Why Social Business is Do or Die


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Most business around the world have begun to use social media technology in one form or another. It’s really not a matter of whether a business is “on social media” the question is “does social drive business results.” This is why we need to be talking about social business, not social media.

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  • What began as “social media” has evolved. The journey for businesses around the world is not unlike the phases we all experience from infant to mature adulthood. I believe we are approximately 7 years into this journey and I would characterize our current state in social business as early adulthood. My reason is that we’re finally talking about what it means to be a social business. This was not a conversation we were having 2 years ago.
  • Most business around the world have begun to use social media technology in one form or another. It’s really not a matter of whether a business is “on social media” the question is “does social drive business results.” This is why we need to be talking about social business, not social media.
  • Two years ago, a study was published that illustrates the 3 stages organizations go through in the adoption of “social media.” They are the launch stage, the management stage and the optimization stage. http://mashable.com/2011/03/03/social-media-roi-cycle/
  • At the time of this study about 2 years ago, approximately 50% of organizations were considered in the launch stage. This is a very tactical stage characterized mostly by the marketing department opening up the requisite social media accounts on sites like Facebook, Twiiter and YouTube and sticking those social media icons on the website. The C suite says “okay, we’re using social media, whatever that means.”
  • The management phase occurred about one year into being “on social media.” The organization began to focus more on engagement because they recognized that’s what people want to do on social media, ENGAGE. Businesses began to wake up to the fact that social media is not a platform to push and promote your products, but rather a place to have real, authentic, human engagement. In other words to be SOCIAL. And, along the way, when natural conversations occur about your company or products, that’s good. But, blatant promotion just doesn’t fly because that’s not social.
  • About two years into this journey many organizations began to really come to understand the value of being social through relevant content and more authentic engagement and began to piece together either anecdotal evidence, or (gasp) quantifiable evidence that being social on the web is actually good for business. Yes, it is good for business. And, that is why today we are talking about social business.
  • One of the most progressive companies in the area of social business is IBM. In full disclosure, IBM has products and services that help organizations become a social business and measure results. That said, IBM is walking the walk quite nicely. Recently, IBM released their 2012 Global CEO Study in which they interviewed more than 1700 CEOs in 64 countries across 18 industries. Their big three take aways from the report are: 1) empower employees through social technology and a culture of being social, 2) leverage partnerships, 3) engage customers as individuals. In other words, don’t think of your business as B2B or B2C, but rather H2H (human to human). Businesses are made up of people and people are social. And, social technology enables everyone to connect and engage in ways that weren’t possible in years past.
  • I encourage you to download this report. It’s not a gated report (no form required). Two of my favorite quotes from CEO participants really summarize it nicely. Social technologies allow feedback to occur 24/7365 and we need to be able to listen and respond. And, the organization is made up of collective intellectual capital that need to be mobilized for innovation.
  • So, the new stage 3 is really social business. In the simplest terms it is about business. It doesn’t matter if you’re a non profit or a government agency or commercial entity, it’s about the definition of business in your context.
  • Let’s look at the five characteristics of a social business. In full disclosure these are my opinion. You may or may not find these characteristics in someone else’s definition of social business. I’ve been a practitioner of social business since 2006 both as a user and as a digital marketing agency and a speaker and trainer, not to mention author of one book and a top 100 digital marketing blog, though it wasn’t called social business until more recently. So, I am confident that my perspective is grounded in sound reasoning.
  • Anything meaningful in business always has to have the full support of the top of the food chain in the organization. In a social business, the C suite recognizes that employees are social and that they use social technology, and that restricting their use in the business is like restricting them from talking on the phone. The C suite also understands the role of relevant content as a means to engage with customers, and technology or systems to facilitate usage and measurement of business value. A social business is both content rich and users of social technology to implement, track and measure results.
  • In my opinion, one of the most compelling characteristics of a social business is when the organization recognizes that marketing is not a department. The role of the marketing department is to provide leadership to the rest of the organization. The marketing executive should be a part of the leadership team. The marketing plan must be clearly aligned with the business’ strategic objective. The role of marketing certainly includes the launch of campaigns and tactics designed to build brand awareness and produce leads. And, it also includes communicating the vision to the rest of the organization and spelling out exactly how the people in each functional department or division plays a role in the company’s overall marketing efforts.
  • A social business is very strong in content marketing. Study after study proves that we humans don’t trust advertising. I’ve seen stats as high as 76% of us don’t believe advertising messages. In the digital age, the most effective way to reach and engage people is through relevant content. The people we can reach through good content runs the gamut across your entire value chain from employees, customers and all strategic stakeholders. Delivering content that addresses the needs and wants of each persona is the name of the game. And, a social business understands that and does exactly that.
  • A social business embraces employees as brand ambassadors. Some of your employees have valuable subject matter expertise, and some of them have the capability of building their reputation around that expertise in a way that is valuable to your brand. This phenomenon is made possible through a content mindset which is greatly enabled through our digital channels such as blogs and social networks. While not all employees are qualified to be dual branded, those that do can have a “halo effect” on your brand. When these employees produce valuable content, share it and engage with your market, their personal brand benefits and so does yours. A social business does NOT fret over the personal brand equity of these employees. Rather, a social business embraces it for the halo effect. A social business works in alignment with these employees.
  • A social business understands that it requires technology investment to be social not unlike the need for ERP or CRM systems. In April 2012 Forrester Research published a report on social business. Their research shows that 50% of those organizations surveyed either had already invested in social technology or had planned to invest in 2012.
  • The Forrester Research report indicates that 60% of the executives surveyed indicated their #1 goal from social technology is better decision making by being closer to the customer.
  • The landscape of social technology providers is a fast moving one. In 2012 alone we’ve seen several moves from well known brands. Oracle and Salesforce both made social technology acquisitions, as did Microsoft in their acquisition of Yammer. And, of course as I mentioned earlier, IBM has a big stake in social business with products and services. While this is just a sampling of some of the technology providers in social business, clearly the trend is obvious. Organizations need social technology and these providers are serious about earning your business to help you be a social business.
  • Another characteristic of a social business is having a data driven mindset. The amount of data that can be gleaned from social technologies is so huge that a new buzzword has emerged – BIG DATA. Measuring the impact of big data on the bottom line is complex, but it’s very doable with a combination of the data driven mindset and the right tools to micro target effectively with relevant messages and to measure social engagement outcomes.
  • Finland’s flagship airline, Finnair and the Helsinki airport set out to collaborate on a social outreach to find ways to make air travel more enjoyable. They were launching a new concept called Quality Hunters. They would choose 7 of the best ideas, and give them a 7 week journey around the world in search of air travel best practices. They used social media to invite people to make any suggestion they want. They held live online chats which sometimes lasted all day. The Quality Hunters social media team listened and engaged with the community, which was growing rapidly. People really responded well to this online community. One of the easiest ideas to implement from the suggestions was a book swap lounge. The community was invited to submit design ideas. The connection made between the community and the airline is a human to human connection. Ana Silva O’Reilly, whose blog post nicely summarizes the whole journey genuinely appreciates the opportunity to make new online friends and she even says she made business connections. The community also helped her spread the word on her new travel blog. This is an example of a social business in action through authentic engagement, listening and acting on the input of the community.
  • HubSpot is a marketing automation company. Recognized by Inc., Forbes, Fortune and others for their rapid growth, they are also recognized for the two co founders walking the walk in social business. HubSpot is in the “inbound marketing” business. So, it’s no surprise, and worth noting that the CEO and CTO of a fast growing inbound marketing software company both blog and tweet in a very down to earth, human way. But, even more significant is the fact they empower their 400 employees to tweet, blog and otherwise share thoughts and links to content about relevant inbound marketing stuff. They get it. Of course, they should get it. They are a great example to follow.
  • While the Starbucks marketing team may be responsible for their mobile strategy and managing their Instagram account, what they understand is that their most powerful asset is their loyal customers. Through their mobile app, they generate significant revenue. Through Instagram, a more recent endeavor, they allow anyone to follow them.
  • Indium Corp is a NY based manufacturer of industrial solder paste. They were an early adopter of blogging. It didn’t happen overnight, but today more than 70 engineers write blog articles on obscure, long tail technical topics that would glaze over most of our eyes. Their blog content is well received by their audience resulting in a healthy steady supply of qualified sales leads.
  • Kinaxis is a supply chain management software company located in western Canada. Kinaxis has many social channels where they enable employees, customers and partners to participate through relevant content. One of their content channels is even a comedy video channel.
  • Kinaxis has a vibrant blog with more than a dozen contributors from every function in the business, all sharing their thoughts and expertise on supply chain industry topics.
  • Kinaxis also has a private community with more than 5000 members. This is a subscription based community of customers, partners and employees discussing topics that interest them in the context of supply chain management.
  • When a brand delivers utility to the consumer through social technology, a strong relationship can be built. Mobile technology is one of the best ways to do that. Delta airlines allows me to manage my travel plans from my smartphone. Charmin (yes, the makers of toilet paper) allows me to find available rest rooms wherever I am. The user community rates each bathroom a “sit or a squat” based on how clean it is. And, of course Starbucks allows me to find store locations as well add money to my card. These examples illustrate how a social business connects with their consumer in ways that really matter to the consumer, not by selling but rather by offering them value on their mobile device.
  • The Social Business Index is currently the only independent measure of organizations around the world. The SBI is a free resource from the Datchis Group, a global consultancy in social business. It is a free version whose purpose seems to be to entice large brands to subscribe to their Social Performance Monitor SaaS offering.
  • IBM has invested more than $15 billion in recent years acquiring technology companies and their talent to position themselves as the market leader in social business solutions. Visit them online at http://www.ibm.com/social-business
  • Each business is unique. In order to consider what’s next for you ask yourself these questions. Chances are you have competition, your employees are connected in social networks and you already use some form of social technology whether it’s free or fee based. Remember that being a social business is a journey. A social business mindset is not an option. A strategic plan is not an option. Data driven social technology is not an option. I encourage you to take the action that is appropriate for you in your situation. Lack of action can be very risky.
  • Why Social Business is Do or Die

    1. 1. Social Business September 17, 2012 iSummitBernie Borges, CEO Find and Convert
    2. 2. Social Business is a Journey
    3. 3. The Train Has Left The Station
    4. 4. 3 Stages of the Social Media ROI Cycle http://www.slideshare.net/colleencar/increasing-social-media-roi-using-gladwells-tipping-point- framework-4539106
    5. 5. Stage 1: Launch 50% of businesses http://www.slideshare.net/colleencar/increasing-social-media-roi-using-gladwells-tipping-point- framework-4539106
    6. 6. Stage 2: Management 40% of businesses http://www.slideshare.net/colleencar/increasing-social-media-roi-using-gladwells-tipping-point- framework-4539106
    7. 7. Stage 3: Optimization 10% of businesses http://www.slideshare.net/colleencar/increasing-social-media-roi-using-gladwells-tipping-point- framework-4539106
    8. 8. IBM 2012 Global CEO Studyhttp://public.dhe.ibm.com/common/ssi/ecm/en/gbe03486usen/GBE03486USEN.PDF
    9. 9. IBM 2012 Global CEO Studyhttp://public.dhe.ibm.com/common/ssi/ecm/en/gbe03486usen/GBE03486USEN.PDF
    10. 10. The New Stage 3SOCIAL BUSINESS
    11. 11. Characteristics of a Social Business• C suite gets it• Marketing is not a department• Employee branding is embraced• Investment in social technology• Data driven marketing mindset
    12. 12. C Suite Gets It
    13. 13. Marketing is Not a Department
    14. 14. Become a Magnet Through Content • Employees • Customers • Influencers • Partners • Stakeholders
    15. 15. Employee Branding is Embraced
    16. 16. Investment in Social Technologyhttp://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/socialcast/Social-Business-Delivering-Critical-Business-Value.pdf
    17. 17. Investment in Social Technologyhttp://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/socialcast/Social-Business-Delivering-Critical-Business-Value.pdf
    18. 18. Social Business Technology
    19. 19. Data Driven Marketing Mindset
    20. 20. Social Business in Action
    21. 21. Harnessing Customer Feedback & Taking Action On It “It was nice to be recognized by the airline but being part of this company’s social network meant more to me than they would ever know. You see, by participating, I was constantly encouraged and inspired to start my own travel blog and create my online alter- ego @mrsoaroundworld. I made some valuable business connections and authentic friendships. The people in the Quality Hunters community were the first ones to read my new blog and spread the word. It rapidly became a very popular site for tales of luxury travel.” Ana Silva O’Reily
    22. 22. The C Suite Gets It
    23. 23. Marketing is Not a Department • 2010 mobile marketer/year • 26 million mobile transactions • $110 million card reloads • Shares photos on Instagram • Engages with people
    24. 24. Marketing is Not a Department • 70+ engineer bloggers • About technical topics • Measurable lead flow
    25. 25. Employee Branding at Kinaxis
    26. 26. Employee Branding at Kinaxis
    27. 27. Employee Branding at Kinaxis
    28. 28. Mobile Social Technology
    29. 29. Social Business Index
    30. 30. IBM Leading The Wayhttp://www.ibm.com/social-business
    31. 31. What’s Next for You?• How connected are your customers?• What stage are you in?• What is your competitive position?• How vulnerable are you?• How connected are your employees?• Do you use social technology?
    32. 32. Sources Ana Silva O’Reilly, Grow Community: http://www.businessesgrow.com/2012/07/10/case- study-finnair-puts-social-media-community-to-work/ Three Stages of Social Media study: http://www.slideshare.net/colleencar/increasing- social-media-roi-using-gladwells-tipping-point- framework-4539106 IBM Highlights of Chief Executive Officer Global Study: http://public.dhe.ibm.com/common/ssi/ecm/en/gbe034 86usen/GBE03486USEN.PDF
    33. 33. Bernie Borges CEO, Find and Convert Transformational Digital Marketing bernie@findandconvert.com http://www.findandconvert.comStrategy Execution Results Support