Conversation trumps content: It’s the human spark of knowledge and caring that carries true value
As adoption of social technologies spreads into even the most risk-averse industries and companies, executives have questions about where social media could take them and where the different kinds of social media consultants can guide them.
Depending on how one defines social media, it is a multimillion-dollar consulting and services industry. Most of the players have a marketing approach in which they help their clients to create content and interact with people in major platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, MySpace, blogs and specialized social networks. Most firms focus on consumer-facing (“B2C”) scenarios because the market for business-to-business use of social technologies significantly lags consumer uses.
The three main types of social media services providers are:
Annual look at the best strategies, tactics, case studies & insights in the enterprise space
Compared to 2009 and 2008, the past year was a relatively calm one because the amplitude of market gyrations clearly diminished and businesses began to find a new floor on which to build stakeholder expectations. Although I watched with high interest the unfolding financial drama in Europe, I didn’t have the time to conduct the research necessary to do a rigorous interpretation, although I published a brief reflection last week. The big story of the past year was this: 2010 marked a turning point in the adoption of social technologies and in the recognition that analysis and strategy are necessary to achieve consistent results with social initiatives.
Macro trends: Moving from broadcast to relationship building
Until recently, being on Facebook was an end in itself, agencies produced vapid content and little interaction occurred because people rarely interact when brands are talking at them instead of listening
Social has been in adolescence until recently — “being on Facebook” was an end in itself, agencies produced vapid content and little interaction happened because people rarely interact when brands are talking at them instead of listening. People feel it when a brand is interested in using social tools to promote itself. They also feel it when a brand is interested in building relationship, which is marked by active listening and responding, along with a relative absence of self-promotion. Brands that build relationship learn that they don’t have to try so hard to promote themselves: when they are truly interested in people, people will promote them. However, this approach remains a future state for most companies. Relationships take serious work — thus, a need for a strategy.
The growing use of strategy is also a harbinger for what I call “social business” (a step beyond social media), in which leaders use social technologies to transform their businesses by collaborating openly with various outside and inside stakeholders to innovate constantly. Early movers will begin emerging this year: Only a few gutsy players will aggressively adopt social business practices in 2011. I believe they can change markets.
Nicholas de Wolff, National Film Festival for Talented Youth:
“Too many people are diving into the Web 2.0 and 3.0 pools
before they even know with whom they are swimming.”
Social business seen as making seismic waves in marketing, sales, operations
The adoption of Web 2.0 and social networking accelerated significantly over the past year, and it shows no sign of stopping. Global digital word of mouth is disrupting growing swaths of business models, and CEOs want to understand its opportunities and threats. Although the Web is resplendent with prognostications from social media gurus, the voices of enterprise practitioners are too rarely heard.
To remedy that, I’ve gathered the perspectives of highly experienced executives who share their thoughts on how Web 2.0 is changing their businesses and mindsets. They also share its limitations and problems. Keep in mind that each contributor wrote independently, and I have made no attempt to unify their views, although I will offer my analysis and conclusions as well as the intriguing backstory below. Here is a sampling of the group’s eclectic insights:
A seismic shift in marketing is emergent, and chief marketing officers will require robust strategies to succeed consistently with Web 2.0 and use it to their advantage.
Gamification will redefine “work” and “play” and gradually make them indistinguishable.
Performance demands on government will force it to shed its laggard stereotype and pioneer social business at local and federal levels.
Arguably the biggest disruption of all is that green energy is enabling billions of previously unconnected people to join the world as participants; China and India are two of the fastest growing economies of the world, and millions of people are jumping online every year. Infrastructure limitations are forcing extreme innovation.
MyHeritage is a social network and software for genealogists. Launched in 2005, MyHeritage has since accumulated 33 million users worldwide. The company helps people build family trees, share them with their relatives and stay in touch with their loved ones. They are the most popular free family tree website, according to ProGeneologists.com. Family Tree Builder, their geneology software program, is the most popular free geneology application. Continue reading →
Last week, I brought The Facebook Era book by Clara Shih to the gym. The publisher had sent me the book eons ago but it wasn’t until last week that I finally had some time to read it. I finished it up in just a couple hours of reading on machines at the gym.
It is a useful book, to be sure. It is practical and holds your hand and addresses your concerns, as long as you’re a business owner who is considering getting into Social Media as a business tool. If you’re a fan of Salesforce.com, you’ll appreciate the smarts here since Ms. Shih is a Salesforce alum and the forward is by Marc R. Benioff, Chairman and CEO of Salesforce.com.
Back in the earlier days of 3rd party Twitter apps (just a few months ago, actually), a few very effective web-based services got my attention: SocialToo, TweetLater, and HootSuite. Sad thing was, while they were all very powerful services, they were all poorly designed, very hacked together, and fugly. Enter the elegant, sexy, feature-rich HootSuite 2.0 (no matter what you think about all the controversy and extortion — see below).
Everyone’s talking about HootSuite 2.0
Today, while I was monitoring my stream-o-tweets, I noticed that every third person of the 2,587 I currently follow were tweeting that they “upgraded to #HootSuite 2.0 because it works http://hootsuite.com/upgrade.” HootSuite — pronounced like it sounds (HOOT-sweet) and a play on the French phrase tout de suite — was the first online player to offer multi-Twitter-account management and Twittering, an essential tool to any business application of Twitter that required the management of more than one Twitter account, such as @marcon, @abrahamharrison, @chrisabraham, etc.