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The Open First Twitter Room April 2010


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Version 2 of our product overview - a social media hub for the Enterprise

Version 2 of our product overview - a social media hub for the Enterprise

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  • 1. 00
    Managing Your Online Communications
    Introducing The TwitterRoom and the Strategic Approach To Managing Your Company’s Online Communications
    “Strategy and Organisational Change in a world of social, mobile and cloud computing technologies”
  • 2. 01

    One of our clients told us three years ago that they had not previously made a serious investment in their online presence because the revenues from it had been “only a few percent” of their total. That percent now stands at 4%. It represents a £1.3bn business and is growing 20% per annum.
    We did a calculation for another client in 2008: by 2013, we told them, their online revenues - which had been 5% of their total five years prior - would exceed their traditional revenues. Yes – more online than offline.
    The millions of people who use the internet each day represent powerful and fast-growing markets. While still insignificant for some companies, the next five years will see online activity make a significant contribution to revenues for many of the largest firms. The internet is also providing ways to slash costs too – from recruitment costs to brochure printing and media advertising.
    But the online world poses threats. There is an element of it being uncontrollable and unproven. It requires a different approach – Firms need to react and respond in a way to which they are not geared. There is an immediacy and a risk of knee-jerk reactions. Information is harder to control, copyright harder to protect. And customers now complain out loud online and expect to be heard and recognised online.
    We recommend that every Firm thinking about its “online communications strategy” collects key online resources together in one place at the head office, and establish an “Online Control Centre” or “Social Media Hub”. From here, the company can get to grips with its online presence: monitoring, participating, tracking, adapting and building business.
    We called this place the “TwitterRoom” in March 2010 and the name stuck, though it is about mush more than Twitter. Twitter has become the language of social media. The Tweet is the currency of commentary online. Facebook and LinkedIn, the photo sites, YouTube and the video sites, most bookmarking sites like Digg and Delicious, almost every blog, the new emerging location-based review and check-in mobile apps, all now communicate with each other using Tweets. When a blog post is made, a Tweet is automatically generated. When a video is uploaded – a Tweet. When a recommendation is shared – it’s using Tweets.
    This document contains recent thinking and ideas from Open-First on how we can help you manage your online communications online culture and values and even the online business itself.

    Mark Adams, Chief Operating Officer, Open-First LLP
  • 3. 02
    The TwitterRoom Idea
    Most companies have rooms dedicated to managing the large volumes of information which pass in and out each day. From copying and print rooms, to post rooms, press rooms and media centres.
    The importance of online information now dwarfs that of the printed word in many companies. And online information changes rapidly and companies need to listen hard and be ready to respond. The speed of information flow and the need to react can sometimes be so critical that we simply need to have teams of people together in one physical place at one time - where they can work closely to manage these important online information flows.
    The TwitterRoom is that place.
    It is a place where internet information flows can be initiated, observed, interpreted and responded to. It is a place where analysts, technical people, writers and broadcasters come together in the same physical space with legal, risk and governance specialists.
    The TwitterRoom we show here is a conceptual idea. But we believe every publicly listed company will have one of these within five years (see the flow chart on the right for a light-hearted interpretation of this idea).
    Today, we are building “The TwitterRoom” step-by-step, migrating from established operational structures to a full TwitterRoom over a two or three-year period. These slides are an overview of the TwitterRoom concept.
    Open-First LLP, April 2010
    The contents of this document are confidential to the recipient. This document may not be circulated outside the organisation to which it has been sent.
    The TwitterRoom emerged from The Conversation Group’s
    “Social Thought Leadership Programme 2010”,
    a project driven by the world’s leading
    Professional Services Organisations.
    Open-First LLP was formed in 2010 by a senior team from The Conversation Group with whom Open-First now has a strategic alliance. Material in this document was originated by both Firms.
    Open-First LLP
    6th Floor
    48 Leicester Square
    London WC2H 7LT
    See more at:
    Download these slides at Slideshare:
    On the ThoughtFollower Blog:
    On the cluetrainee Blog:
  • 4. 03
    The Outside World Is Complicated And Moves Quickly
    Yesterday’s company could package its communications and broadcast them to the market. Controlled. When and how it wanted. Now the market is fragmented and pervasive. Global and 24/7. It is alive. The broadcast is no longer sufficient to communicate effectively. And online users, online communications, are driving this change.
    To cope with online activity, companies need to listen (hard), measure (lots), evaluate and consider, act, respond and react. Not Quarterly or Monthly, but now hourly and even intra-hour.
    So there needs to be a Control Centre. A place where the complexity of online behaviours and conversations can be seen, interrogated, understood, and managed.
    Now, the TwitterRoom is where it comes together...
    Then, simple...
    Before: Company and Market are distinct and broadcast is easy. After: Markets are fragmented, complex and fast-moving.
  • 5. 04
    The Online World Poses Risks and Threats
    They say that the growth of the online market leads to openness, transparency and accountability, and all agree that this is a good thing.
    But it can be hell for a Company’s reputation. The public at large now has the means to comment, critique and abuse, and to have negative sentiments shared around the world. (Positive sentiment, it seems, are much harder to share as widely and with as much impact.)
    And so the Company needs to aggressively prepare for abuse and attack - it will most likely happen on the internet before it happens anywhere else. The team needs to be technical to measure significance, commercial to recognise materiality, socially adept in order to respond and legal to moderate or increase tempo.
    The Basic Idea Of The TwitterRoom...
    The Inverted Alert System...
    The structured alerting system (left) is a prerequisite to the listen-respond principles (right) which lie behind the TwitterRoom
  • 6. 05
    TwitterRoom Personnel
    The TwitterRoom Director is the lynchpin of the team. The role not only manages a disparate team of talents and skills, but assumes the onerous tactical responsibility for how the Company conducts itself online. The company’s online persona, culture and reputation vest in this person, and the role will typically report to the Board of Directors, but in any event will also have access to the Board.
    The Director oversees the Metrics Lead whose 5-strong team is responsible for watching online activity, noting its effect on the company’s website and escalating issues when response is required. Strategy for outbound communications is passed by the Director to the Response or “TweetOut” Team. The TweetOut Team is fed with material from the Content Team to ensure that Company collateral is ready at all times to fuel both casual, low-key response and when required, incisive, up-to-the-minute mission-critical information.
    The Director has the services of a Legal/Corporate adviser on hand at all times to advise on compliance and risk issues.
    The team comprises 5 units: Technical, Content, Legal, Metrics and TweetOut
  • 7. 06
    Construction and Layout
    The TwitterRoom comprises five principal areas. The central Planning Area is the area around which all work is coordinated during the teams’ shifts and where the Director and Legal Adviser spend the most of their time. The AV Studio is there to produce short-form video and sound content, uploaded and shared online in the Video Editing & Upload area. The Metrics/Analytics team is focused on watching and interpreting web traffic to the Company’s website and the Response Area is where outgoing communications are approved and initiated.
    (see more on Slide 07)
    (see more on Slide 10)
    (see more on Slide 06)
    (see more on Slide 08)
    (see more on Slide 09)
    Layout of the TwitterRoom showing the five principal areas of activity.
  • 8. 07
    The Planning Area
    The five teams [Technical, Content, Legal, Metrics and TweetOut] meet here at the start of each shift and – importantly – at ad-hoc times during shifts as required by events.
    Their job is at all times to interpret the Online Communications Strategy (OCS), which is set in the TwitterRoom on a Weekly and Daily basis. During busy times and in extremis, the OCS will be managed on an hourly basis by the Director and Legal Adviser.
    The primary equipment comprises corporate Twitter tools such as Twitterfall, TweetDeck, CoTweet or Hootsuite and these are used alongside 27/4 broadcast news channels when required to provide context and perspective.
    View of the Planning Area with Metrics / Analysis room (far left), AV Studio (near left) and Response Room (far right).
  • 9. 08
    Metrics / Analytics Area
    The six-strong Metrics / Analytics Team are the eyes of the organisation. They use the ”Inverted Alert System” in Slide 03 which earned them the nickname “Bikini Team” in reference to the codeword used by the UK’s Ministry of Defence in their terrorist-alert warning system which operated from 1970 to 2006.
    The Bikini Team performs two distinct functions – the first is listening, watching tweets, tracking other online activity – such as bookmarking sites, social networking sites and blogs cited as mission-critical in the OCS. The second responsibility is the alerting process, and when to escalate individual issues or the communications status as a whole. They discharge this latter responsibility with a very rigorous numerical approach – they watch for incremental changes in web traffic to the company’s main websites or specific landing pages and if there are surges which come from specific keywords, they are automatically alerted. They also watch the velocity (frequency) of tweets against specific adverse hashtags and if this passes a minimum threshold, they are alerted for escalation.
    In some cases, the TwitterRoom Director will be forced to change the alert status of the TwitterRoom purely due to the numerical outputs from the Bikini Team, though in the majority of cases, status will change using experience and judgement with the analytics as a guide.
    View of the Metrics / Analytics Area for six staff assessing external activity and measuring website traffic volumes
  • 10. 09
    Response or “TweetOut” Area
    The five-strong TweetOut team is the one which initiates out-going tweets. The lone computer in the centre of the picture is where more considered tweets – typically requiring links to content - are prepared and cued up to 8 hours ahead. The operator here is usually called the “TweetStacker”.
    The four workstations are configured in two banks of two. The nearest pair work in tandem and proof each other’s tweets as standard before they hit “send” – they are referred to as the “Frontline Pair”. The middle pair, or “Tweaker Pair” takes content from the TweetStacker and adapts or augments when required to make it context-sensitive. The area configuration therefore moves from the back wall as urgency increases. The back wall position is the least urgent, the middle pair tweet using prepared material and the nearest pair initiate their own tweets and respond much more interactively.
    View of the TweetOut Area showing places for the “TweetStacker”, the “Tweaker Pair” and the “Frontline Pair”.
  • 11. 10
    Video Upload
    The video upload area is where content is repurposed for the TweetOut teams to use. Videos or sound recordings taken in the studio are edited here and archived for use by the TweetOut team, uploaded directly to company archives and placed in standard bookmarking and interest sites.
    View of the three editing workstations in the Video Upload area.
  • 12. 11
    AV Studio
    The AV Studio comprises a semi-formal interview area for company spokespeople – it is ready for use 24/7 and includes a studio for audio recordings. Video content can go straight to hosted video services, to the company website, and into tweets and podcasts for broader circulation.
    View of the AV Studio showing recording area and sound studio (above) with casual broadcast-quality interview area (below)
  • 13. 12
    Enterprise Tools
    There are a number of corporate-level Twitter tools to help manage communications which use Twitter. These include measurement, analytics and analysis tools, reporting tools, tools to manage a community, and tools to share the tasks of tweeting within a team. There are tools to manage pictures and videos within Tweets. Tools to help incorporate other content – such as web links – into tweets, and more.
    TweetDeck, TwitterFeed , Seesmic and HootSuite tend to be used interchangeably for outgoing tweets. CoTweet is often preferred to help manage tweeting schedules and workflow in a team. We tend to deploy Yammer as a standard tool in every installation for internal tweeting, and Twitterfall too is a standard in every TwitterRoom as a means of displaying tweets in more open areas. Klout is a favoured measurement and profiling tool .
    We rely on Echofon and Tweetie as our preferred iPhone apps – an important tool as sometimes the TwitterRoom is “live” offsite with the CEO at meetings and events.
    10 of the most valuable tools we use to manage tweeting and support the process in the TwitterRoom.
  • 14. 13
    Costs 1 – Building The TwitterRoom (Personnel and CapEx)
    We ran a set of costs for one client for a 3-year transition programme. This showed an ongoing commitment to the TwitterRoom facility just over £750k. The majority of these costs were with staff who were already on the company payroll, but redeployed and retrained into the TwitterRoom.
    Sample worked costs for one FTSE 350 client.
  • 15. 14
    Costs 2 – TwitterRoom Processes, Policies and Services
    As the TwitterRoom comes into operation, the Firm uses it to initiate and maintain a number of new company-wide processes and new policies and procedures. Open-First works with a client’s Board to define these and contracts to The Conversation Group for implementation services when required.
    Services to support operations of the TwitterRoom
  • 16. 15
    Costs 3 – Capacity-Building
    Open-First is able to help companies with existing online and social communications infrastructures with services to help build capacity. Most of our clients are at a level of engagement we describe as “Starting” and “Experimental”. Others are into the second phase and are “Developing”. We provide costed services to both groups with illustrative proposals shown below.
    Illustrative costed proposals to help build capacity and improve capability using the TwitterRoom core infrastructure
  • 17. 16
    It is not possible to propose a meaningful ROI on the TwitterRoom per se – it is a redeployment and realignment of resources as well as investment in new resources, and its effect is felt across too many individually-measured disciplines: from at least research, monitoring, customer engagement and employee engagement.
    There is one universal measure of ROI which we have seen applied in many areas: the quality of web traffic to the company’s websites. Social media is a proven provider of better quality (higher conversion, longer retention, higher average basket value) web traffic.
    The other measure is to compare the advertising value of offline media coverage generated by the company and to see how that is augmented by generating that coverage with a higher online element. The workings on the right show how a budget shift from agency to internal online communications can improve traditional offline media coverage. (The workings on the right below are for illustration only).
    Two sample ROI workings.
  • 18. 17
    Online Leadership - A Driver of Company Value
    We have worked with clients on organisational change as a means to drive company valuation. The TwitterRoom is a strong manifestation of a company’s commitment to caring about its online profile and aligning the company’s culture and values with the online world. We have worked on change programmes over two years using the TwitterRoom idea as a core trigger for wider organisational change.
    A model two-year change programme to drive company valuation.
  • 19. 18
    About Open-First
    Open-First LLP is a strategy consulting firm based in San Francisco and London. Formed in March 2010, it grew out of The Conversation Group (TCG). Open-First provides wider strategy and organsiational change consulting while TCG provides specifically social media services. TCG began life in 2007 in San Francisco and commenced business the following year in London and then in 2009 in Helsinki.
    TCG and the Open-First team have provided strategy consulting services to the following companies:
    TCG has served over 50 companies since it was founded nearly three years ago.