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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.

Study: What makes Twitter users trustworthy?

We all want to know what makes us trustworthy, especially when we tweet something. What is the secret sauce that makes others believe in the importance of our tweets? What makes those tweets better than those of our competitors?

The answer comes with a study “Tweeting is believing” from Microsoft and Carnegie Mellon University. In their research the two parties find how companies and individuals can feed their tweets with more credibility, and giving them some of the secret sauce.

So, ok,… the results were no really the deepest insights, but somehow they undermine what many of us might have expected: Gain followers, receive retweets, include URL’s in your posts, set up a profile picture alongside a serious bio with information that correspond with your tweets.

In order to get the right findings the researchers surveyed more than 250 Twitter users factors to understand what makes up credibility in Twitter accounts. These factors got scored from one tot five, five being the highest.

The top-rated factors that make tweets more trustworthy…
1. Tweet was retweeted by someone you trust – 4.08
2. Tweet from a verified subject expert – 4.04
3. Author is someone you follow – 4.00
4. Tweet contains a URL you clicked through – 3.93
5. Author is someone you’ve heard of – 3.93
6. Account has verification seal – 3.92
7. Author often tweets on topic – 3.74
8. Author’s tweets frequently include similar content – 3.71
9. Author’s user image is a personal photo – 3.70
10. Author often mentioned and/or retweeted – 3.69

These were the lowest five credibility lowering factors for tweets…
1. Weak grammar and/or punctuation 2.71
2. Profile picture equals Twitter’s default user image – 2.87
3. User image is a cartoon/avatar – 3.22
4. Author follows many users – 3.30
5. Author’s user image is a logo – 3.37

Spot On!
In many seminars, companies and managers have asked me whether a weak language and incorrect tweeting is destroying the credibility of the brand. They wanted to know whether avatar pictures or brand pictures might affect it. In my eyes, companies should worry more about their general company Social Media standards, their way of collaboration external and internal, and ask themselves why and what they are tweeting about. Tweeting is just a tiny part of your Social trustworthiness….
What are your own experiences? What makes you trust a Twitter user? Any ranking similarities you can see as well?

Big Tech Players New Year's Resolution 2012

What are the plans of the big tech players for 2012? Nitrozac and Snaggy have some great thoughts and ideas, well at least they suggested that this could be their visions, or let’s say their resolutions, or what ever you want to call it. Maybe you want to add something…?

Pay a Blogger Day – How to reward a blogger's work?

Have you ever paid a blogger? Paid for your content love? I mean not for writing some good PR for your business. Just for them being bloggers, sharing valueble content, thoughts, ideas, and providing new food for thought. In some days you can do that. The “Pay a Blogger Day” is here to come. Some thoughts that came to my mind with it…

Some months ago, Flattr started their outreach program to bloggers. And some months ago, they were on their way to revolutionize the monetization of blogs. Those days, the Flattr button went live on my blog, and in every post. I rewarded blog posts, and got some rewards. Just the way Flattr works. They had the idea for the “Pay a Blogger Day”.

On Flattr Cents pass from bloggers to bloggers to… Well. Companies never paid anything. They have the biggest budget pockets though. And I asked myself if bloggers want companies to engage in the monetization process, or if reputation is of higher value for them. And why should companies pay a blogger for something they produce for free. Still trying to figure that out…

Some blog posts generated some Cents immediately through Flattr, never enough for some nice ice-cream in a week though. Somehow the activity to “donate” for a well-written piece of thought or idea felt like an act of charity. Some Cents felt like a pat on the shoulder. Sometimes, I discussed with bloggers if that is encouraging, or frustrating? Every blogger argued differently about this gesture. Many were not convinced. I have seen not many buttons on blogs since.

And often when I wanted to spend some Cents, those bloggers did not use Flattr. So, my reward for them often ended in a Retweet. Maybe Retweets are the killer of positive blog comments

The main problem many bloggers saw in Flattr was that it will be challenging to get attention for this payment theory outside the bloggosphere. Sounded like: “Bloggers will pay themselves and thus reward their work within an inner circle of the blogging community.” One of the reasons why I finally decided to remove the button from my blog.

Now, Flattr starts -in cooperation with Bambuser, Twingly and Posterous– the “Pay a Blogger Day!” on November, 29th. They intend to start a movement with the mission “Give something back to bloggers!” A good idea…

How to reward a blogger’s work?
If I may inspire you -companies, marketers and managers- with reward opportunities for bloggers, then maybe you want to read this…

a) Companies that have used shared knowledge to improve their business could write a reference quote for the blogger why and how they benefit from reading a blog. It could be a comment, tweet or a blog post on their blog. Just be creative…!

b) Managers that have used shared knowledge for their career purposes could send a present when they think the blogger has deserved it (does not need to be on the “Pay a blogger day!”). A flower (digital or real), a freebie of your products or an invite to a paid for workshop about corporate blogging. And hey, chances are high, bloggers might write about it. Just be clever…!

c) Marketers that have used shared knowledge for their campaign ideas could start thinking about whether they shovel money into a print grave, rely on TV reach or hope for radio commercial payback. Maybe they want to start sponsor a blogger who is worth it as they act like brandvangelist, testimonial or brand advocate for a brand or company. And why are not many marketers trying to make use of bloggers in the offline world? Just be curious…!

d) Followers, fans, “plusers” and bloggers that have used shared knowledge could start discussing the monetization of their work in an authentic collaborative manner. Do you want banners ads, text links, affiliate programs, brand advocate prgrams, or…? What is authentic blog monetization? Or is it reputation only? In short: money, products or reputation currency like Floout.me?

Here is how Flattr wants to inspire you to reward a blogger…

Think about the thoughts and then start acting! I am sure, bloggers know how to say “Thank you” and all bloggers would love to see some of these rewarding opportunities. Right…?

Innovation study: Is culture or strategy the key to success?

Obviously, the headline question is not easy to answer. Both elements have their impact on business success. At this years IBM JamCamp, we could hear many presentations why “culture eats strategy for breakfast”, and how to turn your business into a social business (i.e. Sandy Carter’s speech) that will drive innovation to new dimensions (and here is some hint how companies might get huge investments for social business realization).

A new study by Strategy& also shows that spending more on R&D won’t drive results. The results from the study illustrate that the most crucial factors are strategic alignment and a culture that supports innovation. The study surveyed almost 600 innovation leaders in companies around the world, large and small, in every major industry sector.

So what makes a truly innovative company? For sure, a focused innovation strategy, a compelling business strategy, deep customer insight, intelligent networking, as well as a splendid set of bright tactics. These are all elements that help giving your company an innovation boost. Still, the study states that corporate culture ties everything together — the organization’s self-sustaining patterns of behaving, feeling, thinking, and believing.

Still, the results of this year’s Global Innovation 1000 study make clear that only about half of all companies say their corporate culture robustly supports their innovation strategy. Moreover, about the same proportion say their innovation strategy is inadequately aligned with their overall corporate strategy. And although entire industries, such as pharmaceuticals, continue to devote relatively large shares of their resources to innovation, the results are much less successful than they and their stakeholders might hope for.

What I like about this study is that it supports my assumptions and thoughts of the Community Centric Strategy model. Across the board respondents identified “superior product performance” and “superior product quality” as their top strategic goals. And their two most important cultural attributes were “strong identification with the consumer/customer experience” and a “passion/pride in products”.

Statements like the following from the study could be taken as a proof for the future development towards a more cultural business attitude that puts the consumer in the middle of your innovation efforts…

“Our goal is to include the voice of the customer at the basic research level and throughout the product development cycle, to enable our technical people to actually see how their technologies work in various market conditions.” Fred Palensky, Executive Vice President of R&D and CTO, 3M Company

In my presentation at the IBM JamCamp 2011 I made clear that companies and brands need to close the perception gap between consumer’s demand and company goals. If companies don’t respect the 5 C engines of the Community Centric Strategy these two expectations cannot be aligned. We will continue to talk of target-groups instead of consumers that are grouping together in “community centers”. This is more of a cultural development companies need to go through than definable strategic capabillities by companies to drive innovations. By closing both the strategic alignment and culture gaps, companies and brands will better realize their goals and attributes.

Spot On!
The study results show that companies and brands should rethink the way they drive their innovation strategy. It suggests that the ways R&D managers and corporate decision makers think about their new products and services are critical for success. This includes all aspects how they feel about intangibles such as risk, creativity, openness, and collaboration. When nearly 20% of companies said they didn’t have a well-defined innovation strategy at all, it offers the chance to start anew and with the right approach. The Community Centric Strategy might be one solution for companies to evaluate culture as one of the main drivers to achieve your strategic goals in a modern way of doing business.

Studies: The internet is more important than water…?!

Can we access the internet if we have nothing to drink anymore, if our water is poluted? No, we can not! Sometimes, adults should ask themselves about, and quickly start to re-think, the values that they hand over to our kids. I am happy to have spoken with mine about this topic last year around the Blog Action Day 2010

Some weeks ago, I have written about a UK study from the London Science Museum made clear that UK people rather prefer to have sunshine and internet connection than clean water. Now, Cisco comes up with a similar study.

The Cisco study states that one in three college students and young professionals consider the Internet to be as important as fundamental human resources such as air, water, food and shelter. The study is based on the second annual Cisco Connected World Technology Report. It examines the relationship between human behaviour, the Internet and networking’s pervasiveness across 14 countries in the world (United States, Canada Mexico, Brazil, United Kingdom, France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Russia, India, China, Japan, Australia).

Mahesh Gupta, Vice-President, Business-Borderless Networks, Cisco (India and SAARC), said in a teleconference on Thursday that about 33% across the globe and 95% Indian college students and young employees admitted that Internet was as important in their lives as water, food, air and shelter. The internet has become a crucial important thing in peoples’ lives. More than half of the respondents (62% of employees and 55% of college students) said they could not live without the Internet. They see it as an “integral part of their lives”.

From a face-to-face social perspective, it is also quite amazing to see that people had indicated that Internet was more important to them than meeting with friends, dating, or listening to music. Like in the UK study, updating Facebook seems to be of the highest priority – higher than socializing. Gupta stated that within certain countries 91% of college students and 88% of employees globally had Facebook account and check it on a daily basis at least once. Furthermore, seven of 10 employees have “friended” their managers and coworkers on Facebook, and 68% follow their manager or their work colleagues on Twitter.

From a hardware point of view, mobiles rank highest as their important technology device, as high as being “the most important technology”. Two-thirds of students and 58% of employees felt that a mobile device (laptop, smartphone or tablets) was the most important technology hardware in their lives. Young employees in the UK (74%), India (71%) and Australia (66%) ranked highest when it comes to the importance of mobiles devices.

Spot On!
The study also shows some trends that other industries should watch out for. When two of five students have not bought a physical book (except textbooks) in two years, this is a clear message to the print industry. And when 2 out of 3 choose Internet connection over cars, the it becomes clear why concepts like BMW Drive Now and Smart Car2Go become popular. However, the new trends also need to be watched from a distraction point of view when being online.

Let’s hope they don’t forget to drink some water…

LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook? Study finds leading social network from journalists…

What’s your guess? What is the leading social network for journalists? And what does this mean to business decision makers, managers and PR professionals?

The answer by far is LinkedIn with 92% – with a remarkable increase of 7% compared to 2009. However, this does not mean that it is their main source of information. At least, this is what the latest study tells us which is called 2011 Arketi Web Watch Survey: Inside BtoB Media Usage of Social Media.

For me it was a bit of an eye-opener as I thought journalists might prefer to use Twitter to monitor sources for trending topics and breaking news. Probably, the statement has some value still. For Mike Neumeier, Pricipal, Arketi Group was not surprised…

“It comes as no surprise more BtoB journalists are participating in social media sites, especially LinkedIn. (…) LinkedIn provides an online outlet for them to connect with industry sources, find story leads and build their professional networks.”

The second largest still is not Twitter. It is Facebook. 85% of journalists are on Facebook (increase by 30% to 2009). However, Twitter comes in nearly at the same result (84%) and with the highest growth of 60% to 2009. And nearly half of the responding journalists (49%) say they blog or read blogs regularly.

“When compared to the 2009 Arketi Web Watch Survey, this year’s results show significantly more journalists are using social media tools (…) This means companies have more online channels through which they can reach media targets. This is both a blessing and curse for today’s PR professionals.” Dr. Kaye Sweetser, associate professor of PR, University of Georgia’s Grady College

Findings where journalists have their news sources…
– 80% via public relations contacts
– 77% rely on news releases
– 74% turn to newswires (i.e. BusinessWire or PRNewswire)
– 71% get from email pitches
– 56% from blogs
– 44% from micro-blogs (such as Twitter), and
– 39% from social networking sites (such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Myspace).

More than nine out of ten journalists responding (96 percent) say they prefer to receive news releases via email from companies they know, and 95 percent of business journalists say they prefer to receive news releases via email from companies they don’t know but are in industries they cover.

Journalists get crucial information regarding breaking news from the following sources…
– 85% Industry experts
– 81% Company website
– 80% Industry website
– 80% Other interested parties
– 57% Industry blog
– 53% Company blog
– 41% Industry Twitter feed
– 33% Company Twitter feed

Spot On!
Although LinkedIn is very popular among journalists, it does not seem to be the centre of attention to get a big story. Still, the direct contact and company websites have massive power and as they are probably the most trusted sources, they still lead. Still, social networks make it easy for journalists to get in touch with relevant people for good quotes. It should assume that investigative journalism is on the rise. Reading newspapers and websites today, I personally get the feeling that blogs have far more to offer.

What is your view?

LinkedIn – The future of career advertising goes social…

About one and a half years ago, the guys from Mediamind asked me if I want to write a guest post on the future of banner creatives on their blog. Well, I flashed back to find the future – the old strategic approach… What came out was a headline called “Engagement creatives reloading the future”. Seeing what was happening on LinkedIn in the last months, it seems I had quite a good feeling on what the future might look like.

In the Mediamind post, I focussed on the response banner functionality of Facebook creatives and how the referential potential of social graph marketing intelligence let the personal network get engaged. One individual creates buzz just by being integrated with a linked name in one line of the graphic. So, people know your name and get dragged into campaign activity, just by curiosity, just by wanting to know why, what and how. Just by … you name it.

In the last weeks, LinkedIn came from being just another platform selling space to opening the potential for intelligent career online advertising, and leveraging the network potential with clever display advertising. Companies were focussing on personalization, the social targeting opportunities and the API potential to enable innovative campaigns creatives on the business network.

While some social media marketing companies (funny right…?! see picture above) use the traditional way of banner creatives, Volkswagen identified the evolution of the pick-a-boo effect and the competitive aspect of having more contacts, more recommendations and better education. Just the things that make up a career…

Another example is AMEX. They took their social advertising career campaign even a step further by not spoting you, but the person next to us that helps successful managers, the teams and you: the administrators. People could nominate their business supporters, and by voting promote these “second liners” to have a chance to win a gift card courtesy of 2.500 USD.

In the end, the most convincing career social display campaign is when you find yourself in the middle of a personalized creative. When I checked one of my contacts from SAP today, a rectangle banner appeared next to the SAP contact profile of the person I am linked with. Now, guess what happened? I got offered a job from SAP. Well, maybe not the job I wanted but still a great approach.

The banner was personalized using my LinkedIn picture and my name. It was really somehow talking to me. It detected I could be in the software industry, I could be a consulting sales person, and yes, the creation is clever in terms of straight interaction and sharing. Don’t you think…?

Spot On!
We are still early stages with these new (career) display advertising opportunities. Still, the advertising evolution is happening, and publishers need to have a close look at the opportunities if they don’t want to loose the battle to social networks. These examples might be geeky – however, they are engaging, personalized and conversational. Just what traditional banner cannot offer far too often…

Hyperspecialization – The future of work 3.0?

All people engaging in the Social Web are eager to pull, push and share all kinds of specializing topics in different areas of thoughts, interests and visions. In some way these people define a new development where the work of generalists is being cut into workload of networks of narrow experts or specialists. At least, Tom Malone, professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management and author of the Harvard Business Review article “The Age of Hyperspecialization,” sees this trend and explains in an HBR video why breaking jobs into tiny pieces yields better, faster, and cheaper work.

Malone sees the key “trend” behind this movement in “cheap communication technology” brought to us all over the world – more or less instantly and costlessly. Having said that, Malone’s illustration of scambled eggs being made ready to eat via the locations, Boston, China, Moscow, Paris and Singapore shows the limitation in the theory. For “brain workers”, it definitely makes sense and is a valid and applicable theory. Managers need to figure out how to break up traditional single job descriptions into pieces of hyperspecialist work and maybe rearrange their business processes if they want to make use of hyperspecialization.

What I definitely see is greater flexibility for employees in this movement. The development offers also some massive opportunity for freelancers being integrated into different projects. Thus, I would ask, whether the work of employees, sitting in office, could not easily be outsourced to even more specialized freelancers. Or if it will be more difficult to coordinate these specialists? Or would this be the work of a hyperspecialist again?

Is this really a new trend? Is this the normal evolution of worklife and business? Is this another step towards workplace 3.0, the mobile workplace? How do you see that…?

Study: More companies succeed in recruiting via social networks

Social Media is becoming the new talent aquisition tool for companies. A recent study by Jobvite states that almost 90% of companies are planning to use social networks to find job candidates. This is an increase of 7% to last year. Two thirds of employers said they had successfully filled a job position via social networking.

The study that polled 800 human resource staffers and headhunters in the U.S also illustrates the importance of personal branding which I proclaim for years now – also with the vision of a personal scoring index. Job seekers should understand the importance of having an active profile on sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. However, this is essential and career benefitial, the study also warns that what you say and do on those sites has an impact on your career.

Running the survey in their fifth year, Jobvite is seeing a steady increase by employers in the use of social media.

“Employee referrals are the highest quality hires. (…) They last the longest, have the best match with expectations, and churn the least.” Dan Finnigan, CEO, Jobvite

According to Jobvite’s own client data, 70% of companies examine candidates’ social media profiles after getting a referral. Which means you never know who is checking your latest party pictures and how much you ruin your reputation by updating embarrassing information

“Don’t post any picture, say any words or take any actions that you wouldn’t want your grandmother to see,” advises Finnigan.

Some interesting finding shows that Facebook is not the main place to look for job candidates. However, LinkedIn went up from 78.3% to 86.6% (inclusive of all possible usage like search, job postings, etc.).

Having said that, Jobvite also asked their own customers how many actually hired staff using social referrals from various social networking sites. 43% of referrals that resulted in hires came from Facebook versus 41% from LinkedIn and 16% from Twitter.

Spot On!
For the Social Society in which we are living social engagement become an asset bonus but also a challenge for job seekers. Today, it is still difficult to understand for many recruiters why you have a personal brand. In the future, this will change and show your affinity to a topic, to brands and to modern business tactics. People might be addressed or recruited by younger hiring managers who are more tolerant of social media failures or side steps but the more senior a position gets, the pickier recruitment managers are getting.

How do you see the future of personal branding and how recruiters are checking your capabilities via social networks?