Social Business Studies: The Status Quo and how to leverage the Social ROI

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Although IBM is doing a lot to make people understand the differences between Social Media and Social Business, managers are still struggling to suvive in the social web era. As companies are trying to understand and find the secret sauce of social ROI, only 13% of IT professionals were said to be successful with their internal networks. It even goes as far as companies giving away incentives in the amount of 10.000 USD for those that can provide positive ROI from their social business efforts.

Now, the IBM Institute for Business Value published a report, called The Business of Social Business: What works and how it’s done. The study surveyed more than „1,100 businesses around the world and conducted extensive interviews with more than two dozen widely recognized leaders in social business“.

And these guys had some answers, basicallly 3 main topics came out as their main ROI aspects:
a) creating valued customer experiences
b.) driving workforce productivity and effectiveness
c.) accelerating innovation.

And the final numbers? How about the ROI? Well, there are two other studies that need to be mentioned when quoting this study: the works of Deloitte and McKinsey. The McKinsey Global Institute study found that the top-line growth for Social Business can improve between 3 and 11 percent, while productivity can be enhanced by 2 to 12 percent.

The other study by Deloitte explains that 41% of responding business executives believe social networking helps to build and maintain workplace culture. Compared to the just 21% of employees with the same view, these results illustrate a massive perception gap between business leaders and their employees. Furthermore, 45% of business leaders think that Social Media has a positive effect on the workplace culture (vs. 27% of employees) and 38% believe it allows for increased management transparency (vs. 17%).

Still, it also suggests that most companies have best prctise guidelines in place but still worry too much about those guidelines in these changing times that comes alongside the employees‘ use of Social Media. They demand a better workaround process concerning the risks.

However, these might sound obvious to those people familiar with Social Busines in general, all studies emphasize the importance of the cultural aspect of Social Business.  Reading through them, they give straight hints to how to make your business culture become social-driven…
1. Figure out how to incorporate social metrics into traditional efficiency processes.
2. Be clear on the risks involved and how to manage them.
3. Although managers hate this word: change management. It still is one! nevertheless, it will nonetheless require tried and tested techniques to influence corporate culture and performance.

With a sub-sample of Social Business savy companies the IBM study makes clear that the percentage of companies using Social Business for promotional benefits will increase slightly (from 71% to 83% in two years). The amount of businesses that use Social Business to generate leads and revenue will increase dramatically (from 51% to 74% in two years). Another massive benefit will come from post-sales support which is expected to increase form 46% to 69%.

How to detect the ROI of Social Media

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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?

Bring your own device (BYOD) in the 21st Century (Video)

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It is no surprise anymore that Millenials prefer to use their own computers and mobiles at work. And they are also open to manage their service or support topics for themselves as long as they get the freedom to do so. It is their devices, so they will want them to work. Don’t we all hate to wait for IT to get the latest update of some kind of software. Shame we do not have the administration rights to do so.

Although BYOD might cause a headache to CIO’s and their IT managers, this next generation of managers might be right from a company efficiency and productivity point of view. What BYOD means in the future, the benefits it offer to businesses and how schools might be working with this trend, gets nicely explained in this little video by Marc-Andre Lalande. It explains in an 8-minute „Pedagogical Quickie“ the many advantages and limitations of this concept for education.

Study: IBM defines four categories for digital identities

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In a recent study called Beyond digital, IBM analyzed the digital behavior of 3,800 respondents in six countries (China, France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States).

The study explains how the digital industry changes with the evolution of the so-called „The Connected Consumer“ how Saul Berman, author of the study, calls us today. Us? Well, everybody who engages online provides custom experiences, and thus the term was created. It makes clear that 78% identify themselves as digital device adopters – more than half of those read newspapers online.

Companies need to become a clearer picture of their consumers. These identify themselves as either Early Adopters 12%; Late Adopters 32%; Mainstream Consumers 35%, or Stragglers 21%. Over half of the „mainstream consumers“ show a range of digital consumption behaviors. They check news onion. They watch video online. They access mobile services. They participate in social networking, or visit user-generated content sites.

IBM took a new approach to identifying the respondents in four different categories – although in my eyes categories will be difficult to hold as user cross category borders permanently these days. One of the reasons why I have created the Community Centric Strategy which I launched at the last IBM Social Business event IN Germany.

Still, the four digital personalities IBM found have more to do with their degrees of access to technology and content. Older target-group definitions like age come in second line.

The biggest group is the Efficiency Experts. They make up 41% of tech users, the largest portion of connected consumers.

The other three categories are…
Content Kings (9%) – dedicated gamers, newshounds, movie buffs, music lovers and TV fans.
Social Butterflies (15%) – have consistent access to networks, but engage with friends and family, rather than media-supplied content.
Connected Maestros (35%) – using mobile devices and Smartphone applications to access games, music, and video or to check news, weather, sports, etc.

„These respondents use digital devices and services to simplify day-to-day activities. Efficiency experts send emails rather than letters, use Facebook to communicate with others, access the Internet via mobile phones, and shop online.“

Spot On!
Companies should take a close look at the Connected Maestros as they are providing tailored customer experiences. They require brands to build insightful profiles and continually update them as consumers evolve their digital content consumption behaviors. They are eager to get to know more about brands, companies and products. Assuming they are more likely to get engaged with brands, or to become brandvangelists.

Would you agree…? Where do you see yourself?

Top 3 Ways Web 3.0 Will Change Workflow

27.01.2012 von  
Kategorie Daily Top 3

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There are many ways to bolster the productivity of your workforce. You could bring in a business speaker to inspire the inner entrepreneur in your employees. You could offer financial incentives for reaching certain benchmarks. You could also upgrade the technological infrastructure of your office. Preparing for Web 3.0, for instance, will require all companies to rethink business as usual and adopt a wide-ranging portfolio of new online tools and services. The advent of Web 3.0 has already made a lasting effect and we can expect this trend to continue. Here are the top 3 ways it will change the workflow in the business landscape:

Real time collaboration. Complex projects can now be undertaken simultaneously by multiple people across vast distances. The software as a service model now so common with cloud computing services is making it so that documents can be synchronously changed on-line using Google docs and other services. This enables businesses to maintain a diverse and mobile workforce that can execute and launch projects outside the traditional constraints of an office. Web applications that facilitate real-time communication, such as Skype, also allow for non-location based business meetings between clients across the world. In the future, this should help reduce the energy demands of the modern office, as well as the broadband and IT requirements of the typical company.

Virtual reality communities. So far, the best example we have of a vibrant virtual reality world that has bred its own economy, global population, currency, and infrastructure is Second Life. In the future, many people will conduct the majority of their business transactions through sites like this. Everything from trade shows to business meetings to the stock market exchange could take place in an online virtual reality space. At present, VR systems are strengthening the efficiency of workplace environments by offering better visualization tools to manufacturers.

Ubiquitous smartphone use. As cell phones continue to be viewed more as online tools and replace PCs as the preferred method of web activity, we can expect businesses to adopt their widespread use. Smartphones are also increasingly used for journalism, file transfers and real time communication. Expect smartphones to be the pen of the future.

Web 3.0 will be making considerable headway in marketing, social media, and business protocol in the coming years. Many analysts expect it to dramatically change the way companies operate. Real time collaboration, virtual reality, and increased smartphone use are just three of the ways this change will be manifested.

Study: Social sharing buttons in email increase click-through rates

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Studies from AddThis and ShareThis have illustrated how sharing trends may boost marketing efforts and how to best use them for marketing efficiency.

The latest research from GetResponse shows the influence of social sharing on email effectiveness. The study which compared social sharing preferences of email marketers, analyzed Social Media sharing via Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn in over 2 billion email sent by customers of the email marketing provider.

The GetResponse study also found that 51.9% only use one social share icon, while 40.6% use two of those, 7.4% three, and only 0.1% four icons. Those companies that offered at least three social sharing opportunities succeeded with a 55% higher click-through rate (CTR). The findings state that the number of marketers who include social sharing buttons in their emails increased to 18.3%. This is an increase of 40% from last year.

It seems that marketers understand the benefit of shirring for their marketing efforts: more reach, more traffic, more engagement, more sales. Email including social sharing buttons had a higher click-through-rate of up to 115%: Emails that included social sharing buttons had a 5.6% CTR which stands against 2.6% CTR for those that did not use social sharing buttons.

The infographic below shows the main results of the GetResponse’s study but also illustrates the importance of connecting all social efforts with traditional marketing to succeed.

Social Business: 84% of businesses have not fully integrated Social Media in their operations

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This report comes as no surprise to me as it justifies our Community Centric Strategy model. The study from InSites Consulting states that only 16% of businesses using Social Media have fully integrated Social Media platforms into their businesses operations. Nevertheless, business leaders believe better social integration will help improve and streamline their business operations. Their hope is that Social Media marketing and internal social apps will boost productivity of their business.

The study concludes that 27% of business executives are on the move to integrate Social Business in 2012. Moreover, another 20% are wishing that the integration of Social Media projects will increase business efficiency. As there are no reliable or established measurement and metrics standards most companies are still waiting to invest big budgets. Still, as competition is high companies start integrating social into their business to be competitive in their market.

The results of the inSites study show that most companies (69%) will invest in Social Media marketing and launch campaigns in 2012 hoping to improve online conversations and their web efforts. For now 64% of businesses have at least one person responsible for Social Media activities and platforms. With a reason: One-third are sure that Social Media is changing their operations.

Spot On!
The challenge for companies will be to set up the right Social Business strategy as it involves the right understanding of community centers as an external strategy issue. And it needs an appropriate internal company culture with social policies, social training and social commitment and the people. Apart from that, 45% of the respondents said that they cannot find the people for their Social Media efforts. The best option is to start investing in the people you have to integrate social in your business. The Community Centric Strategy could be one starting point…

CMO’s studies: Yes, Social Media is key! – Can someone gimme a plan on „Social“…?

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CMO’s and marketers all over the world and across industries understand the increasing value of Social Media in (their) business. However, I sometimes wonder whether they really recognize how to use Social Capital and Social Business effectively.

How did I get this view…?

Well, studies show me the reality… and many seminars and webinars open eyes. Today, I came across two studies which might illustrate what marketers and CMO’s need to get their heads around. If they are good, they create brand advocate programs, if they act badly consumers will see brands as boring, poor, and even worse… not obeying the rules of social business. And today brands cannot miss out on „Social“. That is a fact, CMO’s understand…

Market Research vs. Social Research
In one of the latest IBM studies of 1,700 chief marketing officers from 64 countries and across 19 industries, 82% of CMOs stated that they will increase their use (or budgets?) of Social Media over the next three to five years. The flipside is that just 26% are currently tracking blogs, 42% are tracking third-party reviews and 48% are tracking the consumer reviews which might help change their market positioning, their marketing insights, their marketing programs. Let’s take the qualitative aspect of Social Research first.

From a quantitative research perspective, 80% rely on market research and corporate benchmarking to rely on as their primary sources for market insights. Obviously, most companies also obey other „non-social“ monitoring tools to value the development of their business: 68% use sales campaign analysis for strategic decision making.

In the end, it comes down to numbers. 63% of CMOs believe the ROI on their marketing invest will be the primary measure of effectiveness by 2015. However, almost half of respondents don’t feel prepared to satisfy those business figure aspects. The reason is obvious: CMOs often don’t have enough influence on radical company-wide change processes. Over half of responding CMOs stated they have no impact on pricing process and even less have any impact on new product development or retail channel selection.

Community and Brand Reputation
On the other hand, another new Weber Shandwick study found out how companies understand and plan their social efforts. So, why are some marketers more social than others?

The challenge is to find the key tactics with best possible metric efficiency. Most marketers know about the impact of the 3 „r’s“… reviews, ratings, recommendations on their business efforts. 52% attribute their brand reputation to their online social presence. And even more, 65% project online sociability will boost their reputation in the next three years. However, I would doubt if they act accordingly.

Today, Social Media is part of CMOs marketing mix. The question is, why only 16% consider their efforts as „world class“. This study also makes clear that marketers have trouble establishing clear goals for their social media strategy. Finding the right KPIs is essential. No wonder, companies state they are not well-prepared for the social future in terms of effectiveness. Most o fhtese companies don’t really integrate their social engagement into their enterprise processes.

Spot On!
CMO’s and marketers need to get insights beyond traditional market sources like page impresions, click-throughs and superficial numbers like fans and follower. The good spot is that 54% of global executives experience rewards to outweigh risks – versus 23% the other way round, and some European bosses even focus their attention preferably on Twitter. Although, C-level often does not know how to leverage Social efficiency. The community gives input on the value of products, services and preferrences. When did we have that years ago?

Somehow, marketers are in a poor position as they are working in the transition period. Top down target-group thinking is out, community centric thinking is the future. In some day, we will publish a new strategic theory on this at the IBM JamCamp. Nice coincidence…

Will Millenials cause a headache for IT in the future?

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Credits: Gerd Altmann /

Just a few days ago, I have written about the challenge for IT departments that millenials will want to use their own private devices at work as employees in the future. If this is causing CIO’s and their IT managers headaches then better get some iboprofen now, as there is more to come…

An online study along with in-depth interviews of 400 „Millennials“, ages between 20 through 29, and 200 IT managers the U.S. from mid-sized to large corporations gives some interesting insights in the expectations of the Millenials when it comes to IT. The study was conducted by Isurus Market Research and Consulting with analysis by GigaOM Pro, and underwritten by Bomgar.

Millenials are growing up in an „instantaneous world“ of social web conversations, mobile phones, and almost permanent WiFi access. This brings new challenges for IT departments in the future as expectations are these young people are high. Millennials expect more or less immediate answers on IT support questions and all options of multi-channel communication. However, the worst is: Ideally, they could solve their technology issues themselves.

Some key findings what Millenials do…
– 71% state to have done a Google search for a solution finding at least once.
– 61% don’t turn to company support first to solve problems, while 71% say they have done a Google search for a solution at least once.
– 58% prefer to communicate in chat or text messaging, not the phone.
– 40% use a mobile device for work „on a weekly basis.“

So, if Millenials are responsible for their own technology, as it is their private device, IT could get away from the omnipresent IT support issue as they will have less responsibility, costs will decrease for IT, and it is a sustainable Green IT approach. Or who wants to carry around two mobile phones, two tablets, two notebooks, and so on?

The challenge for company bosses? Millennials say that their job satisfaction is „strongly affected“ by the type of mobile device their employers provided. Isn’t this great? Just ask them what they want and you can increase personal productivity and work efficiency. Correct?

„Our research highlights the biggest challenges for IT departments: Millennials expect immediate responses, prefer a wider variety of communication channels and, when it comes to problem solving, often turn to Google and outside resources before contacting support,“ David Card, Research Director, GigaOM Pro.

Millenials will become difficult to handle though. 60% think that good support time for a technical problem to be solved is less than 10 minutes. Compared to IT managers who think that a reasonable time frame for solving tech problems was an hour or more, this calls for problems between the work forces in the future. No wonder, 80% of IT managers see Millennials as „different or very different than their older peers in terms of technology expectations“.

Spot On!
However, these two studies might sound like a massive IT change process for companies in the future. It has to said that 75% of Millennials rate their IT departments a six or seven on a seven-point scale. Maybe IT should think about setting up IT knowledge wikis instead of letting their employees loose time surfing on Google for a solution. Millenials are not expecting something outrageous, they might just be brighter in terms of technology handling, and show us that collaboration on social networks and in communities works when they are solving their issues without the IT department. They are just another generation. The transition managers need to rate that aspect, too…

What is your view on these new challenges for it?

The mobile workplace is growing (and maybe three reasons still against it)…

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There are only three reasons left why we might have a small workplace or personal roll container in the future (although most UK workers seem to see no reason for having an office by 2021)…

1. Controling still store paperwork as lawyers and tax consultants recomment it (fear of data loss).
2. HR wants to take control of how much time you spend in the office (productivity check – employees check employees).
3. A boss that fears to loose control over your work productivity (better see than hope, hierarchy could change).

However, I have stated in many interviews lately why -except for the three reasons above- I love to work mobile, in hotel lobbies, lounge bars, at the airport or in restaurants as well as coffee shops. And I have not ever thought about my past and how co-workers might have a killing impact on my lifetime. Thanks for sharing the Tel Aviv University study insights, Wired!

OK, I have to admit, I have found bars that call themselves „News Bar“ and still don’t offer any WiFi connection for their guests – but hundreds of print magazines. It somehow fits my theme „Talking is Online, Silence is Print!“ but business is challenging if you want to work in your mobile office.

Nevertheless, smartphones, laptops, tablets and WiFi offer us a complete new workplace freedom and leverage mobile productivity. We use those devices to finish more and more work from whereever we are.

The wrong use of the mobile workplace is exaggered and extreme mobilie efficiency. Quite often I see people in cars, using the time when commuting to and from the office efficiently (and in a very dangerous way, see the „Don’t text and drive!“ Facebook page) checking emails during two red traffic-light periods.

Spot On!
I am happy that companies like Gist create infographics that put together data explaining the rise of the mobile workforce. It gives insights on device popularity and and the preference of where people love to work mobile.

Managers should start thinking about how they could make the mobile office a flexble solution for their employees, don’t you think?

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