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My 5 Takeaways from the Latest Altimeter Social Media Report

November 11, 2010
at 4:00 pm PST

Jeremiah Owyang, Altimeter Group released a first-of-its-kind research study on the emerging role of the social media strategist. You can download the report on Jeremiah’s blog here.

We’re happy to be included in this research report.   Clearly, marketing in a web 2.0 world means doing things differently but unless we stop doing something the old way…we’re not going to help our internal clients adopt new business processes.  After all, this is about change management and the social media strategist must be willing to work through internal resistance (one of the 6 major challenges discussed in the report) to create quick wins and convince stakeholders to adopt new ways to work. Since we’ve been experimenting, learning and integrating social into our business for a few years now, I thought I’d provide my top 5 takeaways for helping drive change in your company.


1.      Focus on creating a culture of openness and transparency. Social media enables a new direct communication between you and your customer and potential customers. This puts even more control in the hands of your employees to serve as brand champions. Start with internal blogs or forums from executives at the top. If not your CEO, find a willing executive and socialize the learnings to encourage others. Our internal CEO video blog is called “On my mind” and it’s an opportunity for employees to provide input to our CEO, in an open and transparent forum. Using video is more engaging for our employees – they see our CEO talking in his office, using his webcam about issues that have been raised on his blog. It sends the message that, if our CEO can do this, so can you.

2.      Share with your management team what your peers and competitors are doing. Your great idea will get even more support internally if you back it up with 3rd party examples. And when you do have a success within one of your teams helps them socialize that and create a healthy competition to get others on board.

3.      Share with your management team what your employees are saying behind the firewall and in the public domain. Making our management team aware of our “unofficial” presence online – such as the discussions on the Cisco group on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Yammer, etc. not only raised awareness but made it an imperative to create a proactive strategy.

4.      Stop doing something the old way. This is hard, for sure, but it’s critical in helping people understand how to get started. Some examples are:

a.       We shortened our press release template and relied more on blogs for news.

b.      We used Flip cameras for video blog posts instead of hiring a video crew. This led to a new training program for “how to make Flip videos”.

c.       We reused content whenever possible. We encouraged marketing teams to optimize the content on their white papers so it could be chopped up into 5 blog posts, 1 video, 1 podcast, etc.

5.      Create an internal resource center on your intranet. Use your intranet to help scale your team.  With a dedicated role like social strategist, you will get calls from every department wanting to know everything from what is social media to what your team does and what services you offer. Having a robust intranet where you share resources, training materials, planning documents, policy and have some sort of discussion area where people can post questions not only helps you educate those that contact you, but it helps create a culture of sharing and openness.

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6 Comments.


  1. Great stuff. How important do you think it should be to actually measure the impacts of such actions?

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    • Jeanette Gibson

      measurement is key! As long as you set your goal up front, measure your progress and socialize the results around your company. We just did a review of our major Facebook pages to see how many had signed into cisco.com as a customer. Very interesting to see how engaged our audience is and track new customers coming in from Facebook.

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  2. As a key partner for cisco, we adopted animist social media approach across the organization. In business reviews, rather than just slideware, we incorporated videos (created by flips) to provide direct feedback.. It has created a new way of doing things!

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    • Jeanette Gibson

      Nice to hear about your use of Flips to help you achieve your goals. I’ve also seen some of our execs send their communications teams a video of a presentation or idea for a new presentation via Flip so they can really capture the emotion and intent from the exec. Amazing what a difference seeing the person and hearing them is..vs. just reading an email.

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  3. It is good to see you guys getting executives from big companies involved in social media. The flip video bit must make the CEO seem more human and approachable.

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    • Jeanette Gibson

      Yes, and it takes less time too! Such a great way to get our execs opinions out there…without having to write up long briefs or wait months to get on their calendar. We capture them in the moment so it’s real-time and definitely more human. Thanks for your comment!

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