We Are Social's Social Business Notes #4


Welcome to We Are Social’s Social Business notes #4, a review of the best social business thinking from around the web in the last month. Its been an even busier month so worth saving this for your commute or a lunch time read.

Social business strategy & frameworks
Neil Perkins has written about the 70, 20, 10 model, applying what is traditionally a learning & development model to marketing spend in relation to levels of innovation. Its a great little framework to consider next time you’re budgeting projects and wanting to justify being more experimental now to deliver innovation in the future.

Dion Hinchcliffe has jotted down a great checklist of what to not leave out of your social business strategy, which includes an interesting tiering of strategic planning that emphasises the importance of getting your change management plan front and centre ahead of what a lot of people tend to start with. Worth reading the post in full when you get time, but in summary:

Audits are a crucial part of business planning and Eliza Newcomb has shared a check-list for getting the most out of yours; define your goal, analyse sentiment and topic, examine digital footprint, summarise with a SWOT, get a visual thinker to review. The final point there is the one i think is most overlooked but can have the greatest impact on the value of your report.

Elsewhere this month David Armano shared his thoughts on how organisations will be moving from social experimentation to weaving social layers between business units. Rawn Shah posted an insightful comment that highlighted some of the questions that will arise from this weaving:

The overall challenge to weave threads across typical business functions or lines of business will likely generate questions in these areas:

  • For a given thread, what is the business goal of that activity (vs. biz processes), and how is social the enabling aspect?
  • Who is responsible for the thread overall?
  • What are the cross-silo hand-off points and why?
  • and the primary ones: What is the strategy behind this? Why do we need it to work this way? And who defines that strategy

These silos continue to exist today because not only because they are separate disciplines but because of the state of ownership of responsibilities. The challenge is to help them see that deep cross-dependency is necessary and that the business processes themselves need to change.

Here’s where the real challenge of creating social businesses start.

That busybody Armano was also part of a lively social business debate at the start of Social Media Week London where he (literally) drew out his social business framework:

During the same session, giffgaff’s Vincent Boon was keen to stress that the people who use their services are not “users” or “customers” but members, a simple differentiation that encapsulates a lot and, if Twitter is anything to go by, had a strong impact on those attending. If you didn’t make it down to the session you can catch up with the video here:

Over at Social Media Week New York, John Bell presented his ‘Insidious Plot to Socialize the Enterprise’:

Social business maturity
Dion Hincliffe has shared a top-line social business maturity model as well as his judgement on where most organisations are on this journey. Its a useful tool for visualising the relationship between the internal and external social environments and the different governance and tactics associated with increasing maturity:

Also this month, Useful Social Media have shared their considerations on the “well trodden-path to social media maturity”, in short their hypothesis follows three stages; passionate employees start referencing their workplace, senior management discover and apply top-down rules, scaling pressure forces a move to hub & spoke social business structure.

What is social business #4
Francine Hardaway started a lively debate which resulted in a range of social business definitions, with contributions from industry heads including David Armano who rounded up some of his favourites. I think everyone can sympathise with Mack Collier who has called out “social business” as just another concept to sell in a rather than actual business benefits, a charge that i think Rawn Shah avoids with this value focused definition:

The value that social interactions bring here are on several separate levels. In the most basic form it adds value by capturing all that unstructured knowledge that we still try to manage (classical knowledge management); then comes value from inter-collaboration and relationship networks; then comes value by applying analytics to those collaborations and knowledge capture; and finally the transformation and dynamic/flexibility to managing what used to be very fixed processes

The case for social business
If we assume the major benefit of social business is closer relationships between customers, employees and partners it stands to reason that large organisations stand to benefit proportionally more than smaller companies. Intuitively this makes sense – when working for a start up by default you build relationships with a diverse set of internal and external set of stakeholders, at larger companies this sort of relational depth requires (individual) effort and planning to bridge organisational distance. Rawn Shah discussed this assumption last month, including data that suggests many agree that large organisations stand to benefit disproportionally from Enterprise Social Networks (ESNs):

Some useful research from InSites Consulting, who conducted a survey of 400 senior marketing managers in the US and the UK, finding a positive correlation between the extent of social media integration and the company’s financial results. The research in full:

Social human resources, recruitment & retention
IBM’s Sandy Carter has highlighted key use cases for social in HR, worth reading the post but in short they are:

Dominika Tomek has shared her thoughts on a couple of myths of social recruiting, namely that experienced hires don’t use social channels and that just putting up social presences is enough to attract the right talent. The crux of both is that if you know your audience you can calibrate your strategy and presence to make it as simple and encouraging for them to apply as possible. There is also a wonderful content idea for recruitment worth highlighting:

Whilst traditional online recruitment has focused on promoting the employer brand and providing practical information about the roles on offer and their benefits, online social engagement enables firms to expose more surface area that might be of interest to different candidates. For example, firms that utilise lots of data or mathematical models in their work might share examples of these to attract people who are passionate about data, or firms that employ scientists might share some of their work directly to attract other scientists. What are the social objects in your company that might stimulate engagement among potential experienced hires, and how can you use them?

Oracle recently announced it would acquire Taleo for $1.9 billion, in a move widely interpreted as a reaction to SAP’s $3.4 billion acquisition of SuccessFactors. Also in the last few months, Salesforce.com acquired Rypple, a maker of social software for employee recognition and performance management. Its interesting to see the old giants Oracle and SAP move into this area with some questioning whether its a bit too late.

Social business roles & structures
Cisco have shared the advice they were given by Frost & Sulivan for setting up a B2B social media centre of excellence, well worth reading if you will be setting one up soon:

It’s also worth checking out Sandy Carter’s video on social business councils too:

Given that marketing departments are now frequently making technology purchases without the input of IT this post from Dion Hincliffe is asking whether we’ll see business unit specific IT officers in the future, e.g. chief IT officer for Marketing. Its an interesting idea, and perhaps acts as a stage between having a cross functional social business council that takes responsibility for these decisions.

One of the new roles that might sit on your social business council is a Social Business Architect, which Braden Kelley’s suggests would be responsible for:

facilitating and optimizing the group dynamics and interactions inside the organization and identifying the different parts of an organization that need to interact with groups of people outside the organization.

We’ve seen several forward thinking clients create this orchestration role in the past year, worth keeping an eye on as more business de-construct their silos. Another role, or function, taking a more prominent function is  trend spotting, and Oliver Blanchard takes a look at why its important and suggests carrying out three tasks; assess how good your organisation is at spotting trends, think short and long term & be operational nimble. Beyond social specific teams and roles there are behaviours that should be encouraged in all employees as they increased the network effects of your organisation. Adi Gaskell has shared research from Margaret Schweer that points towards the untapped potential within all organisations if certain behaviours are encouraged more. The conclusion is worth reading in full:

  1. High performers invest in their networks – Those individuals that ranked in the top 20% of their organization were found to have spent considerable time early on developing high quality network relationships throughout the organization. These individuals tend to target strategic relationships, placing themselves at key leverage points within the organization. Organizations should attempt to mimic these positive deviants and replicate these networks throughout the organization.
  2. You have more talent than you realize – As Jeremy Lin has emphasized recently, many organizations have more talent than they realize, but often these talented individuals don’t register on management’s radar.  The research found this pool was often much larger than leaders believed, with only 30-40% of the talented people at a company appearing on management’s most talented hit lists. The researchers suggest this is down to a combination of companies not valuing collaborative work and because managers often pick their favorites for the fast track.
  3. You’re not making the most of the talent you have – A final observation was that whilst many large companies have deep talent pools, many of these make little to no collaborative contributions. Often this is a deliberate strategy, with the belief being that collaboration time is wasted time. In many cases allowing employees to develop their social networks not only improves performance but enhances work/life balance.

Useful Social Media are releasing a new report titled “The State of Social Media 2012” and have shared some early findings. The survey asked organisations “how many exclusively social media staff do you have?”, with results split as expected; B2B companies trail B2C, Europe trails the US. Worth signing up to receive the report when it comes out as it includes further analysis of staff who have part of their role in social media and those who just do it off their own back.

Facebook changes – its functionality & and your organisation?
Last week Facebook made huge changes to how brands talk to their fans on the site – check out the 10 changes to Facebook you need to know for the full rundown. Behind this was also the repositioning of advertising on Facebook, where Facebook wants brands to pay to reach higher percentages of their fans and their friends. They also went one step further, making wholesale suggestions for how marketing teams should organise themselves in the future:

Facebook suggested that marketers reorganize themselves around social. It produced a handy playbook with a proposed organizational chart for marketers that advises creating a position to “oversee social across the organization” (and report directly to the chief marketing officer) as well as a “pages team” dedicated to Facebook. It also suggested a terminology in which Facebook ads will no longer be “ads” but “stories.”

“We’re going to see the emergence of quite different organizational designs over the next few years,” said Nigel Morris, CEO of Aegis Media Americas, which is a member of Facebook’s client council of top brand and agency partners.

Framework for creating new accounts
In large organisations there is often a confusion around the best practice to manage the proliferation of social media presences. Some opt for single accounts per platform, some accounts for every department and sub-group they can find. There is obviously no “right way” and to help manage new and existing accounts its worth having an internal framework in place. VOCE Communications have shared an insightful check-list of what to consider when a new social presence is request, boiling down to; frequency, purpose, topics, duration, geography and discoverability.

Enterprise social networks – business case, adoption & case studies
Susan Scrupski has shared some top-line thoughts on the state of the Enterprise Social Network (ESN) market, making the crucial point that these solutions are often demanded outside of the traditional realm of the IT team. This can lead to a range of solutions in different departments and her post highlights that an organisational wide strategy is always needed, wherever your organisation is in the sales & adoption process.

Theres been a slew of advice on ESN adoption this month, firstly Jennifer D Dubow at IBM has shared her top list of user fears that need to be overcome;

She handily goes on to suggest ways of helping users overcome these fears:

Kevin Conroy has shared his adoption tips which boil down to remembering that this needs to fit like a glove for the user, so remember it needs pitching to the individual, it needs to intuitively fit within their work life and the training should ideally take no more than a few minutes. This is perhaps a tall order for some employees but there’s a clear line here – if it feels like an obligation or the value can’t be immediately accessed it’ll be hard getting people to adopt. Even if the benefits are obvious the method of change can still scupper adoption – Dan Keldsen’s emphasises that you can’t force change from the outside, the best method is to join your employees and help them change from within.

Colin Miles, head of technical services for Virgin Media, has shared their story of selecting Cisco Quad as their internal comms platform. They

wanted to add both vertical collaboration within existing groups of co-workers, and horizontal collaboration across the organization

which means

new people talking to new people, even though they’ve never met before, through sharing around communities and groups.

Its this building of new relationships that is ultimately the real value of ESNs, as Altimeter discussed in their new report that sets out the business case – essential reading for anyone involved in selling in an ESN.

Although the Altimeter report contains plenty of case study references you might need some meatier examples for persuading executives at larger organisations, luckily Dion Hinchcliffe has filled that gap with a series of ESN implementation case studies. The first five are posted already and have a pretty strong common theme – this doesn’t happen overnight:

APCO Worldwide have released a report that highlights that implementing an ESN can positively benefit staff retention and recommendation, with

58% said they would prefer to work for a company that uses ISM (internal social media) and 86% said they would gladly refer others to work for this company as well

The report also mentions that

75% of employee perception of ESN’s is driven by executive leadership around internal comms.

Sandy Carter has shared a case study from TD Bank, an American financial firm that wanted to move to seven day banking. Through focusing on business outcomes, open dialogue and real listening the change was warmed to by 25,000 staff. Sandy’s 5 practical tips from this case study;

Perhaps my favourite quote from the month has to be from Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst, who eloquently put

Everyone’s talking about the importance of engaging employees, and the Facebook generation and collaboration tools. All of that is garbage … collaboration is a culture. It’s not a set of tools.


Creating social processes
Rawh Shah shared a fantastic post last month that looked at modelling social business processes. The post sets out the variety of positions social collaboration can occupy during a process: either completely separate, as a defined point of reflection separate to the process, embedded within several stages of the process or embedded within all stages. For anyone who creates processes its an essential read and has great links for further resources.

Crisis management – resources and case studies
Social Media Intelligence have shared a three part piece on social crisis management, revolving around an interview with Neil Chapman, a crisis comms manager with BP during the Gulf of Mexico incident. The interview says nothing new but its worth a look for the two flow charts that SMI share, the first setting out all the resources available for crisis situations and the second setting out a standard response plan that includes a great range of evaluation and response pointers.

Both of these would have been useful for Carnival Cruise Corp who made a mess of their engagement after the grounding of the cruise ship Costa Concordia. However, I don’t think either of these could have helped McDonald’s and their #fail campaign #McDstories, who are perhaps in need of a more fundamental change in their social business approach.

Social customer service – business case and best practice
First Direct have released a huge report in conjunction with Dr Andrew Currah examining social customer service delivery, a couple of recommendations worth highlighting:

Additionally the report sets out some detailed governance recommendations for setting up for social customer service:

Outside of the report First Direct have been discussing their best practice approach to customer service delivery via Twitter, with their PR manager Amanda Brown discussing; why do it, clarity, attribution, tone, being proactive, taking it off Twitter, balance, consistency & honesty. Its a interesting interview and well worth a read if you’re deliberating delivering customer service via Twitter.

Frank Eliason, formerly of Comcast and now head of social with Citibank, has recently discussed social customer service. He repeats the oft mentioned need for internal silos like marketing, PR & customer service to unify around social business as its “making the world a flatter place and organizations must do the same”. Sadly he doesn’t share how Citibank are currently doing this but along the same line Jon Bird from American Airlines has a pragmatic approach to where social lives:

If the main goals and opportunities for Social within that organization are very consumer-centric or even revenue-focused, then it often makes sense for Social to be owned by Marketing. That being said, for most companies, Social has to have joint buy-in in terms of strategy and resource across multiple groups.

He also goes on to set out a short checklist for helping companies integrate social;

Good case studies and evidence of success, a good Social leader who has strong vision and can sell the strategy very well internally, and an executive champion (or three). That’s a pretty good recipe for success.

Vikki Chowney has shared a considerable resource that she presented at O2’s Marketing Matters event last week. The deck turned into best practice toolkit includes an array of stats, quotes and case study examples, worth keeping around for when you need to pitch that Twitter customer service.

Social listening screens and command centres
Nokia has looked to improve its internal dialogue around social media by streaming social media data & conversations directly to screens around the organization. The project, titled Agora, is seeking to highlight social media’s impact as well as demystify it beyond the marketing and PR teams. Importantly the feeds are not pre-moderated and are the information is a true representation of both what Nokia is discussing as a brand but also what other people think about Nokia. They go into more detail on the purpose and logistics with the following video as well as in this interview with Craig Hepburn, their Global Head of Social Media.

For those looking to implement a listening post / command centre in the near future Edelman have shared some tips on what to consider beforehand, using their 5Ps framework (further flesh within the post):

  1. purpose – define what it will do
  2. planning – getting operations & logistics ready
  3. platforms – where to focus monitoring efforts
  4. process – provide clear direction for those involved
  5. people – choosing the right team for the job

Crowdsourcing the company
Dominos, widely lauded for their transparent turn around in the last couple of years, are pushing their crowdsourcing efforts further by asking for fans advice on everything from staff uniforms to new products. The campaign, called “Think Oven” lives on a Facebook Tab and has two sections – one for specific projects they’d like incentivised feedback on and the other a sort of ideas box. The exploratory video is worth a watch:

If you or a client are thinking of using crowdsourcing in the near future then its worth reviewing this post from Luke Dringoli, who has shared “eight important ways to involve you’re most important allies”. The post has eight examples of recent crowdsourcing, including efforts from the likes of Rolling Stone, GOOD & Levi’s.