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Interview: "Social Business = Creating a smarter workforce & a proven solution to business challenges"

One-on-one interview with Ed Brill

Ed Brill is Director, Social Business and Collaboration Solutions, at IBM. Brill is responsible for the product and market strategy for IBM’s messaging, collaboration, communications, and productivity products, including Lotus Notes and Domino, IBM SmartCloud Notes, IBM Sametime, Lotus Symphony, IBM Docs, and other related social business solutions. Brill’s focus is on extending and growing the success of these solutions through customer engagement, partner ecosystem development, and harnessing the breadth and depth of the IBM organization.

The Strategy Web spoke with him about the relevance and future of Social Business.

Why is Social Business not only a buzzword?

Leaders in every industry are leveraging Social Business technology to disrupt their industries and create competitive advantage. They are improving productivity and unleashing innovation by tapping into the collective intelligence inside and outside their organizations. With social, they’re creating a smarter workforce and proving that social business isn’t just a buzzword, it’s a proven solution to business challenges.

According to Forrester Research, the market opportunity for social enterprise apps is expected to grow at a rate of 61 percent through 2016. According to IBM’s CEO Study, today only 16 percent of CEOs are using social business platforms to connect with customers, but that number is poised to spike to 57 percent within the next three to five years.

What does it take to make a business “social”?

Organizations have quickly learned that a Social Business is more than just having a Facebook page and a Twitter account. In a Social Business, every department in the organization has embedded social capabilities into their traditional business processes to fundamentally impact how work gets done to create business value. A Social Business utilizes social software technology to communicate with its rich ecosystem of clients, business partners and employees.

Social business is a strategic approach to shaping a business culture, highly dependent upon transparency and trust from executive leadership and corporate strategy, including business process design, risk management, leadership development, financial controls and use of business analytics. Becoming a Social Business can help an organization deepen customer relationships, generate new ideas and innovate faster, identify expertise, enable a more effective workforce and ultimately drive its bottom line.

What does it mean to change the culture of a company?

Changing an organizations culture to embrace social must start from the top. Senior leadership must buy in and promote a culture of sharing, transparency and trust. Recent studies by IBM see this shift, today’s C-Suite recognizes the potential of social. Consider this, according to IBM’s 2012 CEO Study, today only 16 percent of CEOs are using social business platforms to connect with customers, but that number is poised to spike to 57 percent within the next three to five years. Similarly. IBM’s 2011 CIO Survey of 3,000 global leaders indicated that more than 55% of companies identified social networking as having a strategic significance to their company’s growth. And finally, 2011 IBM CMO Study reports that CMOs are using social platforms to communicate with their customers, 56 percent view it as a key communication channel. These senior leaders are the key to social business adoption and there’s a real shift occurring, social business is now a business imperative.

What role is the flexible workspace playing in the process?

Companies are able to build virtual teams out of expertise and leadership, regardless of their physical location or title on the organization chart. Today’s workforce expects to be able to share, post, update and communicate with colleagues, customers, and ecosystem using social tools to get real work done. Through those tools, employees who work remotely, use flexible “hot desks” in company offices, or open floorplans can leverage tools for instant e-meetings, video and audio tools, and embedded applications to process knowledge and activities faster and deliver more value to the organization.

What’s your advice for companies to become a “social business”?

Companies around the world are now focused on becoming Social Businesses, Forrester Research estimates that the market opportunity for social software is expected to increase 60% annually. But perhaps the most daunting part of becoming a social business is how to start the journey. That’s where creating a Social Business Agenda plays a vital role. In order to become successful in social business, an organization needs to create its own personalized Agenda that addresses the company’s culture, trust
between management and employees and the organization and its constituencies, engagement behind and outside of the firewall, risk management, and of course, measurement. The sponsorship for such an activity can be driven by leadership, lines of business, or other organizational catalyst roles.

Study: Largest global corporates get over 10 million mentions a month; Twitter rocks, YouTube grows massively

Companies in the Fortune Global 100 get a total of 10,400,132 online mentions in a month. Twitter is the catalyst for them as it generates the majority of these mentions. However, YouTube is the rising star this year. This is the main findings of the third annual Burson-Marsteller Global Social Media Check-Up, which also includes new data provided by Visible Technologies.

The study states that the majority of the big corporates (87%) are using at least one of the major social platforms. The main growth can be seen at YouTube with 79% of companies now using a branded YouTube channel (57% in 2011). The average performance figures showed more than two million views and 1,669 subscribers. The development is illustrating the importance of integrating original multimedia content that can be shared on the social networks.

Twitter is still the rock-star among the popular social networks in terms of corporate usage. 82% of Fortune Global 100 companies have at least one Twitter account with an average mention of 55,970 times on the 140 character platform. The importance of Twitter ca be seen in the fact that stakeholders are following global companies closely.

Compared to 2011, the average number of followers per corporate Twitter account almost tripled to 14,709 from 5,076. On Facebook, the average number of likes per company page has increased by 275% in two years to 152,646 likes this year.

“People want to interact and connect with these major companies, and these platforms are the bridge directly to the heart of these organizations. What’s even more impressive is how much companies are engaging back with followers. Seventy-nine percent of corporate accounts attempt to engage on Twitter with retweets and @-mentions, and 70 percent of corporate Facebook pages are responding to comments on their walls and timelines.”
Burson-Marsteller, Chief Global Digital Strategist, Dallas Lawrence

Some more findings of the study…

– Fortune Global 100 companies have an average of accounts of: 10.4 Facebook pages, 10.1 Twitter accounts, 8.1 YouTube channels, 2.6 Google Plus pages and 2.0 Pinterest accounts.
– 74% of companies have a Facebook page
– 93% of corporate Facebook get weekly updates
– 48% have joined Google Plus
– 25% are on Pinterest

And whatever else you might want to know about the Top Global 100 you can find here, or within their infographic….

An agency outlook into the future of our information society

Looking into the future of agency business, we have seen horrible visions. This project at Hyper Island by Åse Holte, Fredrik Davidsson, Fredrik Ekholm, Hjalti Axel Yngvason, Kristoffer Jansson & Rasmus Stenbergh gives some positive outlook into motion pictures and information technology, and why brands should consider working with agencies.

The video discusses how motion graphics will continue to influence our daily lives, whether we will have bacterial lanuguage in the year 3.000, if Twitter and Facebook still exist, and or will Google run the world? These are just some thoughts of today’s creative brains…

The main challenge was mentioned by Nico Casavecchia from Boolab addressing companies communication activities “You need to find the balance between commercial and non-commercial work!” However, the opportunities for marketers in the future are nicely put George Giampuranis, Creative Director at Sid Lee into the quote… “You can’t just live in yourself. (..) There are so many more contact points to a brand. Basically any medium that serves as a communication tool.”

Information Society from Hjalti Axel Yngvason on Vimeo.

How to detect the ROI of Social Media

Remember when we found some statistics by the Fournaise Marketing Group that mentioned how weak business credibility of marketers in the eyes of their CEO’s is? According to the study 73% of marketers lack business credibility. In the end, it all comes down to what…? Correct: Sales!

Still, 77% of CEO’s think, marketers are not much focussed on sales… according to then study.

The only way marketers can prove their business efficiency is by making their bosses clear how marketing drives sales. However, the question is how Social Media can be beneficial in this process as it is redefining the ROI model that we know from the past. Do marketers need to change their point of reference? Does it matter to look at Social Media numbers, or is it better to focus on business figures? In my eyes the later helps marketers detect the secret sauce.

CEO’s might love marketers for a good promotion. Yes, awareness is never bad. However, they value a sales story creates is much higher. It tells everyone how their lead generation campaign led them to the last sales success which made their pockets full of money. And just imagine how marketers could use that for their social efforts…!

The following infographic by InventHelp gives some insights in how to value social reports for business results. How can marketers determine the ROI of their social media activities? What motivates consumers to like a brand on Facebook? How do successful campaigns on the social web generate the right customers that buy?

Tuesday generates highest engagement for social campaigns

Did you not ever want to know what the best day for a Social Media marketing campaign could be? Well, you can get some good indication with the following study…

Many Facebook campaigns go live on Fridays. However, the day that generates most user engagement for a campaign on the social network is the Tuesday, which ranked only fourth in terms of the number campaigns conducted. These are some of the findings of a recent study done by Yesmail Interactive. The results are based on a three-month study of consumer engagement with online campaigns for 20 major retails brands, including Abercrombie & Fitch, Gap, or Ralph Lauren among others.

The study with the title “Using Digital Market Intelligence to Drive Multi–Channel Success” figured out the customer engagement of campaigns on the most popular social networks. In order to understand campaign engagement, it compared the relationship between “volume-based engagement” of Facebook campaigns (number of “likes” or comments a campaign generates) and “actual engagement analysis”. The finding is quite obvious, in that the lower the brand “likes”, the fewer likes and comments a brand on Facebook gets. Still, independent of the size of their fan base, some retail brands generate higher engagement levels than others through Facebook. Nevertheless, average-performing brands still performed as engagement winners, including i.e. Ann Taylor, Eddie Bauer or Kenneth Cole. 

Although, we have already reported that a balanced frequency in posting status updates is important for the success of a Facebook campaign, there is no blueprint and guarantee for success. The most engaging brands had deployed between 20 and 32 campaigns per month. Compared to the five least engaging brands with 54 campaigns per month, it becomes obvious that posting less frequently is better. From a timing perspective, the best Facebook engagement was generated for campaigns launching between 10 pm and 12 am Eastern time (EST) which was also the least-used deployment time slot.

For Twitter, the research showed that most Twitter campaigns (20%) were conducted on Friday, which again is the least engaging day for such campaigns. Almost on the same engagement level performed Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday as those most engaging campaign days. Over 84% of all Twitter campaigns were deployed within regular work hours (between 9am and 7pm EST).

The performance of the 20 retail brands on Twitter showed big differences. Although Forever 21 came in first in terms of follower base, the brand’s campaigns showed significantly lower engagement among followers than the campaigns of brands with smaller follower bases.

The five most engaging brands did 45 to 70 Twitter campaigns per month on Twitter versus the five least engaging brands with an average number between 95 and 115 Twitter campaigns per month. It shows again that lower frequency is better than big blast promotions. If marketers want to generate high engagement, they should place their campaigns between 5 am to 6 am and 7 am to 8 am EST.

In terms of YouTube campaigns, the study found that 85% of the brands studied have a YouTube channel. Still, just 35% deployed campaigns during the research period. Some more findings indicate that on average, retailers conducted 3.5 campaigns per month during the study. The best day for interaction occurred to be Monday. Do we have to mention that this was the least likely day for campaign deployment? YouTube campaigns deployed between 2 am-3 am EST found the highest engagement rates.

The study is based on campaigns conducted from January to March, 2012 via Yesmail Market Intelligence. The selection of brands focusses on 18-35 year-olds as of their digital communication interest.

Study Gen Y: Moving communication to social networks

Many managers don’t believe that the next management generation might communicate differently from today. So, every proof we have could be beneficial to score here and it is necessary to obey the signs in every region in the world.

In India an increasing number of the Gen Y generation prefers to communicate via social networking platforms to stay connect with their peers. And they do it on mobile devices as their preferred tool for communication.

A recent survey called The GenY Survey 2011-12 by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) asked 12,000 high school students between 12-18 years in cities like i.e. Mumbai, Delhi, and Pune from July to December 2011. It finds that a “total of 88% respondents from metropolitan cities had a Facebook account while other platforms such as Orkut and India-based Apna Circle, Ibibo and Hi5 were more popular in small metros”.

The study states that 40% of the Gen Y’s have internet access on their mobile phones. However, television emerged as the least favorite gadget with not even 1% voting for it. An emerging trend is the use of tablets with almost 14% using these new devices, it quotes.

Some more findings of the study…
– 85% use social networking sites such as Facebook
– 84% have internet access at home
– 79% own a mobile phone
– 28% value the mobile phone their favorite gadget

Spot On!
There are already 38% of respondents in metros using Facebook or Twitter to communicate. Tweeting is now being used by one in three students according to the study, though just 1% mentioned it as their preferred site. Text and chat were said to be the preferred alternatives to voice calls with 50% of respondents in metros explaining they used SMS most frequently to communicate, 45% used instant messaging. Apart from that, they also value information technology as a career option followed by engineering and medicine.

Facebook: Most Engaging Brands

On their way to the IPO planned for later this week, some new data released by the social marketing firm SocialBakers might boost the company valuation from Facebook to a new level. A new infographic takes a look at which global brands have the best Facebook presence.

With 901 million registered global Facebook users, the numbers show that only 17% of the Facebook members are based in the US. The impact and opportunity for companies is massive. The five biggest companies generate each more than 26 million fans with Coca-Cola being the winner, calling 42 million fans their territory on Facebook – more than 21%! The runner up are Starbucks that are best in the food retail sector and Converse.

The SocialBakers figures also show the winning countries where global brands are most engaging their audience. Although the U.S. might be ahead of other countries in population penetration with brands like Starbucks, McDonald’s or Xbox. Brazil is the number two with L’Oreal Paris and Trident (Kraft), India number three with Vodafone and Pepsi, and Germany at least number 10 with McDonalds as well.

It was interesting for me to see that the fastest moving global brands are Halls, Axe, and Nokia – brands that have left my scope of attention in the last three years. Now, it would be freaking cool if we knew which ones of the 488 million mobile users are the most active on brand engagement?

Which brands catch your attention most and where are you most active?

How the Fortune 500 use Social Media in 2012

How do the Fortune 500 use and evaluate Social Media sites? Please find a great infographic by Go Gulf that illustrates some of the key Social Media statistics for the biggest corporate players.

Here are the key points…
– 23% already have a corporate blog.
– 58% have an active corporate Facebook account.
– 62% have an active corporate Twitter account and have tweeted from in the past 30 days.
– The biggest number of blogs is in specialist retail industry.
– The insurance industry gets the highest number of Facebook pages.

The next two years will definitely show some massive changes in the adoption of Social Media in big enterprises which we acknowledge in different meetings and seminars these days.

What do you think about this adoption of “Social” in companies?

20 Cases: Crimes Committed & Solved On Facebook (Infographic)

There is more and more engagement how the police is using Social Media to solve their tasks. Some weeks ago, we showed how the Police used blogs to create awareness around crime topics and cases.

Now, another infographic was published by the Criminal Justice Degrees Guide. The infographic illustrates how Facebook played an essential role in solving 20 criminal cases. With Facebook it becomes more interesting for the Police to track down gangsters and cyberstalkers by posting inappropriate status updates.

Via Muhammad Saleem

Will those who pin finally win? – Pinterest & Engagement (Infographic)

What is interesting for marketers is how engaging Pinterest could be as the emerging new social network for pics and tricks. So which gender is using the platform the most? How much time are people spending there, and how much time compared to other social networks?

Here are some answers (US perspective) according to Wall Street Journal
– Facebook stays as the most engaging platform with 405 minutes per month
– Pinterest and Tumblr come in second place with 89 minutes
– Twitter is number three with  21 minutes
– LinkedIn gets 17 minutes
– Google Plus only has 3 minutes

Please find the infographic “Pin it to Win it” from MDG Advertising as follows with some more interesting facts about some of the best performing social networks…