Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The NOW Revolution - Day 3 at OMS 2011

The opening keynote for day 3 at OMS 2011 was a great presentation that focused on the transformation of "business as usual" due to Social Media. Amber Naslund and Jay Baer are the authors of The Now Revolution which was released yesterday. They make three points on the transformation of business during the NOW Revolution: Businesses need to be Faster, Smarter, and more Social.

The first argument is that businesses must be faster now in responding to their customers than ever before. Communication has shifted from traditional mail, to phone, to fax, to email, to real time social media. The acceptance by businesses to identify that they must change how they do business is the key to their eventual survival.

Companies that are successful at making that change taking social media seriously and realize that everyone in an organization is a PR rep and should be empowered to communicate with customer. This is a radical decentralization of information flow. Now, this must be done appropriately which means that policy's, procedures, and education must take place so that all employees know how, why, and what to say when communicating.

Next Amber and Jay state that companies need to get smarter. Companies need to recognize that all information is good information, even if the message is negative. With Social Media, customers now have the ability to find out more about your company than most of your employees know, and then make decisions based on those findings. With everyone being a reporter, it goes without saying that your business in making news everyday, even if you are unaware of it.

Where do you start, LISTEN. Companies are now required to decentralize their listening to be effective where each department is listening to messages important to them, and responding. This thought goes to the Web 3.0 presentation from yesterday that showed the different ways a business may organize their social media efforts, pointing to the "dandelion" method of multiple hub and spokes where a central person / department manages the overall process.

Ok, so the company is responding faster, empowering employees, and listening to the customers, NOW what? Be more social. Now that you have listened, start talking and being more social. Amber and Jay argue that you need to create conversations as part of the NOW Revolution. This is not just about talking about your products, but talking about topics that deal with you customers. "Every Company Has a Story to Tell!". Amber and Jay also state that marketing is not always the group that has the story to tell; rather the front line employees have the story to tell. The stories must be interesting, informative, and HUMAN.

This is a great point as many companies feel that just by talking, their customers will want to hear what they have to say. That is like saying "if I write a book, everyone will want to read it, including Opera". This is huts not true, there must be a connection made between your stories and your customers. That is the HUMAN value, aspect, that Amber and Jay Talk about.

Companies need to be social, and now longer that awkward 8th grader standing along the wall at the school dance. Be a capitalist in social media and chant that "more is better". So, to put this in perspective, it used to be important that consumers wear a brand. The name on the tag was important, so much so that Jean Companies like Levi and Guess were making plain t-shirts with nothing more than their brand name on it. NOW it is important that you customers wear your brand online through their conversations. Companies cannot only focus their efforts on building their own network, but utilize and maximize their impact on the customers and employees networks. Remember that More is better.

This was a great presentation that pointed out what should be obvious to companies, but is unfortunately not in most cases. I have to admit that the company I work for has a lot of room for growth in this area. The possibilities are limitless and can boost our relationships with our customers and consumers. Time to put The NOW Revolution as am must read on my book list.

Location:San Diego, CA

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Web 3.0 - Day 2 at OMS 2011

This morning I attended the seminar on Web 3.0 presented by Dave Wieneke. This was a very interesting seminar where Dave presented the evolution of the Internet as "era's", where not only does the web evolve, but so do it's users who in turn require more from it.

He goes on to describe the magnitude of the change on the web and summarized how each era existed. He showed how Web 1.0 was the "static" web where sites were developed in HTML. During this era, producers of content and consumers of content were different. The focus here was to provide access to information.

The next era of the web, and as many would argue the current era, is Web 2.0. If you have read my earlier blog you know that this era was coined by the O'Reilly Media Group as a rebirth of the web after the dot com crash. Web 2.0 brought fourth the creation of Content Management Systems and Web Widgets where everyone could be a producer and consumer of content. Dave equated his era to the "invitation to be my friend" era.

So where is the web going in the near future? Mr. Wieneke argues that this next era is the Web 3.0 era where the concentration is on applications and data sharing. By moving towards this era, technology will allow you to do specialized tasks. This is similar to the shift in business as a whole into personalized marketing and selling.

How is this going to happen? Dave points out what he believes to be the three D's: Delivery allowing for separate digital user experiences, Design changes where the focus is on apps and not web pages, and finally Data delivered through XML, HTML5, RDF etc. These focuses will bring fourth interoperability and ease of access for all users / visitors.

Gartner projects that app sales will grow to $150 Billion by 2014 which is more than The total annual sales of Microsoft and Apple combined. This shows the propensity of consumers to use applications to acquire content rather then web sites. While it is still vital that you have a relevant and well developed website, this statistic proves that businesses can no longer ignore the application development arena.

Sharing behavior studies show that while only 4% of people share smart phones with their families and friends, while over 35% share their tablet's. However, content creation is only 3% of use for mobile devices and the majority of use is communication and networking. This leads to the fact that design and development for mobile use is no longer an afterthought, but needs to be at the basis for you design.

USC believes that mobile will increase video consumption to by consumes to over 50 hours per week per user. Because of all of this, ad methods are changing and apps are vital to promoting brands to you consumers.

Dave Wieneke shows us that the variety of means to reach our consumers is out there, and the way to reach them is shifting. Businesses must recognize and react to this change in order to stay relevant. So when you look at your exposure on the web, your site design, accessibility of content, keep in mind the transition of the Internet to Web 3.0.

Keynote with Mario Sundar of LinkedIn - Day 2 at OMS 2011

Mario Sundar is the Sr. Social Media Manager and Chief Blogger for the business networking site LinkedIn and keynote speaker for Day 2 (my day 2), at OMS 2011. The keynote session was setup as a Q&A session with Mario. So in that interest, I will try to provide some of the questions that were asked, answers given, and my input on those answers. Please know that due to the pace of the conversation, in relation to my typing speed, most answers are paraphrased but all information provided here is 100% accurate.

Q1: What is the future of the Social Media Strategies Position?

Mario: On one hand it is going to be seamlessly integrated into other functions of the business. Secondly there is an executive social media role at the larger companies. The larger companies that take social media seriously will look to bring in those experts at the higher levels of the organization.

Q2: In building social media strategy, there are always founding principles. What are two to three founding principles.

Mario: First, find the right community of users and engage with them. Second, do not start with the tools, start with the plan.

Q3: What are some tools that people should look to use.

Mario: Custom groups on LinkedIn, custom company pages, and direct display ads on LinkedIn

Q4: What is a custom group in LinkedIn.

Mario: First, start with the free version of groups. Explore and see what it can do. See if it matches your customers, and if so, then look into example custom groups like HP's. This will allow you to target a specific audience. Then find a moderator from outside the company so that the conversation is not about sales, and more about thought leadership.

Q5: Where should people start when it comes to social networking sites.

Mario: Of course there are the main three; Facebook, Twitter, and that professional networking site. But what is important is knowing what goes where. To paraphrase what the founder of LinkedIn said: Facebook is your living room where you invite your family and friends over. Twitter is you broadcasting tool, and LinkedIn is your office space where you communicate wi you business colleagues. MySpace is like the bar, and right now is an empty bar.

So I have to say that the Q&A session was very interesting as the perspective of Social Media remains pretty constant whether you work for a social media company like LinkedIn, or a small business in Florida. Social Media, what seems to be becoming a theme at OMS 2011, simply put is identifying your community and conversing with them. Seems simple, but it is far from simple. As Mario said, too many companies try to define their tools and messages before they find their community. A voice without a home is not heard, so let your voice be heard and find your community.

Location:San Diego,United States

Monday, February 7, 2011

Social Media 2.0 - Day 1 at OMS 2011

As I sit here in Conference room B at the Westin Gaslamp I look around to see the room filled with Macbook Air's, iPads, iPhones, and a variety of other tablet computers.  This makes me wonder if the standard laptop is nearing end of life, at least for those whom are in the e-biz arena.  Not sure why I find this interesting, or how this is relevant to Social Media, although I believe it points to the real time response of community engagement.  Oh, and this blog, along with the rest of them this week are being written on my iPad.  So it is apparent I am among the self proclaimed mobile elite.

The training today is titled Social Media 2.0.  We have all heard of Web 2.0, and most believe it is all about Social Media.  When O'Rielly media came up with that name for their conference in 2004, it was supposed to describe the re-birth of the web after the Dot Com crash.  This was to showcase the transformation of a static web to that of a dynamic and contributory web experience.

So, does that mean that this session explores the rebirth of of Social Media.  A field that many still believe is in it's early stages?  Not exactly.  This session started off with a great story about an airline, identity being hidden, who used Social Media to connect directly with a customer who appreciated the great customer service he received.  The stories here discuss the impact that Social Media has had on business and everyday life throughout our world today.  So, Social Media 2.0 is the transformation that Social Media will, and has, bring to businesses globally.  

Social Media gives a voice to those whom previously only spoke in small groups.  Case in point, Egypt.  Through Social Media, the smallest voice in the crowd can now have the largest impact, and society, is now the judge of what is relevant.

For business, it is the ability to analytically analyze a companies ability to communicate with, not to, their customers.  Further, a company who LISTENS and REACTS to the conversation will be closely connected to their customers in a way that was not possible before.  Rather than being a brand of choice, you become a member of their community.  Ultimately you stop hard selling to your customers and your start to fill your communities needs.

This REVOLUTION in business has, and will continue, to impact our world in a way only compared to the industrial revolution.  So, I have talked about the what and why, throughout this week I will share a lot of different how's as OMS 2011 rolls on!!!    

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Mobile Blogging Unleashed

With the nature of my work, I find it hard to be able to sit down in my home office and spend the time necessary to write relevant and thoughtful blogs. Well, I think I may have found a solution to my problem, BlogPress for the iPad.

Mobility is important to me, as you will find the more that you read my blog and Twitter (@socialsitecore), posts. I am often in meetings, seminars, and conferences and wanted to find away that I could write my thoughts down right away as I suffer from CRS ( Can't Remember S$@&) and often only remember the main points of why I wanted to write something.

Think of it like the author who has a journal next to their bed on the nightstand. Instead of a journal, I have an iPad, and it goes everywhere I do. Now I have the ability to share my perspective in real time as it happens. This App is also adaptable for the iPhone, which is also always on me, and allows me to take pictures, post them to my blog, and write about the image as it happens.

Does this change my blog from a collection of topics and personal reflections to a "news" reporting tool? Not exactly, however it does allow me to utilize my iPad as such. What does this mean to all of you, more posts more often, real time reaction to speakers, magazine articles, blog posts, and online news. Another step towards real time social media.

Next Blog: Social Media in the Community...

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More