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The Social Soap Box: Lady Gaga, Social Media and B2Bs

I was at the Lady Gaga concert at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, CA last night in what initially was another routine concert outing (I average about five concerts a year) that quickly turned into my own personal tour on how Miss Gaga does social media. Even before the Oracle Arena opened its doors to her loyal fans, Gaga participated in an interactive Q&A session at Google HQ earlier which garnered approximately 40,000 questions after days it was announced via her YouTube channel.  

At the concert, the two massive digital screens displaying a  live Twitter stream of tweets from fans were expected, but to top that off, she used text messaging to raise awareness and money for her favorite charities. While on stage, she called one fan who attended the concert to personally thank him for the donation.  I even conducted my own impromptu poll with a handful of excited fans. Surprisingly however, most didn’t know she was hip on social media or followed her on Twitter or Facebook. I’m sure if I polled at least half of the concert goers, the results would differ dramatically. The numbers don’t lie. Gaga is still the most socially networked star.

Given all the coverage on Gaga’s use of social media, it’s no surprise that more celebrities are jumping on the social media band wagon to give their personal brands a major social boost.  But can the same social media playbook that helped elevate these personal brands be used for B2B brands?  To enlighten us, I turned to social media expert and blogger for ZDNet, Jennifer Leggio for her candid thoughts.

Despite Lady Gaga’s extreme physical presence, she’s maintained a level of approachability with her fans online. She treats them as if they are a part of her success, rather than merely the reasons for her success. People are fans generally because they want to feel included in something bigger than themselves and Lady Gaga gives hers an opportunity to do that by showing her true self — behind the wigs, 10-inch platforms and make-up — digitally.

I absolutely believe that B2B companies can learn from Lady Gaga and her online presence success. I think, to boil it down, companies need to stop being afraid of their customers and allow them to feel as if they are a part of the company. Despite the advances in social media over the last few years, many companies are still afraid to invite their customers in via blogs or online communities, and they don’t realize how that might alienate otherwise loyal customers. Companies, considering disclosure issues of course, should also be as open with their customers as possible. Allow their executive teams to be real – Cisco’s own Padmasree Warrior is a great example of that. This not only establishes thought leadership but also a human factor that draws in customers and partners.

- Jennifer Leggio

Well said, Jennifer! And since I rarely get to blog about music for Cisco but often share my favorite SOTD (song of the day) with friends on Facebook and Twitter,  I’ll leave you with my Gaga SOTD. Enjoy!

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Executive Social Engagement

Last week, the co-manager of the Cisco Networking Academy Facebook page (@HilalChouman) pointed out an amazing customer post to me.

Ricardo Beltran’s girlfriend had baked him a custom Cisco birthday cake that obviously showed his dedication to Cisco. He was so proud of it, that he shared it on the Networking Academy Facebook page for all 188k fans to see.

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Capturing the Value of Social Media

Facebook, Twitter, Groupon – Social media sites grab the headlines as their valuations continue to skyrocket based on the perception that these sites significantly influence how we work, play, and shop today.  But how influential are they, really?

We know about Facebook and what a HUGE country its participants could now form; its growth continues unabated.  More people spending more time on games, vacation pictures, and stalking former flames. 

Twitter is truly a new media outlet with fast-breaking, world-changing news being tweeted 24×7.  Look at how Twitter helped to bring down an entrenched dictator in power for over 40 years in Egypt to get a sense of what unfettered access to information can do – even if it is only 140 characters at a time.  In its less world-changing form it is also a source of ongoing banality that can numb even the most avid tweeter.

And Groupon – yes Groupon continues to grow quickly as well. With its most recent foray into China the company is in 43 countries and has 51M subscribers (source:  Economist) but with other group coupon sites springing up like weeds in springtime, its competitive advantage has been severely eroded.  The concept has, however, changed shopping in ways that weren’t even anticipated only three years ago.

So what’s a retailer to do?  And perhaps, more importantly, how can retailers make money in social media? 

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Partner Update Newscast: This Week’s Top Cisco Partner Headlines

Another week, another Partner Update newscast.

In this week’s episode, we offer a quick recap of Partner Summit 2011 with some event highlights, important links, plus our handy, downloadable summary document with all of the important links you need – from Cloud partner programs to Architecture specializations and those great deals that were announced, like a big WebEx discount for partners. And, if you missed Partner Summit keynotes, executive chats, or theater breakout sessions, head over to the Virtual Partner Summit site for replays.

I also caught up with Virtual Computing Environment CEO Michael Capellas who talked about the importance of VCE, its value to Cisco partners, and some info about VBlock. We’ll be sharing more of his insights and the full interview with him here on the Channels blog on Monday, so be sure to check back.

Watch our Partner Update newscast for the top partner headlines.

What else made our newscast? Read More »

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Strong appetite for social media marketing and food trucks

 The food truck industry has grown quite significantly as chefs and entrepreneurs look for new ways to reach customers without heavy capital investments.  With television shows like Food Network’s Great Food Truck Race, and streamlined permitting processes in many cities,  mobile food retailing has been popping up all over the San Francisco area where I live.

www.twitter.com/curryupnow
“Curry Up” Trucks in San Francisco Bay Area displaying social media information

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k9Sp_BuEv6M

 One of the the interesting things in common with the food trucks is that they are all using social media, especially Twitter and Facebook, to reach out and interact with customers, and there are three reasons why.

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