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					Social Media Today // .Biz

                             WhiTepAper Survey

                             The Coming Change
                             in Social Media
                             Business Applications
                             Separating the Biz from the Buzz

                                                                                     by Josh Gordon

                                                 The Coming Change in Social Media Business Applications:
                                                                     separating the biz from the buzz
          Social Media Today // .Biz

                                       a shift is coming in hoW orgAnizATionS uSe SoCiAl MediA
                                        Companies have been using social media primarily as a general communicat ions
                                       tool—mostly for public relations and marketing. That‘s about to change, as
                                       businesses discover its value as an es sential tool for customer engagement—
                                       providing lead generation, immediate customer cont act , and customer i nteraction.

                                        Four factors are driving this trend. First, due to      doing can offer perspective, as well as a bench-
                                       the rapid rise in the popularity of social media,       mark for managers to compare their own organiza-
table of contents
                                       the number of potential customers engaged on            tions‘ progress and opportunities.
introduction ............... 2
                                       social media sites was previously underestimated
part i ......................... 3
                                       by many organizations. Second, in the current           In order for a benchmark to be useful, it must be
part ii ........................ 5
                                       economic downturn, where there are fewer                specific and detailed. To that end, I have divided
part iii ....................... 7
                                       customers in general, finding them and engaging         this survey into three parts. Part I is an overview
in Conclusion ............ 11
                                       them are much higher priorities. Third, there is        of both current and future intended business use
                                       now a ―Main Street‖ acceptance of social media          of social media. Part II focuses on the business
                                       as a powerful persuasive tool. Regardless of            use of Twitter, and Part III examines the business
                                       political affiliation, managers everywhere recently     use of social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn,
                                       noticed that the largest and most successful            with a separate focus on the four general business
                                       social media campaign in history helped elect           functions that social media serves: sales, market-
                                       Barack Obama President of the United States.            ing, public relations, and internal communications.
                                       Finally, there has been a breakdown in traditional
                                       lead-generation programs. With more customer
           Methodology:                contact moving online, it is easier than ever for a
                                       client to ignore messages from potential suppli-
                                                                                               Part I: Overview
    Social Media Today is an
     online social community           ers. Social media can help break the ice.
    focused on issues in the                                                                   Marketing and Pr are currently the lead-
     social media world. This                                                                  ing business uses of social Media; sales
                                                                                               and collaborative work lag behind.
survey was conducted of its            Why this study?                                         Social media is being used in business most often
  members and visitors who
                                       Social media is getting a lot of media coverage, but    as a marketing and public relations tool, while
are actively involved profes-
                                       all the attention does not necessarily make it easier   uses in sales support and collaborative work lag
      sionally in social media.
                                       to understand which functions are actually useful       behind. Almost three quarters of respondents said
 The results shown here are
                                       in business. This study was designed to provide         their organizations use social media for branding,
  based on a sample of 632
                                       managers with guidance in that area by measuring        and two thirds use it for public relations. Only 38%
    survey respondents, col-
                                       which social media tools are being used right now,      are using it to support collaborative work, and only
  lected between March 13,
                                       and by whom. A look at what other businesses are        about one in four use it to support sales efforts.
    2009, and April 4, 2009.

          retweet this whitePaPer                                                              The Coming Change in Social Media Business Applications:
          Click here to post on Twitter                                                                            separating the biz from the buzz
     part i: overview
     Social Media Today // .Biz

                                                                                                                       when coMPeting for custoMers,
                                    at your organization, which of the following business
                                                                                                                      sMaller organizations use social
                                    functions do you use social media to improve?
                                                                                                                      Media More frequently
                                                                                                                      The smaller the company, the more frequently social
                                                                                                                      media is used to improve external communications.
                                                        B r anding                                                    As we compare social media usage at smaller com-
                                                                             7 0. 5%
                                         i nfo r mat io n s har ing
                                                                                                                      panies with 1 to 10 employees to organizations with
                                              p ubl ic r elat i ons            71. 8%      6 5. 8%
                                                                                                                      over 1,000, there is a steady decrease in the percent-
                                  under s t andin g cus t om er s                       56 .6 %
                                                                                       5 4. 9%
                                                                                                                      age of usage. Companies with 10 or fewer employ-
                                             lead gener at io n

                                          Coll abor at iv e w or k            38 .4 %                                 ees are about 30% more likely to use social media
                                    int er nal   com m unicat io n          32 .1 %                                   for public relations, branding, and understanding
                                                 S ales s upp or t       25 .8 %                                      customers than companies with over 1,000 employ-
                                                                                                                      ees, and twice as likely to use it for lead generation.
                                                                     0 020406080100 0 0

                                                                                                                      Where larger organizations have more resources
                                   looking to the future, ―lead generation‖                                           to touch their customers, such as corporate ad-
                                  is the toP business function for which or-                                          vertising, social media may not be as big a priority.
 ―The smaller the                 ganizations Most want to use social Media.                                          However, with less money for outreach programs,
   company, the                   Organizations have shifted priority. With the                                       smaller companies can make big inroads by
  more frequently                 economic downturn, ―lead generation‖ has moved                                      focusing more on social media.
    social media                  to the top spot as the business function organiza-
        is used to                tions are ―most considering‖ for the future. The
 improve external                 two currently most frequently used functions,
communications.‖                  branding and public relations, follow behind. This                                                           o ne to 10
                                                                                                                                                               1 – 10              1 – y ee s em plo ,0 0
                                                                                                                                               em plo ye e s 1 e mpl o0ye e s 1 e0 mplo1, 0 00 o v e r 1ye e s0

                                  is a highly significant shift, and is reinforced by                                  p ubli c r elat io ns      70. 6%          6 9. 6%          59 .1 %          51. 9%
                                  other findings in this survey.
                                                                                                                             B ran ding          76. 5%          7 3. 0%          67 .7 %         59. 3%

                                                                                                                      lead gener at ion          66. 1%          5 8. 3%          45 .2 %         29. 6%

                                                                                                                        Sal es s upp or t        27. 1%          2 5. 2%          29 .0 %         17. 3%

                                   on the same list as above, pick the one business                                    un der s tan ding         63. 8%          5 7. 4%          55 .9 %         49. 4%
                                                                                                                           cus t om er s
                                   function for which your organization is most consider-
                                   ing using social media.
                                                                                                                      larger organizations use social
                                                                                                                      Media More frequently for internal
                                         S ales s upp or t                                       int e r na l
                                                    6 .3 %                                                            coMMunications.
                                                                                                 1. 8%
                                                                                                 com mu nicat ion     Organizations with over 1,000 employees are twice
                                    Collab or at iv e
                                             w or k
                                             7 .9 %
                                                                                                                      as likely to use social media for internal communi-
                                                                                                        le a d        cations as companies with 1 to 10 employees, and
                                      i nfo rm a t ion                                                 25 .4 %
                                           s har ing
                                           11 .2 %
                                                                                                       gener at ion   roughly 18% more likely to use social media for
                                                                                                       B r anding
                                                                                                                      collaborative work. Larger organizations have more
                                                                                                       17 .3 %
                                     und er s tand ing                                                                complex and geographically dispersed communica-
                                         cus t om er s
                                                 13. 3%                                                               tions challenges. In addition, they often have more
                                                                                                 pub lic
                                                                                                                      sophisticated IT support. They need the communi-
                                                                                                 16. ions
                                                                                                 rel at8%
                                                                                                                      cations services more, and they have the technical
                                                                                                                      support to take advantage of them.

                                                                                                                      The Coming Change in Social Media Business Applications:
                                                                                                                                          separating the biz from the buzz
        part i: overview
        Social Media Today // .Biz

                                                              one to 10         1 1 –1 0 0    1 0 1 –1 ,0 0 0 o v er     1 , 0 00     which of the following networks or tools is your
                                                              e mpl oy e e s e mplo y ee s
                                                                                             em plo ye e s     e mpl oy e es          organization currently using?
                                             i nt e r na l       2 3. 1%        34 .8 %          34. 4%            5 0. 6%
                                     co mm uni cati on
                                       C oll a bor a t iv e     3 8. 9%        33 .0 %         38. 7%            4 5. 7%
                                                                                                                                                              li nke d in                                         79 .3 %
                                                 wor k
                                                                                                                                                           Fa c e book                                           7 7. 2%
                                                                                                                                                                 Tw it te r                                     75 .3 %
                                      More organizations encourage the use of                                                                                     B logs                                     6 8. 0%
                                                                                                                                                              youTube                              4 9. 1%
                                     social Media than discourage it.                                                                o nline   c omm unit ie s      of int e r e st          3 8. 5%
                                     I t was not long ago that many organizations
                                                                                                                                                               F or ums
                                     discouraged employees from visiting social media                                                                          gr oups            30 .7 %
                                                                                                                                                                                27 .0 %
                                     sites, with many of them blocking access to sites                                                                            Wik is          30 .7 %
                                                                                                                                                                   n ing   17. 6%
                                     outright. But today, 41.2% of businesses have                                                                          M yS pa c e
                                                                                                                                                                           17 .2 %
                                     employees whose job function includes spending                                                                r a t ings / re v ie ws      1 1. 5%
                                                                                                                                               ot he r, ple a s e sp e c ify 1 1. 5%
                                     time on social media sites, while only 9% report                                                                                        7. 6%
                                                                                                                                                                   X ing
                                     blocking internal access for employees.
                                                                                                                                                                             0 20 40 60 80

                                     Whereas 41.9% of organizations report that they
    ―Some consider                   have no corporate policy of any kind regarding                                                  as organizations look to the future,
      blogging ‗old‘                 social media, 21.8% report having a formal policy                                              the social Media forM they are ―Most
                                                                                                                                    considering‖ using is blogs.
  soc ia l media , but               for employees who want to blog.                                                                While Twitter and Facebook get the headlines,
 it has proven itself                                                                                                               the
  an effective com-                  Finally, about one in four organizations sponsors
    munication tool.                 a group on a social network for personal announce-                                             social media form organizations are turning to
The ability to reach                 ments and social events.                                                                       most
   a mass audience                                                                                                                  as they look to the future is blogging. Some con-
     with a personal
  point of view and
                                       which of the following is true at your organization?                                         sider blogging ―old‖ social media, but it has
invite comments is                     W e r e qu ir e s om e e m ploy e e s t o s pe n d t ime              on 41. 2% l
                                                                                                                  soc ia
     very powerf ul.‖                  ne t wor ks to m a inta in our c om pa ny p re s e nc e .                                    itself an effective communication tool. The
                                       We b loc k a c c e ss to s oc ia l ne t wor k s f or s om e 9. 0%

                                       e m ploy ee s .
                                                                                                                21. 8%
                                                                                                                                     on the same list as above, which one social media
                                       We ha v e a fo rm a l p olic y f or e m ploy ee s who blog or
                                       We ha v e no c or por a t e pol ic y re ga r ding s oc ia l m 41. 9%of
                                                                                                     e dia
                                                                                                                                    to reach ais mass audience with a personal point
                                                                                                                                     network or tool your organization most considering
                                       wa nt t o blog.
                                       a ny k ind.
                                                                                                                25. 6%
                                                                                                                                    of social media for in the future?
                                       We have a              gr ou p on a     s oc ia l n e t wor k f or    pe r s on a l          view and invite comments is very powerful.    1 8. 1%
                                       a nnounc e me nt s a nd s oc ia l e v e nt s.                                                                             B l ogs
                                                                                                                                                                                                       17. 5%
                                     linkedin, facebook, twitter, and                                                                                            Twit t er

                                                                                                                                     o nline com m unit ies      of in ter es t
                                                                                                                                                                                                  14 .7 %
                                     blogging lead social Media services                                                                                                                         13 .8 %
                                                                                                                                                           Facebo ok
                                     and activities for business                                                                                              l ink edi n                        1 3. 8%
                                     Four services dominate the use of social media                                                                                                          9. 7%
                                                                                                                                                              yo uTub e
                                     networks and tools: LinkedIn (79.3% of respon-                                                                               W ik is               5 .4 %
                                     dents now using), Facebook (77.2% now using),                                                                             For um s               4. 1%
                                                                                                                                                                                    3. 6%
                                     Twitter (75.3% now using). Use of blogs follows                                                               r at ings / r evi ews
                                                                                                                                                               g ro ups            2. 6%
                                     closely behind, with 68% of businesses currently                                                                              nin g          2 .1 %
                                     using them. Only 17.2% of organizations use                                                                                   Xin g        0. 7%
                                                                                                                                                                               0. 5%
                                     MySpace for business.                                                                                                 M y Sp ace

                                                                                                                                                                             0 10 20

                                                                                                                                    The Coming Change in Social Media Business Applications:
                                                                                                                                                        separating the biz from the buzz
part ii: business applications for twitter
Social Media Today // .Biz

                             Part II:                                                                     on the same list as above, check off the one external
                             Business Applications                                                       function your organization is most considering using
                                                                                                         in the future.
                             for Twitter
                                                                                                                                                                 K eeping t op m anagem ent

                                                                                                                o rg aniz ing                                   in t ouc h      wit h the
                                                                                                                                                                 1. 4%
                             external use of twitter could                                                        m eet ing s
                                                                                                                       6. 9%                                    fi nancial    com m unit y
                             shift sharPly toward an eMPhasis on                                         of f eri ng
                                                                                                        pr oduct s                                                             K eeping in
                             custoMer involveMent.                                                        for s ale
                                                                                                          1 0. 0%                                                             im m e dia t e     t ouc h
                             For external communications, the business                                                                                                        27 .3 %
                                                                                                                                                                              wit h   cus t om er s
                             use of Twitter shows the same shift as seen
                                                                                                              get t ing
                             in Part I on the general findings for all social                        f e e db a c k f r om                                                    e x t e nding a
                                                                                                          cus t om er s
                             media forms. That shift is away from general                                    15 .5 %
                                                                                                                                                                              p e r so na l    fa c e
                             communications, toward a focus on connecting                                                                                                     2 0. 8%
                                                                                                                                                                              t o cus t om er s
                             with the organization‘s customers. Right now,                                                                                       Shar i ng

                                                                                                                                                                 18. 1%
                                                                                                                                                                 br eak ing news
                             the most commonly used external Twitter
                             function is ―Sharing breaking news,‖ followed                             internal use of twitter focuses on
                             by ―Extending a personal face to customers.‖                             inforMation sharing.
                                                                                                      Fewer organizations are using Twitter for internal
                                                                                                      communications. The top two measured options are
                               Please check all of the external functions offered by                  about 20% lower than the top two external uses of
                               twitter that your organization now uses.                               Twitter. The internal focus is on sharing information,
                                                                                                      knowledge, and resources, as well as networking.

                                         Shar i ng br eak ing news          7 1. 9%
                                      ex t endi ng a per s onal f ace                      63 .7 %       Please check all of the internal functions offered by
                                                    t o cust om er s
                                                                                                         twitter that your organization now uses.
                                    Keep ing in im m ediat e to uch                    5 5. 1%
                                                wit h cust om er s
                              get t ing feed back   fr om   cust om er s              48 .6 %
                                                                                                                                 S har ing inf or m at ion                     56 .8 %
                                      of fer i ng pr oduct s f or    s 2 0. 0%
                                                                                                                             p r ofes s io nal netw or k ing                 51. 2%
                                            org aniz ing m eet ings 15 .3 %
                                                                                                             S har ing k nowl edge and ex per ience                       46 .0 %
                                                                        uc h
                             K e e pi ng t op m a na ge m e nt in to 5. 8%
                                    w it h t he fi nancial com m unit y                                     lev er agin g t he ex per ience of o th ers

                                                                    0 20 40 60 80                     Keep ing up on         pr of es si onal dev elop m ents     34 .4 %

                                                                                                                       A sk i ng f or                              34 8%
                                                                                                                                          ins t ant ex p ert is e 3 2. .4 %
                             But as organizations look to the future, they                              3 0. 2%
                                                                                                           Keep ing a t eam        in im med iat e co ntact
                             are shifting their expectations. Lookin g ahead,                      19 .1 %      Coor din ati ng event s        or m eet ings

                             their top pick is ―Keeping in immediate touch                        9. 8%      Co or dinat ing em er gency r es po nses

                             with customers,‖ followed by ―Extending a                                                                                   0 20 40 60 8 0

                             personal face to customers,‖ then followed
                                                                     Looking                    internal uses of Twitter
                             by ―Sharing breaking news.‖ The future use to the future, the use are almost identical
                                                                     that organizations plan to
                             of Twitter could shift toward greater involvementpresent (see fig. on next page).
                                                                     to those of the
                             in customer contact (see following fig.).

                                                                                                      The Coming Change in Social Media Business Applications:
                                                                                                                          separating the biz from the buzz
        part ii: business applications for twitter
        Social Media Today // .Biz

                                                                                                                          released study from ES Research Group, ―The
                                         on the same list as above, check off the one
                                                                                                                         New Social Media: Do They Enable B2B Selling?,‖
                                         internal function your organization is most
                                         considering using in the future.
                                                                                                                         only 4% of sales respondents said that Twitter
                                                                                                                         had ever directly helped them win a B2B sale.
                                                                                                                         However, there are also many markets where
                                                       K e e pin g up o n
                                        pr of es s ional d evel opm ent s
                                                                               Coo rd inat ing em er gency               Twitter is extremely influential.
                                                               5 .8 %            .1 %
                                                                              r4es pons es

                               Co or dinat ing ev ent s
                                        or m eeti ngs                                                                    You can estimate how many of your clients might
                                                  6 .9 %                                     S har ing inf or m at ion
                                                                                         22 .3 %                         be using Twitter from a finding in a recent study
                                     le v e r a ging t he
                               ex per ience of ot her s
                                                  7. 6%
                                                                                                                         by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. This
                                                                                                                         study found Twitter users to be highly involved
                                             As k in g f or                                  p ro fe s s ion a l
                                     ins t ant ex per t is e
                                                                                                                         with other social media. According to Amanda
                                                  9. 9%                                 17 .3 k
                                                                                        net wor% in g
                                                                                                                         Lenhart, senior research specialist at Pew, ―Both
                                         K e e ping a t e a m in
                                        im med iat e co ntact
                                                                                   S ha r ing k nowl e dge               blogging and social network use increase the
                                                      12. 9%
                                                                                   and .2 % ien ce
                                                                                    13 ex per                            likelihood that an individual also uses Twitter.‖

                                        Put this inforMation to work:
                                                                                                                         The study found that 23% of social network us-
   ―As orga nizations                  I initially signed on to Twitter because I once had                               ers used Twitter or a similar service, while only
  look to the future,                  to sell a high-level Silicon Valley executive who                                 4% who do not use social networks have ever
      the same trend                   could not be reached any other way. After count-                                  Tweeted. Chances are, if your customer base is
   eme rge s as seen                   less failed attempts to contact him through more                                  engaged in social media, many will be reachable
        in the general                 traditional channels, his assistant told me, ―Josh,                               by Twitter.
    soc ial media and                  forget the phone, he never answers it. And he
  Twitter responses:                   won‘t answer e-mail either, because he thinks it‘s                                Survey respondents also wrote in ―other‖ uses
        a shift toward                 ancient technology that wastes time. He thinks of                                 of Twitter, including: ―mindsharing‖ with industry
      more customer                    himself as a member of the digital elite and says                                 peers; providing thought leadership; educating
    c ommunications                    that the only people who count are all on Twit-                                   others; recruiting talent; providing tech support;
   and, in particular,                 ter.‖ I quickly signed on to Twitter and got right                                notifying constituents of upcoming events; moni-
toward prospecting.‖                   through to him.                                                                   toring for issues regarding products or reputation;
                                                                                                                         keeping in touch with bloggers; extending com-
                                                                                                                         munities of interest; and customer service.
                                      Twitter delivers the ability to communicate mini-
                                      mally but immediately. As a customer contact
                                      tool, where speed counts, it has great potential.                                  To read examples of how Twitter is being used to
                                      But, that potential is only realized if your custom-                               connect with customers, click on the following
                                      ers are on Twitter. As of now, Twitter‘s market                                    links: and Bank of America.
                                      penetration is still uneven.
                                                                                                                         Twitter is also a great way to connect with media
                                       In many B2B markets, Twitter is not effective as                                  outlets. For a long list of media outlets that you
                                       a customer contact tool. According to a just-                                     can connect to via Twitter, click here.

                                                                                                                         The Coming Change in Social Media Business Applications:
                                                                                                                                             separating the biz from the buzz
   part iii: business applications of social networks
   Social Media Today // .Biz

                                Part III:                                                                   network usage. ―Sales prospecting by target-
                                                                                                           ing ‗self-identified‘ new customers‖ moves up to
                                Business Applications                                                      the top choice, from No. 5 currently, and ―Sales
                                of Social Networks                                                         prospecting by social networking‖ moves up as
                                                                                                           well, from third place to second. Moving forward,
                                                                                                           it seems clear that social networks will be a top
                                There are four general functions that social
                                                                                                           lead generation tool.
                                networks are used for: sales, marketing, public
                                relations, and internal communications. Each are
                                measured separately. Here are the findings:
                                                                                                             on the same list as above, pick the one sales function
                                1. Sales use of social networks                                              your organization is most considering using in
                                                                                                             the future.
                                toP uses of social networks for sales
                                are to Maintain and build relationshiPs.                                                                  u nde r s t a ndi ng the   c li e nt ‘s

                                The most common use of social media networks,           inf or m at ion gat her ing                       5. 6%
                                                                                                                                          com pany   or ganiz at ion
                                                                                                                                                                  S ales    pr os pect ing
                                                                                             i n p rep ar ati on fo r
                                such as Facebook or LinkedIn, is ―Maintaining social                  sal es call s
                                                                                                                                                                b y t arg eti ng
                                                                                                            7. 7%
                                contact with clients‖ (67.6%). After that, about half Spo ns or ing c los e d                                                   2 1. f- ide
                                                                                                                                                                ― se l 0% nt ifi e d ‖
                                of businesses surveyed use social media to achieve cusgr om ps s f ordealer sect
                                                                                            ou             sel
  ―Marketing is                                                                          t      er    (
                                a ―Better understanding of client attitudes‖ (50.6%). lar ger buy er s,2% etc. )
                                                                                                                ,                                               new cus t om er s

     part of the                                                                                                                                                     S ales p r os pect ing
   shift toward                                                                                            S elli ng pr oduct s
                                                                                                                     1 0. 1%
                                                                                                                                                                     18 s ocial net wor k in g
                                                                                                                                                                     by .0 %
   using soc ial
                                                                                                            B ett er under s t andin g
media as a way                    Please check all the ways your organization uses                              o f client at ti tu des
                                                                                                                           11 .6 %                            M a int a ining s oc i a l
    to c onne ct                  social networks—including facebook, linkedin, and                                                                           17. act
                                                                                                                                                              cont 8% wi th         cli ent s
   and acquire                    Myspace—for sales.
                                                 M a int a ini ng so c ia l
                                                                                                           Put this inforMation to work:
                                                                                                  67. 6%
                                               co nt act wit h clien ts                                    According to Brian Solis, principal at FutureWorks,
                                             B et t er und er st and ing
                                                  of cli ent at t it udes
                                                                                        50 .6 %
                                                                                                           ―Human interaction is still human interaction, and
                                                 S ales p ro sp ect ing                4 7. 7%
                                              by s oci al n etw or k ing                                    what it takes to be successful with it has not
                                         i nf or m ati on gat her ing in             40. 8%
                                       pr epar at ion f or s ales calls                                     changed. What has changed is the places where
                                 Sales pr os pect in g b y t ar get ing
                                ―s elf -iden ti fi ed‖ new cus to mer s
                                                                                  38 .7 %                   it happens.‖ Says Solis: ―Social media tools help
                                       u nde r s t a nding t he c lie nt ‘s
                                            com pany org aniz at ion
                                                                                  3 6. 6%                   you find conversations that can give you insight into
                                                S ell ing pr odu cts    1 9. 3%                             what individuals in your market are saying about your
                                 Sp ons or ing clo sed g ro ups f or 9 .7 %
                                    s elect cus t ome rs (d ealer s ,
                                                                                                            product. This can give you an opportunity to engage
                                             l arg er b uyer s , et c. )
                                                                                                            people on their terms, not as a salesperson, but as a
                                                                     0 20 40 60 80
                                                                                                            resource, and then get the sale because of it.‖

                                sales use of social Media networks                                         I use social networks to find out who my clients
                                could shift sharPly toward an eMPhasis                                     really are. We all vary our modes of conversation
                                on custoMer ProsPecting. the future, the same trend
                                As organizations look to                                                   when we speak to different types of people: an
                                emerges as seen in the general social media and                            intimidating boss, a pesky child, a policeman
                                Twitter responses: a shift toward more customer                            giving a speeding ticket, or…a salesperson. Often,
                                communications and, in particular, toward pros-                            when I ―see‖ two of my clients ―talking‖ to each
                                pecting. The two sales prospecting options rise                            other on a social network, their conversation with
                                dramatically to become the top goals for social                            each other is very different from my conversations

                                                                                                           The Coming Change in Social Media Business Applications:
                                                                                                                               separating the biz from the buzz
      part iii: business applications of social networks
      Social Media Today // .Biz

                                    with either of them, as someone trying to sell them.         2. Marketing use of social networks
                                   But when I see clients ―talking‖ to their peers, I
                                                                                               toP uses for Marketing functions
                                   learn what is truly important to them, an d it is
                                                                                               are ProMoting organic Messages and
                                   rarely about me or my product. I look for what they         Monitoring custoMer trends.
                                   are passionate enough to write about, how they          About half of the organizations surveyed actively
                                   react to each other, what they are afraid of, and       promote themselves through organic messaging
                                   who their heroes and villains are. Understanding a      (56%), monitor trends among their customers
                                   person‘s values and passions is a first step to un-     (53.1%), and provide ways for customers to inter-
                                   derstanding them, and a prerequisite to any sale.       act with their company (51.5%). About a third use
                                                                                           social networks to research new product ideas
                                                                                           (34.1%), while about one in four advertises on
                                   Shel Holtz, principal of Holtz Communication + Tech-
                                                                                           social networks (26.7%).
                                   nology, warns about being too ―salesy‖ when you
                                   engage potential clients in a social media environ-
                                   ment: ―I see it as a place to build relationships, but
                                   it‘s not for direct selling. That‘s not what people want Please check all of the marketing functions offered
                                   to receive on Facebook. People are there to socialize, by social networks—like facebook, linkedin, and
                                                                                            Myspace—that your organization now uses.
                                   and if you can offer value though conversation,
  ―Unde rsta nding                 you can build relationships with those customers.
                                                                                            We a c t iv e ly p ro mo te our s e lv e s thr ou gh 5 6. 0%
a person‘s va lues                 If you pitch them, they will ignore you, or worse.                           org anic mes s agi ng
                                                                                                                                                      5 3. 1%
                                                                                               We mo nit or   t r ends   am ong our   cu st om er s
  and pa ssions is
                                                                                                     We pr ov id e way s for cus t om ers t o         51. 5%
    a first step to                Dan McCarthy, chairman and CEO of Network Com-                           i nt eract wit h our com pany

   unde rsta nding                 munications Inc., shares that he becomes better at             We r es ear ch ne w p ro duct i deas         34 .1 %

      them, and a                  reaching out to new clients as they get to know him                                                      s)
                                                                                              We s t ar t ed a us er gr oup (or gr oup 30 .1 %
                                                                                                                     f or cu st om er s
   prerequisite to                 though his personal profile and postings on social            We ad ver t is e on s ocial net wor k s2 6. 7%

         any sale.‖                media sites. Years ago, McCarthy realized that the                                                  19 .2
                                                                                            We s pons or int er act iv e con tent onli ne %

                                   people with whom he had the best business relation-                We us e o nline f ocus g ro ups  1 8. 8%

                                   ships were also those who knew the most about
                                   his personal side. Says McCarthy, ―If you connect                                                   020406080

                                   the way you live to the way you make a living, you
                                   create an incredible degree of authenticity, which is toP Marketing use of social networks
                                                                                         shifts toward Providing ways to interact
                                   what today‘s digital generation is looking for in the
                                                                                         with custoMers.
                                   people they work with. My professional identity and Looking ahead, we see the same trend repeated
                                   my personal identity are very connected.‖              as organizations refocu s their social media
                                                                                               toward customer-focused programs. The top
                                   Survey respondents also wrote in ―other‖ uses of            choice moving forward is ―We provide ways for
                                   social media for sales, including: project oppor-
                                   tunity identification; posting discount codes on            customers to interact with our company,‖ which
                                   Facebook and Twitter; promoting educational col-            is only the third most-used marketing function
                                   lateral and events; listing salespeople in LinkedIn         at present. Marketing is part of the shift toward
                                   profiles; and highlighting case studies.
                                                                                               using social media as a way to conn ect and
                                                                                               acquire customers.

                                                                                               The Coming Change in Social Media Business Applications:
                                                                                                                   separating the biz from the buzz
part iii: business applications of social networks
Social Media Today // .Biz

                                                                                                              jump in to become the resource for the community.‖
                              on the same list as above, pick the one marketing
                                                                                                             Monitoring and reacting to customer behavior is key.
                                function your organization is most considering using
                                                                                                             Ari Herzog, principal of Ari Herzog and Associates,
                                in the future.
                                                                                                             learned that firsthand when a new pizza restaurant
                                                          We r es ear ch n ew
                                                                                                             opened in his town. Herzog tried it, liked it, and
                                                         6. od uct id eas
                                                         pr  9%                                              wrote a positive review of it on the social media
                                                                               We pr ov ide way s f or
                              We us e onl ine                                                                review site, Yelp. A few months later, when he re-
                               f ocus gr oups
                                        7. 5%                                 cus t om er s t o int er act
                                                                              20 .8 %                        visited the restaurant with his mother and sister, he
                                                                              wi th our com pany
                    We s pons or int er act iv e                                                             was surprised when a waiter came by with a free
                            con ten t onli ne
                                     10 .6 %                                                                 order of chips and salsa as a thank you for the
                                                                                    We act iv ely pr om ot e
                                                                                                             review. What kind of impression did that make?
                          We a dv e r t is e on
                          s ocial net wor k s                                     our s elv es t hr ough
                                                                                                             Herzog shared the story with me when I inter-
                                     10 .6 %                                       19. 1%
                                                                                  or ganic m ess agi ng
                                                                                                             viewed him, and now you are among thousands
                                                                                                             reading about it here. Now that‘s good marketing!
                        We s t a r t e d a us e r gr oup
                      (or gr oup s) f or cus t omer s
                                     1 1. 4%                         We mo nit or     t r ends   am ong
                                                                     13 %
                                                                     our .0 cus t om er s

                                                                                    Herzog‘s enthusiasm is typical of what social
                                                                                    media can do for any brand. Says Dan McCarthy:
                                                                                   ―The Holy Grail for a marketer is positive word of
                             Put this inforMation to work:
                                                                                    mouth. If you can capture this, it is the highest
                             According to Dan Schawbel, social media special-
                                                                                    means of converting prospects to sales, and at
                             ist at EMC Corporation, and author of the book,
                                                                                    the least expense. Social media is a way to super-
                             Me 2.0: “Social media tools are popular marketing
                                                                                    charge word of mouth.‖
                             tools because they are free, people are already
                             using them, and there’s an opportunity cost for not
                             getting involved today. Depending on your line of      Survey respondents also wrote in ―other‖ uses of
                             business, certain social networks will work better     social media for marketing, including: showcas-
                             for you than others. It’s all about aligning business ing case studies, running a professional group on
                             strategy to the use of each tool. Otherwise, you’re    LinkedIn, and communicating with media outlets.
                             wasting time and not reaching the right audience       Link to an extensive list of social media marketing
                             with the right message on the right network.”          examples on Peter Kim‘s blog, ―Being Peter Kim.‖

                             Brian Solis indicates that there could be more going                         3. Public relations use of
                             on in social networks than you realize. He poses                             social networks
                             the question, ―If a conversation takes place online
                                                                                                          social networks serve a variety of Public
                             and you‘re not there to hear or see it, did it actu-
                                                                                                          relations functions.
                             ally happen?‖ In fact, there might even be dangers                           The four most common public relations functions
                             in not participating. Says Solis, ―Conversations are                         using social media are: maintaining a company pro-
                             taking place, with or without you. If you‘re not part                                                                       ute
                                                                                                          file page (66.6%); using social networks to distrib
                             of the conversation, then you‘re leaving it to oth-                          press releases and news items (59.3%); monitoring
                             ers to answer questions and provide information,                             and responding to mentions of the company and its
                             whether it‘s accurate or incorrect. Or, even worse,                          products (58%); and interacting with bloggers and
                             you may be leaving it up to your competition to                              members of the traditional press (54.6%).

                                                                                                          The Coming Change in Social Media Business Applications:
                                                                                                                              separating the biz from the buzz
       part iii: business applications of social networks
       Social Media Today // .Biz

                                                                                                                Public profiles provide a way for businesses to talk
                                      Please check all the public relations functions
                                                                                                               to consumers and understand them. Some of the
                                      offered by social networks—like facebook, linkedin,
                                                                                                               most successful public profiles are those that cre-
                                      and Myspace—that your organization now uses.
                                                                                                               ate a genuine dialogue with their fans.‖

                                                 We m a in ta i n a c om pa ny                      6 6. 6%
                                                            p r ofi le page                                    Link to two great examples of company profile
                                     We   us e s oc i a l n e tw or k s t o dis t r ibut e       5 9. 2%
                                          pr es s r ele ases and news i t ems                                  pages: Dell and Visa.
                                               We m onit or and r es pond t o                    58 .0 %
                                    m ent io ns of o ur com p any or pr oduc ts
                                     We int e r a c t w it h b logg e r s, a s we ll     as      5 4. 6%       Survey respondents also wrote in ―other‖ uses of
                                    wit h m emb ers of t he t r adit ion al p res s
                                          We sp ons or g ro up( s) t o ans wer 6%
                                                                           1 9.
                                                                                                               social media for public relations, including: updat-
                                                    cust om er ques t ions
                                                                                                               ing fans and customers on company news; pro-
                                               We h ave a for m al bl ogger            1 5. 4%
                                                       r elat ion s pr ogr am                                  moting company events; registration for events;
                                                    o t he r,   p le a s e s pe c i fy8. 0%                    maintaining an alumni group for past employees;
                                                                                                               and promoting a fundraising program.
                                                                               0 20 40 60 80

                                     Looking to the future, organizations plan no
                                                                                                               4. Use of social networks for
       ―Some of the                 changes in how they use social networks to sup-
                                    port their public relations efforts, with future uses                      internal communications
   most succe ssful
 public profiles are                being identical in sequence and proportion to                             organizations can save exPense by using
those that create a                 current use.                                                              existing social networks to create work
                                                                                                              grouPs where docuMents, schedules, and
  genuine dialogue
                                                                                                              coMMunication are shared collaboratively,
   with their fans.‖                Put this inforMation to work:
                                    Public relations professionals would do well to                           froM anywhere on earth.ity concerns with postin g
                                                                                                              While there are secur
                                    monitor social networks for activity about their                           potentially sensitive internal communications
                                    organization and products. Shel Holtz, calls this                          on a third party‘s network, the irresistible ―free‖
                                    essential: ―If you are monitoring, you can be part                         cost for simple groups is motivation for many.
                                    of the conversation. Social media is becoming                              Currently, the top uses of these services are
                                    the communication channel for breaking news.                              ―Sharing documents‖ and ―Maintaining commu-
                                    Remember that the first reports of the US Airways                          nication with teams.‖
                                    flight that water-landed in the Hudson River were
                                    first reported on Twitter by someone with a cell
                                                                                                                 Please check all the internal workflow functions
                                    phone on a nearby ferry. If your company gets in
                                                                                                                 offered by social networks—like facebook, linkedin,
                                    the news, you may find out about it first by moni-
                                                                                                                 and Myspace—that your organization now uses.
                                    toring social networks.‖

                                                                                                                       S har ing do cum ents
                                    The other PR function unique to social media is                           M aint ai ning com m unicat ions                           42. 1%
                                    the ability to post a company profile page. Some                                            wit h t eams

                                                                                                                                                                   34 .5 % 1%
                                                                                                                    C r e a t ing ―i ntr a ne t -l ik e ‖                42.
                                    companies take this free service more seriously                               int er nal com m unicat ions

                                    than others. Annie Ta, from Facebook‘s corporate                                  Coor di nat ing int er nal
                                                                                                                     sch edules and ev ents
                                                                                                                                                                29. 6%

                                    communications team, says: ―We en courage                                       C r e a t ing ―i ntr a ne t -l ik e ‖
                                                                                                                  co mm uni cati on fo r wor k                27. 0%
                                                                                                                                collab or at ion
                                    businesses to really engage with consumers on                                          C r e a t ing int e r na l        2 4. 8%
                                    their profiles. For example, businesses should                                              wor k gr oups

                                    update their status, post videos and photos, and                                                            0 20 40 60

                                    start discussion threads with their consumers.

                                                                                                              The Coming Change in Social Media Business Applications:
                                                                                                                                  separating the biz from the buzz
in concLusion
Social Media Today // .Biz

                                 Looking ahead, the use of social networks to help                           As organizations invest in social media programs,
                                internal workflow will remain similar to usage today                        incorporating this shift into the plans should be
                                with one difference: Fewer organizations will use                           considered a high priority.
                                social networks for file sharing. Among current
                                uses, ―file sharing‖ is tied with ―maintaining com-                         Skeptics might say that a more customer-centric
                                munication with teams‖ for the top use. For the                             approach is natural in a recession when busi-
                                future, it drops to fourth place, near the bottom.                          ness is scarce. But a recession is not just a time
                                                                                                            of slow sales. More significantly, it is also a time
                                                                                                            when the pace of change accelerates, and the
                                   on the same list as above, pick the one internal
                                                                                                            competitive landscape of industries is reshaped.
                                   workflow function your organization is considering
                                   using in the future.
                                                                                                            A research study done by Bain & Co. in the after-
                                        C r e a t ing int e r na l
                                             wor k gr oups
                                                      8. 4%
                                                                                                            math of the 2001 recession discovered that com-
                                                                                  M aint aini ng
                                                                                                            petitive change during the recession occurred at
                          Coo rd inat ing int er nal                              com m unicat ion
                         s chedul es and ev ent s
                                             9 .3 %
                                                                                  20. 0%                    about twice the normal rate. In addition, compa-
                                                                                  wit h t eams
                                                                                                            nies that changed competitive positions against
                          S har ing docu ment s                                                             one another during the recession remained in
                                         1 1. 6%                                  Cr eat ing
                                                                                                            their new rankings long after it had passed.
                                                                                  ― int r a ne t -lik e ‖

                       C r e a t ing ―i nt ra n e t- lik e ‖                      c om m unic a t io n
                     int er nal com m unicat ion s
                                          13. 4%
                                                                                  16 .3 %
                                                                                  f or
                                                                                            In 1929, rival cereal makers Kellogg‘s and Post
                                                                                         wor k

                                                                          col labor at io n
                                                                                            were in a close race to win the emerging cold
                                Put this inforMation to work:                               breakfast cereal market. Through the Great De-
                                The results speak for themselves here, and since            pression that followed, Kellogg‘s maintained an
                                not much is changing, there is little to add.               aggressive marketing posture, while Post slashed
                                                                                            its ad budgets. When the slow time ended, Kel-
                                Survey respondents also wrote in ―other‖ uses of            logg‘s had a market advantage over its rival that
                                social media for internal workflow, including: train- it maintains to this day—almost 70 years later.
                                ing, building bonds with remote teams, and general (More on that story here)
                                social use with no professional communications.
                                                                                                            It would be a mistake to assume that this shift
                                 In Conclusion                                                              toward customer-centric usage of social media
                                                                                                            is temporary. In fact, the shift toward customer
                                                                                                            engagement, and away from general communica-
                                This study is the first to document the coming                              tions, shows a more important role for social me-
                                shift in the use of social media—from a helpful                             dia use at organizations. As Peter Drucker, known
                                tool for a variety of communication needs, to an                            as the father of modern management, said, ―The
                                essential tool for customer engagement.                                     purpose of a business is to create a customer.‖

                                 about the author: Josh gordon is president of Selling 2.0, where he works to improve the
                                performance of organizations and sales teams with research-based training and consulting services.
                                An internationally recognized expert on selling, he has written four books on the subject. For more
                                information, visit

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