot predicts:

With augmented reality and mobile social media, the real world will be important again.

Micro targeting and personalization – business will begin to leverage the wealth of data we share about ourselves to deliver individualised messages.


2010 will certainly bring in new applications and services, though whether they will “push the envelope” of brand engagement will yet to be seen.

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5 of this year’s great Social Media Books via Mashable, books definitely worth investing in.

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Is Social Media a Fad or the biggest shift since the Industrial Revolution?  This is the question posed by the folks over at the Socialnomics blog. 

The above video goes some way to answer the question. The video is designed in a similar fashion to the “Did you know” video.

Socialnomics have also been good enough to provide the stats from the video too. These can be seen below:

Stats from Video (sources listed below by corresponding #)

  1. By 2010 Gen Y will outnumber Baby Boomers….96% of them have joined a social network 
  2. Social Media has overtaken porn as the #1 activity on the Web
  3. 1 out of 8 couples married in the U.S. last year met via social media
  4. Years to Reach 50 millions Users:  Radio (38 Years), TV (13 Years), Internet (4 Years), iPod (3 Years)…Facebook added 100 million users in less than 9 months…iPhone applications hit 1 billion in 9 months.
  5. If Facebook were a country it would be the world’s 4th largest between the United States and Indonesia
  6. Yet, some sources say China’s QZone is larger with over 300 million using their services (Facebook’s ban in China plays into this)
  7. comScore indicates that Russia has the most engage social media audience with visitors spending 6.6 hours and viewing 1,307 pages per visitor per month – Vkontakte.ru is the #1 social network
  8. 2009 US Department of Education study revealed that on average, online students out performed those receiving face-to-face instruction
  9. 1 in 6 higher education students are enrolled in online curriculum
  10. % of companies using LinkedIn as a primary tool to find employees….80%
  11. The fastest growing segment on Facebook is 55-65 year-old females
  12. Ashton Kutcher and Ellen Degeneres have more Twitter followers than the entire populations of Ireland, Norway and Panama
  13. 80% of Twitter usage is on mobile devices…people update anywhere, anytime…imagine what that means for bad customer experiences?
  14. Generation Y and Z consider e-mail passé…In 2009 Boston College stopped distributing e-mail addresses to incoming freshmen
  15. What happens in Vegas stays on YouTube, Flickr, Twitter, Facebook…
  16. The #2 largest search engine in the world is YouTube
  17. Wikipedia has over 13 million articles…some studies show it’s more accurate than Encyclopedia Britannica…78% of these articles are non-English
  18. There are over 200,000,000 Blogs
  19. 54% = Number of bloggers who post content or tweet daily
  20. Because of the speed in which social media enables communication, word of mouth now becomes world of mouth
  21. If you were paid a $1 for every time an article was posted on Wikipedia you would earn $156.23 per hour
  22. Facebook USERS translated the site from English to Spanish via a Wiki in less than 4 weeks and cost Facebook $0
  23. 25% of search results for the World’s Top 20 largest brands are links to user-generated content
  24. 34% of bloggers post opinions about products & brands
  25. People care more about how their social graph ranks products and services  than how Google ranks them
  26. 78% of consumers trust peer recommendations 
  27. Only 14% trust advertisements
  28. Only 18% of traditional TV campaigns generate a positive ROI
  29. 90% of people that can TiVo ads do
  30. Hulu has grown from 63 million total streams in April 2008 to 373 million in April 2009
  31. 25% of Americans in the past month said they watched a short video…on their phone
  32. According to Jeff Bezos 35% of book sales on Amazon are for the Kindle when available
  33. 24 of the 25 largest newspapers are experiencing record declines in circulation because we no longer search for the news, the news finds us.
  34. In the near future we will no longer search for  products and services they will find us via social media
  35. More than 1.5 million pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photos, etc.) are shared on Facebook…daily.
  36. Successful companies in social media act more like Dale Carnegie and less like David Ogilvy Listening first, selling second
  37. Successful companies in social media act more like party planners, aggregators, and content providers than traditional advertiser

A link to the sources are available here.  Incidentally, Socialnomics will soon be releasing a book too.

Welcome to the Social Media Revolution

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Hat tip to @cubicgarden.

Forrester’s Jeremiah Owyang explains the Five Eras Of The Social Web.

The Five Eras of The Social Web

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The Engagementdb 2009 report was released earlier this week from Ben Elowitz of Wetpaint and Charlene Li of the Altimeter Group. The excellent report ranks the world’s most engaged brands, that are using social media tools. It’s a beautiful report to look at (see below) and they also have a great accompanying website, where you can rate your own business social media engagement.

The goals of the study were to measure how deeply engaged the top 100 global brands are in a variety of social media channels and, more importantly understand if higher engagement is correlated with financial performance.

The researchers found that brands fall into one of four engagement profiles. Depending on the number of channels and how deeply they are engaged in them. There four specific profiles include:


Mavens. These brands are engaged in seven or more channels and have an above-average engagement score. Brands like Starbucks and Dell are able to sustain a high level of engagement across multiple social media channels. Mavens not only have a robust strategy and dedicated teams focused on social
media, but also make it a core part of their go-to-market strategy. Companies like these could not imagine operating without a strong presence in social media.

Butterflies. These brands are engaged in seven or more channels but have lower than average engagement scores. Butterflies like American Express and Hyundai have initiatives in many different channels, but tend to
spread themselves too thin, investing in a few channels while letting others languish. Their ambition is to be a Maven and they may get there — but they still struggle with getting the full buy-in from their organizations to embrace the full multi-way conversation that deep engagement entails.

Selectives. These brands are engaged in six or fewer channels and have higher than average engagement
scores. Selectives like H&M and Philips have a very strong presence in just a few channels where they focus on engaging customers deeply when and where it matters most. The social media initiatives at these brands tend
to be lightly staffed — if they are at all, meaning that by default, they have to focus their efforts. These are
beachheads, started by an impassioned evangelist with a shoestring budget.

Wallflowers. These brands are engaged in six or fewer channels and have below-average engagement scores. Wallflowers like McDonalds and BP are slow to or are just getting started, dipping their toes into social media waters. They are still trying to figure out social media by testing just a few channels. They are also cautious about the risks, uncertain about the benefits, and therefore engage only lightly in the channels where they are present.

I have highlighted several key takeaways below, but there are many others. I highly suggest that you read the report for yourself, to gain some great insight into companies such as Starbucks, Dell, Toyota and SAP

Selected best practices from the report include:

1. Deputise people throughout the organisation

When Starbucks launched MyStarbucksidea.com. The company ensured that every department impacted by the site (practically every one) had a representative who was responsible for being the liaison.

2. Find champions who can explain and mitigate risk

Starbucks had one major advantage in its entry into social media – CEO Howard Schultz personally introduced and championed MyStarbucksidea.com from the start. Apart from the CEO, there was also an "everyday" champion. Someone who not only gets social media but can also translate it for the organisation.

3. Pick channels carefully

From the start, Toyota’s social media team realised that there would a lot of resistance to having a Toyota blog. So they started with a YouTube channel first that showcased video content that Toyota already had handy – it was simply a matter of uploading the content to YouTube. Twitter came next and then Facebook.

4. Be in it for the long haul

Toyota realised the key to successful engagement is to commit to a relationship with customers in new channels and convince your customers that you will be there for them. "If you are going to engage, you have to have a plan and make sure that resources are available. Because you can’t gracefully exit – once your’re in, you’re in”.

5. Encourage employees to tap into social media to get work done.

With 1500 SAP employee bloggers and 400 employees actively publishing content to other forms, SAP clearly has few control issues about allowing employees to engage. Product managers are using social tools to communicate information about their new products and to get feedback even down to product documentation.

My personal favourite best practice from the report is from Dell:


As Steve notes, "[Make social media] just one of the tools of a daily diet of information. it’s often what people get wrong – they create a social media department and it thus becomes ‘someone else’s job’”.

To succeed, social media need to become pervasive within the organisation, just like email is today. Social media not only can bring opportunities for rich engagement with customers and potential new customers. The organisation itself can benefit, where social media works to fulfil a ‘knowledge management’ function.

The world’s top brands are learning what it means to be social, but it is important to note that by "social", reference is made to deep engagement not merely having a presence. And what exactly does deep social engagement mean? “Going Social” requires more than just being there – you have to interact with others, instigate discussions, and respond during conversations.

You can read the full report below (Click the full screen button)

The world’s most valuable 2009 brands.Who’s most engaged?

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(via @GuyKawasaki)

Razorfish just released a report entitled, “Fluent: The Razorfish Social Influence Marketing Report”. It examines how social media influences purchase decisions, how social features are entering online advertising, and how social media is becoming a paid distribution mechanism. The implications for marketers and entrepreneurs are:

  • Brands must socialise with their customers because “top-down” advertising isn’t going to work.

  • Brand must develop a credible voice along the parameters of engagement, humility, and authenticity.

  • Brands must make their social relationships more symmetrical—that is, with value for both the brand and the customer.

    The report also includes this gem of a list of how brands should use Twitter:

  1. Become familiar with Twitter by reviewing, or following, the activities of successful brands such
    as Dell (dell.com/twitter), Zappos (twitter.com/zappos) and Comcast (twitter.com/comcastcares).

  2. Listen to what is already being said on Twitter about your brand.

  3. Identify initial objectives for using Twitter, including what would qualify as a Twitter success
    story for your brand.

  4. Look into competitive activities and potential legal considerations, especially if there is already
    a Twitter account that uses your brand’s name or other intellectual property associated with it.

  5. Use the findings to decide on the appropriate opportunity such as offers or community
    building, tone of voice and method of engagement—that may be right for your brand.

  6. Since Twitter is an ongoing activity—even if your company is only listening in—dedicate a
    resource to monitor the conversations and competitors.

  7. Map out a plan for the content you will share, including valuable initial content to pique
    user interest.

  8. Integrate your Twitter account throughout your marketing experience, by embedding it as a
    feed on the company Web site, including its URL in communications and so forth.

  9. Maintain momentum by following everyone who follows you, responding to queries and joining
    in conversations without being too marketing oriented.

  10. Provide ongoing direct value through your tweets by continuing to listen, learn and fine- tune
    your Twitter activities.

    All in all, a valuable read. Click here to download the report, or read it below.

Razorfish Fluent Report

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