Social Media is from Mars, Enterprise 2.0 is from Venus

August 28th, 2009 by Gia Lyons Leave a reply »

Houston ProblemHouston, we have a problem.

I am amazed at how disparate Social Media and Enterprise 2.0 are. I recently attended and presented at Social Fresh, a new type of conference for social media folks. Jason Keath, founder of Social Fresh LLC, took a chance on me as a presenter, because my point of view and experience was so very different (fresh, perhaps?) that I felt like an ambassador from Planet Enterprise 2.0.

What the hell kind of language were these people speaking?

I stuttered some basic questions, which probably sounded like I was asking where the bathroom was in very bad Russian. “I’m sorry, but what is Social CRM again?” And, “Explain what ‘conversion rate’ means, please.” And, “What’s a WOM?”

In my conversations with the excellent people I met at Social Fresh, I learned that they are models for what marketing people should become. They focus on creating and maintaining genuine relationships with customers, and they know how to do it effectively (just see some of the excellent Social Fresh presentations, videos, and images to learn more).

But, I got the feeling – correct me if I’m wrong here – that marketing people don’t have a deep grasp on what really goes on inside their companies. And the rest of us have no idea what’s going on outside of it, even if we’re immersed in public social networks!

Examples of the disconnect

disconnectWhen I voiced my concern about how Social Media and Enterprise 2.0 peeps don’t “get” each other, one smart dude piped up with, “that’s because Marketing and IT don’t get along.” I’d say that used to be true, but today, it’s because they do not speak the same language. At all.

Another smart dude talked about how employees will learn what we’re saying about your company on Twitter, Facebook, etc. via their Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, like When solutions like integrate with Twitter and the like, I guess that’s called social CRM. I call it bullshit. The only reason anyone interacts with a CRM application – or any application, for that matter – is because it’s part of their required work behavior. Sales folks are usually the only ones who must use a CRM tool. And, if an application was built for the people who need reports on the data within, and not for the people responsible for supplying the data, the phrase “force to use” is extremely appropriate. Welcome to Enterprise 1.0, y’all!

Another example of the disconnect: A smart lady mentioned that there were only two sessions about Enterprise 2.0, and they were scheduled at the same time. On the surface, that may have been true, but her comment demonstrates the fact that many don’t see how to apply social media concepts inside an organization.

What problem do we need to solve?

One of the biggest problems we need to solve before “Business as Usual” can evolve to “Social Enterprise Media 2.0”, or Social Business, is this: most large companies are not relationship-centric. They are sales-centric, customer-centric, product-centric. They are focused on whatever produces direct, measurable outcomes. So, we need to figure out how to measure the direct outcome of deeper, trusted relationships between employees and employees, and employees and customers, and employees and business partners, and business partners and customers, and… you get the idea.

handshakeBut, how do you scale trusted relationships? (Hint: you can’t. At least, not in the traditional ways.)

You know what cancer is? It’s how disease scales. It’s job is to get big, fast. And getting big, fast, seems to be a good goal, right? The industrial revolution taught us how to do it. Mass production, y’all. The problem is that we want to AUTOMATE TRUST, and do it fast. This is why Spike Jones from Brains on Fire struck a special chord with me with his 10 Lessons Learned Igniting Brand Ambassador Movements presentation. He talked about word of mouth (WOM) movements, which struck me as a great model for slowly transforming corporate cultures into relationship-centric ones.

You CAN scale trust, but you have to do it by – get this – trusting people to spread trust one by one, two by two. You must make it part of their required work behavior to network/share/learn.

Now, if we can just figure out how to measure the bottom-line outcome of such a thing, we’re all set.



  1. Troy Jensen says:

    I think WOM in the commercial space can grow exponentially. However, WOM in corporate culture can be anemic. Its just challenging to break beyond the early adopter group.

    Even as much as it is promoted, in corporate culture it seems to be more of an evolution than a revolution. I’m not saying that its a good thing, it just is.

  2. Larry Hawes says:

    You’ve made some really great observations here, Gia! The disconnect between externally-focused corporate social activity (Social Media) and internally-facing efforts (Enterprise 2.0) has become more and more apparent the last few months. Organizations need to think about the two holistically and create a collaboration strategy that meshes them to achieve maximum impact on key measurable business performance metrics.

  3. Much liked – very good indeed and most thought provoking! best stuff is inside the firewall but needs to full synergy of relationships and trust to galvanise an organisation.

  4. Gia, this sounds like a more frustrated version of my buzzword alignment post, which was inspired by the same event. We clearly have different groups–people, companies, organizations, publications…–focusing on different aspects of some closely related trends. I think the social media and E 2.0 crowds have a lot to learn from each other, but we do need to improve (start?) communication to get there.

  5. Summer Plum says:

    Gia, exactly. And I had a similar conversation last night… In which I was informed that people only buy products and are not interested in relationships. I argued against that… but still, that idea is out there.

    I feel like I’ve got a bit of an advantage being small right now – I can chose not to hire people who can’t use SM or aren’t willing to learn to use it. Because everything is about relationship, even if the buyer or the seller doesn’t recognize it.

  6. Gia, really nice post! There’s a totally artificial and unproductive divide between internal and external collaboration. As you point out, that divide is driven by organizational dysfunction, not business need. See my posts on the Social Software Value Matrix, and on the Social Software singularity

  7. admin says:

    Great discussion! We need to start speaking the same language, elevating the importance of participation in building trusted relationships through electronic means (aka participate in social media/organizational networking sites), and figure out how to tie that activity to KPIs that the C-suite cares about.

    I’ll have it done by Thursday. 😉

  8. Barry Dalton says:

    Great points. I wonder as I read through this, and as I work to wrap my own arms around Enterprise 2.0 and Social CRM (bullshit…very funny!. BTW – would agree, Just like CRM is not a tool, its a business strategy. SocCRM is not about technology integration. Its about servicing your customers and building relationships with them via the channels through which they desire to interact) how much culture plays in the dialog? Yammer, IM, eMail…whatever the tool to foster enterprise relationships, if the culture is still hierarchical, what chance does a relationship-driven strategy have?

  9. admin says:

    Go Barry!

    We are practically incented NOT to talk to each other based on our organizational hierarchy. So, the use of Social Media and Enterprise 2.0 capabilities is an attempt to overlay that closed structure with an open forum. But, hey, what? We don’t trust each other, so what makes you think I’m gonna suddenly put my good stuff “out there” for others to take credit for, throw me under the bus for, or criticize me for?

    I digress. But, I know you smell what I’m stepping in here.

  10. Yes, relationships matter. As do quantifiable results. No one side is right, there is a time for going right for the sale and getting an immediate result, there is a time for the slow sale and building trust, and there is a time for damage control and customer support.

    But what I feel is required is the necessity in tracking results. That can be in tracking “positive” press vs. “negative” press, conversion rates (click throughs that yield a specific action), re-tweeting (and not just in twitter), or others. The tracking and quantifying of results is the bridge between these two camps. There needs to be more discussion on the analytics and less discussion on the buzz words.

    For example:
    I run the RFP Database at We announce and tweet each new project listing on a number of blogs, twitter, and other locations. Using feedburner, google analytics, and internal reporting we’re able to see the life and impact that each link has and quantify its resulting actions. We’re able to run reports on which messages yielded the most positive actions, and we’re able to view reports on which stream was the most valuable (value quantified in a number of ways).

    THIS is the bridge.

  11. admin says:

    David, thanks for the insight. Your comments are decidedly externally focused, however. How do you get that valuable data to your product engineers? Legal? Research? And how does what you describe help create trusted relationships between engineering and research; support and sales; IT and marketing, WITHIN your organization (that’s E2.0)? Where are the KPIs on that?

    • If your senior product engineers aren’t reviewing your conversion rates with you, along with drop-offs/bounces, customer feedback, and other data, then you have a problem that is neither Social Media nor Enterprise 2.0.

      That is called a complete failure of leadership.

      Lets say your business is in a web-based portal application that you are trying to build membership, but activity, etc. Sure, marketing can go out and bring people to the door, but that’s only 1 goal of possible dozens/hundreds. If the TEAM as a whole isn’t reviewing and tracking usage data, then you’re missing leadership at the top. If sales and marketing is doing its job and bringing people to the gate, but that the process for signing up, purchasing, every day use, etc. is a disaster, then the project is a failure.

      Sure, some things can be taken care of simply on the front-end. Say a customer is having trouble and vents their frustration on Twitter… a front-focused employee can engage the user and help them through it and turn it around. However, taking that to another step, the organization needs to then take that issue and bring it internal, figure out why it’s happening, how often it’s happening, and track it now as an internal change request to the system. Figure out how it can be fixed, improved, etc.

      This is the whole purpose for having a good internal intranet; not just to have a group calendar, but to keep the team working as a team. And yes, your CRM should be integrated, your social media monitor integrated, your bug tracker, your sales data, your system analytics and reporting…

      Otherwise all you’re doing is playing whack-a-mole

      • admin says:

        So, you’re telling me that my 125,000-employee client just lacks… leadership and “having a good internal intranet”? You’re saying that better leadership and a good internal intranet is the method by which an organization can more effectively “take that issue and bring it internal”?


        You are totally proving my point, David. Marketing has no idea what really goes on inside their large organizations.

  12. Hi Gia. This has been a bugaboo around for a while. The label/misconfusion thing.

    We (me, @jevon, @gilliatt) tried to take a stab at least differentiating the e20 tools/use from the social media tools/use with this diagram.

    For the most part, when the majority of folks talk “social media” they’re talking about marketing matters.

    What we face in the enterprise can include the social media discussion, but it’s much more broad than that. New discussions must include the intended business results, as well.

    • admin says:

      Exactly, Susan. It all stems from 1) what is being measured, and 2) how important it is to the company to improve that measure. I know EMC at one time focused their E2.0 metrics on how effectively E2.0 activities improved business processes. Is improving business processes inside an org the equivalent of measuring whatever it is that social media is supposed to make better? Is business process improvement (oy, the memories!) the accepted yardstick for whether some internal initiative is effective or not?

  13. admin says:

    Rachel Happe from The Community RoundTable is explaining this better than I am (thanks, Rachel!):

    “Companies have started to see what is possible to enable with social technologies but the change management and integration to core business processes that is necessary to evolve requires more than technology. To really understand how to effectively use these technologies at a strategic level, its critical to have people that use and understand the technology as well as have a deep understanding of corporate processes, politics & operations – and then be able to wrap that into the language of business management.”

    (See also Dachis Group Jevon, David, Kate, Peter and Jeff are all over this stuff.)

  14. Kim Feraday says:

    Hi Gia,

    To emphasize your point on how moving from a sales/customer/product centric model to a relationship-centric model I sat in on a webinar from a marketing automation platform vendor yesterday. The subject was social media and demand generation. Oddly though it seemed to me that most of the session focused on how social media was simply another chanel that in some way could be automated to fill the pipeline and drive conversions.

    I also think your trust comment is important. But to achieve this I think there has to be a cultural shift inside organizations that will change the corporate weltanschaung.

    Years ago I worked for a company which embraced the notion that everyone in the company could be an innovator — we were all encouraged to bring forward new ideas and jump in and help wherever they saw a problem they thought they could help to solve.
    Executive offices were always open and you could always walk in with your idea.

    The company also made everyone an evangalist. Everyone was encouraged to tell at least one person about the company and it’s products each and every day. The company mission statement was a core element in this.

    As a result we built a culture and community around the product that made it very successful. And years later, people still keep in touch and their are still “company” events even though the company no longer exists.

    This view of one seamless whole from those internally focused to those who were customers and partner focused made us (I think) pretty unique. If we could have layered social media/web20 technologies over this internal corporate culture who knows how much more successful we could have been?

    One final thought — I do agree with David that analytics can play a role in measuring success but it has to go beyond measuring conversion rates/customer satisfaction etc to include new metrics.

  15. Ya know, we’ve seen evidence of how some companies are growing very nicely through that method of WOM. The trick to have a company grow that way is to truely have a valueble product that is going to help the customer in their life. When the mentalitly of a company is “Get Big Fast”, I view that as a very risky way of doing buisiness. With that mindset you are now focused on only growing as a company but not developing real trust relationships between you and the customers. After some time the customer will very likely loose interest in the company and its products or services and the company will leave the marketplace being a “One Hit Wonder”.

    Now, talking about how CRM in large or small companies can be measured, i’m completly convinced that it can and does happen. Some companies may think that sending a survey to their customers is the way to do it. However, my collegues and I have seen that when customer satisfaction surveys are sent out a common return rate is that 15-25% of the people sent to respond and complete the survey. What can we conclude from the 75% of the customers remainging? We’ve also seen that of those few customers that did voice their opinion through the survey, in many ocassions, only 10-15% continue making purchases. The real and accurate way of measuring customer realtionship is the rate of customers returning to the company to continue doing business. Because trusting what they say to be true is like trusting your 14 yr old son that says he’s going to the “Library” to study when in reality he’s just trying to get out of the house to get into mischief. The real way to tell if the customer is satisfied is simply observing whether or not they return to the company after the initial purchase.

    I completly agree that social networking will have a huge impact on how business is done in the marketplace in the future!

  16. admin says:

    Eric Norlin from Defrag says it better than I do, too:

    “Conceptually Speaking…
    What is the “bridging concept?” Gia already alluded to it. Setting up collaborative mechanisms inside of the enterprise to expose informational dark matter and give birth to better work process flow (ie, productivity) is the cousin of setting up externally facing mechanisms that do the same thing with your customers. In fact, the “barrier” we place between them is almost entirely artificial, as are the constructs of “customer” and “employee.” In 2 years, your employees will be interacting with your customers via things like Facebook and Twitter whether you’ve set up mechanisms or not. Ladies and Gentlemen, all aboard the Cluetrain. ”

  17. Chris Jones says:


    Great points throughout. Trust is a key barrier (and enabler) in Social Media adoption. I use different examples to make similar points in areas like Knowledge Management (KM), social ecosystems and change management, but we’re on the same page. My many reflections on E20, trust and cultures of control:

    I only got stuck in two places

    (1) YOUR TITLE (a dangerous place to get stuck !!); I see Social Media or SM, aka Web 2.0, as a set of web-based tools that create a platform (some even call it a “channel”) that does what you say: enabling new social, relationship-focused interaction. But this is happening in many venues, some faster than others. Enterprise 2.0 (#e20 on Twitter) refers to one place, the corporate world, that is starting (slowly) adopt these approaches. A parallel example? Government adoption of SM (#gov20). Sure, it’s semantics, but words can be important … I almost didn’t read your excellent post.

    (2) Social CRM (as Barry indicates) is about creating and growing relationships with your customers; yes the corp world is obsessed with data and outcomes, because that was the formula for success in the industrial revolution; we’ve been focused on how to make more profitable widgets for 100 years. Let’s not obsess on why. We just need to fix it. For every SM evangelist, we’ll probably need 10 on the E20 side.

    The knowledge economy is already demanding different skills and new mindsets .. which is perhaps your Mars/Venus analogy .. I definitely see a chasm of thinking.

    So maybe it’s “SM Evangelists are from Mars, E20 Corp and IT Adopters are from Venus. Wordy. But in the end, you’ve made your point.

    It’s a chasm thing.

    I bet John Gray will have a book on it soon :)

    Thanks for sharing, Gia, some excellent points raised. See you online.

    Chris (@SourcePOV)

  18. Hi Gia, interesting observations from the Social Fresh conference.

    It’s worth keeping in mind though, that ‘Enterprise 2.0’ and ‘social media’ ARE two different things and there’s a pretty good reason social media marketing and enterprise 2.0 people talk slightly different languages. They operate in different spheres under fundamentally different conditions. Social media is driven by people’s innate desire to communicate, connect, be heard, keep in touch, and we just can’t get enough of it, it seems. Whereas with enterprise 2.0 tools, as you indicate yourself: “You must make it part of their required work behavior to network/share/learn.” I agree, it doesn’t happen spontaneously – it’s work, after all, right?

    As you say, to effectively integrate more social media tools inside businesses you need to convince people to use them, and one way to do that is to have a management that believes in the value of using them (ROI) and therefore make them part of the business workflow.

    However, most people in social media marketing and related areas are painfully aware of the lack of tools effectively measuring the conversion rate of human relationships -> sales. Just look at the number of measurement apps and tracking tools out there, and new ones added all the time.

    This is something that social media planners, strategists and marketeers have been struggling with the last few years, both inside and outside the company firewalls. If ideas, campaigns or tools are to be sold efficiently to businesses, ROI must be demonstrated. It’s not for lack of trying or lack of want to communicate to companies the advantages of customer outreach, engagement and having good customer relationships. It’s just a very difficult thing to quantitatively measure the quality of a relationship and there isn’t a measurement tool for it; all we have is a mix of different indicators – which Olivier Blanchard takes a good stab at in his presentation.

    I agree, to turn any company from being sales-centric to relationship-centric would be a slow and difficult process. It may not be realistic even. But a certain openness to the changes in customer expectations that 2.0 tools and services have brought about would not be unrealistic. And it’s those changes, and a common business sense about what makes a good brand, a good service and satisfied customers, that many businesses should already be a lot more perceptive of by now.

    While social media and marketing need to get better at demonstrating and talking ROI, clever businesses need to take a few steps as well, moving towards their customers. Or do you not think that would be possible?

    • Gia Lyons says:

      Anne-mette said:

      “It’s worth keeping in mind though, that ‘Enterprise 2.0′ and ’social media’ ARE two different things and there’s a pretty good reason social media marketing and enterprise 2.0 people talk slightly different languages. They operate in different spheres under fundamentally different conditions.”

      Completely agree with you, which may seem contrary to my original post. There are definitely different conditions, which I doubt will ever change.

      Your comment sparked this thought:

      We are “in it together” with our prospects and customers. But, in many cases, we COMPETE with our fellow colleagues. I have clients who promote competition within their culture, in fact.

      Light Bulb Moment (LBM)!

  19. Gia,
    I don’t think that Enterprise 2.0 and Social Media are two different things. Words are dangerous traps in fact (talked today with @thebrandbuilder about it). Difference lay neither on our objectives, nor on the tools, but in our state of mind when integrating them. You could say it’s all vendor’s pitch.
    SM power doesn’t reside in the “connecting people” aspect of it, (the nodes), but in the information flows (the links). And it is of course easy to integrate in customer service or in marketing channel, where the two other main bricks which are part of the enterprise: knowledge and decision-taking, are implicit or straightforward, and much more difficult to deal with in core busines processes.
    We still, I guess, lack some of the tools necessary for redesigning these processes, but trust, on the other hand, is supposedly given inside a company, or at least much more easy to earn than on the outside counterpart.
    I already planned to blog myself about that later on this week, so I guess this conversation will as well go on there :)

    • Gia Lyons says:

      Thierry de Baillon said:

      “We still, I guess, lack some of the tools necessary for redesigning these processes, but trust, on the other hand, is supposedly given inside a company, or at least much more easy to earn than on the outside counterpart.”

      I’d almost argue that the opposite is true in some cases. There is a certain element of “co-opetition” (cooperation + competition) that exists in corporate cultures, which I think can be effective or corrosive, depending on where you work.

  20. Gia,

    I think it’s important to note that “Enterprise 2.0” has only been around as long as 2 average SAP deployments. That’s not very long. While you point out really good issues of language vocabulary and hence understanding, I think we’re still pretty early in this dialog – when considered from the Big Picture.


    • Gia Lyons says:

      Dennis, agreed, the words we’re using are new, as is some of the technology, but the NEED for them isn’t. “Enterprise 2.0” is simply the daughter of “Knowledge Management” to me, but a bit smarter and a bit prettier. 😉

  21. Dan says:

    Gia, Have you explored Value Network Analysis? I have been reading about companies who are using VNA as a tool to map and value relationships and associated intangibles like TRUST inside organizations and even business ecosystems.