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The Power of Relationships

If I like you and you like me, and you like what I like and I like what you like, then I want to know about it. You follow? Call it peer pressure, call it follow the leader, call it the ultimate marketing tool…whatever you call it, it’s the power of the relationships, the influence, that is driving friends and fans to click.

Influence, when it comes to crowdsourcing, is worth noting. Jeff Howe, the author who first coined the term in 2006, defines crowdsourcing as tasks previously done by employees “now outsourced in the form of an open call to a large, undefined group of people generally using the Internet.”  Web 2.0 technology and social media tools have made this phenomenon commonplace, with Facebook among the most popular applications.

I tend to alter the definition of crowdsourcing a bit, particularly when it comes to purchasing decisions. I think of it more as a means to an end, using the power of many to provide insight that otherwise might not have surfaced had it been left to just one person. Reviews, essentially. Add on top of that, influence, and now you not have only input and feedback on a particular product or service, but now you have individuals you know or know of weighing in. In your world, the information becomes more credible. (Cisco home products, grants contributors a particular status in its peer to peer community…adding to the pool of influencers. We’re seeing this with badging programs as well.)

A few thoughts on relationships and social media to cuddle up with this Valentine’s week.

What are your experiences with crowdsourcing?

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How Cisco Operationalizes Social Media for Repeated Success (slides included)

I presented at the Social Media Strategies Summit last week sharing the steps and process our team has gone through to operationalize social media. I actually did an interview with Cindy Kim late last year for her blog, How to Operationalize Social Media – Cisco Style! which inspired me to formalize what we did into a presentation to share more broadly.

It’s been just over a year now that our centralized social media marketing team has been formed and I am proud of all we have accomplished in that first year. We didn’t just start engaging in social this past year which is what made the challenges for our team greater – Cisco had many enthusiasts and socially engaged teams throughout the organization for 5+ years but all were doing so with very little guidance, governance and collaboration with each other. Within the past year we have put a training program in place, increased collaboration across the company eliminating duplication of efforts, put a social brand in place for Cisco, standardized on social listening and engagement tools, formalized a process to enable the many teams across Cisco in a scalable way, and started a concentrated effort on social media integration among many other things. Here is a copy of the presentation (apologies for the formatting, that was due to the Scribd upload) – enjoy!

UPDATE -- I replaced the Scribd presentation with PowerShow which formatted the slides properly!

How Cisco Operationalizes Social Media for Repeated Success
View and share presentations on PowerShow.com

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Collaboration: with MACS from Cisco it’s as if you’re really there!

February 11, 2011 at 5:33 pm PST

We hear a lot about Collaboration and Innovation these days.  People try to define what each word means, and how they relate to each other. Probably the best source I’ve found so far is in a great blog by Carlos Domingez that addresses just that. Carlos is one of Cisco’s senior thought leaders, so check out his blog here: Collaboration: What Does it really mean? It’s a fascinating read, especially the references to  Evan Rosen and Mark Granovetter. It’s also a great segway to the Manufacturing Active Collaboration Space Solution that I talk about in the video below:

Peter Granger talks about Cisco’s Manufacturing Active Collaboration Solution and how it can help with innovation and product development. GE calls their version Virtual Collaboration Space.

As you can hear in my video, the truth of the matter is that Collaboration and Innovation go hand-in-hand simply because when people get together they feed off one another, adding to each others ideas and seeing opportunities from different angles. They solve each others issues and talk through problems using words,  images and video. When you click ‘read more’ you’ll hear more about GE’s use of MACS in a short video featuring senior GE and Cisco figures. I’ll also solve the riddle I set for you in an earlier blog about how to make a new square out of four matches! Read More »

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What happens when ‘Community’ is just a ‘tab’

Example of 'Community' as a tab

In spending some time recently on the web sites of major TV networks, I notice something has not changed much since 2004, or 2005, when TV networks first started developing branded web site counterparts with message board or discussion areas for TV show fans.

In the early days of TV show web sites, discussions about the episodes were not placed against the content, but typically were segmented off in separate areas of the web site, into ‘forum’ areas. And such forums (or ‘message boards’ as they are also known) still exist today, mainly because they are straight forward and easy to use, even though there are other social tools to comment and participate in a conversation around content.

Despite their ease of use, on many a media site, it may take you three or four clicks more to find the discussion threads about a particular program once you’ve found a community ‘tab’. And the discussion threads may be outdated, the last thread may be older than the latest episode of a TV show!

I still think forums are a great way to start new topic threads and allow fans of a TV show, movie, or artist to discuss in depth the content as comment boxes may have a text limit.

Yet when forums are the ONLY place to discuss the content, and there’s no way for fans to comment directly against the content (e.g. comment below a video, or a blog post), you see some interesting drop offs in site engagement. Also, fans go to other sites, like Facebook where they can comment directly against the content, leaving the branded entertainment sites behind.

For example, I examined the ‘community’ tab for the Fox animated comedy ‘American Dad’.

Fan Forums / Community area of Fox.com for the TV show ‘American Dad’

In the show related forum pictured above, at the time of writing this blog, the last post by a fan is from 5 days ago, and the post received only 26 views. Meanwhile I went to the Facebook fan page for ‘American Dad’ and found that page owner Fox had posted a episode clip just a day ago. Because commenting was allowed in line, against the content, the clip netted 75 comments in just one day and over 1400 ‘likes’, way surpassing the social engagement of a 5 day old post on Fox’s own community.

Fans can’t comment on video clips of ‘American Dad’ on Fox.com, but fans are allowed on to Facebook, greatly increasing the engagement off the main site

So while American Dad fans can’t comment against the video clips on the Fox.com site they are enabled to do so on the Facebook fan page for the show, or on the official YouTube posted clips for the program.

CLICK ON READ MORE TO CONTINUE

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Cisco ūmi: Can You See Me Now? A New Market, A New Product, A New Experience (case study)

February 10, 2011 at 1:26 pm PST

What is Cisco ūmi? Think of it as a TV-based video conferencing tool designed for consumers to help stay connected with our loved ones (for now in the US). You and the person you want to connect with each get a Cisco ūmi, hook it up to your TV, pay a monthly fee and you’re ready to chat away with grandma and grandpa on the East Coast or with your son or daughter in college. Wondering how to set it up? Check out Cisco ūmi social media manager, Zoya Fallah’s blog and first video message using this product. Then, read Alisa’s story on how she used ūmi to connect with grandpa.

Now that you have a better understanding of what Cisco ūmi is and what it does, let’s shift gears. The purpose of this blog post is to share with you how we introduced this product. This launch wasn’t just about a new product, but about a new experience…Our goal was to show through Read More »

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