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From the Wild West to Organized Social Business

April 19, 2011
at 3:58 pm PST

I was invited as a speaker and panelist to the B2B Social Communications Leadership Forum presented by PR Newswire and Business Development Institute. First of all, kudos to the organizers and our moderator, Michael Pranikoff (@mpranikoff) of PR Newswire. I also want to give a shout out to my fellow keynote speaker, Matt Ceniceros (@mattceni) of Applied Materials and our fellow panelists David Hargreaves (@DavidHargreaves) of Beyond and Tony Uphoff (@TonyUphoff) of UBM TechWeb.

In a nutshell, my presentation focused on how we organize social business at Cisco and how our internal social efforts have an effect on external social engagement. If you just did a double take, here is what I mean by that:

1. Defining the sand box: we encourage our employees to participate in social media but we realize that we need to do so in a way that protects both the company and individuals. You know the old saying “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas”? The new saying should go more like “What happens in Vegas ends up on Twitter or Facebook”. Hence the need for social media governance. Our policies and guidelines are the first step for anyone at Cisco looking to engage in social media. Knowing the expectations and rules of engagement is a prerequisite.  

2. Providing the tools and know how: once a person has familiarized him-/herself with our policies and guidelines, our next step is to arm this person with various tools and resources to help him or her on his or her social journey. And being a large company, the ability to scale our education and enablement programs is critical. We look at education and enablement on multiple levels ranging from formal training to shared learning opportunities and online self-service resources. Our self-service resources include things like how to’s, frameworks, templates and other tools. And last but not least, we encourage the use of social and collaborative tools internally too, which in turn helps our practitioners build confidence, learn from each other and gain hands-on experience which can be applied externally when they’re ready.  

These two things are specific to our social business, in other words, how we manage and encourage the adoption of social media. We realize that the more we share internally, the more we can learn as a company – together. Our learning curve becomes shorter and our practices become more advanced. But, as is the case with most things (if not everything), as soon as we find the answer to one question, two new questions come up. Learning never ends. Do you feel the same?

Here are the slides I shared today on our social business and success stories. Enjoy!

From the Wild West of Social Media to Organized Social Business (incl. Case Studies)

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2 Comments.


  1. Petra, It’s no brainer to see that social media is here to stay for good. Given vast variety of the existing channels to choose and stick with, it’s time for such a hot space to enter into a new category. There is a need for a portal to provide a quick and intelligent decision for both the consumer and the enterprise about their online connections.

    A Platform to Help us to Distinguish Our Quality vs. Quantity Friends, Fans, Followers, and Companies

    Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube, Flickr and others have been doing a decent job of providing additional marketing exposure and even in some cases, additional revenue. However, as more and more social networking sites pop up, how do you manage your brand across all these channels? Maybe more importantly, which one of these sites should you select as the one that will help you best reach your target audience? The proliferation of the social media avenues is becoming overwhelming.

    This glut of information reminds me of the early 90’s when WWW was adopted broadly by the general public. Every company rushed to have a presence, to the point it became literally impossible to find the right information on the Web. That’s when a better generation of search engines – at first the Yahoo! and then Google – entered the market and helped us find the most relevant information by just typing simple keywords in their search box. If you had asked before Google launched, if there was a need for another search engine – most would have said no, we already have those….

    Then came Web 1.0 & 2.0 – Youtube, Flickr, myspace, Facebook, Twitter and countless others have turned everyday people into content producers, influencers and experts. We basically tripled down on the information overload How do you know which channels to select for deploying your social media strategy? How do you know which one is the right channel to let your fans and followers to find you, your products, and services? Most importantly, who is Joe Smith that is recommending that person, that company, that product?

    I hope my awesomize.me can accomplish such a mission. The site is not another social networking platform. Yet the portal to all your existing social media channels. The platform helps you, your fans, your potential clients to make an intelligent decision as to which company to connect to or follow via which social media channels and why? It’s free!

    Elias
    CEO & Founder
    http://awesomize.me

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  2. I don’t have nothing to say . All in All , It was awesome

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