Archive for the ‘Social Media’ category

Treat employees like… consumers?

December 13th, 2010

Lessons from the social media consumer experience, applied within an enterprise social software environment

Customer Employee Support

When an employee emotionally micro blogs internally about her crappy VPN performance, something she’s put up with for over a year because she didn’t take the time to properly troubleshoot it with her IT helpdesk, don’t tell her to “submit a support ticket” – do it for her, and continue to interact with her via the micro stream. You’ll be surprised how many others benefit.

Brand Employee Loyalty

When you want employees to buy into and talk about your company’s mission, latest corporate initiatives or organizational beliefs – especially important if you’ve grown significantly through mergers and acquisitions – then hang out where they are online, and develop trusted relationships with employees by reading and commenting on their content, asking them their opinions on what you’re “selling,” and then incorporate their feedback into your overall “product.” Oh, and act on any issues you uncover.

Social Marketing Corporate Communications

When you want to target your corporate messages to be as sticky as possible, listen to the employee social intranet with your monitoring tools to figure out what current company sentiments are and what topics are trending, and then craft your message to capitalize on them. Then publish your message as a video, a blog, a micro blog, and email a link to influencers – i.e., well-connected employees – asking them to blog or micro blog about it.

Social Business Strategists: Social Media vs. Enterprise 2.0

November 15th, 2010

In Community Managers Part 1: Definitions, I shared my observations about the different types of community managers – those primarily focused on executing ongoing practices – but didn’t spend too much time on the Program Roles – those focused primarily on executing proactive programs. (Also, my apologies. My schedule won’t accommodate an in-depth study of community manager backgrounds, which would have been Part 2.)

There is a third role which perhaps sits above these, called the Strategist.

In reading Altimeter Group’s The Two Career Paths of the Corporate Social Strategist. Be Proactive or Become ‘Social Media Help Desk’, I’m struck by the many similarities between the Corporate Social (Media) Strategist:

Definition: The Corporate Social Strategist is the business decision maker for social media programs – who provides leadership, roadmap definition, and governance; and directly influences the spending on technology vendors and service agencies.

and the Enterprise 2.0 Strategist, who is primarily focused on strategies for enabling employees and contractors to get work done better, faster, smarter – i.e., Organizational Effectiveness – through the use of social business behavior, processes, and technology.

The three similarities that strike me most are the challenges they face, what makes them successful at their job, and their job responsibilities. The following data from Altimeter’s report could just as easily describe the Enterprise 2.0 Strategist:

Challenges They Face

Social Strategists are plagued with a variety of challenges. We uncovered six: 1) Resistance from internal culture, 2) Measuring ROI, 3) Lack of resources, 4) An ever-changing technology space, 5) Resentment and envy of the role, and 6) A looming increase in business demands.

What Makes Them Successful

What Makes Social Strategists Successful at Their Job

Job Responsibilities

[Social Strategists] act more like program managers and resources for the whole corporation. These decision makers have a wide range of responsibilities, some not as glamorous as their public social media personas may suggest. In fact, many of these duties are similar to those of program managers in any business unit.

One major difference, though, is that the Enterprise 2.0 Strategist/program manager doesn’t seem to have a discrete budget or overall decision-making power. Instead, they must work with a governing steering committee made up of multiple executive sponsors and senior advisors from all over the organization, including IT, Legal, Corporate Communications, Marketing, and HR. They are a role without a well-defined home.

I’m currently working with a few large clients who are taking on both social media and enterprise 2.0 projects as parts of a greater social business endeavor, and I’m looking forward to better understanding how their Corporate Social Strategists (from Marketing) and their Enterprise 2.0 Strategists (one is from Corporate Communications, another client’s E2.0 strategist is from Corporate IT) work together as they implement socially re-engineered business processes that span multiple business units (intranet), a specific group of business customers (extranet), and the entire social Web.

Community Managers Part 1: Definitions

September 22nd, 2010

Differences and similarities in social business activities and related  job roles


As many experienced at JiveWorld 2010, when it comes to which social business role is responsible for what set of activities, we are all struggling to reach a common language. Others have adroitly identified the differences between “community” and “social media,” so I won’t cover that here. Instead, I’m going to focus on the differences and similarities in what is done in three areas – Employees (Intranet), Customers/Partners (Extranet), Social Web (Internet) – and who does it.

Part 1: Definitions

First, let’s talk about what typical online community activities are. Then, I’ll describe who does them. There are horizontal, “always on” online community behaviors, or Ongoing Practices, and there are vertical, “start and stop” online community event series, or Programs.

Ongoing Practices

Similar to answering the phone when it rings and responding to email when it arrives, ongoing online community practices are primarily reactive behaviors. They are ad hoc responses to something that has happened. They typically do not have discrete funding tied to them, and do not have required formal success metrics. They are just “part of the job.”

Such ongoing practices include:

  • Notifying someone of a discussion thread they should chime in on
  • Approving access to a private group
  • Replying to a tweet or Facebook fan page post with an answer, or relevant link to more information
  • Responding to Partners’ questions in an external branded community
  • Handling reports of inappropriate use in an employee community
  • Monitoring negative comments about your brand in the social Web
  • Much, much more…

Programs, while ongoing, are made up of planned events with start and stop dates, and are primarily proactive. They usually have discrete funding tied to each of them, and require some sort of formal success metrics.

Such programs might include:

  • Corporate communications intranet content program
  • Employee profile completion awareness program
  • Partner enablement program
  • Brand champions program
  • Employee onboarding program
  • Product marketing program
  • Many more…

(I’d argue that Movements are a third area, but perhaps are an evolution of the two above into a single, new thing. If you want to learn about Movements, be sure to read the Brains on Fire book and get connected with that organization’s excellent group of kindred spirits.)

Now, let’s talk about who does this stuff.

There are several roles responsible for enacting Ongoing Practices and Programs, with many people fulfilling multiple roles. There are many other roles who participate, but are not necessarily responsible. I’m only focused on the responsible parties.

Roles for Programs

These roles are responsible for planning, creating, implementing and measuring their respective programs. I think there’s enough understanding about what these roles do, so I’m not going to cover them here. Just know that they exist and are tasked with producing results in their focus area, using social business practices and software/media, as well as more traditional communication/networking/collaboration/marketing tools, channels, media, etc.

  • Corporate Communications Director (example)
  • Employee Engagement Director
  • Sales and Channel Enablement Marketing Manager
  • Customer Marketing Manager
  • Partner Marketing Manager (example)
  • Social Media Marketing Manager
  • Product Marketing Manager
Roles For Ongoing Practices

When it comes to Ongoing Practices, things get much murkier. There are three primary roles, differentiated mainly by where the people in their community decide to participate online (there’s a whole offline component to “community” that I trust you already understand):

  • Internal Community Manager (example): focused on people who participate in employee communities
  • External Branded Community Manager (example): focused on people who participate in dedicated support, partner, business, developer, learning, conference, etc. communities
  • Social Media Community Manager (example): focused on people who interact with their company’s people, products, and brand in a variety of social Web communities, such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, etc.

There are two other roles worth mentioning – one is a superset of one or more of the above, the other is a subset.

  • Enterprise Community Manager (example): usually focused on people who participate in one or more communities, whether internal, externally branded, or social Web
  • Individual Community Manager (example): usually designated to a portion of a community rather than the entire thing, e.g., Partner Community Manager

Like I said, in many cases there is one person responsible for both the Program and Ongoing Practices in a given area. In other cases, the Program Manager has the luxury of a team of people across whom responsibilities are dispersed.

Stay tuned for Part 2: Differences and Similarities between Community Manager Types

The Turtle Ultimately Wins the Race

August 16th, 2010

Originally posted on

This website has been making the social Web rounds lately. If one were to put each randomly created sentence on slides, one could probably charge for consulting services.

Hint: refresh the web page to get a new piece of advice.

And then a few days ago, my friend @sarahkayhoffman of Nike Human Race social media fame, and more recently, #HireHoff success, posted this gem:

Don’t be a One-Hit Wonder


Many companies employ Social Media to promote an event, launch a new product, service and/or campaign or flat-out blast single promotions/hot items.

But what happens when the company employs it for just a few days, weeks or even 3-5 months prior and then drops it like a bad habit?

Congratulations! You’ve become a “One-Hit Wonder!”

Traditional marketers are still trying to understand “social”

Traditional marketing programs move from event to event, while sustaining the message in between (you more seasoned marketers are welcome to correct and clarify here, as I’m still a n00b in the Marketing arena). Traditional marketers struggle with how to infuse these programs with “social,” and invariably do EXACTLY what Sarah describes in her article.

Hell, I’ve even perpetrated this myself, my very first week after joining Jive’s Marketing team. Good thing it was an inexpensive lesson. 😉

Constant and steady wins the race

We all know that a foundational, ongoing social behavior is what’s needed to “sustain the message” these days, whether it’s in support of marketing programs, customer relations (ohhh, I almost said ‘management’ there!), or even personal reputation. But, how do you fit that into the way marketers approach marketing?

I’ll ask that again.

How do you fit ongoing social behavior into the way marketers approach marketing?

What I propose isn’t earth-shattering, nor is it complicated. What it is, however, is difficult, because it’s simply not part of a marketer’s job right now. And it’s probably the single thing traditional marketers can do to infuse “social” into their programs, the right way.

Here it is. Ready?

Nurture individual, trusted relationships with your key influencers.

Right now, there are probably one or two people in your organization who really KNOW your key connectors, mavens, advocates. It’s likely the person responsible for getting quotes from your customers for marketing materials, or whoever is in charge of your online community’s advocate program, or, if you’re lucky, the person who’s full-time job it is to engage with people through the social Web.

When you have trusted relationships with key influencers, you can ask them to participate in planning your marketing programs. They can advise you on what messages they’d be willing to propagate within their networks, what activities might help sustain the buzz between events, you name it. Because you’ve invested your time in building a relationship with them, they’re more likely to help you out.

Does it make sense to give this job to one person? Yes.

Right now, it makes sense to hire someone to spend all day in the social Web, building relationships, getting answers for people’s questions, directing them to relevant content and people.

Here’s what David Armano says about this:

A community manager actively monitors, participates in and engages others within online communities. These communities can be on Twitter, Facebook, message boards, intranets, wherever groups of people come together to converse and interact with each other. A traditional marketing manager is likely to have little experience with this function.

~ Fire Your Marketing Manager and Hire A Community Manager (Harvard Business Review)

The payoff is that these people end up creating massive amounts of social capital for your organization to spend as needed.

But, how do you measure social capital?

The problem is that it’s hard to measure the value of, and results from, social capital earned through ongoing social Web engagement (and for that matter, through in-person meetups, tweetups, conferences, parties, etc). Is it about generating leads? Nope. And unfortunately, that’s probably the primary measurement stick Marketing still uses.

And that’s why sites such as still ring eerily true.

So, WTF is my social media strategy?

Be like the Turtle. Your social media strategy should be to consistently and steadily generate – and SPEND – massive amounts of social capital with key influencers, customers, and anyone who’s considering buying into what you have to sell.

Practitioners know the things analysts and consultants don’t

August 3rd, 2010

Practitioners, analysts and consultants all play important roles when an emerging business practice is, well, emerging. But, if I had to choose who to listen to during these formative years, I’d choose practitioners.

People want to talk to others like them, who’ve successfully done whatever it is they’re trying to do.

Social business, my favorite emerging practice, is set to hit $3.1 billion in spending by 2014, just for social media marketing alone, forget about the $4.6 billion spending prediction that will enable Enterprise 2.0 social business behaviors. If your organization plans to participate in this evolution, you might want to learn from those who’ve been there, done that.

People like you, who’ve been there, done that

You have a chance to learn from and connect with these folks, who’ll be speaking at the only social business conference that features practitioners who’ve successfully engaged employees, customers, and the social Web.

Employee-Facing Social Business Practitioners

Photo of Tony Uphoff

Tony Uphoff
United Business Media TechWeb

Claire Flanagan
Director, Enterprise Social Business Collaboration and Communities Strategy

Photo of Ken Hamel
Ken Hamel
Senior Vice President of SAP Global Presales

Photo of Jennifer Bouani
Jennifer Bouani
Director of Interactive Communications

Photo of Len Devanna
Len Devanna
Director of Digital Strategy

Photo of Angelique Finan
Angelique Finan
Program Manager, Office of the CTO

Photo of Brad Fitzgerald
Brad Fitzgerald
Community Manager

Photo of Ted Hopton
Ted Hopton
Wiki Community Manager
United Business Media

Photo of Wolfgang Jastrowski
Wolfgang Jastrowski
Head of Unite Communications & Collaboration
Swiss Re

Photo of Greg Lowe
Greg Lowe
Social Media Strategist

Public-Facing Social Business Practitioners

Photo of Mark McKenna
Mark McKenna
Managing Director and Head of Marketing and Communications
Putnam Investments

Photo of Jennifer Hidding
Jennifer Hidding
Director of Interactive Channels
Lifetime Fitness

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Mark Finnern
Chief Community Evangelist

Photo of Stephen Maiello
Stephen Maiello
Senior Manager
Charles Schwab

Photo of Dianne Kibbey
Dianne Kibbey
Global Head of Communities, Portals, and eProcurement
Premier Farnell

Photo of Trisha Liu
Trisha Liu
Enterprise Community Manager

Photo of Scott Palmer
Scott Palmer
Worldwide Channel Web Strategy

Photo of Greg Sanders
Greg Sanders
Director, Global Online Services

Photo of Deirdre Walsh
Deirdre Walsh
Community & Social Media Manager
National Instruments

JiveWorld10 Conference Agenda | Register today

The benefits of implementing a community advocate program

July 29th, 2010

I’m in the midst of moving beyond soft launch of our one-month-old advocate program for the Jive Community, called Jive Champions. One benefit to such programs is that these members routinely share their thought leadership, expertise, and guidance within and beyond the community.

Here are just a few gems the Jive Champions have shared since we started the program.

By Jamie Pappas, Social Media Strategist, EMC

By Greg Lowe, Social Media Strategist, Alcatel-Lucent

Discussion with Claire Flanagan, Director KM and Enterprise Social Business Collaboration and Communities Strategy, CSC

By Roy Wilsker, Senior Director Technology Planning, Covidien

By Tracy Maurer, System Engineer, United Business Media

By Ted Hopton, Community Manager, United Business Media

By Jennifer Bouoni, Director Interactive Communications, Manheim

The Jive Community has so many more excellent contributors, too! A few of them should expect an email from me soon, inviting them to join the Jive Champions. 😉

Becoming a Social Business, One Process at a Time

July 13th, 2010

Originally posted on Edelman Digital

Over the past couple of years, I’ve worked with several clients to plan and implement employee- and customer-facing social business initiatives. I’ve found it ironic that, while many enterprises decide to implement social business software and encourage social business behaviors in an effort to break down silos between employees and employees, employees and customers, and employees and the social Web, they approach their implementations from a very silo’ed perspective. For example, employee-focused pilots tend to take root in a business unit, then IT and/or Employee Communications teams take over when it grows into a strategic initiative. And in the mean time, Marketing and Corporate Communications are leading a completely separate customer- and social Web-facing social business initiative. The left and right hands often don’t meet until their procurement office gets the purchase orders.

From Silos > To Strategic Focus

However, if you can somehow remove these organizational-chart blinders sooner rather than later, the big picture becomes clearer. You can focus on the full business processes you’re trying to evolve, and all of the people who need to participate in social business transformation – employees, prospects, customers, and partners. You’ll then have a better chance of identifying the “from” you wish to leave behind, and the “to” you want to become.

In my new role as Communities Program Manager at Jive, I’m responsible for infusing existing business practices with social business behaviors (among other tasks). So, we focus first on the process and who enacts it before we figure out where social business software can improve or innovate how we do business.

Here are a few business practices we’ve evolved into social business practices, categorized by how most companies are measured:


Attracting Leads: From Static Website Content > To Interactive Thought Leadership

To attract more leads, we’ve augmented our static website content – case studies, whitepapers, customer webcasts, etc. – with content from influential and, well, pretty damn smart employees, customers and partners in our customer-facing Jive Community. Most of these mavens and connectors are part of our newly launched Jive Champions program. But, while the content is great, it’s the willingness of these Champions to interact that puts the zing in this particular sauce.

We routinely market this thought leadership content in the social Web. We, of course, “FaceTweetIn” it, but we also use social media monitoring to listen for and then engage folks who are interested in our or our competitors’ products and services. My colleague, Mike Fraietta, listens to 100% of the Twitter stream, plus everything else out there, ready to share our community’s thought leadership when appropriate (he’s one of our Jive Champions, so he dispenses advice and shares his experiences along the way).

I also make sure to market this content and its resulting discussions to our employees in our internal social networking software environment. Sales, Support, Services, Product Management, and our executive staff are very much plugged into our prospects and customers, which means they can propagate our thought leaders’ content in a very targeted fashion to progress a sales opportunity, or increase customer penetration.

We have another social business practice focused specifically on progressing a sales opportunity that includes integration between, our employee-facing Jive SBS instance, and our customer-facing Jive SBS instance. That’s another blog post, however.


Crisis Management: From Not Knowing > To Proactive Engagement

Before we had social media monitoring capabilities, the only way we’d know about a brand-related crisis was if someone accidently stumbled across a blog post, Facebook group, or tweet. We’ve evolved that practice into listening to the social Web, and proactively engaging our prospects and customers before sentiments get too out of hand. Now, when our brand starts to take hits in the social Web or in our customer-facing community, we post the negative items in our employee community so that we can get the right eyeballs and actions on it immediately.  And, we join the negative conversation as soon as possible, offering to listen and take their feedback back to our colleagues.

I think my favorite part about this scenario, however, is that our customers have come to our rescue on our behalf, both in our customer community and in the social Web. Many of these customers are now part of our Jive Champions program.


Developing Products: From Bug Tracking > To Interactive Ideation

We’ve always loved hearing from our customers about what our products need to become to make their work lives better. But, collecting their feedback through support cases, then submitting it into feature/bug tracking software where nobody but our engineers saw it didn’t leverage the collective innovation our customers could produce. We evolved this process into one that promotes interactive ideation. Customers now submit, comment, and vote on product ideas in our customer community, playing off one another’s ideas to refine what they really want. Our product managers join these discussions to ask for more clarity, run initial product plans by our customers, and learn at a glance what the top ideas – i.e., the most wanted ideas – are. They sometimes bridge specific discussions into our employee community so they can collaborate with product engineers “behind the scenes” before responding to customers.

And, just to make sure our customers know they’re being heard, our product managers periodically blog in the customer community about the status of specific ideas and how they relate to our roadmap, which I then FaceTweetIn, naturally.

None of these From > To’s would have happened if we hadn’t gained buy-in from executives, mid-level managers, and most importantly, the people enacting the practices. Here’s the engagement plan framework we used to identify, incent, empower, and engage key actors in these processes.

My next big task is to measure how all this social business activity correlates to any changes in key business metrics. That, too, is another blog post.

My Burton Group Catalyst Presentation

July 6th, 2010

I’ll be presenting the following at Burton Group Catalyst Conference in San Diego July 28 at 9:45 am Pacific, in Sapphire M room:

Design, for Community’s Sake! (Note: I specialize in lame titles.)


No matter whether you’re implementing an online community environment for employees, contractors, business-to-business, channels, partners, prospects, customers, or all of the above, design it differently than your typical intranet, internet, or portal websites. Why? To promote continual engagement.

In this session, you’ll learn five good practices for designing an engaging community site: 1) Identify Community Characteristics, 2) Determine Member Wants, 3) Balance Corporate and Member Content, 4) Express Site Identity, and 5) Add Concierge Services.

You also learn how to avoid common pitfalls, including one-way broadcasting, over-branding, under-positioning with other applications and websites, and more.

Finally, we will discuss how to check the health of your existing community’s design. We will take requests from the audience to review existing community sites that are publicly accessible, and answer questions, such as: Is the site’s identity expressed clearly and does it reflect overall community objectives, characteristics, and its members’ wants and needs? Is there a good balance between company and member content?

While this is based on the Jive SBS Design Practices series, it applies to any community or collaborative platform, so if you’re at the conference, please stop by!

Corporations are Really High Schools, Budget-wise

January 30th, 2010

(Disclaimer for the obtuse: This is a tongue-in-cheek post.)

Sales: Football team, the entire Sports program.

Marketing: They support the Sports program. Sometimes they’re the Cheerleaders (plenty of funding), sometimes they’re the Band (but they have to buy their own instruments and sew their own uniforms).

Engineering: Chess, Math, Science clubs (obviously).

Services and IT: A/V club. Mr. Sanders can’t very well fix his own projector, now, can he?

Social Media Strategist/Community Manager: Glee, Theater clubs, the entire Arts program (first one to get cut in a budget crisis).

What am I missing?

Smooshing Enterprise 2.0 and Social Media Together

January 8th, 2010

It’s been almost five months since I first scratched my head over the perception that Enterprise 2.0 and social media practitioners don’t ever mix their chocolate and peanut butter. I wrote that post soon after delivering this presentation.

Since then, I’ve conducted many strategic planning sessions with clients who are implementing online communities as part of their overall social media involvement, and have learned QUITE a bit about what sucks and doesn’t suck about trying to implement a nice, well-rounded social media approach.

Instead of blah blah blah-ing about it, I give you a short, incomplete list that you can challenge me about:

  • Employees throughout your organization should be able to listen to what customers, prospects, and partners are talking about, and DO SOMETHING about it. This isn’t reserved solely for Corporate Marketing or your PR Agency anymore. (Shameless plug: My company, Jive Software, realized this, and bought Filtrbox to help make this happen.)
  • Corporate Marketing can become Corporate Darlings just by including employees in writing social media guidelines and participating in social media activities. We non-Marketing folks are doing it anyway, so why not orchestrate us? (I recommend using my favorite Enterprise 2.0 application, Jive SBS, natch.)
  • Make an online community place just one component of your overall social media plan – drive prospects and customers and partners to a destination place. You Twitter and Facebook and blog about marketing events and promotions and press releases, yet include links to your cold, dead, brochure-like website. Why not link to where your online community is discussing it as well? (Hint: it sure makes it easier to listen and act when the higher-value conversations are all happening in one spot.)

Confession: This blog post included links to mostly cold, dead, brochure-like websites until I wrote that last paragraph.