Posts Tagged ‘Social Media’

NewImageA colleague asked me to comment on a recent article “Are you ‘network literate?,” by Ben Casnocha. The author notes that the information you know “will determine whether you win or lose.” Very true.

Information is changing too quickly (velocity), is to expansive (volume), and too diverse (variety) to make it possible for any one person to have a reasonable chance of remembering/recalling enough to be singularly useful in complex decision making.  As such, Casnocha notes that to address this issue:

– You need to know your network.
– You need to who in your network knows what.
– You need to know how to ask questions that elicit helpful information.
In essence,  the ability to solve problems and make effective decisions is proportional to the amount of knowledge in your network:
Accessible Knowledge (AK) is proportional to number of networks you have x people/network x question/person x knowledge/question. 
A very powerful equation.
NewImageBut, while I agree with these points, Casnocha does not give concrete examples on how to use modern technology/social tools to realize value from them. For example, LinkedIn is THE network tool used by professional to source a network. Right? FaceBook tends to be used for personal and some professional network sourcing, but does not provide any real relationship information (connections like in LinkedIn).
Casnocha also does not identify what tools can be used to identify who in your network knows what. In LinkedIn, people can use their deductive reasoning to learn a lot about what a person has done as a means of knowing what they know.  Are there tools that can do this? But even if there are, it is almost impossible to infer what people are truly capable of answering through inductive reasoning, which is a more important capability in effective decision making. This is a real gap in current social platforms.
In terms of how to ask questions, this is always an issue. English is a very ambiguous language and its interpretation is highly dependent on the educational level of the sender and receiver. Couple that with the highly unstructured nature of written content in social media and you open yourself to a lot of variance in results of knowledge calculus.
To more effectively manage and leverage Accessible Knowledge, social tools like LinkeIn need to start mining not only the connections, but the relative knowledge as well. It is only then that the artificial social networks, that are pervasively replacing our real ones, will become useful enough to support the fine grained decision making necessary for today’s complex problems.

My colleague noted that the AK lack consideration of critical thinking or maybe it was my analysis that lacked critical thinking. Hum. Oh well, let’s assume it was the former and that he is absolutely right. People today have lost this critical ability. I even find myself now and then forgetting to think before I act.

Extending and revising the original thought, here how I would interpret it:

AK = Kp(t) xTct [number of networks you have x people/network x question/person x knowledge/question]

Tct is the critical thinking transformation function
Kp is an efficiency factor dependent on the person and a point in time

That is, the sum total knowledge of your networks is transformed through the critical thinking process, which is spatially dependent on the individual and temporally dependent on when (mode, season, day/night, etc.) the thinking takes place.


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NewImageDr. Andrew Currah, Social Media Leadership Forum, in conjunction with Natalie Cowen, Head of Brand and Communications at first direct, has just release a excellent report, “Future Customer Service: The Rise of the Social Customer.” The report looks into the role playedby social media within the evolving landscape of customer service.While commissioned by first direct, it is based on the insights of executives, technologists and theoretical experts across the fields of customer service and social media.

The report recommends that leaders in companies need to support the move to social business

  • Make themselves more visible, especially when public crises occur.
  • Provide all employees with the training, tools and authority to engage with customers.
  • Look beyond standard metrics to the value of brand loyalty, advocacy and a sense of community.

Currah explains that building the social enterprise will rely on a combination of cultural, functional and technical changes. He uses the graphic below as a visual framework, which identifies the key components of the social enterprise with respect to customer service.


The key point is that social CRM technologies are integral to every level of the customer service model in a social enterprise. However, the key is the “realtime flowof information between the customer service operation and the rest of the social enterprise.” In doing so, service organizations are equipped with the right information, at the right time, that is necessary to sustain the customer relationship.

The report also emphasizes the importance of CRM software as a means to harness the collective knowledge within the company.

  • The customer service operation is equipped to monitor and engage with a targeted spectrum of media.
  • Companies fully understand where, why and how their customers are using social media before making any changes
  • A balance is struck across different types of media – telephone, email, web, social and mobile.
  • The power of online communities is recognised, and customers are encouraged to help each other.
  • Relationships are nurtured with advocates who wield particular influence on the Internet.
  • Specialist tools are used to measure the impact of customers’ online activity

The report concludes with a belief that the social media will become the center piece of modern customer service activities. Currah say that the “rise of the social customer has powered a broader transition to the social enterprise, which is seeking to emulate the speed and simplicity of the social web.”



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NewImageSocial media adoption has seen an exponential growth over the past few years.  YouTube is now the second-largest search engine on the Web; 50 percent of its 300 million users visit the site at least once a week.  Facebook usage is up 40 percent over 2010, with 65 million users accessing their pages through mobile devices and 2.5 billion photos being uploaded to Facebook each month.  Nearly 96 percent of 18- to 35-year-olds in the U.S. participate in some form of social network, with one in five Americans in that age bracket using Twitter.  Finally, 78 percent of consumers trust peer recommendations, driving user-generated content accounting for 25 percent of search results for the world’s 20 largest brands.

These impressive, as well as amazing, statistics are now driving the way businesses are looking at social media.  Two years ago, you would have been hard pressed to find any large-scale corporate implementation of social media.  Today, companies like Best Buy and Jet Blue are more than leading the way; they have clearly defined how to perform at scale through transforming customer sentiment into profitable top-line revenue.


Social media is now turning into social business.  Through geographically-based push technology, businesses are looking over the next 12-18 months to Foursquare for their consumer-oriented products/services, proactively pushing real-time, instant-access sales.  With 70 percent of organizations banning access to outside social media networks, in 2012 we will see the mobile platform (smart phone, tablet) establishing its dominance as the connected mesh that keeps the social/business network together.

Social Media is more than just a trend.  What we are seeing is the emergence of stable and mature capabilities (business process and supporting technology) that are driving real, measurable business value.  It is an ideal time to start looking into social media strategies and policies, and to take advantage of the innovation and early adopter efforts that laid the ground work for Social Media 3.0.

Please check out other blog articles at LiquidHub.

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Field NotesJust reviewing John Bells article “The Enterprise Social Media Adoption Path” with a client. While mostly correct (Phase 1 -4), I noted that he was missing the last, possibly most important phase. That phase is the Optimization Phase.


While I will be writing on this, and the other phases, in more detail over the next couple of weeks, it is important to note a few characteristics now.

The Optimization Phase (Phase 5) is where value realization (e.g., revenue, margin, customer sat, survival, etc.) is achieved and is based on the data collections and analytics of Phase 4. In this phase, the enterprise social media platform, levering solutions like ListenLogic and Radian6, is now connected with customer facing mobility capabilities that offer solutions/products/services based on location, mobility, and context-aware delivery capabilities (e.g., Foursquare).

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By their nature, social media programs do not achieve the business result expected from other IT and marketing programs. The primary reason is because we lack the ability to control the social network (customers, partners, doctors, lawyers, etc.) and have limited meaningful social media metrics. Significant research has been conducted in this area (see Social Media ROI: Socialnomics) and we, as a community, have begun to identify those necessary (without them you fail) and sufficient (with enough you might succeed) characteristics for effective social media programs.

NewImageWhile still preliminary, three of the many necessary characteristics needed to achieve expected business results for most social media implementations are: implementable enterprise social media architecture (about the what), executable social media maturity model (the who and when), and driving everything through a coherent IT strategy (how). In some form or fashion, these three capabilities need to be addressed in the beginning in order to prevent the failure of most enterprise social media programs.


Once established, a social media platform implementation needs to be based on sufficient characteristics like tools-agnostic enterprise grade platforms that are scalable (maintain their performance as more media is consumed), extensible (does not require re-architecting as new social computing and networks are added),  sustainable (not dependent on people) strategies and implementations that are designed for both internal and external value return (revenue growth, sentiment management, message awareness, presence development, etc.). The good news is there are many path to success at this level, affording a staged TCO-based implementation that reduces any single onetime investment.

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Field Notes

A client recently asked what they should do with the vast amounts of social and consumer-oriented data that had been collected over the years. My immediate reply, “Make money with it.”  But while they had collected this data, very little was immediately accessible to them through some form or API or services (aka SOA). The net was they were paying for the maintenance of an asset while not achieving any real benefit from it (lower right quadrant of the Landscape chart – bad).

During this brief conversation, we immediately focused on their lack of their operational social media capability. For the client, social media would allows them to learn about the relationships and interactions between consumers and how brands can fit into that equation. Mark Earls put it succinctly  when he stated,

“We talk of the relationships consumers have with our brands as if they were primary, but the data points to things being otherwise. Consumer’s most valuable relationships are not with brands, but with other consumers.”

As such, they needed to study this information, in a real time manner, in order to better exploit the market potential that exists between consumers and not focus, as much, on brand positioning.

Social media, as I explained, should allowed us to see how interactions play out between consumers at a network level. Check out this highly created graphic created by Information Architects:

Since I suggested they review an outstanding presentation given by the Face Group, I am passing it along to you as well:

One of the key take aways from the presentation is:

1. Data is good, Information (study of data) is great, but augmenting data and information with behavioral and location characteristics is the best.

2. There are a few types of available relevant data:

>> Social + Behavior Data will lead towards Personal Predictive Agents

>> Location data as Remote Control for Reality

>> Network of sensors will make for a Sentient Web of Sentient Objects

3. Social media is still missing two very important characteristics:

>> Content: stories, social spaces, physical spaces, etc.

>> Behavior: activities, purchases, consumption, etc.

Enough about this brief conversation for now. As always, please let me know what you think, since we are all in this together.

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There are a lot of discussions today about the ROI of social media. In the article “Reality Check: Social Media ROI Is Still MIA,” Lulu Phongmany continues the assertion that the ROI question remains unanswered. She states that “[social media] is not yet seeing consistent evidence of significant ROI …” While Phongmany is not along in her thinking, the type of ROI questioning is old school, equivalent to asking you about the ROI on your cell phone.

ROI, return on investment, computations are often purely thought of in terms of dollars returned divided by dollars spent. If is a classical financial analysis that has been employed for hundreds of years.  Ask any CFO/CIO about the ROI for their department, sit back, and watch the PowerPoint presentations pop out. Impressive.

However, this old school thinking doesn’t always directly apply to current world problems. Social media, networks, and computing is one type of group based phenomenon (Group Forming Function – GFF) that has a high cultural value but is often undervalued when measured purely with traditional instruments. Take for example the cell phone question, what is the ROI for your cell phone? You certainly know the cost, at it roots it is basically your monthly bill plus the cost of the phone. Now, all you need to do is calculate the return, that is, the value of what you get out of it. Whit both you would be able to compute its ROI. So what is it?

What, you couldn’t compute it? Does this mean it does not have an ROI and therefore is not valuable? Of course not! It only means that the old school financial tools are not sufficient for computing the value of modern day media.

This is where Social Media ROI: Socialnomics is by Socialnomics (author Erik Qualman) comes in. This video showcases several Social Media ROI examples along with other effective Social Media Strategies. Hopefully you it will continue to shed light on this ROI issue.


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