Aug 14th, 2013 // Social Collaboration and the Social Business
Posted in // SocialMediaToday.com
Posted by // Julie Hunt
Social media has become a valuable means for many organizations to better engage and retain customers, to attract prospects, make sales, and help customers solve problems. But it still seems to be much harder for organizations to understand social 'on the inside' and why it matters. Companies must come to understand that social 'on the outside' won't be substantially achieved - let alone sustained - if social on the inside isn't working.
The internal social business interconnects with enterprise collaboration platforms and intranets, that are now taking a more social media kind of approach to better engage and support employees. Additionally, many diverse kinds of software solutions used by enterprises incorporate social capabilities as methods to improve solution usage and value, as well as do a better job of including that all important human factor. In enterprise activities such as knowledge management, BI and analytics, business process management, and adaptive case management, there is a significant role to be played by social / collaborative capabilities to improve how these activities provide relevance and effective results.
Social business initiatives, internal and external, pertain to all company teams that touch customers, prospects, partners and suppliers - basically the vast majority of the company. The commitment, usage and value of social, whether internal or external, must be authentic -- employees, partners, and customers will quickly figure out if a company is trying to fake it. When an organization chooses to become a 'social business', the divide between social-inside and social-outside should blur as more and more silos within the organization hopefully disappear, and as bi-directional connections to customers and prospects, partners and suppliers become more natural and more immediate.
The decision to become a social business has to come from upper management and boards of directors - it has to be a key strategy of the organization - or it won't happen in any significant or sustained fashion. Understanding and nurturing the value of all the people in the enterprise impacts how the company operates internally, how it does business externally, and how the company will survive as a healthy, successful business. For those organizations that become social businesses come these rewards: drawing the best out of employees; healthy impact on continuous innovation and relevant business models; collaborating with customers and partners on future direction and products; and listening to all of the people of the enterprise ecosystem to draw on their experiences and expertise for building and sustaining competitive edge.
This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. I've been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions.
Read the entire article posted by Julie Hunt as it was posted on SocialMediaToday.com HERE.
Read the original article posted by Julie Hunt on her company blog HERE.
About the author: Julie Hunt understands the overlap and convergence of many business processes and software solutions that once were thought of as "separate" – and how this impacts both software Vendors and Buyers, as well as the strategies that enterprises implement for how technology supports the business and its customers. Julie shares her takes on the software industry via her blog Highly Competitive and on Twitter: @juliebhunt For more information: Julie Hunt Consulting - Strategies for B2B Software Solutions: Working from the Customer Perspective
All credits for this article are attributed to its author, Julie Hunt. The Social Media Today logo is a trademark of Social Media Today LLC. [AgooBiz is not affiliated with Julie Hunt or Social Media Today LLC.]
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July 15th, 2013 // The Difference Between 'Social' And 'Engagement' Experts
Posted in // MediaPost.com
Posted by // Bryan Boettger
The news of an 18% staff reduction at Zynga isn't a harbinger of the decline of casual gaming. It's a warning about being the right type of expert. Zynga proved itself to be a Facebook expert and a desktop casual gaming expert.
Not a social gaming expert.
Therein lies the problem with much of the strategy, training, discussion and thinking around social media. People mistake "social platform" expertise for "social engagement" expertise.
Here's a good test for your "social experts" -- ask them to put together a social engagement campaign that does not take place on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Vine or Tumblr. See how well they can harness social dynamics and consumer psychology to encourage social behavior.
That’s a whole different ball game.
You can't simply throw money at a lack of consumer strategy -- unless you are using the money to bring in someone that actually has the strategy chops. If you throw money at lack of strategy without fixing the strategy, you are just throwing the money away.
Just look at Zynga. The company has more than $1.5 billion (BILLION) dollars in cash reserves. But it can't figure out mobile gaming. After all, this isn't the first round of layoffs at Zynga. It also cut around 150 employees last fall in addition to the 520 people this week.
Zynga needs help at the top. It needs better strategy that takes into account the changing psychology and habits of digital game play, NOT the changing dynamics of social media platform integration.
It's a good reminder for all of us in the industry. How much are we augmenting our skill sets by understanding platforms that are most definitely going to change, versus taking time to understand deep-rooted consumer psychology that is likely to hold true no matter the changes to platforms?
I’m not saying we should ignore platform-specific strategy. I’m just saying we often put too much emphasis on platform dynamics and not enough on consumer dynamics.
I’m guilty as well. Here are the sources I turn to for more understanding of people rather than platforms:
- TED.com: Many TED talks involve insightful behavioral research into how people act and think. For instance, Alex Laskey’s talk on “How behavioral science can lower your energy bill” gives fascinating data on how social pressure is more effective than financial or moral persuasion.
- Design You Trust: This blog inspires both visually and creatively. They key is not to just look at the aesthetics, but to think about the strategy used to combine art forms, or the psychology of how people view the designed objects/assets.
- AARP: While there is a multitude of media outlets AARP produces (magazine, television, radio, bulletin, emails, blog, Facebook, YouTube), I watch its Twitter feed. Much of the content covers the changing social dynamics and psychological needs of the 50+ age set -- a powerful group with the most disposable income in the country.
Social campaigns are so much more powerful when they begin with psychology instead of platforms
The next time you’re putting together a campaign, try this:
- Imagine 500 people are waiting outside an entertainment venue to get in for a show.
- Build a social campaign that gets people talking and sharing with the person next to them.
- Take the concept and figure out how to port it to a social platform.
Read the entire article posted by Bryan Boettger as it was posted on MediaPost.com HERE.
All credits for this article are attributed to its author, Bryan Boettger. The MediaPost logo is a trademark of MediaPost Communications. [AgooBiz is not affiliated with MediaPost Communications.]
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June 27th, 2013 // Five Ways Email Can Supercharge Your Company Growth
Posted in // SocialMediaToday.com
Posted by // Debra Ellis
Most companies keep email on a short leash. It is used to promote products and allowed to provide order status updates on a limited basis. Promotional messages almost always include discounted pricing. Transactional updates are limited to order confirmations and shipping information. Emails can do much more than advertise sales and deliver facts. They can supercharge your company’s growth and profitability.
Email provides a low cost way to communicate with customers and prospects. It delivers a positive return every time a promotional message is sent to subscribers. The low cost and guaranteed returned keeps many marketers from moving beyond the status quo. After all, it is working well. Why invest effort in doing more?
Relationship marketing is becoming more critical. The introduction of Gmail’s new inbox is the first step down a slippery slope for companies that do not have strong relationships with their customers. The effectiveness of their email marketing will steadily decline when people have to make an effort to see promotional messages and status updates. Now is the time to update your email marketing so it doesn’t fail to deliver.
Take a good look at your email strategy. If it only includes sale and transactional notifications, simple changes can make tremendous improvements. Here are five ways that you can use email to supercharge your company:
- Acquisition - Are your prospects receiving the same messages as your customers? Prospects and customers have different motivations. Target the people who haven’t converted with information and opportunities designed to move them into the sales funnel. Start with the welcome email and continue with a series until all resistance is removed.
- Retention - Keeping customers coming back is a top priority. Use email to let people know how much they are appreciated, keep them informed about new trends, and educate them on how to best use your products and services. The more they know about how your company can serve them, the more likely they will remain loyal.
- Sales - Promotional emails deliver sales. Emails designed to solve problems and make life easier (or more fun) deliver more profitable sales. Use buying behavior and preferences to create irresistible messages that move products and services at full price.
- Service - Make transactional emails work better by using them to serve your customers. People are incredibly busy. The companies that simplify the buying decision and make problem resolution easy own their customers. Competitors will find it virtually impossible to pry them away. Use emails to communicate with customers on a regular basis.
- Integration - Interacting with companies is a multichannel experience today. Emails help leverage the strengths of one channel to offset the weaknesses of another. They also cross devices making it easy to stay in touch with customers and prospects on the go.
Creating an integrated email strategy that crosses channels and departments isn’t as hard as one might think. It starts with optimizing outgoing messages and then builds on successes until it has evolved into a comprehensive program. For specific tips on how to optimize messages and examples of what other companies are doing, check out 31 Ways to Supercharge Your Email Marketing.
Read the entire article posted by Debra Ellis as it was posted on SocialMediaToday.com HERE.
Read Debra Ellis' Original Article as it was posted on her Web Site [MultiChannelMagic.com].
All credits for this article are attributed to its author, Debra Ellis. The Social Media Today logo is a trademark of Social Media Today LLC. [AgooBiz is not affiliated with Social Media Today LLC.]
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May 21st, 2013 // How Much Is an Engaged Social Customer Worth?
Posted in // SocialMediaToday.com
Posted by // Adi Gaskell
Last year an employee was sued for taking the Twitter followers he’d amassed with him when he left his company. The case focused attention on just how much a Twitter follower was worth. Suffice to say that since then, a good deal of effort has gone into highlighting just how many followers are fakes. So it’s clear that not all followers are of equal value to you.
What about the ones that really engage with you on social media though? How much are they worth? That was the question asked by new research into the profitability of social media users.
It found that engaged social media customers spend significantly more (as in 5.6% more) than those customers that aren’t engaged. Yet more evidence if any were needed as to the important role social media should play in any corporate effort.
The researchers studied a large wine retailer in the north-east of America. The company first jumped into social media in 2009, and has since grown its presence there, posting a mixture of promotional material, local information and advice on wine selection.
The research team began analysing the companies customer database in early 2011 to determine who amongst them were regularly engaging with the company on social media, and combined this with both their demographic profile and spending habits. All in all they analysed nearly 400 customers over a three year period.
To provide a good comparison between those that were engaged online, the researchers found customers of a similar demographic profile and with similar spending habits from the time before the social presence was launched, but who didn’t go on to become engaged online with the company.
Before the launch of the social media stuff, both groups of customers would visit the companies stores as frequently as each other, also spending a similar amount when in them. That picture changed however once the company jumped into social media. At that point, the engaged online customers began outstripping their offline brethren. They began visiting stores more often and spending more money when in them.
The researchers also began to identify particular types of customers by their social habits. For instance, those who posted regular content online (the fabled 1%), bought wine in larger volumes than anyone else. They also tended to go for the more expensive products, and were more loyal to the company. This goes against the impression that social is merely home to those looking for bargains or items on sale.
It underlines the importance of both knowing your customers, and tailoring your social communities to serve those segments. Whilst some customers may hunt down your special offers, there will be others that are passionate about what you do and crave the premium end of your offering. Both should have communities tailored to their specific needs and interests.
“It is vital that managers integrate their knowledge about customers from both offline transactions and online social media sources in order to better serve them,” the authors write.
Read the entire article posted by Adi Gaskell as it was posted on SocialMediaToday.com HERE.
Read Adi Gaskell's Original Article as it was posted on his Blog [AdiGaskell.org].
All credits for this article are attributed to its author, Adi Gaskell. The Social Media Today logo is a trademark of Social Media Today LLC. [AgooBiz is not affiliated with Social Media Today LLC.]