Recently Sprinklr asked me how companies today are in trouble if they’re not keeping up with social disruption. Which led me to consider: What makes a company smart when it comes to being social?
Answer: Smart companies recognize three things…
Customers’ social expectations continue to rise. More and more consumers and B2B buyers are contacting brands through social media. Brands that fail to meet social expectations risk alienating a large portion of customers.
Offering social support to your customers brings valuable insight – and can help or hurt your brand depending on how you do it. Our customers give and get help from each other on social platforms. If you listen in and listen carefully, it’s a tremendous source of insight to provide a better experience and a better product.
The changing role of marketing means you can’t afford to ignore social selling. Recent ITSMA research shows 85 percent of B2B buyers use social media during the purchase process. Smart marketers begin discussions with buyers on their own terms and in the social environments where buyers seek information.
For more on this topic, please see my article in Sprinklr’s new Social@Scale Journal, available for download here.
Please share your thoughts in the comments section or via Twitter @KarMWalker
On Thursday and Friday of last week, I attended the Big Boulder data conference, which brings together vendor, academics, analysts and practitioners of social data. The purposes were many: discuss emerging trends, acknowledge the issues and challenges around privacy and security, and make introductions to encourage discussion of how we all envisage social data technology and by extension social data maturing.
I spent two days fastened in on how vendors believed social data could be used and how companies and researchers were ultimately using it. At times, there was a wide gulf and not only because the rate at which technology is evolving is rapid but because we, as an industry, recognize the importance of this data and don’t want to compromise the trust our customers and clients have for us.
The people at GNIP/Twitter are well aware of this and have spearheaded the Big Boulder Initiative, a task force created to address critical issues around stewardship, enablement, availability and value. If you’re interested, you can learn more here.
Over the two-day conference, there were over 45 sessions with topics ranging from Sina Weibo to the challenges of analyzing unstructured data to user-generated content vs. brand-created content. Despite the wide scope of topics discussed, there was an underlying recognition that we were all in this together, that we have an obligation to manage the growth of social data in a responsible and secure manner and that we still had some growing up to do.
I could probably write several pages of themes and insights that I noted during the two days but here are three I thought we’re particularly interesting.
Visualize Whirled Peas
This year there was a lot of discussion around visualization and the impact of Tumblr and Pinterest, respectively. One of the panelist believed that visual channels were happy because people like to engage with images. I’m not sure I entirely buy that and other members of the panel were quick to argue to the contrary. However, watching the world wake up and go to sleep with Twitter was very compelling and did make me smile (if not happy).
Some members of the panels wanted customers to more fully recognize the value in sharing their location via a social platform. I can see the benefits to users of the data; it was amazing to see the outline of common maps reveal themselves not through traditional boundaries but rather through social activities—outlines of cities, airports, etc. emerged as people Tweeted. The panelists didn’t seem to share some of the anxieties I had about sharing my whereabouts in real-time. Issues of safety and cyber-bullying can and should influence what people share online. However, I liked the idea of using imagery to guide discovery and finding someone on say, something like Tumblr, with a similar aesthetic to encourage that connection.
We Do Have Some Standards Around Here, You Know
This was the first year, where I heard the admission that social does not have the same standard of measurement as say TV advertising, print ads, etc.. This wasn’t the familiar beat of the ROI drum but rather a recognition that we need to, as an industry, better define the value of social. To date, we don’t have a verifiably mature model that clearly defines what comprises that value. We don’t have a clear idea of when engagement matters most and how to attribute that activity. But honest conversations are beginning and everyone seems to recognize the importance to sales, marketing, HR, etc. to answer these questions.
Millennials vs. Digital Behavior—Which One Truly Matters
I have to admit this topic really intrigued me and I was excited to learn the digital characteristics of this generation. I don’t know if the resulting information was meant to make us all feel better (read: younger) but some of the panelists felt that generations should be segmented along the lines of digital behavior over age. Susan Etlingersuggested that we’ve been using demographic behavior as a proxy for categorizing customers and it’s losing its value. It’s certainly true that using the blunt instrument of age to determine a person’s online social persona may omit a lot of detail but with each succeeding generation the use and proliferation of online tools can’t be entirely overlooked. Susan certainly wasn’t minimizing the influence of social technology broadly across generations but that we should perhaps adjust our lens to include more than just demographics to segment an audience.
In the two days, I met some great people, discovered that everyone is facing very similar changes and that it’s never been more exciting to be involved with Social Data. Learn more about the Boulder Initiative here and the Big Boulder conference here.
Sharing is a life skill that most of us learn as young children. It typically begins when siblings are introduced into the household, at play dates, or at school. You learn how to share your mother’s time, your toys, your books, and countless other things. It may have seemed painful at first, but it was something you had to learn in order to make friends and play cooperatively.
Fast forward to a few years later, you find that that sharing is easy. It’s a daily occurrence. For those who are active on social media, sharing is essential. Some share words of wisdom and information about their companies or the products they sell. Others share what they had for dinner, personal viewpoints, news and everything in between. They also share interesting content posted by their friends, colleagues, celebrities and bloggers. This type of sharing helps us build relationships online and keeps us connected. It also helps us learn from those around us.
One of the things I enjoy about working at Cisco is that I get to share what I’ve learned with others. It’s rewarding to Read More »
In this week’s episode of Engineers Unplugged, Aaron Delp (@aarondelp of The Cloudcast) and Josh Atwell (@josh_atwell of #vBrownBag) discuss how to go from being a community member to a content creator. Grow your professional skills by watching this non-technical but highly useful talk!
It’s not all internet fame and glamour: consider the commitment of time, money, and potential channels for promotion. Great conversation with specific tips and tricks from two content creators:
Make content, not unicorns.
Unicorn /headwhiteboard/ with Aaron Delp and Josh Atwell.
**The next Engineers Unplugged shoot is at EMC World, Las Vegas, May 2014! Contact me now to become internet famous.**
This is Engineers Unplugged, where technologists talk to each other the way they know best, with a whiteboard. The rules are simple:
Episodes will publish weekly (or as close to it as we can manage)
Did you watch the Academy Awards this week? It sure would been great to get my mug in Ellen’s selfie shot. I could have been Bradley right? ..and a slice of pizza would have been great with Julia, Harrison, and “Marty”. Certainly this year’s Oscars was the best one in years.
Speaking of good shows -- as Master of Ceremonies here at Cisco Small Business, I wanted to pass along some fantastic news from another brethren Product Manager, Robin Penn. Her Cisco Small Business Services and Support team has been making a good showing recently by adding 15 additional Latin American Countries where folks can purchase Cisco Small Business Service. For some time, we have received requests from partners, customers and team members to extend our Award Winning coverage to more Latin American countries. As you can imagine, many folks are quite happy about this.
But wait… what exactly did Robin do? We already sold Small Business Support Service in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Mexico. And now…the envelope please to see the new entrants: Belize, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Puerto Rico, Trinidad & Tobago and Venezuela. And all are winners
Customers now can purchase (through their partners) the value-priced Cisco Small Business Support Service:
Three Years of Award-Winning Technical Support
Advanced Product Replacement -either Same Day Ship or Next Business Day**
Unlimited telephone support with Cisco Certified engineers, 24 hours daily in English, business hours in other languages
Major and minor software releases
So now, in more and more countries, especially Latin America, Cisco’s Best-in-show Small Business products can be purchased with the award-winning Cisco Small Business Support Service. So as Robin would say, buy/sell the best Small Business products with the Industries’ Best Service and Support, all in the one shot.
Thanks for hanging out with the Cisco Small Business Team -- make it a good rest of the week.