My friends at Forbes (where I write) have a neat way to see all the coveted Superbowl ads http://bit.ly/93WsGa 4 hrs ago

potm-banner-2

The submissions are defintly picking up, I’m seeing more submissions than before. Why? I attribute this to the start of the new year when many folks change up jobs, and the slight uptick we’re starting to see in the economy.

In an effort to recognize the changes in the social media space, I’ve started this post series (see archives) to both track and congratulate folks who get promoted, move, or accept new exciting positions. Please help me congratulate the following folks:


How to connect with others (or get a job):
Several people have been hired because of this blog post series, here’s how you can too:

Submit an announcement
If you know folks that are moving up in the social media industry, fill out this form.

Seeking Social Media Professionals?
If you’re seeking to connect with community advocates and community managers there are few resources

This list, which started with just 8 names continues to grow as folks submit to it. List of Social Computing Strategists and Community Managers for Enterprise Corporations 2008 –Social Media Professionals.

Job Resources in the Social Media and Web Industry

  • Web Strategy Jobs powered by Job o Matic (Post a job there and be seen by these blog readers, these affiliate fees pay for my hosting)
  • Read Write Web keeps announcements flowing at Jobwire, although is broader than just social media jobs
  • Facebook group for community manager group in Facebook
  • Jake McKee’s community portal for jobs
  • Chris Heuer’s Social Media Jobs
  • SimplyHired aggregates job listings, as does Indeed
  • ForumOne Jobs for Social Media and Community
  • Teresa has a few jobs, some around community
  • New Media hire has an extensive job database
  • Social Media Headhunter
  • Social media jobs
  • Jobs in social media
  • Altimeter Group’s list of social media consultants and agencies
  • See this list of Corporate Social Media Strategists and Community Managers that I keep up to date
  • Hiring? Leave a comment
    If you’re seeking candidates in the social media industry, many of them are within arms reach, feel free to leave a link to a job description (but not the whole job description, please)


    Case Study: An Influential Mom Blogger Caused Mainstream Crises
    Popular blogger, Heather Armstrong (@dooce) was dissatisfied with her non-working Maytag appliance.  Following protocol, she called their support number, yet her issue was not solved.  Stonewalled, she argued/warned the support staff that she was on Twitter, yet didn’t receive special assistance.  Escalating further, she then flexed a muscle and told them she had over 1,000,000 Twitter followers –yet the support rep did not budge.  Finally, she blogged and Tweeted against Maytag, initiating a boycott by her followers, “DO NOT BUY MAYTAG” and continues to chronicle her experience on her blog.  While critics suggest she wielded her power with irresponsibility, the point is moot, what matters is her social influence was not factored into the support triage decision making process –making a minor support issue a PR issue now on Forbes.

    Just as companies factor in value of a customers celebrity status, buying power or customer loyalty –companies must factor in social influence or put themselves at risk. That’s right, customers with more Twitter followers are more likely to get better service and support than those that don’t.

    Trend: Consumers Becoming Influential Using Social Technologies

    • Companies Already Give Preferential Treatment To Famous and Wealthy Customers. Companies have given high influence customers preference for years.  Take for example, shopping malls in the Los Angeles area have private entry ways for celebrities to enter the mall and receive priorty treatment.  Or, how B2B companies cater to their top customers with special event days, golf outings, or other clients with deep pockets.  Companies know that not all customers are valued the same, and as a result, treat them differently.
    • With More Consumers Adoption Social Technologies, the Problem Will Get Worse. The tide is rising, in fact with more consumers adopting social technologies, the amount of voices that companies will need to deal with will increase in volume.  Treating each customer with the best possible service and support (Like Zappos unique culture) is ideal –but not realistic.  Companies are ill-equipped to support millions of customers in real time on the social web.  They must have prioritization programs in place to handle the high risk/opportunity accounts quickly.
    • Companies Who Don’t Factor In Influence Put Themselves at Risk. Companies can choose to not factor in the social influence of customers, but will be putting themselves at risk.  It’s just a matter of time before a company has a social blowup, and by not trying to handle priority customers could cause a small issue to quickly escalate into a larger one.  Also, savvy competitors who factor in social influence can swoop and acquire high influence customers from companies that don’t. Your goal, is to stay off this list.

    Matrix: The Four Phases How Companies Factor Social Influence

    Description Benefit Risk/Costs
    Do not factor in social influence Companies treat all customers the same, regardless of number of readers, followers or social influence. It’s cheap, companies don’t have to spend resources to understand if a single customer can influence others. Run the risk of not prioritzing a customer that could influence others, resulting in missed opportunity or greater PR risk.
    Ad Hoc: Companies factor in social influence as it surfaces, such as a customer explicitly staying their influence, or a service member proactively having to find it. Companies don’t have to invest in a program or system that tries to calculate this influence. May miss opportunities of serviing a high influence customer, or may not realize a potential social crises till it’s too late.
    Absolute Influence: Companies factor in total number of Facebook book friends and activity, number of Twitter followers and assign a raw number. Easy to calculate, and expect future Social CRM tools to do this with ease in the future. Data may not be accurate: Numbers can be manipulated and gamed, resulting in companies misallocate resources. Risk of alienating consumers without social influence.
    Relative Influence: Companies factor in the true influence a customer has over their actual market –ignoring factors that may not be relevant. Finally, companies can focus on those customer with social influence that impact other prospects and buyers in their specific market Such a program is hard to setup and costly, and will require constant inputs and tuning.  Risk of alienating consumers without social influence.

    Companies Must Factor In Social Influence

    • Recalculate The Customer Lifetime Value Quotient. For years, companies have factored in the total value of customers over their entire lifetime, Stanford has methods to calculate this called the Customer Lifetime Value formula.  These formulas factored in ability to be a repeat buyer, income level, and size of purchases over time.  Just as companies spend more time with customers with deeper pockets, they should also spend the appropriate type of attention with followers that don’t.
    • Yet Recognize, that Not All Social Influence Is the Same. To be efficient, companies shouldn’t reward those with spammy followers they got from an overnight follow script, but recognize that influence isn’t always about quantity, recognize there are at least two types of social influence:  The first, absolute influence is the total size of the individuals influence. Take Scoble for example, who has over a 100,000 Twitter followers and probally 100k subscribed to his blog is influential in a broad market.   However, his relative influence within the high-end fashion market is low. D&G must factor in both types of influence in understanding how to deal with customers, therefore while Scoble’s absolute influence is high, his relative influence to the fashion market is low.
    • Expect New Technologies To Address This Problem. We’re seeing a whole group of companies emerge in the Social CRM space that are trying to address parts of these problems.  Eventually, we should expect CRM systems to automatically indicate to customer facing employees the level of influence customers have.  In the most radical future, customers may choose to broadcast their preferences to retail stores before the walk in based on preferences and past purchases in order to receive a better experience. If this happens, companies can match with their social influence, and treat them accordingly.

    I look forward to hear from you: have companies treated you differently because of your social influence?  What companies are doing this now?  What are the risks of doing it or not factoring in social influence?

    As an industry watcher, I look at trends, data, spending, technologies, yet what’s really important is watching the trend of professionals as they grow into these roles managing disruptive technologies.

    [Connecting with customers using social technologies is deceptively challenging, as most outsiders don't recognize the leadership to change internal cultural. Now, in public, let's recognize those who are paving the way]

    Methodology: About this List
    This 2010 list is an update from the original I started in 2008, it was woefully out of date as people moved around.  This list is updated, as I’ve separated the large technology section in HW vs SW and am only linking to LinkedIn accounts.

    A majority of this data is based off submissions in the 2008 post, which most which are self-submissions or from their fellow colleagues and we only link to their already public profile in LinkedIn for verification.  We’ve spend days compiling this data, but due to the content ever changing, we expect there to be some inaccuracies, leave a comment if you see something that needs fixing. Thanks to Sonal Mehta a student at American University who I’ve hired helped me in this research.

    Read Carefully: How to get on this List
    In a world of noise, curation becomes very valuable, as a result, there are very specific requirements for this list, which include:  1) You must have a public LinkedIn profile page, as this is one of the best way to verify employment. 2) The profile indicates that social media is part of your full time career and profession –not just for personal or casual use.  3) You must work at an enterprise class corporation with more than 1000 employees, 4) Must be on brand side  5) You’ll kindly leave a comment below with the submission for review.   Due to excess volume, submissions by Twitter and emails or other channels will be hard to respond to, and I can’t guarantee they’ll be included, so, please leave a comment below.

    In an effort to keep information in a tight scope, I’m not able to include folks who are doing great work in other sectors.  However, if you decide to create a list for other sectors, I’ll prominently link to it from this post.  Update: Here’s a growing list for non-profits.

    Sign Up For Upcoming Free Report: Skillset of the Social Media Strategist
    The Altimeter Group is developing a free research report, on “Skillsets of Social Media Strategists” and will identify the attributes, backgrounds, experience of this emerging role, if you’re interested in receiving a copy, please register on this form.  We will use portions of the data found in this post for the research report, so thanks for helping to update it.


    Social Media Strategists at Corporations
    The strategist is a program manager, who mainly focuses internally rather than being the external public face like the community manager. They are primarily responsible for resources, processes, teams, they are usually internally focused and ultimately, return on investment.

    Airline

    Automotive

    Business Services

    Consumer Product Goods

    Electronics, Devices, Mobile

    Financial Services

    Health and Life Sciences

    Hospitality, Food Service

    Government, Armed Services

    Media and Entertainment

    Retail

    Technology, Hardware, Networking, Component, Computer

    Technology, Software, Internet


    Community Managers at Corporations
    The  community manager is primarily externally facing, and interacts with customers as the public face of the company.  They are primarily customer advocates, evangelists, bloggers, community moderators,  and experts at using social technologies to communicate.  We honor them every fourth Monday of January on Community Manager Appreciation Day.  To keep the focus tight, this list is only of corporate community managers, and not those on contract at community platform vendors or service companies on contract.

    Automotive

    Business Services

    Hospitality and Travel

    Electronics, Devices, Mobile

    Financial Services

    Technology, Hardware, Networking, Component, Computer

    Technology, Software, Internet


    Social Media Researchers and Social Media Product Managers at Corporations
    When I started this list in 2008, I didn’t have a specific slot for researchers and product managers who are creating these products. These roles are not folks who are using the technologies for marketing, support, or other business use cases (end users) but instead are researching and creating the products that the above professionals will use in their jobs.

    I’m passionate about what these folks do, as I, myself, was a strategist/community manager at an enterprise corporation a few years ago.


    A few weeks ago, I was invited to join a discussion with Joshua-Michéle Ross (O’Reilly ), Stowe Boyd, thought leader, and Peter Kim (former colleague at Forrester, now at Dachis Group) on the topic of social business.  Listen in, as there’s not really a lot of content on the slides to focus on, while you go about your work, driving, or workout.

    Companies With Support Communities Not Ready For Changes To Come
    For over a decade, with simple BBS systems to community platforms, support communities haven’t undergone much innovation.  Often a silo and tucked away in a website, these communities are going to take center stage.  With social technologies appearing on every webpage, and more existing systems starting to connect, expect to see interesting use cases evolve.   Support focused communities will evolve to touch marketing, sales, channel partners,  CRM systems, and even become a thriving platform in the next few years.  Let’s explore the rapid changes coming together.

    A Support Community, Defined.
    Take a look at Microsoft’s media centric Channel 9, VMware communities, or even AAA’s travel tips. These branded communities are offered by companies and encourage members to self-support each other, or the company will support them directly. The members are often customers, developers, or implementation partners. It’s not limited to them alone, prospects of a company may peer in to see how vibrant –or angry–the community is. There are over 100 technology vendors offer these commodity features.

    The Opportunity: The Support Community No Longer A Cost Center
    New forms of monetization for the brand are going to emerge. Support communities won’t just be a cost-center, we should expect to see new forms of value that meet the needs of the community members themselves, the brand, and the partners. To kick start the discussion here’s a few ideas of where I think the support community could evolve to:

    1. Become a thriving marketplace of buyers and sellers. Not just through discussions, but through automated matching of buyers and sellers using reputation systems, and needs analysis tools.  See how the concept of VRM is slowly taking hold.
    2. New forms of value from third parties will spur innovation. System integrators, consultants, and other vendors who have services to offer community members will want to offer training, webinars, or other campaigns.  Branded communities can monetize this as an intermediary.
    3. Formalized advocacy programs will take hold beyond the organic evangelist. Some communities will offer features and programs that encourage members to join an unpaid army and reach out to prospects –and ready them to arms when the brand is under attack.
    4. Communities members will ideate and start build new products with R&D. In some cases, they may help the brand define new products and be very involved in the R&D process.
    5. Developer platform will let community create their own experience. Taking a nod from Facebook, MySpace and Twitter, someday, support communities will offer platforms that will enable the members to create new applications, tools, and even products within the context of the community.
    6. Connecting to CRM systems to offer better service. Community platforms will connect to CRM systems identify upsell, crosssell, and underserved accounts, increasing the efficiency of support.
    7. Connections to other systems yield new experiences. Support communities will no longer be a silo but will connect to brand monitoring tools. ERP systems, business intelligence systems, web analytics, and social analytics tools.
    8. The walls of support communities crumble as they connect to the public web. There are support communities in existence all around the web (see Get Satisfaction, UserVoice or even a customer created community). Expect to see branded communities tie to these off-domain systems.
    9. Leave a comment below with your idea.  The opportunities are abound.

    A Key Constraint: Members first, Company Second
    Despite the many opportunities for innovation of communities, first and foremost, the sanctity of the community members must not be broken.  Companies have learned, often the hard way, that the members are in charge, so this needs to be a win for them first, the company second.

    Join The Discussion and Upcoming Roundtable
    I plan to hold a no-fee “Community Innovation” roundtable in Q1, to ideate the evolution of the branded community beyond support. Should you be interested in attending, I look forward to hearing from you in the following web form. I’ll be extending an invite to some key thought leaders in this space, to really spur the thinking from the top minds.

    Two Key Additions In Growth Areas: Lora Cecere, Alan Webber
    We’re pleased to announce that we’re expanding two new partners Lora Cecere (full bio), Supply Chain Management and Alan Webber (full bio), Government Innovation. Founding partner, coauthor of Groundswell, Charlene Li discusses the hires and the changes in the marketAt the Altimeter Group, we’re not forced into limited topic areas, but instead look at the intersection of major themes.  Each partner has a unique perspective, and we are constantly talking, sharing, and pushing our ideas by collaborating, you’re starting to see this manifest as Ray (CRM) and (Social) converge on Social CRM. We know that customers demand a holistic experience, so organizations will follow suit, here’s how our world of social technologies merges with these two new topic areas:

    Supply Chain Management: Intersections with Consumers
    In my area of focus, customer strategy, it’s important to expand the thinking to ‘where the customers will be’. With the rapid adoption of simple social technologies, they’ve caused great disruption to marketing, PR, media, and customer support. With customers and prospects explicitly giving off signals of what they want, don’t want, or intend to do, it gives companies the opportunity to anticipate their needs. We see this opportunity to tie these customer signals in social media and getting the right products to customers –when they need it most. So what’s next? Beyond social media marketing, or supporting customers with social technologies, an upcoming trend we see is tying social technologies with supply chain management. There are three areas where social and supply chain management start to converge:

    • Demand signals by empowered consumers using social and mobile technologies. As consumers indicate their demand for new products or intentions, these signals will be transmitted to companies, their distributors, and sellers to anticipate the needs of consumers.  Companies can reduce their inventory, shipping, an risk of spoilage of limited shelf-life products.
    • Co-innovation of new products between consumers –and engineering. We’re already seeing some companies like Uservoice, SalesForce ideas power Nokia, Dell, and Starbucks to ask their customers what they want built, but we expect this trend to continue.  Aside from reducing time and cost of the R&D process, companies can produce just the right amount of inventory, and benefit from an army of engaged advocates that participated in co-creation.

    We’re pleased to bring on Lora Cecere from AMR, where her domain knowledge of supply chain management will cross over with many of of our areas of focus. Learn more about her on her bio on the Altimeter site, or on Twitter.

    Government and Education Connect With Communities
    Open government, citizen media, and social media used to organize and rebuild after a crises have all touched our lives in one way or another. Undoubtedly, government agencies are realizing the power of these tools to understanding their citizens, learning from them, and influencing them. As a result, expect disruptive technologies like mobile and social to quickly move into the government limelight, such as the TSA adopting a blog to connect with travelers.

    • Build better relationships with communities. We’re already seeing government organizations benefit from understanding these tools, and using during campaigning practices. As citizens have already adopted these technologies, government organizations can benefit by listening, understanding and responding to citizens using social tools.
    • Use social technologies to innovate programs. It’s not just about using these tools for campaigning purposes, but also improving existing programs.  Take for example, San Francisco uses Twitter to located troublesome potholes, reducing the costs for city workers to find the areas to fix –instead relying on citizens to reduce costs.  Expect new forms of innovation to emerge that will improve cultures and where people live.

    It’s a pleasure to welcome former colleague Alan Webber from Forrester Research, who’s got a strong background on web user experience, and a focus on government innovation. Together, we’ll be crafting frameworks for government agencies, educational institutions and those that serve them on how to harness social technologies to improve their missions. Learn more about Alan from his blog, Ronin Research, his bio on the Altimeter site, or on Twitter.

    Growth At the Altimeter Group
    Back in late August when Ray, Debs, and myself joined Charlene, we were excited to try a new model. Now, four months later, we’ve over 40 clients on retainer relationship, that’s little over 2 companies signing on board with us per week and are about a dozen employees.  We’ve previously announced new hires, recently we hired Valerie, our operations manager, who will keep the gears going as we help our clients tackle ‘wicked’ problems.

    Although we’re best known for our focus on disruptive technologies like social, web and marketing, the Altimeter Group has a wider offering that expands to enterprise applications and innovating new products.

    Related Posts

    Every fourth Monday of January, let’s take the time to pause, recognize, and celebrate the efforts community managers around the world to improve customer experiences.

    Passionate About Customers
    The title matters not, whether it’s online customer advocate, online customer support, company evangelist, disgruntled customer handler. Instead, focus on what they do: A customer advocate willing to help regardless of where they are online. Learn more by reading the Four Tenants of Community Managers.

    Yet, Community Managers Don’t Have it Easy
    Yet despite their admirable intentions, we know they face several uphill challenges:

    • Many challenges are internal: Most companies want to hide customer issues, and shuffle them into existing support systems. Additionally, measuring ROI in new media when a company wants to keep the kimono shut, increasingly becomes a challenge.
    • Seemingly never ending job: Customers never stop having problems, and with the global internet, the questions, complains, and inquires never stop.
    • Emotional drain impacts lifestyle: The sheer emotional strain of dealing with a hundreds of yelling customers and the occasional trouble maker will take a strain on anyone.
    • Privacy risks in the world of transparency: In an effort to build trust with customers, they expose their real name exposing their personal –and family– privacy forever on.

    Now, Recognize A Community Manager, Every 4th Monday of January
    While we agree with common manners to always thank someone after they’ve helped you, just take a moment to pause.. and think. Why would someone willingly go through the above mentioned challenges? Because of their passion to improve the company, and help customers have a better relationship. In many cases, a genuine ‘thank you’ can mean more than a yearly customer satisfaction survey. Take the time to recognize and thank the community manager that may have helped you while you during your time of need.

    • If you’re a customer, and your problem was solved by a community manager be sure to thank them in the medium that helped you in. Use the hashtag #CMAD.
    • If you’re a colleague with community manager, take the time to understand their passion to improve the customer –and company experience. Copy their boss.
    • If you’re a community manager, stop and breathe for a second, and know that you’re appreciated. Hug your family.

    This isn’t just about a single role, but a bigger trend of making product and services more efficient, and thereby our world a little bit more efficient and sustainable. The comments are wide open if you wanted to share your experience working with community manager, or as one, feel free to thank them below.

    Supported by Bill Johnston, Connie Benson, Rachel Happe, Jake McKee, Sean O’Driscoll, Lane Becker, Dawn Foster, Thor Muller, Amy Muller and Jeremiah Owyang, as we recognize and salate community managers!

    Related Links

  • HRZone recognizes Becky Midgley
  • Jake McKee says this is (just about) the loneliest job
  • Bill Johnston, recognizes community managers
  • Amy Muller, Get Satisfaction contemplates where community management is and where it’s heading.
  • Amy also asks the community to showcase her community management heros.
  • Dawn Foster asks if you’ve thanked your community manager today.
  • Dawn shouts out to community managers.
  • Sam reasons why the community manager role is essential.
  • Connie Benson, a great friend, shouts out to community managers.
  • Rachel Happe gives reasons why we should pause and thank community managers
  • Connie Bensen of Alterian sent me this screenshot of mentions
  • Companies Must Approach Social Programs In A Coordinated Effort
    Many companies are enthralled by the opportunity to use social technologies to connect with customers, yet many lack a plan or coordinated effort. Additionally, things are going to get more difficult as they don’t realize that as consumers and employees rapidly adopt these tools the level of complexity increases across the organization. While it’s easy to get caught up on the specific new technologies that are constantly emerging, companies should focused on business trends and themes in 2010. In particular, companies must develop a business strategy based on customer understanding, put the baseline resources in place to get your company ready, deliver a holistic experience to customers –and build advocacy programs and anticipate customer need.

    Open Research: You can download the slides from slideshare, and use with attribution for non-commercial reasons.

    To Be Successful, Companies Should Focus On Four Key Trends
    While there are many themes in 2010 for companies, II focused in on the four key themes companies must focus on:

    1) Don’t fondle the hammer. Understand customers, focus on objectives, not develop strategies based on ever-changing tools. Companies really need to understand their customers first, see our recorded webinar to learn more.
    2) Live the 80% rule. This is a movement: get your company ready. 80% of success is getting the right organizational model, roles, processes, stakeholders, and teams assembled –only 20% should be focused on technology.
    3) Customers don’t care what department you’re in. Customers just want their problem fixed, they don’t care what department you’re in. Yet, now, nearly every department can have a direct relationship with your customers using social tools. As a result, provide customers with a holistic experience Start to investigate how brand monitoring, community tools and CRM systems are merging.
    4) Real time is *not* fast enough. Companies cannot scale when it comes to social media, for most companies, you cannot hire enough people to monitor and respond to the conversation, As a result, lean on advocates, by building unpaid armies, and anticipate customer needs through advanced listening techniques.

    This event was hosted last night at the Silicon Valley American Marketing Association nice redesign, and hosted by Adobe (disclosure: an Altimeter client). I was later joined by Jeannette Gibson, social media executive of global marketing at Cisco, Ed Terpening, VP of Social Media at Wells Fargo, Maria Povermo, leading Social Media in Marketing at Adobe, and Rob Fuggetta of Zuberance to have a lively panel on how they are using these technologies. The event was recorded, I’ll add a link as soon as it becomes available.

    Translations
    Text translations now in Japanese

    Companies should have a ‘Customer Strategy’ not a ‘Twitter or Facebook Strategy’. To start, first understand your customers social behaviors, below are the slides and recorded webinar featured yesterday by Charlene Li and myself.

    We know that customers are adopting new technologies to communicate with each other –and companies must change their own behaviors to reach them. Yet, to often, we hear of companies ‘fondling the hammer‘ where they have knee-jerk reactions to which ever technology emerges. The problem with this strategy is that new technologies are emerging in rapid iterations due to low-cost of innovation. As a result, focus on their behaviors, which we cover in detail in the Engagement Pyramid.

    While using surveys is an effective way of getting a strong baseline set of knowledge, you must be constantly monitoring and updating the changes your ever-changing customers are having, and encourage you to partner with brand monitoring companies like Visible Technologies, Techrigy by Alterian, Radian 6, TNS Cymfony, Nielsen Buzzmetrics, Crimson Hexagon, and even simple easy to use tools like Twitter search and Google Alerts.

    We focus on disruptive technologies, and know we don’t have all the answers, so we want to work with the community. Like the Opensource movement and creative commons, we’re embracing ‘Open Research‘ which means we want to share what we learn so others can build on top of it. We like Creative Commons, and hope you use this content for educational purposes and to share with others with attribution. Stay tuned, as we plan to share more about the socialgraphics methodology and other frameworks.

    Above: Access the slides on slideshare (you can download them in PPT format)


    Above: Listen and watch the recoded webinar, there were over 600 attendees in real time, making it interesting to watch the discussion in the chat and in Twitter.

    Here’s the link that I mentioned comparing Toyota’s shotgun approach and Ford’s laser-like approach. Next, join the conversation in Twitter and beyond, see the many tweets tagged #socialgraphics. Last but not least, thanks to Christine Tran, for her research expertise and rolling out our new powerpoint design.

    Now in Russian, thanks.

    Forget Farmville or Mafia Wars, Microsoft wants you to play Excel –pivot tables FTW.

    Most software training and help resources are painful experiences written by technical publication editors.  We know that most tutorial and help sections within applications are horrible to work with (I’ve shaken my head in frustration quite a few times using Microsoft’s own tutorial tools), and not every office worker can afford to attend a powerpoint training class.

    Microsoft's "Ribbon Hero" is a social game that encourages people to learn the product
    Click above image to see my notes: Powerpoint users are given challenges, like this artistic effect, to win points which are used to brag on Facebook.

    Learning game encourages social sharing
    First, click on the image to see my additional notes.   I rarely get excited at briefings, however big-enterprise Microsoft is doing something interesting. In an effort to make learning fun and increase usage of Microsoft office products, they’ve launched a pilot program called “Ribbon Hero” (read blog, or watch video).  Much like a game you’d find on Facebook, Ribbon Hero lets users of Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and other office applications score points by unlocking challenges –then touting it to their friends.

    Microsoft staff creates ‘challenges’ in the software, and encourages users to play to learn.  As users unlock challenges (see screenshot above) they can earn up to a max of 300 points per product,  and can choose to share their scoring with their Facebook friends on the Fan page.  Don’t think there’s any social captial here? well if people can brag about their fictitious mafia wars scores, we should expect them to tout their real-world workplace proficiencies.

    Innovation exposes challenges
    There are three four major hurdles as I see it: 1) I’m not confident that this launch will reach a wide audience in the workplace, it may skew towards Gen X and Y. 2) Secondly, they’ll need to overcome the barriers of those who score low being bashful about their scores, and not wanting to share with others. 3) It’ll take some studies to show that professionals that complete the challenges (300/300 points) are better workers, then get HR to promote, 4) Lastly, like all games, they can be cheated, like gaming hint websites, expect there to be a ‘tip blog’ for Ribbon Hero.

    Microsoft most tap into new opportunities:
    Although we’ve not tried Ribbon Hero, this is an innovative way to encourage users to learn about a typically single person product -and then share with their friends.  Microsoft sharing data with Facebook (who they’ve invested in) doesn’t seem like their typical big box culture, kudos for them for doing something out of their normal engineering culture. Yet despite these upsides, Microsoft must:

    • Harness reputation points to grow the program. has just scratched the surface in using this reputation data like they have with the Microsoft MVP advocacy program to create a non-paid growing army of Microsoft Office experts.
    • Add features to enable game to scale. 1) Q&A features that allows members to pose questions to each other and answering them, gaining more points, 2) Challenges to be created by the members themselves, growing the game at a scalable pace for high achievers. Never letting the game end.
    • Develop a global leaderboard of top users. Allow them to build profiles as true ‘Office Heros’ and how they succeed at their job on a separate website, and encourage them to share their achievements on their blogs, resume and LinkedIn pages.
    • Measure based on new benchmarks. 1) Top line adoption curves skew up 2) Reliance on existing support features goes down 3) Ten solid case studies of people getting new jobs or promotions in part because of their proficiency at the game.

    I’m sure we’ll hear more about this from Microsoft –and maybe other traditional enterprise software companies like IBM, Oracle, and social fearful, Apple, will follow suit.  I gotta hand it to Microsoft on this one, they’re finally making work fun. Lastly, ya know I gotta ask, but will Clippy make a cameo in the game?

    Disclosure: Microsoft is an Altimeter client. We want you to trust us more by being upfront about our relationships, read our disclosure policy.

    For the third year running (see 2008, 2009) I’m going to aggregate stats in the social networking space on a single blog post, and update it through the year.  Data fiends should bookmark this post for future reference.

    Stats are important –but on their own, they don’t tell us much
    Stats on social networks are important, but don’t rely on them alone. Data is like fire, it can be used for good and bad, proper insight and analysis is always required. Beyond that, you’ll often see conflicting stats across the industry as everyone has different methodologies, as a result, this listing will help you to see the greater trends –not numbers without context.

    How to interpret stats
    Numbers don’t tell us much without insight and interpretation, in fact, you’re going to see conflicting numbers of usage from many of the agencies and social networks themselves. The key is to look at trend movements, don’t focus on the specific numbers but the changes to them over time. Put more weight on active unique users in the last 30 days vs overall registered, in fact, the actual active conversion rate will often range from 10-40% of actual users sticking around and using the social network, so don’t be fooled by puffed numbers. No single metric is a good indicator, you have to evaluate the usage from multiple dimensions, so you also have to factor in what are users doing, time on site, interaction, and of course, did they end up buying, recommending products, or improving their lives.


    A Collection of Social Network Stats for 2010
    I’ll be updating this post throughout the year, bookmark it, and share it with others.

    Comparison: All Social Networks

    • ClickZ compares ‘Unique Audience’ and Time On Site. It’s interesting to see that Facebook’s time on site is much greater than others, clocking in at over 6 hours per user. By Click Z, Jan 12th

    By Region and Geography

    • Japan: This slideshare has data on Japan’s mobile behaviors, and demonstrates how most social networks are accessed through mobile devices, and discusses Twitter, Facebook, and other social network adoption. Japan’s Cellphone Edge, 2010.

    Facebook

    Twitter

    • Hubspot luanches a report of Twitter.com registrations and shows a decrease in rate of adoption. There’s also useful data within the report about followers and their behaviors based on a sample methodology. Hubspot, Jan 19, 2010.
    • Sysmos launched a report about global usage of Twitter, with most adoption in US. Interesting that the key nugget is “… the number of U.S. unique users was 50.8%, a sharp drop from 62.1% in June. This suggests the use of Twitter outside the U.S. has experienced significant growth over the past six months.”, Jan 14th, Sysmos. Thanks Jean in the comments for the submission.
    • Data indicates that many Twitter users are not active. read “The number of Twitter users has climbed to a lofty 75 million, but the growth rate of new users is slowing and a lot of current Twitterers are inactive” ComputerWorld, Jan 28

    I’ll continue to update this page over time, please leave a comment if you have 2010 submissions, I’ll credit you.

    potm-banner-2

    From an industry perspective there were significantly more hires this month, than last. This is due to two pieces: 1) It’s traditional for new roles to be filled during the new year, 2) An uptick in the overall financial space and a continued focus on the social and open web.

    In an effort to recognize the changes in the social media space, I’ve started this post series (see archives) to both track and congratulate folks who get promoted, move, or accept new exciting positions. Please help me congratulate the following folks:

    • Chris Messina who’s been a leader in the open web and standards joins Google, where he’ll be focused on leading the open web initiatives. I’m certainly going to be following his work regardless of where he goes.
    • Joseph Smarr, via product team at Comcast’s Plaxo also joins Google, both of these gentleman have a focus on web standards and the ‘Openstack’ so it’ll be interesting to see how this unfold. I’ve been friends with Joseph for a few years now, and it’s great to see him continue to grow.
    • BL Ochman, a force of great positive energy who I’ve known for over 5 years, has joined Proof Digital Media – the new digital marketing arm of Burson-Marsteller. She’ll report to Proof CEO Jay Leveton, and have been given the opportunity to help guide the agency into the forefront of new media agency.
    • Johannes Neuer joins the The New York Public Library as the eCommunications Manager where he’ll expand and promote eCommunications and social media initiatives at The New York Public Library (both internally and externally).
    • Kati Driscoll lands at AAA Mid-Atlantic as a Social Media Community Specialist Working within existing and emerging AAA Mid-Atlantic communities to engage members, providing information and conversation to help them receive the full benefit of their membership and our community.
    • Karthik S joins Edelman as Head of Digital Strategy (India) Create and frame Edelman’s social media PR offerings in India, help clients integrate social media and digital communications within existing PR programs.
    • Greg Meyer joins Gist Customer Experience Manager where he’ll be providing VIP Support, Building a Customer “Power Tips” channel, and generally doing whatever necessary to make users successful.
    • Jennifer Polk has been promoted at Sears Holdings as the Director, BU Social Strategy Developing and leading community and social networking initiatives for SHC BUs, including building strategies and programs to help the BUs achieve greater customer engagement. She’ll be ensuring social programs align with BU business objectives and promoting partnership between Social Media, Online, Marketing and the BUs.
    • Robert Lommers has been promoted at Rabobank as the online media specialist focused on social media, online media, mobile, webcare, and social networking.
    • Joel Burslem is now with 1000watt Consulting as Associate of Social media marketing and strategy for the real estate industry.
    • Shara Karasic has been hired at Appolicious as the Director of Social Strategy developing community engagement and managing social strategy.
    • Judith A. Mod is at Social Gastronomy as a Principal where she’ll be focused on enabling organizations to leverage social media for marketing, customer relationships, operations, employee engagement, and partner management.
    • Matthew Rosenhaft also joins Social Gastronomy as a Principal where he’ll enable organizations to leverage social media for marketing, customer relationships, operations, employee engagement, and partner management.
    • April M. Williams is now with Cyberlife Tutors as the President of Coaching: focused on career and social media
    • Eileen O’Brien joins Siren Interactive as the Director, Search & Innovation at a social media lead for agency’ clients.
    • Paul Miser has been promoted at VML Senior Social Marketing Strategist where he’ll be creating dynamic Social and Mobile strategies for VML clients as they tie in with their digital and interactive strategies.
    • Kurt Abrahamson joins SocialMedia.com as the CEO, Leading the SocialMedia.com team to deliver our new social advertising platform for publishers.
    • Heather Strout joins the Farland Group as a Director of Community Services, there Heather will be helping companies discover ways to establish and sustain customer communities. She comes from a great family, her brother Aaron is a friend and constituent.
    • Ari Lightman has a teaching appointment at Carnegie Mellon University as an Adjunct Professor teaching a case study class on measurement and analysis of social media initiatives.

    How to connect with others (or get a job):
    Several people have been hired because of this blog post series, here’s how you can too:

    Submit an announcement
    If you know folks that are moving up in the social media industry, fill out this form.

    Seeking Social Media Professionals?
    If you’re seeking to connect with community advocates and community managers there are few resources

    This list, which started with just 8 names continues to grow as folks submit to it. List of Social Computing Strategists and Community Managers for Enterprise Corporations 2008 –Social Media Professionals.

    Job Resources in the Social Media and Web Industry

  • Web Strategy Jobs powered by Job o Matic (Post a job there and be seen by these blog readers, these affiliate fees pay for my hosting)
  • Read Write Web keeps announcements flowing at Jobwire, although is broader than just social media jobs
  • Facebook group for community manager group in Facebook
  • Jake McKee’s community portal for jobs
  • Chris Heuer’s Social Media Jobs
  • SimplyHired aggregates job listings, as does Indeed
  • ForumOne Jobs for Social Media and Community
  • Teresa has a few jobs, some around community
  • New Media hire has an extensive job database
  • Social Media Headhunter
  • Social media jobs
  • Jobs in social media
  • Altimeter Group’s list of social media consultants and agencies
  • Hiring? Leave a comment
    If you’re seeking candidates in the social media industry, many of them are within arms reach, feel free to leave a link to a job description (but not the whole job description, please)


    Oahu Sunrise: North Shore
    Above: A photo I took on a recent trip to North Shore Oahu, inline with my plans to fulfill operation bluewater.

    Recent data around interactive marketing spend indicates that the hospitality industry was ripe for spending on social marketing above all other industries.  Why?  This form of consumer marketing could be dependent on the human emotion and story telling between individuals, or through compelling word of mouth marketing campaigns.

    As a result, Christine Tran, Altimeter Researcher and myself are kicking off this list, and encourage you to add  examples by leaving a comment.  The scope for this is list is a tourist destination –not a hotel, airline, or specific restaurant.

    If you’ve got examples, please leave a comment below, with a description and URL, we’ll add.

    Good For BusinessLeft: In the past, marketers have relied on tried and true demographics to understand customers. Now, as consumers adopt social technologies, marketers must measure socialgraphics, which indicates how they interact with each other.

    Update: Get the slides and watch the webinar: Thanks for attending, with over 800 registered, we’ve now made the Slides and Recorded Webinar available.

    Beware of plans or proposals that start with “Twitter Strategy” or “Facebook Strategy” Instead, they should have a “Customer Strategy” that focuses in on how customers behave –not on the ever-changing toolset. As a result, companies should first understand how their customers use social technologies before they choose the tools. Socialgraphics is how to measure how customers use social technologies, where they are online, and how it influence them in the context of the customer lifecylce.

    This upcoming free webinar, suited for corporations who want to develop plans in social with confidence, will answer how to apply socialgraphics. Like demographics or psychographics, companies must now understand socialgraphics, which answers five key questions:

    Socialgraphics answers five key questions:

    1. Where are your customers online? First, find out where your customers are online, knowing which websites they are particiating at, this will reduce guessing.How to make this data actionable: Don’t aimlessly approach social networks without knowing if they are there, if they are in Hyves, Mixii, or Facebook, go there. Fish where the fish are.
    2. What are your customers’ social behaviors online? How do they use social technologies? Do they share? Comment? Create their own content?How to make this data actionable: Which social features should you deploy. Example: if they frequently like to comment on websites, allow them to leave their comments.
    3. What social information or people do your customers rely on? How to make this data actionable: If they rely on their friends, facilitate a marketing program that encourages customers to share with friends, this data helps with determining resource allocation on advocacy programs.
    4. What is your customers’ social influence? Who trusts them?How to make this data actionable: If your customers are trusted by others, highlight your customers in front of their community. For example, teens may share information with each other, spreading their influence to others.  Example: Walmart’s 11 Moms blogger program is a platform for customer voices.
    5. How do customers use social in context of your products? How do customers use social technologies to learn, make decisions, and support your products and services? How to make this data actionable: Be confident in your resource allocation by understanding when customers rely on social tools or their peers in pre-sales, awareness, decision making, implementation, or support of a product.

    When properly deployed, Socialgraphics, helps companies, their agency partners, and business units be more effective in their planning and deployment –reducing risk from deploying without having knowledge.

    In the spirit of open research, we will make this webinar, the slides, and the overall methodology available for the public to use, under creative commons license. We hope you’ll join us.  Stay tuned as we have other webinars coming soon.


    Socialgraphics: The Engagement Pyramid Offers An Understanding of Customer Behaviors

    Above: The Engagement Pyramid makes it easy to understand the specific behaviors of socialgraphics, making it simple to decide which technologies to deploy. Having customer understanding makes go-to-market strategy more effective.

    News hit this Monday that Powered has acquired three social media agencies: crayon, Drillteam and StepChange. I just had a skype video conversation with Aaron Strout and Joseph Jaffe to learn more, here’s my take.  You can read crayon founder Joseph’s take and Aaron Strout the CMO of Powered and a quick mention in NYT.

    A Solution Set of Services Bolsters a Marketing Platform
    I’ve heard of crayon, and have many conversations and even podcasts with founder Joseph Jaffe, I’ve also spent time with the Powered executive team last year.  Stepchange is a 13 person team out of Portland focused on Facebook Apps and mobile, and Drillteam, from NY, has been around for 10 years and focuses on experitntial and advocacy marketing, such as connecting events to online like street teams, guerrilla, and ambassador programs. Powered isn’t just a community platform, I learned they have other marketing features that really intent to provide a suite of offerings.

    Natural Evolution Of A Growing Market:

    • Consolidation happens in downturned markets. As the recession starts to show signs of it lifting, now’s a great time for companies to come together and create a greater value.  We saw this type of acquisition behavior from agencies during the first boom, and we should expect similar patterns here.
    • Acquisition provides key services software platforms can’t fill. It makes sense for Powered platform to partner up with a service(s) teams that have already been successful for some time, this improves the time to market to deployment.  In addition to coming with a book of business, they can quickly deploy the Powered platform, expanding the software footprint.  Joseph Jaffe has strong thought leadership, an existing marketing brand, and reach needed to the group.
    • Yet, brings risk for Powered and new partners. First of all, there are some big names coming together,  the real stress will be can these cultures, and their strong willed leaders, be able to jive together.  Secondly, it’ll be interseting to see if Crayon and services teams forces stragies on their clients that involve the Powered platform.  I asked if there are any layoffs coming from consolidation, they haven’t made any plans, but when you have 4 companies coming together expect redundancy.

    Impacts To Customers, Partners and Competitors:

    • Social Agencies should rekindle and bolster relationships. This impacts other social agencies like Stage Two Consulting, Social Media Group, AdHoc, Ant’s Eye View, ForumOne, Community Roundtable, Shift Communications, Dachis, FutureWorks, New Marketing Labs, who may be at medium and small tier, they should quickly partner up with other firms to increase their value.
    • Customers of crayon, Drillteam, and Stepchange should request agnostic recommendations. Any client of these three agencies should make sure that the strategy they are being offered includes other vendors and platforms –not just the Powered platform and Facebook platform.  Remember, first find out where your customers are online before choosing the tools to use.
    • This is competition for larger agencies –yet savvy agencies will partner. This is a threat to large agencies like Organic, Razorfish, Ogilvy, and Edelman.  Yet the smart agencies won’t get defensive, they should partner with this team, and figure out what offerings they can offer that they don’t have in their portfolio.

    Congrats to the Powered, crayon, Drilldteam and Stepchange team for this merger, I’m excited to see the industry emerge from small disparate startups to a larger entity going forward.

    The recession has been great for social marketing, in fact, I feel it’s spurred the industry on. With overall reduced marketing budgets, companies must innovate, and find new channels that are more efficient than the ‘carpet-bombing’ techniques of traditional marketing.

    There are a handful of goals that companies can have with social technologies, from learning, dialog, support, and innovation (see Charlene’s deck, starting at slide 8 to learn more), I want to drill down in the following matrix to focus on the goal of spreading, and word of mouth, and viral. I call this “Advocacy”.

    Marketers, who strive to find efficient ways of reaching customers at lower cost, seek ‘force-multipliers‘ or a method where using a small degree of energy (or the energy of another force) to your advantage. Do remember, there is a downside to any action, and with ‘advocacy’ there’s reduced control over message and therefore more risk. With that said, many marketers know the benefits of content spreading are worth the risks.

    Matrix: Breakdown of Advocacy Marketing

    Sophistication and Description Investments and Returns Strengths: Weaknesses: Great For:
    Sharing Tools Baseline effort. Tools like Sharethis, AddThis, Gigya, and some features in Pluck, and Kickapps. High. Low investment as it can easily be deployed on CMS templates. Continual returns of content spreading with no additional overhead or cost. Easy to deploy, yet transactional Do not build deep relationship with customers Getting started, a baseline activity.
    Viral Marketing A basic technique. Word of mouth campaigns on Facebook apps, YouTube (see popular), or Twitter (see moonfruit example) Low. Being able to hit the right elements of the content people want, timing, and other factors are difficult. Chances are, most campaigns that intend to be viral never are Easy for media and interactive agencies to create and deploy. Dime a dozen. Short term and cheap. Not conducive to building long term relationships. Traditional agencies and transactional marketers that are trying to learn social
    Social Network Connections An intermediate technique. Facebook, Twitter Connect. Easy to comment systems on blogs, to sophisicated Huffington Post social recommendations, see Buddy Media. Moderate to High. Allowing customers to login to your site with existing connections increase value of social sharing and chance to serve up contextual data. However there are considerable costs in creating contextual content and systems that are not yet mature. Encourages people to quickly login, share, and find others who have interests Challenges in collecting email leads as customers now ‘login’ using social connections. Static websites who need to inject social interactions.
    Advocacy Programs An advanced technique, see this checklist. Longer term programs with customer advocates like Microsoft MVP or Walmart’s 11 Mom’s High return but high cost. Companies can benefit from an unpaid army that will market, defend, and support customers, but this requires significant resources to launch, grow, and maintain. Builds long term deep relationships with a customer group that will defend brand. Requires full resources for program, takes time to build Companies that can’t scale their marketing in a high touch customer experience.

    Companies Should Embrace Advocacy Programs
    Organizations are already deploying these word of mouth tools, but often without a plan or strategy, get started now by:

    • Deploy simple sharing features now. These cheap and easy to insert embeds should be on every content type where companies want the content to spread. From press releases, to blog posts, companies need to make it easy for their market to share with others.
    • Reduce risks by providing proper support and resources. Organizations should first understand the costs, downsides and risks for each type of marketing program, with greater returns (Advocacy program) comes greater commitment of resources, and greater risk, so to reduce those risks, put the right resources behind it.
    • Develop new measurement techniques. Measuring the spread of information is more difficult, as often companies won’t have web analytics installed on third party websites. Instead use a variety of mention and url tracking with brand monitoring software to track how far information spreads over time.

    Screen shot 2010-01-05 at 12.43.57 PM

    Above Image: Readers of this blog asked for coverage in Social CRM, Mobile Social Networks, and Community Platforms. This is in alignment with my goals for 2010.

    First of all, thanks to those who responded to the 2009 Web Strategy survey, the results were telling. One of the questions that I asked was about areas of focus, I’m pleased to hear that the direction readers want me to focus is in alignment with where I’m headed. It’s important to have goals, (even my personal goals to live in Hawaii 30 days a yearlike Operation Bluewater) and I’m happy to share my focus for the coming year.

    Here’s my baseline topics that I’ve been blogging about, and helping clients through advisory and research, I’ve been doing this since I ran the social program at Hitachi, back in 2006, over four years ago.

    Organizational Social Readiness: 80% of a companies success is getting their organization ready through the right roles, processes, policies, measurement, only 20% should be on tools. I’ll continue to talk about organizational readiness.

    Social Strategy: This also ties into social marketing strategy, which should be focused first on socialgraphics (how your customers use these tools) and business goals –not reacting to the latest technology.

    Vendor and Technology Review: I’ll continue to cover the social networking space, like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, as well as enterprise systems like Community Platforms like Jive, Lithium, Telligent, Awareness, Mzinga, Pluck, Eos, Salesforce Chatter.

    I make it a point in my career to always be uncomfortable: trying new things, looking at the upcoming changes and taking risks, I hope that by continuing to blog what I learn, we can grow together. The areas of increased focus for this year are:

    Social CRM: An organization’s response to the fleeting customer in the social space, and how companies must provide a holistic experience to customers by creating processes, integrating new channels, and responding to customers in near-real time. Why this space? Most companies don’t know they need it, but as customers increase their social behavior, tacking, managing, and responding will become increasingly difficult. I’ve already blogged some of my findings, read all the posts tagged ’social crm’.

    Location based and Mobile Marketing: I place to distinct separations between these topics, although they are intrinsically tied. I’m placing bets on the increased marketing context that’s available by triangulating information through mobile and location devices. Similarly, I’ll continue to look at applications that extend to mobile devices –a natural extension to the social web. I’ve never put a lot of effort into the immature mobile space, but the adoption of these mini-computers are taking off, the space is slowly moving out of diapers and into adolescence. Read all my posts tagged ‘mobile’.

    Now back to you: What topics and focuses will you have during this coming year? What areas of education are you planning to bolster up on? What will you practice and deliver? Wishing you a very successful 2010!

    Know The Upsides –And Downsides Of Your Adoption Behavior
    Individuals and companies should be deliberate in their adoption strategy, there are benefits and risks to each category. It’s been interesting watching different group adopt social technologies over the past few years, I can see who benefits from being first –and the pains to be a thought leader of both individuals and companies.  

    Screen shot 2010-01-03 at 7.30.36 AM

    Above, this is the standard Rogers Adoption Curve, it’s important to point out that my matrix below only is in context of social technologies, it will vary from technology to technology.  I found this take on the adoption stages of social technologies helpful in framing how I thought about the following matrix. I built this following matrix in the context of social technologies and adoption by both individuals and mixed in with organizations and industries.

    Matrix: Social Technology Adoption Curve Benefits –and Downsides

    Categories Description Benefits Downsides
    Innovators These brave souls take on new technologies, trial them, then will often evangelize them. I’d put those that adopted Twitter in 2006. or any entrepreneurs that creates new technologies fitting into these categories.  From a corporate perspective, Dell was forced into this arena, and has benefited. Glory for being first, a thought and practice leader.. Will have learned from their mistakes, and have far more experience than any others. Will always be able to tout they were first. Very costly in terms of time, effort to find new technologies that are often flawed. Additionally, since innovation becomes cheaper and more accessible, this becomes more difficult as more entrants to the market launch products. Lastly, while these folks may be first for some technologies, they are often wrong for the many other technologies that did not take off.
    Early Adopters This behavior is exhibited by those that try out new technologies in a careful way, often thought leaders. Some analyst firms like Forrester adopted early, and the Tech industry deployed social.  Agencies like Edelman, Razorfish have helped their clients. Learn from the failures of innovators, they reduce risk. Often they have the opportunity to explain how it works to others. Become the case studies that other groups follow Never first, and have to write the playbooks. They may adopt, but at higher costs than the majorities as the technology has not matured. Tech companies adopted social in 2005-2007 as an early industry, but a lack of measurement, and rapid tool change required great effort to stay current.
    Early Majority Although thoughtful in their deployment, they adopt faster than the mainstream. in 2009, we saw industries like consumer packaged goods, finance, and healthcare adopt social technologies. I think of when mainstream Oprah joining Twitter as a defining moment as she was ahead of most celebrities and media. Technology starts to mature, reducing risk and costs. Standards emerge, although this group gets to help define mainstream adoption. Some of the cool factor leaves, and brands start to move in on social technologies, scaring off some innovators.
    Late Majority This skeptical group only adopts when the mainstream does. Industries that only got on board with social when Obama, mainstream press, or celebrity adoption occurred fit here. Companies adopting in 2009 and beyond. Reduced risk from learning from who’s done it right and wrong, as well as benefits from standard proccesses, and consolidation of vendors. Not seen as thought leaders and don’t benefit from the residual buzz from being ‘cool’, instead come across as a ‘me too’./td>
    Laggards Still cautions in deployment, even after the technology has become mainstream. These folks will adopt social technologies in 2010 or later. Cookie cutter deployment from standardization and very little risk.  Deployment may actually be faster and with less effort than those above. In balance with lower risk, lower opportunity for reward. No thought leadership, and little additional reputation or buzz value from the intended investment.

    Matrix: Be Deliberate In Your Adoption Strategy
    Each category has specific benefits and risks, but rather than just behaving in a way that comes natural, I encourage you in your personal and work adoption to be deliberate in your actions.

    1. Examine your organizations adoption patterns. First, define how quickly your organization responds and adopts to technologies, and factor into your considerations.
    2. Be a Category Ahead Of Your Company. If you’re responsible for new technologies at your company, your personal adoption should be a level or two ahead of the organizations adoption, as you cannot effectively deploy for your company if you don’t personally understand the impacts of the new technologies.
    3. Track The Category Ahead Of You. Find an individual that’s above your adoption category (the early adopter watches the innovator) and be sure to watch their behaviors and learn from them. Adopters are often blazing their own trail, and may not ever follow anyone.

    My Strategy: Early Adopter –But Not Innovator
    One thing is clear, being first doesn’t mean you’re right, in fact, the Innovators have a difficult time dealing with early and late majority, paving roads of opportunity for analysis, agencies, and consultants. As a result, I make a distinct effort to be an early adopter of new social technologies, but not the innovator, as I find I’d rather be more often right, and expend less energy trying to be first.

    Leave a Comment. Share Your Adoption Strategy
    Let’s learn from each other, I’d like to know about your adoption behavior and that of your company. Were you deliberate in choosing your adoption strategy? How does it hurt or help your company?

    Above: See the details of the survey results, due to heavy data, it’s best when put into ‘full screen’ mode, the fourth icon on bottom.

    To me, this blog belongs as much to the community in which I serve as it does to me, as such, it’s important to find out who the readers are and what they want, to learn about previous efforts, see 2008’s results. The goals of this survey are simple 1) Find out who the readers are, 2) Find out if they are they influenced by this blog, and how, 3) How this blog can improve year-over year. With a sample size of nearly 200 respondents, some of the key findings from this survey were:

    1. Overall, Readers Were Satisfied: Overall, respondents were pleased with the blog, and 47% rated it a “10/10″ in recommending it to others when asked “would you recommend this blog to a friend or colleague”, and 54% read more than half the posts, and over one-third shares it monthly with others (slides 3, 4, 5)
    2. Many are Buyers at Corporate: 59% of respondents said they are buyers,  28% of respondents have budgets $100k-$1 million (although one-fifth do not hold budget), and over a quarter work at enterprise class companies with over half of respondents in the United States (slides 10, 14, 18, 19).
    3. Some are Influenced By Blog: Over one-third of respondents said this blog strongly informs their actions at work, but it was nearly split between influence in their buying process, with 40% agreeing, and 39% disagreeing.  (slide 6).  Read more from Edelman’s Analyst Relations specialist, Jonny Bentwood on his take of this data.
    4. Sophistication of Social and Mobile at Work Varies: 39% of respondents said their company was intermediate when it came to social strategy, and 43% said their novice when it comes to mobile strategy. (slide 20, 21)
    5. Identified Many Areas for This Blog to Improve: There was a large request for adding more case studies, and interviews with thought leaders in the space, and a variety of comments in the open-ended section that I’m all taking to heart. (slide 8, and qualitative answers)

    You can read the qualitative answers on a separate page, in case you want to understand why they read this blog, and what they want to see improved.

    A few notes on this survey.  I’m not sure this is truly representative of all readers, it’s likely those that are more engaged, and are willing to spend time filling out the survey.  While some research firms take data samples from smaller numbers, this is only 195 of respondents, although there are far more readers than that.

    If you want to influence the readers of this blog, it’s simple.  Be part of the ongoing conversation (not be pitchy) by leaving comments and demonstrating your knowledge and expertise.  Also, you can schedule a briefing with me, but I’ll have to admit up front, it’s been hard getting on my cal as we just launched this new company.  I’m figuring out ways to make briefings easier, such as blocking out Friday mornings, using web based forms to collect more information up front.

    Thanks to the folks who took the time to answer the 20 question survey, I read every response, and am constantly trying to improve this blog. Here’s to making this blog even better in 2010!

    We’re just a few days from Y2K+10, ten years after the big scare of the whole world collapsing from a lapse in computer programming foresight.

    I remember it closely, I spent a few hours in the later part of Dec 1999 backing up data at the small business my wife was working at. We were able to download nearly all of her company’s (a very small office) data onto just over a dozen zip drives, remember those? Funny that we could fit nearly all the digital files onto those drives –perhaps, if Y2K fears were to happen, it’s better than uploading to the cloud.

    I also remember an army of Y2K consultants, and their concerns over liabilities, appear marketing how they’d offer CIOs Y2K enterprise proofing for companies that were concerned about losing all their data. I even had one slightly off-keel friend stay home on NYE 2000 eve with a gun in hand, military rations beside his bed. I wasn’t phased, I enjoyed reveling in downtown San Francisco with friends.

    I want you to reminisce, do you remember what you did to protect your personal data, finances, work data, or what your company did in preparation for the Y2K apocalypse? Leave a comment, share with others, and take a look back 10 years ago. To trigger some memories, here’s a video to remind you of the fear, oh Leonard, really? Illogical.


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