In 2012, the Global Social Media Team worked closely with Gerry McGovern from Customer Carewords to run a top tasks study to understand what tasks visitors want to accomplish on social channels.  This methodology leverages a unique scoring technique enabling visitors to tell you in precise, statistical terms their top tasks when they arrive at your social channel. The study analyzes the tasks that get the top 25% of the vote, 26-50% of the vote, and 51-75% of the vote.


We focused on Facebook, Twitter, and Cisco Communities for this research.To come up with the first cut of tasks to test, the Customer Carewords team created an exhaustive list based on previous top tasks study with Cisco and additional research.  We then went through the list item by item as a team over several weeks to limit the number of tasks to around 60.  Once we had the list we were fairly happy with, we reviewed the list with stakeholders from different technology groups and functions.  We also developed other questions to ask in the survey that would allow us to segment the data further.  To make sure we got global representation in the study, we translated the survey into German, Italian, French, and Spanish.  We promoted the survey extensively via Facebook, Twitter, Cisco Communities, and the Cisco blog.  This was important because we needed at least 400 survey responses to ensure the study was statistically valid.

Results:  Top Tasks Winners
We received 461 valid responses in our top tasks survey.  Based on the study, visitors told us resoundingly that their top objective on our social sites is advancing their career.

  1. Network design (best practices, peer recommendations)
  2. Configuration, installation, set-up, deployment
  3. Training
  4. Events (webcasts, seminars, Cisco Live)
  5. Certification (requirements, renewal, status)


Resoundingly, we learned our visitors are very focused on their career advancement.  They do this by learning from Cisco experts and keeping up with the latest news and technology developments.  An effective way to quickly find the people and most up-to-date information is to connect directly with Cisco via our social media channels.




Video: Social Top Tasks Study with Gerry McGovern

Recommendations and Next Steps

Research is an important part of the work we do because it informs our strategy.  It’s important that we incorporate what we’ve learned into what we do every day.  So, how are we using the results of this study?  From a central standpoint, we have shared what we’ve learned with the broader social media team via the Social Media Round Table meetings held monthly.   Because of Cisco’s hub and spoke model for managing our social media presence, our extended team incorporates this research into what they do every day.  Here’s how:

  1. Define your business objective
  2. Create your social media strategy – objective, channels, target audience
  3. Based on the channel and the target audience, understand what are the top tasks your channel should focus on
  4. Align your marketing strategy with the top tasks and execute
  5. Measure the ability for your users to complete their tops tasks on the social channel

Core Team
Gerry McGovern (Customer Carewords)
Sinead Moodie (Customer Carewords)
Leslie Lau (Cisco)
Richard Lam (Cisco)
Tim Husband (Cisco)

Twitter Highlights from our recent Top Tasks Webinar

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