Useful Social Media Top 10 Articles on Social Media Evolution for 2013


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The evolutions of social media – This 39 page briefing looks specifically at how your role in social media will change in 2013. They go into detail on how you can analyse the impact of social media, capture data for an improved future business strategy and the power of better social customer service.

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Useful Social Media Top 10 Articles on Social Media Evolution for 2013

  1. 1. 2012 HIGHLIGHTSfrom usefulsocialmedia.comThe most populararticles of the lasttwelve monthsJoin the community on:Twitter: @usefulsocialFacebook: /usefulsocialmediaLinked in: up for our corporate social media newsletterat
  2. 2. 2012 has been a big year for social media practitioners. It’s the year when your remit expanded – exponentially. From a role focused primarily on engaging with customers for marketing, it has evolved and flourished into something that impacts on many more areas of business operations. And that means that right now, the social media director’s role is one of co-ordination, of strategic thinking, and of convergence. As the executive at the vanguard of social adoption, you have seen first-hand the revolution in corporate-consumer relations. Somewhat inevitably, that means it is you who has been tasked with responding to this revolution on behalf of what is often a large, slow-moving and resistant corporation. Perhaps the most obvious impact on you is the need to work closely with an ever-increasing roster of business units and departments No longer is your time spent with marketers. Now, you work with the communications team frequently, and the customer service department routinely. Those of you further along the road are working with the innovation and product development teams. The luckiest are meeting with the C-suite on a weekly-basis. This drive to convergence, to uniformity of response and the breaking down of silos is a response to the consumer-corporate revolution. Because for the last year – and for the foreseeable future - your consumer expects to talk with your business on a one-to-one basis. And that means there must be one voice talking back. And you, as the social media director, are responsible for defining and co-ordinating that voice. Our collection of popular articles from 2012 reflect this evolution in your role, as well as taking a look to the future. We have several articles on how social media has impacted on the customer service department, and several looking at impact assessment and how one can define the value of social interaction. There is coverage of big data, of regulation and legislation, and there is a collection of articles on social media for b2b businesses – an often under-represented group. Finally, we take a look at what your peers believe will be the key trends for 2013. We hope you find the collection useful. And we’ll look forward to conversing with, and working for, you and the corporate social media community in the coming year! It promises to be an interesting 2013, Kind regards, Nick Johnson Founder Useful Social Media 2
  3. 3. 1 The three key marketing trends for 2013 – based on feedback from 100+ CMOs and other senior executives 2 Social Law: Social Media Regulation and Policy 3 The power of social Customer Service 4 The five best brands on social media – according to corporate practitioners 5 Measuring the value of social media 6 Social media analytics tools – tested and rated 7 How b2b companies can build a truly social business 8 Social media and b2b communications 9 Key steps to integrate social media into your customer service function 10 Big Analytics: Social media tracking and analysis 3
  4. 4. 1:The three key marketing trends for 2013 – basedon feedback from 100+ CMOs and senior execsNick Johnson Over the summer, the Useful Social Media team have been doing some fairlySeptember 18, 2012 intensive primary research with CMOs and other senior executives working in marketing around the world. Again and again, the same three themes came up. Broader than ‘social media’, they will nevertheless have a huge impact on the role of the social media practitioner in 2013 and beyond. Below are the three themes, with a short explanation as to what this theme is, and why it should matter to you: THEME ONE: Customer-Centricity: How to put your customer at the heart of everything you do Essentially, we’re talking about getting to know your customer better, putting them at the heart of your business, and using that knowledge to improve your operations (and I don’t just mean marketing). You can break customer-centricity down a little further, into four key goals: • now your customers better: Dig into your data to learn who your customers are and K how to target them • ut your customers at the centre of decision-making: Internal structures and P processes to ensure your customer has a voice in every level of your organisation • ove beyond demographics to individuals for effective marketing response M • Learn how to make efficiencies through better targeting - saving time and money THEME TWO: The Accessible Consumer and increasing marketing complexity (incl. SoLoMo) Over the last few years, the ways a company can engage with a consumer has increased exponentially. Social, local, mobile, augmented reality, QR codes - all these new channels have come onto the scene, while the importance of email, digital advertising, TV, direct mail and other more traditional channnels is not in question.  There is a huge opportunity here - for more complex, tailored, and - above all - engaging, marketing from brands to customers. However, there is also an enormous challenge - complexity. And it’s a pressing challenge - currently, mass marketing has a 2% response rate, and that’s declining. And there’s a knowledge gap - 70% of CMOs believe marketing complexity will be ‘high’ or ‘very high’ in the next 5 years - but less than half of them are prepared to cope with it. So what are the key issues that CMOs are wrestling with when dealing with this change? • How do they work internally to shift traditional thinking regarding campaign management, channels and approaches - to catch up with the new consumer 4
  5. 5.• How can their company leverage the fact their consumer is more accessible than ever. Specifically, how should one manage multiple vertical campaigns through social, mobile, local and other channels• it possible to finally crack the age-old problem of creating consistent local messaging Is for a global businessWhat do you think? Are we right? Is increasing marketing complexity because of increasinglyaccessible consumers a key issue for you right now?THEME THREE: The Death of Push Marketing and ‘traditional’ company-consumer relationsSo it turns out that mass marketing now gets a 2% response rate. And it’s dropping.Unsurprising, really - whenever anyone asks consumers what they want, it’s pretty rare theysay “Boilerplate sales messages please”.Your customers now want valuable, long-term engagement with a company that seems togive a damn who they are and what they care about.Our third theme is the need for CMOs to completely shift how they engage with theirconsumers - from short-term, mass market, declarative messaging. Now you’ve got tocreate long-term relationships, based on valuable content and conversations. Talk like a human - and sing from the same hymn-sheetThe advent of social media has meant that the world of separate internal and externalmessaging has disappeared. If a customer talks to your Customer Service department,they expect the same response they’d get if they talk to marketing, or sales, or engineering.Creating a unified external face is critical. If you want to build long-term relationships, you’vegot to have a consistent, human voice - coming from all levels of your organisation.Create valuable content to foster meaningful relationshipsFurther, customers are no longer happy with receiving badly-targetted sales messages.When social got popular and companies jumped on the bandwagon, they expended all theirefforts gathering followers. And then they tried to sell to them. Didn’t work.Customers don’t want exclusive deals. Or interesting new products. They want valuableinformation that matters to them.So content creation and distribution is the second piece of the puzzle. You’ve got to createcontent that is engaging, relevant and of value to your consumers.So, two more problems to wrestle with. First, you’ve got to get every internal department singingfrom the same hymn-sheet. They’re all external-facing now, and they’ve got to act like it.Second, if you’re going to raise awareness, build relationships, and engender loyalty,traditional marketing doesn’t cut it. Start generating (good) content.There’s a lot on your plate… 5
  6. 6. 2:Social Law: Social media regulation and policyGuy Clapperton The days of anything goes within the social media space are gone. RegulationJanuary 19, 2012 and legislation now have a profound influence on your company’s social media policy In the 1990s and early part of this century a few things happened: First the Internet arrived. It feels a long time ago but it’s a very recent thing. Then almost immediately people started making wrong assumptions: that if for instance a photograph appeared on the Internet, it was free to use on any other website. Even professional newspapers were guilty of this and found themselves in court for copyright and intellectual property infringement. To an extent this still goes on but most participants have adjusted to the central truth: this is the Internet rather than the Wild West and you can’t simply help yourself. Until, that is, you end up in social media in which case a number of liberties are still taken – until a corporate takes some control. Take the company making satellite navigation systems whose research and development personnel were tweeting about future product developments and how great the next generation of products were going to be – very much before the company was ready to release them. This needed some sort of policy statement to mitigate trade secrets being lost. There are other less well-intentioned examples, and even as this article was being written a high profile case in which an employee complained about being fired because he was actively looking for further employment through LinkedIn went against him. The employer argued, successfully, that he was criticizing the company in public. Examples The way to avoid these issues is to develop a policy and share it with employees so that they understand the implications if it is breached. A good first step is to ensure that they understand the old rules count just as much in cyberspace as in the real world – so if they betray a commercial confidence online, then it’s as serious as if it is done in the pub. Ideally the policy should be evolved before such a breach. John Whiting, head of online solutions for professional services company Deloitte, explains the first thing his organization did was to get all possible stakeholders involved. “Deloitte formed its social media policy following consultation with a range of departments across the firm, including Marketing, PR, the online team and Risk,” he says. The idea was “to ensure the firm balances the benefits of the innovation, opportunities and flexibility that social media offers while, at the same time, protecting [the company] from potential risks, including protecting client confidentiality and guarding against reputational damage. Deloitte’s policy has evolved as we have observed usage, alongside other Deloitte member firms’ experiences as our confidence in the medium grows.” The benefits can be considerable, particularly when social media structures are put in place internally: “One example of Deloitte’s successful use of social media is Yammer, the internal social networking site,” continues White. “Deloitte’s use has grown organically to involve 5,000 of Deloitte’s people, who actively speak to each other on the site about projects, issues and challenges they are facing. It is also used to conduct internal research, request information and share relevant news stories.” However there is another caveat: 6
  7. 7. telling people about the risks. “Deloitte has put in place the relevant safeguards andregular educational updates in order to remind members of the rules in place to protectclient confidentiality.”ContextInternational digital security specialist Gemalto has better reason to be aware of implicationsof staff talking out of turn and internal confidentialities than most – not because of any badexperience but because of its security remit. The man responsible, Tim Cawsey, head ofbranding and public relations, explains that there were wider issues. “We spent some timecoming up with internal policies for social media use as part of a wider social media strategywe created at the end of 2010,” he says. “Social media access has been allowed within thecompany for a few years now. As we have a large technical community (more than 1,500engineers help design our solutions) these are typically early social media adopters.”This could have meant people were very much at the aforementioned Wild West stage ofadoption so it was essential that the company had the right policies in place quickly. “Ourpolicy boils down to two main points: A. Don’t give away any confidential information. AndB. Do state that you work for Gemalto if you discuss our solutions in social media – i.e.don’t astro-turf. Social media offers great possibilities for our employees to network withcustomers, prospects, partners etc. When tweeting from a personal account we ask themto make it clear that their opinions are their own and not Gemalto’s.” His own Twitter profilehas a typical disclaimer: “Views here are personal” – simple as that.ContentEvery social media policy needs to look inward and outward to cover internal as wellas external interactions. The important thing is that your policy needs to run throughall interactions. It needs to apply to the tone as well as to substance – so responses tocustomer complaints need the same tone as marketing messages no matter how got-at anemployee might feel. There can be no snapping, and no “mavericks” who want to strike outwith their own individual style under the company name unless your company policy is toencourage an individual style!There are laws and regulations – libel, copyright infringement – which apply in cyberspacejust as they do anywhere else. These shouldn’t need restating but as in the Deloitte example,reminding people they exist never does any harm. The internal, company-specific rulingscan be more fluid and harder to apply unless they are stated overtly, which is where anexplicit policy written alongside all stakeholders is a business essential.Legal EaglesThere are a number of laws and guidelines that should be followed in any social mediaengagement. Data Protection applies online as well as offline and legally enforceableconfidences clearly need to be kept; likewise libel and defamation laws need to beobserved – although common sense should intervene before anyone wants to publishanything libellous in the first place. 7
  8. 8. media is a form of publishing so copyright will rest with the writer unless they are amember of staff writing on the company’s time, in which case the company will own therights. This applies regardless of the subject; the fact that it’s about your company doesn’tmean you own it. Given that social media is publishing it’s important to bear in mind thatcontempt of court applies and there have been test cases.Again, common sense should intervene before hate crimes, racism, sexism or otherantisocial behaviours become an issue. These are laws; consider also the regulations andguidelines enforced by, for example, the Advertising Standards Authority, which includesstrictures on misrepresentation and honesty in statements. 8
  9. 9. 3:The power of social customer serviceDavid Howell We all know that social media has become a game changer in how modernSeptember 12, 2012 businesses operate. Research indicates that 80% of companies plan on using social media for customer service delivery by the end of 2012. And 62% of consumers have already used social media for customer service issues. However, social often starts with an opportunistic marketing department looking for some cheap brand building opportunities. There’s often no clearly defined organisational model – and that leads to problems of ownership, of responsibility and productivity. Customer service has entered a new era. The advent of social media has delivered a seismic shift in how customer services are now delivered to consumers. For corporations, strong responsive customer services have always been important, but today, consumers have the power and are increasingly demanding more efficient responses from the brands they buy from. There is also a commercial component to this activity. A recent US study showed that over half of consumers that follow a brand’s tweets for instance, are more likely to buy from that brand with two-thirds also likely to recommend a brand to friends and family. One of the most important components of this relationship is the level of customer services that is received. Developing positive sentiment via customer services activity is now critical for all corporations. Often, a company will rely on the advocacy that is gained via its products or services. Tweets, Likes and reviews should all be fostered, but research from  Bazaar Voiceclearly shows that good general product reviews are all well and good, but when it comes to customer services, different customer behaviour is seen. “Many consumers are clearly unwilling to evaluate a product’s quality separately from their experiences with brand representatives,” states Bazaar Voice. “A great product won’t save brand word of mouth if the company doesn’t support customers with good service.” Bazaar Voice continued: “Though reviews are inherently product-specific, brands shouldn’t overlook the massive opportunity to learn more about how customers view other elements of the brand like customer service. Rather than waiting for and reacting to individual inquiries, proactively search for customer service issues in user-generated content. When appropriate, responding to service complaints in line with a review shows other customers that service teams are truly listening to their feedback, and can present an opportunity to turn a negative experience into a positive one.” 91% lower average rating when tagged with customer service Percent of 18% 5.0 reviews with 16% 4.5 Average rating customer 14% 4.0 based on service 12% 3.5 5 Star Scale mentions 10% 3.0 8% 6% 2.5 Average rating 2.0 for reviews with 4% customer service 2% 1.5 mentions 0% 1 All clients Retail Manufacturing Financial services Apparel Consumer electronics Home improvement Homewares Mass merchant Sporting goods 9
  10. 10. connectionsHow customers are contacting the brands they buy from has also rapidly evolved. Telephoneand email have now been overtaken by tweets. The immediacy of Twitter is highly attractiveto consumers that want to make fast and efficient contact regarding a customer servicesquery; but for corporations, responses by Twitter are also now demanded and within a verytight time frame. Indeed, a study by  Burson Marsteller  has shown that corporate usersactually favour Twitter.“People want to interact and connect with these major companies, and these platforms arethe bridge directly to the heart of these organizations,” said Burson-Marsteller Chief GlobalDigital Strategist Dallas Lawrence. “What’s even more impressive is how much companiesare engaging back with followers. Seventy-nine percent of corporate accounts attempt toengage on Twitter with retweets and @-mentions, and 70 per cent of corporate Facebookpages are responding to comments on their walls and timelines.”There is also the question of ownership. In the past, customer service was just onedepartment within a corporation’s hierarchy. Today, the socialisation of businesses meanssocial media is a company-wide issue. However, many corporations now have specificteams to manage their social media connections, with customer service response being akey component of these teams.Julian Heerdegen, CRM Evangelist at  SugarCRM  advises:  “Be careful about separatedepartments. Separation is an invitation for the creation of silos, which in turn are the deathof a unified customer experience. Data quality also becomes an issue. Customer service,call centre, marketing – should have access to an intuitive CRM system that integrates withrelevant social media channels.“You need to ensure that any interaction between the company (regardless of department)and a customer, via any kind of media, social or traditional, is tracked in a CRM system andavailable to every eligible employee with customer touch points. Otherwise, sooner or later,customers may get the impression that your company has a selective memory – somethingthat happens way too often.”With Arnold Ma, Digital Marketing Director at  Qumin  commenting:  “Consumers are allpowerful these days and they know it. If companies get it wrong when they have any formof dialogue with them there are very few second chances if any. And they will make theirthoughts public. The key point is that a twitter or a Facebook message can be seen by thepublic, and poorly handled or a lack of response will be there for all to see and thereforevery damaging to the company. Especially with ‘zero moment of truth’, customers are nowable to search for sentiments that surround companies before they make buying decisions.” 10
  11. 11. you listening?Do you expect the company 65to read your tweet?% saying Yes 54 57 % 49 % % 38 % %Age 18-24 25-34 35-44 45-54 55+Modern customer service is now social. There is no denying Has anyone from the company contactedthat the influence of social media on customer service has been you about yourprofound. However, corporations are still struggling to maintain complaint as a result of your Tweet?a high level of communications using social channels.Last year Evolve 24 found that when a company did respondto an enquiry via Twitter, this was welcomed by the customer yesconcerned with 86% stating that they loved to be contacted inthis way and that over three-quarters were also satisfied with no 29%the response they received.Complaints are increasingly being handled via social media 71%interaction that much is certain. Consumers also have littlepatience when it comes to responses to their complaints viasocial networks – notably Twitter. Consumers today want an n = 1298almost instant response to their communications with a brand,none more so than when this communication is a complaint.The metric is simple: The faster your corporation can respond to these communicationsthe higher your brand advocacy will be. Businesses like John Lewis showed they clearlyunderstand this metric by being 32% faster than other brands according to the last surveyfrom Brandwatch. This equated to a response time of 3 hours and 23 minutes on averageper contact via Twitter. How long does your company take to respond?Research also commissioned by Brandwatch shows British brands are ignoring pricelesscustomer service feedback offered by consumers on Twitter and Facebook, opting torespond as quickly as possible to each complaint rather than learn lessons from them.The online study, which questioned over 2,000 British consumers on brand interaction,found that half (50%) of respondents actually complain because they want companies tolearn from their mistakes. The finding countered the misconception that peoples’ mainreason for making a complaint is to embarrass brands publically, with only 17% stating theycomplain about a brand for this reason. 11
  12. 12. The survey ran in conjunction with the Customer Service Index (CSI) 2012, Brandwatch’s annual report into social media customer service. The CSI 2012 study found that although brands have had a year to learn from the lessons offered by social media feedback, customer satisfaction levels still have not improved. Only three of the 40 brands analysed emerged with a score above zero – indicating that their customer service experience was successful overall. In fact, over half (52%) of all customer service experiences were classified as negative. This comes despite the online YouGov survey showing a clear opportunity for brands to learn from online interactions with consumers and use social media to change for the better: • 36% of online respondents who interact with brands on the Internet do so to complain. • 27% of UK adults online interact with brands on the Internet at least once a month. • 44% of respondents who interact with brands on the Internet use online interactions to request information. • 26% of UK adults online share information about things they buy online. • 19% of UK adults online discuss what they think about brands. “Some people just love to complain – you can’t get away from that fact. But what our results also show is that consumers are sharing information via social media because they genuinely want brands to be better at what they do. The problem comes when brands think they know best. They’re behaving a bit like teenagers, and being too petulant to actually see what’s in front of them,” said Giles Palmer, Founder and CEO of Brandwatch. “Speed isn’t enough. Too often, when faced with a negative comment brands are too quick to ping back an automated message. Perhaps this is the industry’s fault for placing too much emphasis on speed of response. It’s not about speed: it’s about understanding what your customers are taking the time to tell you, learning lessons, and acting on this feedback.” Ultimately customer services will become a social exercise. The trend is clearly for consumers’ to increasingly use their favourite social networks to make contact with brands and businesses. At the moment, these comments are all too often negative with corporations placing too much emphasis on speed of response and not the quality of the conversation, and what they can learn from these interactions. However, there is a sea change taking place where customer service provision is being socialised. Those companies that understand these changes and put in place systems to manage these conversations will be the commercial winners. Q ho should handle customer service delivery over social media? The customer W service department? Your call centre? Your marketing team? Or a separate social media department? Vit Horky Co-Founder andManaging Director A he objective of social media customer care is the same as traditional customer service. T It is part of the role of the customer care employees to make dissatisfied customers happy. However, because most social media can be seen by many others in a publicof Brand Embassy space, some of the responses should be pre-prepared or approved by the company’s PR department. Corporate clients using Brand Embassy usually select the best employees 12
  13. 13. from their call centres and train them to get familiar with the social media customer service to provide the best possible results.Q ow can corporate users of social media overcome organizational challenges H when they are trying to apply social to their customer services?A t’s simple. If the company’s management believes that they need to improve the public I image of their brand due to a significant number of customers repetitively complaining, then creating an internal process is the next logical step. It is important to engage and motivate various key influences among customer care, marketing, PR and social marketing teams and set clear responsibilities and realistic expectation focused on improving customer satisfaction and not sales.Q ow can corporate users make their workflow more efficient by breaking down H the traditional silos to make social media customer service a team game?A y integrating a specialised social customer care software, that not only leverages the B active listening to customers on various social media sources, helps to engage the customers in the easiest and fastest possible way and analyses the efficiency of the team workflow. Can I use my response to motivate other community users to follow-up? Have I satisfied more customers today than my colleagues? Am I compensated based on the customer satisfaction with my work?Q ow can nurturing social media conversations create real business value that a H corporation can measure?A he company should apply a set of KPIs for social media customer care. Looking at T not only the traditional customer service metrics (SLA – First-Response Time, Solution Time) but also social media-specific metrics (Resolution ratio – Number of conversations solved in a public space vs. turned to private conversation, Sentiment Analysis – number of positive vs. negative comments) and marketing-specific like NPS (Net-Promoter Score) measured right after the customer service conversation.Q ow can the socialisation of customer service benefit a corporation’s bottom line H – from efficiency savings to upselling, reduction in call centre contacts to disaster mitigation?A usinesses have never before had such a great opportunity to proactively listen to millions B of their customers every single day and truly understand their problems. Moreover, by moving customer care to public space the companies have an instant opportunity to motivate their customers to help to others on a peer-to-peer basis. estimate is that the volume of customer care inquiries on social media will reach My 50% of the total inquiries in just two years and because businesses can incorporate their brand advocates to resolve up to around 70% of enquiries, the companies can decrease their costs of customer service by almost 40%! 13
  14. 14. 4:The 5 best brands on social media – accordingto corporate social media practitionersNick Johnson In researching for our annual State of Corporate Social Media briefing, weFebruary 10th, 2012 asked 650+ corporater social media practitioners about their colleagues. Specifically, we asked “Which 3 companies are best at using social media?”. And now the results are in – so I thought I would share them with you. So, without further ado – the top 5 (in order), according to 650+ social media practitioners are: • Starbucks • Coca Cola • Dell • Zappos • Ford The most obvious point I’d draw from the list above is that I’d be willing to bet that – had I asked the same question this time last year – the same 5 would come up. Is corporate social media development stagnating? Where are the new leaders? Second observation is that none of these guys are b2b companies. It’s – perhaps unsurprisingly – an exclusively b2c list. The top B2B company, by the way, is IBM – way back in 10th place. It’s unsurprising, I suppose – the b2c companies are those which are more in the public consciousness – and, at least at the moment, social media appears to lend itself best to creating a large volume of fans and then engaging them. B2B social works quite differently, and doesn’t appear to be as advanced at this stage. 14
  15. 15. 5:Measuring the value of social mediaDavid Howell The metric of ROI is losing its weight within the social space and givingAugust 8th 2012 way to ROE or Return on Engagement. With the rise of social networks how does ROE apply to B2B enterprises? Dave Howell reports How to measure the social activity that B2B companies are involved in has been a contentious issue since the inception of social networks. Applying the traditional metrics of ROI or established KPIs failed to deliver the meaningful insights that businesses were looking for. In the brave new world of social marketing a new way to measure the effectiveness of campaigns was needed. Placing a metric on brand advocacy, reputation or engagement, which can be intangible business assets in a B2B organisation has been difficult. However, some form of measurements are developing that all organisations in the B2B sector can use to gain some insight into the effectiveness of their social media activity. The current measurement of Facebook engagement for instance has been called into question. Wisemetrics have analysed the current Facebook metric and found it to be lacking in some areas, proposing that an additional metric – which the company details – should be used instead. Addionally, Social Bakers adds their own angle on how social metrics should be calculated stating: “We at Socialbakers believe and our clients’ successes stand as proof that the best way to compare social performance is to analyze Engagement Rates. The beauty of this calculation is that it can be applied for any social network that uses public data, such as Twitter and Google +!” Social Bakers propose these formulas for engagement rates: 15
  16. 16. Businesses can use the metrics that are currently available, but what is clear is that for specialist tracking some form of bespoke approach will be needed. For businesses operating in the B2B space, these metrics could be evolved to be highly specific, but would then deliver reliable insight into the social activity and the return taking place. Measuring social For all businesses in the B2B sector, evolving their social media and how its results are tracked is a top priority. As Christine Crandell writing in Forbes states: “Lessons learned along the way brought the end of social media and shaped the next era. Using Facebook for customer support or as a B2B sales channel was a great experiment that didn’t really pay off. Yet it fundamentally changed the balance of power between the buyer and seller as well as redefined how work gets done. The next stage of social’s B2B evolution focuses on ROI not because it is ‘cool’ but for the significant leverage it can have on achieving business objectives.” Developing an insight into the value that social media can bring to an B2B organisation takes time and effort says Sandy Carter, VP of social business sales at IBM: “Realizing a meaningful ROI depends on how you deploy social. The key to remember is that you will not see results out of the box.” But can businesses actually place a value on the social media activity they are spending resources on developing? Two companies think so. Bulmers recently stated that a Facebook fan was worth £3.82 per week to the company. How did they come to such an accurate figure? Their research carried out by TNS was crude and had a number of caveats including the likelihood that Bulmers fans who interact the most with the page would have a clear bias towards the brand and would have been the most likely of all our fans to see the status update calling for people to complete the questionnaire. Nonetheless, these results are extraordinarily positive. And another company that has come out with figures based on its use of social media is  Eventbrite  that last October looked closely at its exposure on Facebook and Twitter claiming that the former generates £2.25 in additional gross ticket sales on average with the later worth £1.80, with the business network LinkedIn coming at £1.24. Says Vanessa Hope Schneider, Eventbrite Senior Public Relations Manager: “Social media is really important for Eventbrite—both as a brand, and as part of our product offering. One of the ways in which Eventbrite was able to spur early exponential growth in our user base was to be one of the first partners with Facebook, back in 2008. Our founders saw that people were copying eventVanessa Hope Schneider information from Eventbrite events Pounds per share Pounds per shareEventbrite SeniorPublic Relations and posting it on their Facebook in the US in the UKManagerof Brand walls. We wanted to make that Embassy £2.58 process of sharing far easier, and £2.25 when we integrated Facebook £1.80 sharing into our platform, growth £1.21 £1.24 really took off. Facebook is now the £0.47 #1 driver of traffic to our site, which makes sense, because Events are inherently social.” 16
  17. 17. Value propositions How B2B organisations approach their development of social media metrics will need to be more holistic, as by their nature, these networks offer a plethora of data, all of which will feed into the equation. Recently the Altimeter Grouplooked closely at ROI in the context of social media. Susan Etlinger, an industry analyst with Altimeter Group said: “In our research for this report we identified six primary qualitative and quantitative approaches and developed three case studies that illustrate how organizations measure the impact of social media on revenue. But while these six ingredients are consistent, the emphasis each company places on them depends on the nature of their business. “There is no “one-size-fits-all” approach. The following pages aim to identify and describe — based on business, product, media, and customer type — the most effective “recipes” for measuring the revenue impact of social media that we have seen adopted to date. The volatility of social data and the pace of change mean that tried-and-true measurement methods are no longer enough. Social data is different. The old rules don’t apply.” A healthy ROE can be quantified, but in an age of social media, the results of the ROE will be different for each company. And perhaps this is the crux of the mater when social media metrics are considered: It’s impossible to use an off-the-shelf approach. For B2B companies in particular that may be trading in highly specialised sectors, the ROE metrics they develop will have to be themselves highly specific to reveal the returns that each company is expecting. Q ow are B2B companies measuring the effectiveness of their activity within the H social media spaces they use? Jan Rezab A any are watching it live, nurturing their communities and seeing them grow. Others are M seeing the results directly through increased sales or contacts. And some don’t really care as the investment is low and they can afford to play around in the space withoutSEO, Socialbakers making full use of it. Q s ROI really appropriate for the social space? Is ROE (Return on Engagement) I more useful? But how can companies measure this ‘engagement’? A OI is important to any business. Social media campaigns, provided they have built an R audience to speak to, are much more cost effective and have greater impact than any traditional advertising, be it television, outdoor or print. Traditional advertising, no matter how finely targeted, is ‘push’ publicity. You’re pushing something on a random group of people regardless of their interest in your product, your pitch or your offer. This irritates people, it bothers them, they see it for what it is: advertising, a sales pitch and they tend to tune it out. Social media is ‘pull’ advertising. You provide a space for a group of people that have self-identified as having an interest in your brand. They want to know about your brand, your product, your company. You are speaking to the choir at that point. They, in turn, can share that information with their networks, provided they determine it would be relevant to others. Regarding B2B, traditional marketing is limited to trade shows, trade mags, or a slick 17
  18. 18. website, among few others. Word-of-mouth and established reputation is the best means to secure a deal in B2B. Word-of-mouth is offline social media. With social media, reputation is established openly for all to see and comment. ROI in social media is ROE. There’s little difference. The level of engagement in your message or medium is your first metric. Then the actual return can be measured in terms of increased sales, increased customer loyalty (less turnover), or even more engagement, ie. more posts, more comments, more shares, more fans. All this leads to a wider, yet more dedicated customer base. When you listen to your customers, they tend to pay more attention to what you actually have to say.Q or B2B companies is ROI from their social media activity more about improving F their influence within their particular market segment?A ot exactly. It’s about having a group discussion and working together to create products N and services that better serve your customers and ultimately your bottom line. Hopefully, you’ll allow your ‘market segment’ to have a greater influence on you.Q re there any particular tools that B2B companies can use to measure their ROI A across social media?A bsolutely, and we make them. Analytics Pro allows you to track, compare and maximize A your social media ROI, while Builder Pro allows you to manage all your social media networks, campaigns and relationships in a single integrated tool.Q hat is your key advice to B2B companies as they develop their metrics for W measuring ROI from social media?A f you don’t spend time in your social media space, your customers won’t either. Make I it interesting. Add value. Make it worth their while to become more engaged with you. And most importantly, listen to them and incorporate their ideas and feedback into your business at any level.Q o B2B companies try and apply social media that is really more appropriate for B2C D (Facebook for instance) when other social networks would be better exploited?A ny company just needs to be relevant to their audience, regardless of platform. A They need to choose the platform that best suits their needs as well as those of their customers. They need to create the space where their customers feel comfortable in coming or go to the space where their customers are. Work smarter, innovate, listen to your customers, be adaptable, use all of the resources at your disposal. Don’t be afraid of taking a chance. Build relationships and reputation. Be responsive and responsible. And be accountable and reliable. Breathe. 18
  19. 19. 6:Social media analytics tools – tested and ratedKevin Townsend Using social media isn’t enough; effective use is what counts. But how doDecember 16, 2011 you know if you’re being effective? Analytics. There are dozens of social media analytics applications that will help you measure and analyse your use of the social media platforms. But the precise solution will depend very much on your particular problem. Here we look at six that might help.Radian 6DEVELOPERSalesforce.comSOLUTIONRadian6CONTACT URL www.radian6.comPHONE+1 888 672 3426 OR+44 (0)203 468 3939PRICEFrom $600 (up to 10,000 mentions)to $4000 (up to 200,000 mentions)per month, or custom pricingbased on requirements THE VERDICT: Radian6 is expensive, but excellent for the larger company that has either much to gain or a lot to lose from its social media visibility. It is particularly good at separating and categorising sentiment. At the very basic level, this means it can separate out and analyse personal and brand conversations – which could be important, for example, to prevent personal popularity disguising product disappointment. At a deeper level, it will enable you to distinguish between positive and negative brand or product sentiment. Excellent reporting, including graphs over time, help you understand what events are good or bad for your company; which people or publications are advocates or critics of your products; and how you are doing in relation to your competitors. This is perfect fodder in planning future campaigns. We particularly like the ability to highlight negative sentiment. Since unfounded (and founded!) rumour and gossip spread faster than wildfire across the social platforms, being able to analyse this negative sentiment in real time, provides the perfect weapon for effective fire fighting. • Implementation: 4/5 • Versatility: 4/5 • Usability: 4/5 • Value for money: 4/5 U SM OVERALL RATING: 4/5 19  
  20. 20. URL PHONEvia web formPRICEFree THE VERDICT Klout is not merely, but perhaps best viewed as, a social visibility meter: it rates your online visibility on a scale of 1 to 100. It’s detractors say it merely measures your internet noise; but the reality is we can no longer ignore Klout. Thomas Power, the founder of the Ecademy business network, told me that recruiters in the States are beginning to demand candidates’ Klout score as part of their CV – and won’t countenance an applicant with a score of less than 50. The reason is obvious: a high Klout score demonstrates an ability to fully engage with the outside world, and that is essential in modern business. Klout analyses your presence on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and other networks to rate your True Reach, Amplification Probability and Network Influence. While the algorithms that provide the score are still far from perfect (but continuously being improved by the Klout team), you cannot afford to ignore it. Thomas Power has a Klout score of 65. When he saw my score of just 30, he commented, “You realise that makes you a social muppet.” The reality, however, is that it puts me at a distinct disadvantage in the modern business world. Having said that, Klout is not without its critics: there are some concerns over privacy and Klout. • Features: 3/5 • Implementation: 3/5 • Versatility: 2/5 • Usability: 3/5 • Value for money: n/a USM OVERALL RATING: 3/5   20
  21. 21. the THE VERDICT TweetDeck is a little disappointing. In itself it can hardly be called a social media analytic; it’s more like a social media organizer (and for that it is excellent). It helps you monitor subjects of interest across Twitter, Facebook, FourSquare and Buzz. Buzz? That’s what I mean about being disappointing: it offers you Buzz (which no longer exists) but not Google+.Frankly, it is best with Twitter, which is not surprising since it was bought by Twitter last May. What Twitter will do with it, if anything, remains to be seen. TweetDeck’s strength is in helping you rapidly and continuously research a subject or person or product or company of interest. You do this by creating a new column on the subject, which displays all the relevant postings. It doesn’t understand analysis and has no comprehension of sentiment. It does, however, make it relatively easy for you to do a visual analysis yourself. A useful free tool, then, for the sole trader, but of little use for corporations. • Features: 2/5 • Implementation: 2/5 • Versatility: 1/5 • Usability: 3/5 • Value for money: n/a U SM OVERALL RATING: 2/5   21
  22. 22. to be called .NetMap)DEVELOPEROpen SourceSOLUTIONNodeXLCONTACT THE VERDICT NodeXL is definitely one for the geeks. It is a free open source Excel template built around network analysis theory. The result is a powerful and immensely flexible tool, provided that you have the time and understanding to use it.Most of the mainstream social media analytic programs use algorithms to automatically extract the data you need from the enormous pool of useless noise and useful data; and it’s only the useful data that you seek to use. NodeXL is different: you build relevant data rather than extract it from the noise. Consider this: build a list of journalists, build a list of bloggers, build a list of publications, map them together and then use NodeXL to visualise the relationships. Pretty soon you’ll get an excellent view of prime influencers. Build other lists and map them. You’ll discover which publications or blogs are most likely to carry your stories. And because it’s open source, you can add to or amend the template as you wish. One option, of course, is to use the mainstream social analytics to discover the lists you use in NodeXL. The bottom line, though, is that NodeXL serves the same purpose as all social media analytics: to help you discover the information you need to develop effective campaigns. • Features: 3/5 • Implementation: 4/5 • Versatility: 4/5 • Usability: 2/5 • Value for money: n/a U SM OVERALL RATING: 3/5   22
  23. 23. SocialDEVELOPERSprout SocialSOLUTIONSprout SocialCONTACT $39 per month(up to 20 profiles)to $899 per month(unlimited profiles) THE VERDICT It is tempting to say that Sprout Social is the poor man’s Radian6; but that would be a disservice. It is, however, fair to say that it bears some similarities to Radian6 at a fraction of the cost – making it more suitable for smaller and medium sized companies.At one level it is an excellent aid to measuring and managing your social interaction with all of the major platforms. It gives you a score per platform rather than the overall social media Klout score, so you can see at a glance where you need to improve. And it provides excellent demographics on your reach. Its analysis tools help you understand the effect of individual engagements so that you can more effectively plan future campaigns; and the ability to integrate Google Analytics allows you to monitor the effect of these campaigns on traffic to your website. Overall, especially since it offers a no-hassle 30-day free trial, Social Sprout is certainly an analytic worth evaluating. • Features: 3/5 • Implementation: 4/5 • Versatility: 3/5 • Usability: 4/5 • Value for money: 4/5 U SM OVERALL RATING: 3/5   23
  24. 24. THE VERDICT PeerIndex is a social media reputation and authority rating platform – in other words, a British-based alternative to the American Klout. Some people will be attracted simply because it gives an apparently higher score than they get with Klout – notice that this social muppet’s PeerIndex is 35 against his Klout of 30. But notice also that Ecademy founder Thomas Power is even further away on 71, which is to be expected.PeerIndex rates on activity, audience and authority; and as with all the analytics programs it does so using its own proprietary algorithms. But I have some concerns here. Users can generate their own rated ‘groups’ or lists of individuals. This, in itself, is a good thing. I checked the UK journalist group curated by Sarah Booker; and found that I have the same PeerIndex as the Times political columnist Danny Finkelstein. So, if you use PeerIndex to find a UK journalist with reputation and authority, I have to tell you that there is nothing to choose between me and dannythefink. I’m waiting by the phone. • Features: 2/5 • Implementation: 2/5 • Versatility: 2/5 • Usability: 3/5 • Value for money: n/a USM OVERALL RATING: 2/5 24
  25. 25. 7:How b2b companies can build a truly social businessDavid Howell It’s no good just opening a Facebook page and writing a few tweets, todayAugust 8, 2012 enterprises need to become ‘social businesses’ but what does this mean in the B2B context? Dave Howell reports There is no denying that social media has profoundly impacted all businesses. Much that has been written about social media has been within the B2C context. But as social media reaches more B2B companies, these corporations are realising that they need to ‘socialise’ their enterprises if they are to remain competitive and stay relevant and dynamic within their market sectors. Social media has transformed the personal relationships of millions across the world, and a similar affect is being felt within business too. “Interacting online with colleagues, customers, prospects, and candidates is largely how business gets done today,” stated the iPass Mobile Workforce report. “The use of social media is an excellent way to make and nurture these connections.” However, companies in the B2B sector often don’t use the social networks available to them with anything near optimum efficiency and don’t have a well-defined roadmap to socialise their businesses. According to research by Satmetrix and Net Promoter 60% of businesses do not have an integrated social media strategy. The last six months have seen a big increase in the use of Twitter and Facebook while YouTube and corporate blogging activity remains steady. By The Numbers 56% of FTSE100 companies now have an official Twitter account, up almost 25% in six months and 40% since this time last year. 38% have an official Facebook presence, up more than 50% since December. 44% have an official YouTube channel, a slight increase over six months but up a third since November 2009. Nine companies are active on all four channels, up from seven companies six months ago. 30% are active on three or more channels, up 17% in six months, while 46% use at least two channels, up from 40% in December. 34% have no social media presence but that figure has dropped from 46% six months ago. [Source] The Group In addition, 67% of companies don’t measure or quantify social media – increasing to 75% for B2B companies. And for those that do have some form of quantification, 56% just count the comments and followers. Only 4% have any form of sentiment analysis. “Businesses recognize the need for a social media strategy, however many are challenged in putting an effective strategy in place,” said Richard Owen, chief executive officer, Satmetrix. “While 77% of consumers post about products, 67% of businesses have no means of measuring what is being said, and less than one in 20 have any insight into the sentiment of what is being said. This is both a huge threat and a massive lost opportunity. Not only 25
  26. 26. companies running the risk of losing customers by not addressing their issues sharedonline, but they are also walking past the opportunity to capitalize on positive commentsmade on the social web.”For B2B enterprises moving their operations to embrace social media will clearly have amajor commercial benefit for their entire company. Social businesses are now not just aboutFacebook likes or Twitter followers, but how companies interact with their customers rightacross their business’ landscape.Social businessCompanies in their B2B sector can also use their commercial partners to develop the socialaspects of their businesses. Dell for instance now offers its customers social media trainingthat Dell describes as “to help our partners fully leverage social media tools to improve thelines of communication while elevating their own marketing efforts.”To develop a meaningful and commercially rewarding social media enterprise, B2Bcompanies have to move away from the departmentalisation of social media as justmarketing for PR exercises, and embrace the social networks right across their businesses.Social media today needs to be part of the DNA of every B2B organisation. Only thosecompanies that have aligned social media with their core business plans and expansiongoals will see the rewards from becoming a social media business.Global Dawn defines social business as: “The creation of shared value for everybody in abusiness value chain, including the customer and the communities they live in, online oroffline. Social business has evolved from multiple sources and is taking business in a newdirection. From the development of micro-finance to today’s customer ecosystems, sharedvalue and social business is all about empowering people and creating a more collaborativehuman-centred business environment.”B2B companies that can develop their own social ecosystems aimed specifically at theirmarket sector will move their businesses into the social space and make closer personalconnections with customers and commercial partners alike – something that is at the heartof what it means to be a social business today.“From our 2011 Global Chief Marketing Officer Study, we learned organizations are stillfocused primarily on understanding markets, not individual customers,” stated thelatest  CEO Study from IBM. “More than 80% of CMOs rely on market research andcompetitive benchmarking to make strategic decisions. While these traditional sources ofinformation are still valuable, they offer little insight into individual customers. In contrast,blogs, consumer reviews and other unstructured online sources can reveal customersentiment at a personal level, in context. However, relatively few CMOs are exploiting thesenew sources: only 26% track blogs, only 42% track third-party reviews and only 48% trackconsumer reviews.”Andrew Yates, CEO, Artesian Solutions says: “Smart businesses have realised that today’scustomers have all the power; they are connected and empowered and leading a socialrevolution. As a result, modern businesses need to be agile, engaged and transparent inorder to engage with both clients and prospects. Key to achieving this goal is the abilityto integrate new technologies and social media into commercial strategies. Only then 26
  27. 27. can businesses listen to their customers effectively and better understand where the opportunities or issues exist.” And does developing a social business in the B2B sector differ from developing a social business in the B2C sector? Julian Heerdegen, CRM Evangelist at SugarCRM commented: “The biggest difference for now is that B2Bs and B2Cs typically have a presence on different types of channels. B2B social business will take place – in large part – on global professional networks such as LinkedIn or in strong local contenders like Xing in Germany and Viadeo in France. B2C social business, engagement and visibility will largely take place in mass channels like Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube, so those developing a social B2C Julian program should focus their efforts on these types of channels. That said, once a B2B social HeerdegenCRM Evangelist at SugarCRM business initiative is past the development phase, it is entirely reasonable to broaden a conversation that may have started in a professional network to a channel where consumers are like Facebook or YouTube, thereby creating a bigger impact.” B2B connections Becoming a social business also now means leveraging the commercial relationships that B2B enterprises already have. Social media in the B2C sector has shown how powerful social connections can be for brand advocacy. For B2B companies that want to socialise their enterprises this will often mean not doing this alone. As social means just that: developing a business that reaches out to its customers and partners, B2B enterprises are forging new relationships as their businesses socialise. Partnering, of course, introduces new kinds of risk. In a world of increased transparency and instantly disseminated social media, organizations are often judged by their partners’ actions, not just their own. The practices of any part of a globally distributed supply chain can tarnish even the most highly regarded brands. Says Ross Breadmore, a consultant at  NixonMcInnes: “The enterprise must consider why it’s looking to become ‘social’ – is it to sell services, learn about new products, help customers, or something else? Once this question is answered the enterprise can begin to create social spaces, profiles perhaps that suit the above objectives. With this, new roles, processes and cultural norms will be required to deal with the various and considerable Ross inputs that social can bring.” Breadmore Consultantat NixonMcInnes With Dan Zucker, social media manager at  AutoDesk  commenting: “Initially, we viewed social media as a tool to help drive brand awareness and post purchase activities. As a company that has traditionally been focused on the B2B space, applying social media to demand generation activities seemed inaccessible. We’ve now seen tangible instances of social media playing a much more prominent role in demand generation activities such as events and promotional offerings. For example, our Americas field marketing team recently created a video about our Amazingly Easy promotion, which was widely distributed through Autodesk owned social accounts.” Artesian Solutions’ Andrew Yates concluded: “Social business has the potential to put an end to the large faceless corporations of the past, with smart organisations starting to realise the opportunities that social media offers for building customer relationships. By being able to filter through the huge volume of information that is being generated online, 27
  28. 28. and turn this data into actionable insight about customers and prospects, businesses will be able to anticipate buyers’ needs and engender brand loyalty like never before.  As a result, we anticipate the future of social business in the B2B sector will continue to grow in importance and actually become vital to the success of all organisations.” With Xabier Ormazabal, Director of Product Marketing, concluding: “The responsibility lies with everyone in the organisation. For the social enterprise to become a reality, everyone within the organisation must be in a social mindset. While technology can play in a role in terms of opening up the platforms over which conversations can occur, it merely facilitates our innate human ability to communicate.” Xabier OrmazabalDirector of Product Marketing, Being a social business is now a prerequisite for success in the B2B sector as the IBM CEO Study succinctly pointed out: “The CEOs of B2B organizations were also quick to note that social media is not just a business-to-consumer phenomenon. As a U.K. CEO from the media and entertainment industry pointed out, “Our B2B customers are also consumers of social media; you cannot split the two.” And an electronics industry CEO from Japan described how his organization is helping B2B customers innovate by “incorporating the end user’s voice directly into product development.” B2B organisations can see that social media in the B2C sector has transformed customer relationships. Socialising their businesses now will ensure that B2B companies can tap into this rich vein of relationships that are set on a huge upward trajectory. Q hat does being ‘social’ mean in the B2B context? W A rganisations have quickly learned that a social business isn’t a company that just has a O Facebook page and a Twitter account. It’s one that actively uses social networking and social media technologies to build relationships between its employees, partners and Stuart McRae customers to produce better business outcomes. A social business means that every Collaboration Social Business department in the organisation uses social networking the way it uses any other tool andEvangelist, IBM UK channel to do its work. It’s an organisation that integrates social networking tools into its traditional business processes to fundamentally impact how work gets done to create business value. A social business utilises social software technology to communicate with its ecosystem of clients, business partners and employees. Social business is a strategic approach to shaping a business culture, highly dependent upon transparency and trust from executive leadership and corporate strategy, including business process design, risk management, leadership development, financial controls and use of business analytics. Social business drive engagement that helps the organisation deepen customer relationships, generate new ideas faster, identify expertise, enable a more effective workforce and ultimately drive its bottom line. The result is a nimble, agile business that outperforms its competition. Q hat are the key steps to ‘socialise’ a B2B enterprise? W A ompanies must make sure that employees can work productively regardless of C location, organisational silos, time or device – not just with business applications, but also with their colleagues and partners. Managers must have instant access to data that allows them to match the right people with the right skills and with the right projects, regardless of title or rank or salary level. Teams need to be able to come together quickly 28
  29. 29. on demand and disband when no longer needed. Communities of expertise should form organically as needed, rather than according to organisational structures. Employees need quick access to relevant and timely information, and ways to easily share their knowledge effectively across the whole organisations.Q here do you think responsibility for the social aspects of a B2B enterprise should W reside? Who should be driving this aspect of the business?A ocial collaboration is something that will eventually pervade all aspects of a business, S from marketing to manufacturing, sales to human resources, executives to the shop floor. Today, ownership tends to reside in the part of the organisation that is fastest to recognise the value social business brings. Sometimes it is marketing because of the need to use external social media and sentiment monitoring. Sometimes it is HR or communications to improve talent management or staff morale. Sometimes it is manufacturing to improve business processes and time to market, or sales to increase revenues. In one case, a Vice President for the customer took ownership as an overarching initiative to serve customers better. Ownership may depend on the biggest challenges the organisation faces, but the most important thing is that it resides at a senior level, where its ability to improve all parts of the business can be recognized.Q an you point to any B2B enterprises that are getting ‘social’ right? CA mron, an organisation helping to automate machines and factories all over the world, O has created an award-winning business intranet based on IBM technology helping to create a single-source communication and collaboration platform for all European employees, helping boost innovation and creativity. Slumberland Furniture stores have 125 geographically dispersed retail locations in the U.S., has created SlumberLink, a business intranet that gives all 2,300 Slumberland employees centralised access to pertinent, up-to-date information and functional applications. Role-based access by department and store allow employees to easily find relevant, up-to-date information previously printed in the store operations manual, including areas such as human resources, sales administration, merchandising and marketing. Video content is uploaded, stored and delivered to assist in training initiatives. Berlitz a global education company has created an enterprise-wide intranet that leverages social networking and collaboration technologies. The organization as transformed a regionalised operation into an agile, global company able to deploy higher quality educational offerings for 12,000 HR employees around the world.Q ow does developing a social business in the B2B sector differ from developing a H social business in the B2C sector?A n the B2C sector, social business strategy is often driven by marketing’s need to use I social media as a marketing channel and the social networks to engage with customers. Internal social collaboration then emerges later as a business need to allow the organisation to respond to the demands of customers it is engaging with through social channels. 29
  30. 30. the B2B sector, social business strategy often starts with the need to improve how the In organisation responds to their customers, rather than how it interacts with its customers. Internal expertise location, knowledge sharing and community building dominate as ways to improve business outcomes and so customer experiences. To do this effectively, it is often also necessary to extend use of social collaboration to partners. There is also a trend starting to emerge in the B2B sector when the customers start to adopt social business. They then begin to prefer suppliers that embrace social channels, driving the change upstream.Q hat does the future of social business in the B2B sector look like? WA ver time, social business will become simply  Business. The external channels and O internal tools for social media, social networking and social collaboration that dominate the conversation today, will be simply integrated into the toolsets that organisations use to do business. The big change will not come from the tools themselves, but from the way they enable organisations to take the principles of engagement, transparency and nimbleness to new levels, improving the customer experience and internal organisational effectiveness. Ultimately all business is driven by one imperative: to serve their customers better than their competition. Externally, social business provides new ways for companies to understand their market and engage with their customers. Internally, social business lets them use that understanding to create better products, faster; to resolve customer problems, faster; and to improve their business processes, and make them faster too. 30
  31. 31. 8:Social media and b2b communicationsMarcus Austin Can social media make the same impact in the B2B world as it has in theAugust 21st 2012 B2C sector? There’s no denying social media is now a powerful force in the B2C world, but does social media work in the B2B space? Why would you want to create a customer service channel on Twitter or Facebook when you probably already give customers a dedicated account handler? Peter Petrella, Creative Director, at Gyro specialist in B2B social media communications believes one of the key reasons to take up social media in the B2B channel is that businesses only really see one part of their customers, but by engaging in social media they get a new and better insight into how they’re perceived. Peter Petrella “If you look at a business like Apple they make an active choice not to engage in social Creative Director, at Gyro media. They let everyone else talk about them but they don’t engage in that channel. They have a great reputation. However, they do take a lot of flack on social media. Also their customer service tends to be quite remote and hands off unless you walk into a store.” Guy Stephens, Social media consultant, at Cap Gemini agrees. “In my mind there’s no distinction between social media for B2C and B2B. They are still people with issues, they just happen to use social media to resolve those issues. Even if you don’t open a channel you are going to get comments on social media. People can say and do what they want. They can go onto Twitter and ask questions and say anything about you. I think for companies it’s not ‘should we be doing it?’ but ‘when can we do it?’” Heavy machinery manufacturer Caterpillar use social media to support their dealerships and sees social media as central to their business. Kevin Espinosa, Social Media Marketing Manager, at Caterpillar Customer Services Support explains. “We built our social media strategy on four pillars: social listening, promotion, thought leadership and customer support. “However anytime – regardless if you’re B2B or B2C – you open up a social channel you automatically get enquiries and questions, so the customer support part of the pillar comes by default.” It’s also a channel you shouldn’t ignore warns Espinosa, “Social media is the new public telephone, but it’s not a one-to-one conversation anymore it’s one-to-many. So it can be very damaging if you let that phone ring and not pick it up to answer those enquiries.” B2B strategies Once you’ve made the commitment to social media the first choice you have is which channel do you use? LinkedIn would appear to be the most B2B friendly social media channel but it may not be the right place for your audience. Petrella’s advice is to look first and see where your users are, and what they’re saying before you decide on a channel, “LinkedIn gives you a very narrow focus and actually it’s a bit of a beauty parade. Businesses need to identify the places where the chatter is happening. We work with HP and they have lots of their business around large-format professional printing with a very dedicated customer-base that are very vocal but you tend not to see them on Twitter. What they use is forums.“ 31