MAD Perspectives Blog

The 4 Ps of Social Media Governance

Peggy Dau - Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Social Media Governance.  What was your immediate reaction?  Yay, Awesome!?  Or, argh! - something else I have to be doing?  Governance is the "method or system of government or management". The good news is that your business has decided to use social media for some purpose.  Presumably you have some measurable goals in place and your use of social media is aligned with your overall communication plan.  How are you going to know if your use of social media is successful?  This is where governance comes into play.        

Governance is the business process to support your vision with relevant targets, skills, metrics and guidelines. Governance provides a framework to prove social media value.  Governance can be summarized as the 4 Ps.  Planning, Policy, Preparation & Protocol.

1.  Planning -   This is the hard part.  This is figuring out HOW you want to leverage social media.  Ideally, your company will have identified areas where social media can help your business achieve existing goals.  The impacted business groups will be aligned in how they will use social media to communicate and interact with customers, vendors or employees.  Planning is agreeing who takes the lead in your social media initiative and understanding the roles of impacted business groups.  Planning is setting a timeline for how you will move forward with your social media strategy.

2.  Policy - This is the critical part.  This is setting the company guidelines for what can or cannot be said via social media.  Policy is working across different business units, including legal and HR, to understand concerns about social communication and defining the parameters within which employees can be 'social'.  This is taking into account your corporate culture and expanding upon existing employee code of conduct guidelines - or not.

3.  Preparation - This is the nitty gritty part.  This is determining what kinds of social media platforms your company will use and determining if your company has sufficient resources to manage a social media initiative.  This is establishing your presence on the relevant social platforms (i.e., blogs, wikis, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Slideshare, etc.).  This is educating your employees on your policy and how your company will leverage social media and the various platforms.  Perhaps this is enabled via interactive training, an online handbook or a webinar.  This is making sure your employees know where to go if they have questions. Preparation is confirming how you will measure success and selecting the tools needed to capture necessary metrics.

4. Protocol - This is ongoing, every day part.  Protocol incorporates bits of planning, policy and preparation to ensure that guidelines are followed and that employees are engaging for the purpose intended.  Protocol will look at the ongoing measures of success and used the data collected to determine if plans need to be adjusted.  Protocol is how your social media team will communicate and address progress, hurdles or problems.

If you can keep these 4 Ps in mind as you initiate and implement your social media initiative(s) you will have the foundation for a successful venture.  Many forays into social media have mixed results, but often this is do to lack of planning and management of the effort.  While an ad hoc approach is great for gaining familiarity with the communication style and platforms, it does not enable you to set goals and prove that you have achieved them.

Your company uses some form of governance for its exsiting marketing, sales, product development or R&D projects, shouldn't social media be held to the same standards?  

What's your perspective? 

6 Tips for B2B Blogging

Peggy Dau - Monday, June 21, 2010

Many companies recognize the potential value of blogging, but struggle to organize their thoughts and the actual writing of the blog.  Subsequently, the blogs imply doesn't happen.  Yet, according to the 2009 B2B Social Media Marketing Study, 74% of companies surveyed maintain one or more blogs.  What are all these companies blogging about? And, how do they manage it?

When I look at companies or sites who are blogging regularly and considered leaders in their industry, I've learned the following:

     1. Empower Your Employees - Encourage your employees to blog and share their insights, their smarts, their personalities.  Invite employees from different business groups to write about what's going on the industry.  They will have unique perspectives given the groups they represent (i.e., marketing, sales, engineering, R&D, support).  Their perspectives will be interesting to your current and prospective customers.

     2. Share Your Policy - Many companies will be concerned with giving their employees a public voice.  This is where establishing a policy will alleviate many concerns.  The policy is basical the rules of engagement for your employees...and for your customers.  It should provide guidance to your employees about what is acceptable or unacceptable blogging behavior.  By sharing your policy publically, your customers will know what to expect when engaging with your blogs.  Here are some examples from HP, IBM, SAP and Intel.  My thanks to the high tech community for being so open about their policies!

     3. Enable Comments - Invite and encourage readers to comment!  Comments are what make blogs interactive.  They enable the conversation.  They provide you, the company, with honest, candid, immediate feedback.  It may be supportive, discouraging, antagonistic or enthusiastic.  Aside from concerns about foul language, do not disable comments for fear of negative comments.  common sense must be employed to determine the best approach to addressing negativity, but that negativity can have positive results.

     4. Invite Guest Contributors - Every industry has its pundits.  They exist in the form of analysts, columnists, technologists and executives.  Inviting these thought leaders to contribute to your blog can bring a new perspective to a hot topic, insight to emerging trends and clarity to industry debates.  Your alignment (or lack thereof) with these pundits may attract new readers to your blog.
     5. Establish an Editorial Calendar - Creating a plan can simplify the effort associated with managing and writing blogs.  While it is often useful to allow the blog to just "happen" in response to industry trends or to incite new discussion, it is also beneficial for it to reinforce annoucnements or events.  Laying out the calendar will help define the need for content or resources, and give you time to fill that need.

     6. Be Interesting - This is most important.  Think about what you would want to read.  What kind of information are you seeking that only a blog can fulfill?  A blog is not a product or press release, allow your personality to shine through.  As always when thinking social, be transparent and authentic.

What companies or blogs did I check out when thinking about this blog?  After 25 years in high tech, I folow blogs from the companies reference above.  However, I also check in with Marriott, Nike, and Whole Foods.  With my focus in digital/social media, I read, Mashable, Social Media TodaySmart Blog on Social Media and more.

Does your company blog?  What's your blogging experience?  I'd love to hear the good and the bad!

What's your perspective?

Who's in Charge? Customers or Companies?

Peggy Dau - Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the Facebook privacy issue and questioned whether it was about privacy or control and discussed the corporate focus on operational issues when commencing their foray into social media.  Thus, addressing the legal, security, network and business goals around their foray.  However, the question of control in a digital media world goes beyound that initial discussion.
Company business models have been based on control - control of all aspects of their operations, financials, product and messaging
.  Why?  Companies want to build meaningful products, build market leadership and sustain competitive differentiation with the overall goal to create profit and margin.  Companies protect their intellectual property, technology and business processes as they often provide that competitive differentiation.  Companies have controlled the flow of information about their products and their product roadmaps.  However, there is a major shift that has been underway for some time, but that is exaggerated by social networking.  Customers want information whenever and however they can get it.

Look at Apple's veil of secrecy around every new product launch...and the hoopla around Gizmodo's "lucky" and early access to iPhone 4.  Steve Jobs seeks to control the introduction and messaging around every new product.  However, the internet buzz around the product(s) creates demand for insight and discussion, and we can imagine, product.

Companies control access to their products and solutions to create interest and demand.  In the 'old" media world, broadcasters created programming and determined the schedule for when each program would be broadcast.  This created demand for the program and allowed advertisers to target ads to the programs audience based on their demographic.  We have seen this model challenge on multiple fronts as advertisers sought incremental outlets (i.e., the internet) and consumers sought alternate channels to access content (i.e., the internet) or new devices allowed consumers to watch content when they wanted (not when the broadcasters wanted them to).

The tide has turned and B2C companies are responding.  Broadcasters make their content available via multiple distribution channels.  Airlines offer discounted tickets to followers on Twitter.  Local businesses offer coupons to consumers in their neighborhood (i.e., Groupon, Foursquare).  Consumers are using social media to "get what they want,  when they want".  If you have a question, you tweet or facebook about it - and, you get an answer.

How will B2B companies respond?  While they will (and should) protect their core assets of IP and technology, they are figuring out how to leverage social media.  They are uncomfortable with ceding control to their customers, yet they are beginning to see how customers can give them an instantaneous opinion on products, support and company.  B2B companies can gain great insight on product features, customer satisfaction and company image.  Whether their customers are actually gaining control is still an unanswered question, but customer influence is growing

How is your company addressing social media impact on control and influence?  Are you listening?  Do you particpate in social platforms, communities, discussions about your industry or niche market?  Do you actively engage your customers to prioritize your product roadmap?  Do your customers have an online community to discuss support challenges?  Do you enable your customers to help each other?  Ceding a little control can gain great benefit.

What's your perspective?

Printing Heads to the Clouds

Peggy Dau - Wednesday, June 09, 2010

HP announced its ePrint Center at Internet Week New York on Monday.  Due to some laptop problems, I've been delayed in sharing my thoughts.  As a former HP employee who left on good terms, I'm still very interested to see what new technologies HP pursues.  While I never worked in the printer group, I feel affinity toward the LaserJet as it was announced the same year I joined HP.  The printer business has been a mainstay for HP ever since. 

 This weeks announcement takes printing to the next level. What does Hp ePrint Center do?  It federates your print capabilities by associating an unique email address with every new ePrint enabled printer.  This allows you to store files in the "cloud" and print to the designated web-enabled ePrinters.  Why is this cool?  It removes the need for print drivers on your device - bit it a laptop, PC, handheld, phone, iPad, etc.  The documents are rendered in the cloud with the relevant print drivers associated seamlessly.  We've all been down the road of downloading or updating print drivers when we upgrade to new devices or printers.  this removes that challenge.

The other interesting aspect of ePrint Center is a service called Scheduled Delivery.  Now companies can create widgets that users can elect to download to their printers.  Based on the personalization that the individual assigns to that widget, they can schedule content to print at pre-defined dates & times or on-demand.  For the purpose of this announcement, HP focused on consumer needs with partners like Nickelodeon and Live Nation sharing the ability to print kids coloring books or concert information without going online via your PC.  it allows simple, fast access to printed content.  As much as we would like to paperless, we simply are not there - yet.

HP will announce the business benefits later this year, but I was imagining how this can benefit B2B companies.  Assuming that web-enabled printers become the norm (and is there is a reason that they wouldn't) this truly enables Print-on-the-Go.  You can print brochures, quotes, proposals, product roadmaps, price lists, manuals to the desired printer from any device.  It truly is content anywhere, anytime.  Imagine you left your sales presentation in the taxi (god forbid!), you can use your smartphone to access the presentation in the cloud and have it print at your local print shop (i.e., Fedex Kinkos, Staples) or at your customer.  This also enables you to create content on the fly and print it easily, without concern for the right print drivers, wherever your are.

Similar to Apples App Store, HP has the App Studio for partners to create printer apps.  Consumer centric businesses are already creating widgets to be downloaded to the new ePrinters, B2B companies could do the same.  Imagine creating customer support or FAQ widgets.  I'm sure there are many more creative ideas out there!

This announcement does take printing to the next logical step and turns what have been primarily output devices into smart devices that can bring incremental value to consumers and businesses.  As with all things "cloud", the usual concerns for security and control still exist.  Yes, this will likely continue to drive ink sales.  And, yes, it gives us all a reason to buy new printers.  But, it addresses long existing challenges with printer drivers, it addresses the conundrum of wanting to be mobile but still need hard copy docs, and it solves that pesky inability to connect an iPad to a printer.

Share your thoughts on this topic.  I'm interested to understand what you think about web-enabled printing.  Will the ability to download widgets make the printer social?

What's your perspective?

Social Media & TV, the next BIG thing?

Peggy Dau - Monday, June 07, 2010

If you ask media pundits about THE big innovation of the last millennium, they will tell you it was the TV.  Social media is garnering a lot of attention in the early part of the new millennium, but where does social media go next?  A natural assumption is that TV and social media will have a marriage of sorts.  One thought is that news broadcasters will incorporate social media more prominently into their every day actions.  Most local broadcasters take advantage of user generated video, regardless of quality, to capture traumatic events.  Here in New York, multiple amateur videos of US Airways Flight 1549 were incorporated into local broadcasts about the event.  But, is this enough? 

Morning “news” programs and talk show hosts, such as the last hour of the Today show or Oprah, now incorporate email and tweets into their daily routine.  Typically the hosts have an assistant, on or off screen, who is online following the discussion and informing the hosts on-air as the hot topics.  This seems to be a natural fit as these programs already have a well defined communities.   From another perspective, marketers are using social media networks to gauge interest and popularity of network programs.  American Idol and Lost are just two examples of programs that have huge followers on both Twitter and Facebook.   And, 77% of broadcast newsrooms are using social platforms to microblog news links to their followers. 

In fact, one could assume that broadcast TV is a natural fit for social media.  TV has driven coffee room and water cooler conversations for years.  Now those conversations happen on Facebook or Twitter.  However, the challenge remains that TV, for now, is” lean back” experience regardless of watching on the network’s pre-determine schedules or our own ad hoc DVR-enabled schedules.  Social media is a “lean-forward” experience.  We need to be on our PCs or mobile devices to post content.  How do we bring the experiences together?

Software vendors at broadcast conferences such as the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and International Broadcast Conference (IBC) in Amsterdam have been demonstrating user interfaces which incorporate both Facebook and Twitter.  Are we ready to give up part of our 42” HD viewing space to tweet on the TV screen during our favorite sporting event, reality TV program or sitcom?  Of course, this means sitting on the couch with a keyboard.  The interest in internet connected TVs will certainly enhance the functionally.   However, today’s 18-30 year olds aren’t watching network programming on their TVs, they are watching on their PCs or mobile devices.  Is an integrated social media/TV experience needed?  Do we even care?  Perhaps it’s about trying out new tools and seeing what works.  And, maybe what doesn’t work will drive innovation to something beyond social media on our TV screens.

What’s your perspective?

Is the debate about Privacy...or Control?

Peggy Dau - Thursday, May 27, 2010

In light of the active discussion about Facebook and privacy over the past few weeks, let’s talk about these topics as related to businesses using social platforms.  Unlike consumers, businesses don’t worry about the sharing of personal information like address, birth date or likes.  The primary concerns, for every business when they enter into the social arena, are brand reputation, confidential information, investor relations and security.   The benefits of being social, authentic and transparent can outweigh the fears, but it requires some advance thought.

The bottom line to this rampant conversation about privacy is control.  As individuals and as businesses we want to control the flow information.  We want to control how we access information.  On the one hand we want to control the message.  We want to control who has access to that information.  From a business perspective, we want to limit the information a competitor can discover, while providing enough meaningful content to educate and attract new customers while retaining existing customers.

As individuals on Facebook, we actively seek social interaction with out “friends”.  We actually even accepted the Facebook Terms & Conditions when we signed up.  These T&Cs told us that information shared on Facebook is public, not private, unless we set our privacy settings accordingly.  Can we be social and private simultaneously?  Again, it’s about control.  We want to be social within a framework that we define.  We define who we want to be friends with, whether we allow access by Facebook applications or if we want out Facebook content searchable by search engines.  We control what is truly public.  We become concerned when the framework for establishing that control is changed.

For businesses, the Facebook controversy reinforces concerns even if your business is not using Facebook.  It reignites concerns about what being social may mean for your business.  The issues for a corporation are far more complex but no less concerning.   Let’s address a few of these issues in the context of privacy or control:

1. Brand Reputation:   Social media provides companies with another channel for using pull marketing strategies to gain brand visibility.   The company does not want to be private about its brand, but it does want to retain control.  Social media by its very nature is social, which mean companies have to give up a little control.  However, in giving up some control they will learn more about what their customers really think.  It is important for companies to engage in active listening or monitoring of online conversations.  This will help companies regain some control. They will be able to refine their messaging based on the open, candid feedback of the social internet.   It will come down to common sense in determining how to address negative sentiment.

2. Confidential Information:  Companies are always seeking a competitive edge to win business.  There have been many reports on the underhanded methods that companies will use to win market share.  While companies generally trust their employees, they are concerned about the information employees may share, unintentionally, on social platforms.  This includes information about product roadmaps, R&D developments, financial performance, go-to-market strategies and customer engagements.  Companies must invest in educating employees as to the company policy on social network participation and how or when corporate content can be shared.  This topic is all about privacy and controlling what content should or should not be kept private.

3. Investor Relations:  Given the broad, open nature of social media, many CFOs are concerned about the impact on their investor community (public or private).  The SEC continues to evolve its policy around social networks, but statements thus far recognize blogs as an approved medium for facilitating information between customers and stakeholders.  Blogs are not any different than any other statements when it comes to the anti-fraud provisions of federal securities law.  In short, avoid any ability to create speculation about the company or 3rd party valuation.  This is an area where control, in the form of a defined social media policy and ongoing monitoring, is important for compliance purposes.

4. Corporate Network Security:  IT Departments already face ongoing challenges regarding spam and malware.   The can control access to social networks from the corporate network, but that may be contrary to agreed upon goals.  They fear that employee access and participation on social networks from their office computers will expose the corporate network to increased attacks.  Again, a policy to define how the company will engage in social media, will help the IT group to understand who, what, where and how employees will engage and to continuously assess their network security solutions.  The goal is to maintain the privacy of the network and prohibit unwanted attacks.

While companies will give up some control as it comes to the social conversation about their brand, they must and will establish policies to guide their employees toward appropriate social networking on behalf of the company.  Just as Facebook has explicit, if somewhat shifting, privacy policy, companies must be cognizant of these policies and disclaimers as they leverage Facebook and other social platforms.  It’s a delicate balance being social.  The privacy debate will persist.   Policies will continue to evolve.  We will struggle to retain control.  But, individual and companies will be less private and more social.

What’s your perspective?

What's Your Social Identity?

Peggy Dau - Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I met with some potential business partners today.  Given my focus on helping clients figure out their strategy for using digital media solutions to tell their story online, I recognize the value brought by business partners who can develop custom applications, provide graphic design, tweak SEO or create video content.  We all agree that B2B companies face a different set of challenges in aligning and deploying digital media than their B2C bretheren. 

One question that often arises is about which social platforms they should be using.  My most common response is "it depends on where your customers are".  Interestingly, as I was talking to business partners today, the topic of knowing what platforms a company's customers may be using came up several times.  Then I stumbled on a blog by Jay Baer from May 14, 2010 referencing two platforms, Flowtown and RapLeaf that can help clients figure out what social platforms their customers and their employees are using.  I've read Jay's review of other social platforms and always appreciate his honest insights.  I'll be checking out these platforms out myself to better understand how to best leverage them.

Shortly after reading the Jay's blog on The Social Media Examiner, I stumbled on another blog about social identity.  NetProspex accessed corporate email contact lists to assess corporate social activity.  Check out the NetProspex Social Index, it may help you to see where the leading "social" companies are spending their time.  Does your company have a social identity?

Understanding your customer's social behavior while figuring out your own social identify can be daunting.  However, the value in knowing where and how to listen to your customers is measurable and meaningful.  Fortunately, there are platforms emerging that can help companies figure out where your customers are!  What methods or platforms are you using?  Let me know! 

What's your perspective?

Let Your Customers Help You Tell Your Story

Peggy Dau - Monday, May 17, 2010

Once upon a time...  These are the infamous words that start many a fairy tale.  But, it is also mean we about to hear a story.  George Lucas used similar words to launch a trilogy and then a prequel of stories about a galaxy far far away.  His Star Wars movies are considered some of the best stories of my generation.

We read stories to our kids before bedtime.  We go to the movies to become enthralled with drama, comedy, horror or adventure stories.  We go online to watch webisodes of programs created specifically for Internet consumption. How do you tell your story? The most common methods have been to write product briefs, whitepapers, case studies and press releases.  However, the past few years have shown that customers want to be part of the story.  The ability for customers to comment on products, blogs, facebook or twitter, has give customers a greater share of your public face.

This is good news! Your customers have a unique perspective of your company and it's products or services.  I've learned a lot about how to tell my story, both personal and professional, by listening to my partners and customers.  My customers want me to tell my story in a way that integrates with their PR strategy.  That's ok for me, my services are complimentary to the services offered by most PR firms and, in fact, should help drive incremental revenue for these firms. 

My customers want me to share my background in high tech and in communicating in B2B environments.  By including my background as a core part of my story, they realize that I can relate to the challenges they face.  They want to understand how I made the decision to leave corporate america and pursue independent consulting as this helps them understand my motivations.  They find comfort in understanding that I too, had to figure out how to tell my story, just as I'm helping them figure out what solutions will help them tell their story.

It's also about how to tell your story.  Do you tell you story on your company website?  Via your personal blog or industry analysts or in press releases or webinars or online video?  Depending on how your customer consumes information, your story can be told in many ways...and many times.

Listen to your customers.  They will provide you with great insights on what parts of your story are interesting to them, or not! They will help you prioritize your efforts and perhaps help you reduce some aspects of your marketing budget.  They will let you know who they listen to and perhaps influencers you should also listen to and influence.

Are your customers helping you tell your story?  Share your experiences with me!

What's your perspective?

Key Learnings from Marketing Profs B2B Forum 2010

Peggy Dau - Thursday, May 06, 2010

IMG_2522 by MarketingProfs Live.

I attended Marketing Profs B2B Forum 2010 in Boston this week.  For anyone seeking new ideas, validation, case studies, real life examples on how B2B companies are integrating social media into their overall marketing strategy - this is the event to attend!  (note:  I am not paid or in any way compensated by Marketing Profs).  While the event focuses on all aspects of B2B marketing (lead management/generation, SEO, Pipeline management, conversion rates, social media), I was most interested in the social media and content publishing topics.

The sessions were all led & hosted by B2B marketeers sharing their real life experiences.  Some key takeaways:

    - Align your social media strategy with your overall marketing strategy.  You've likely invested in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and defined keywords.  Incorporate those keywords into your social communication.  Align your overall editorial calendar.

    - Think about who your customers are and how they consume content. Do they want to read a detailed whitepaper or do they want a high level overview?   What part of the buying process are they in as they seek, access and consume content?

    - How do you track success of your marketing programs?  Do you invite feedback from your sales team and customers about the value of the content you  provide?

    - Think about how you can repurpose existing content into social media channels (i.e., blogs, tweets, slideshare, video).

    - Gain some insight into your company's social reputation as you define your strategy.  Who is mentioning your company or products online?  What and where are the sharing their thoughts?  Who are the key influencers in your industry and do they mention your company?

Humans are social.  Your employees are human. Ergo, your employees are social at least at a personal level.  They may enjoy being social, within company defined guidelines, on behalf of the company.  As a result you may learn more about external perceptions of your company that may help you refine your marketing strategy, communicate more effectively and positively influence the buying process.

The bottom line is that business buyers are investigating solutions to their business problems online, before they engage in active discussion with your sales team.   Your company has the opportunity to influence buyers via a wide variety of distribution channels.  Know your customer.  Know what content they need, when & where.  Adopt the right tools for the right conversation.

What's your perspective? 


Enterprise Video

Peggy Dau - Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Video has been utilized by Fortune 500 companies for many years.  The benefits it provides are numerouse and number of vendor, providing video centric solutions to small, medium & large companies, continues to grow.  That said, many companies don't necessarily use video to its best advantage and/or don't measure the ROI or don't align their use of video with key goals. 

I'm a big fan of enterprise use of video as there is no other medium that provides the same value as video.  Video is far more memorable than text.  Studies show that one minute of video is equal to 1.8 million words.   People remember 50% of what they see and hear vs. 10% of what they read. With that said, there are still many companies that don't have a strategy that incorporates video.

The Aberdeen Group recently released a complimentary report, "Business Class Video", that provides some excellent insights on how video is being utilized, what Best in Class companies are doing that differentiates them from the rest and recommendations for incorporating streaming video and/or video conferencing into your business strategy.  You can download the report on their website, but here are a few tidbits:

- 100% of Best-in-Class companies can measure the ROI for their video solutions vs. only 36% of Industry Laggards being able to measure ROI

- Learning & Development departments lead the way in the use of video solutions

- Lack of organized strategy is the top challenge for companies considring business video

This aligns with MAD Perspectives goals to help clients align their strategy for digital media with their business goals.  (And, in case you are wondering, there is no paid relationship between MAD Perspectives and The Aberdeen Group).  Defining relevant metrics (i.e., cost savings, reduced carbon footprint, qualified leads) based on the goal  (i.e., reduce travel, going green, increase sales) will enable companies to easily justify the investment in in-house, hosted or Saas video solutions.

Check out my FAQ section for more information on different types of video solutions and vendors.

Do you use video?  How do you incorporate video into your business?  Can you measure your ROI? 

What's your perspective?