Leveraging Enterprise Collaboration Platforms (ECPs – a.k.a. intra-social applications) to Increase Internal Collaboration, Productivity and Overall Company Performance

Part Two – Leveraging Enterprise Collaboration Platforms (ECPs – a.k.a. intra-social applications) to increase internal collaboration, productivity and overall company performance

In my previous blog, I covered the first of three mega-trends hitting the social media marketplace for large Fortune level organizations.  In this blog, I address how the use of enterprise social monitoring and intelligence platforms are helping companies leverage key insights from an array of market activity and major trends including competitor activity & weaknesses, key opinion leader sentiment/needs, regulator trends and concerns, political leader and influencer sentiment, public opinion and key issues. 

This second blog is dedicated to the second social media trend hitting corporate America that focuses on the Intra-Social Media Application or Enterprise Collaborative Platforms (ECPs). In the same format as my last blog, I will cover this subject as follows:

A) What is an ECP or intra-social application
B) What are the benefits from using an ECP
C) What are the hottest tools/applications in the marketplace
D) How do you implement an ECP capability 

A) What is an Enterprise Collaboration Platform (ECP) or Intra-Social Application?

An ECP is a social media application much like Facebook, but exists entirely behind the firewall and is designed to increase intra-corporate collaboration, decrease time to market, and enhance overall corporate productivity. In direct response to this fear of implementing a full bi-directional (conversational) social media program that might trigger a negative market reaction or a warning/fine from regulators (Life Sciences and Financial Services organizations), companies are investing heavily into this new intra-social application since it sits entirely behind the firewall and is virtually risk-free from a market faux-pas or fear of regulatory consequences (particularly true for Financial Service & Life Sciences Companies).  The following illustrates the key features and capabilities of a best-of-breed ECP or intra-social solution/platform:

Intra-Social Enterprise Collaboration Platform Key Features:
•  Social Networking at the Department Level (Intra-Social Networking)
•  Internal & Secure Social Communications System – Behind the Firewall
•  Intra-Social productivity enhancement environment including :
•  Internal Chat
•  Internal Meeting Coordination & Management
•  Internal video conferencing
•  Internal document management
•  Internal blogging, wikis, team profile (expertise) profiling and locating

Capabilities include:
•  Out-of-the-box social networking capabilities
•  Pre-integrated enterprise communications
•  Business Systems Integration
•  Content Management System Integration
•  Enterprise-grade security and policy management

B. What are the benefits – Why are companies and government agencies adopting social Intelligence capabilities?

The following list represents just a few of the benefits of implementing an ECP or intra-social application:

1) Optimized Team Building – Environment increases team visibility, sharing and collective insights, and collaborative/virtual project development

2) Increased Knowledge Sharing – Enables collaborative knowledge development and sharing near real-time

3) Integrates Communications and Business Processes – Integrates and accelerates the use of chat, video sharing, teleconferencing, blogging, video conferencing, etc.

4) Accelerated Team Performance – Facilitates real-time and interactive participation via the right team expertise

5) Fully Engages Teams and Departments – Encourages team interaction and inter-departmental cooperation on programs and projects

6) Increased Control over Intellectual and Digital Assets – Single/integrated environment for asset management

7) Accelerated Return on Existing Application Investments – Integrates and accelerates the value of existing IT investments by seamlessly integrating enterprise content management, unified communications and business management applications

‘8) ECPs allow companies to ‘cut their teeth’ on developing a social media capability without the risk of mistakes that would trigger a market or regulatory backlash. This social media indoctrination includes prototyping the following social media components:
1) Organizational Design
2) Policy and Standards
3) Process design & execution
4) Performance metrics & KPIs
5) Application standards
6) Support model and associated support structures

9) ECPs, when architected properly, can easily integrate with an external and fully bi-directional social media program

10) Companies who integrate and optimize ECPs with traditional market communications channels such as call center, web, mobile, e-mail, etc can benefit from a dramatic increase in the overall customer and stakeholder experience.

11) ECPs can dramatically increase the appetite for increased intra-organizational change and the appetite for innovation and entrepreneurialism. Complimentary to this is the need to support the implementation of an ECP with a heavy dose of change management as this implementation represents a new way of conducting business

12) The overall goal of the increased internal collaboration and productivity derived from the ECP is to decrease the time to market with products and services that have increased market relevance.

C) What are the hottest tools/applications on the ECP or Intra-Social Application market?

Almost all ECPs are relatively new to the marketplace and few software vendors have deployed to more than a several Fortune-500 level companies. 

Leading ECP Software Vendor & Tools:

* Cisco Systems – Quad. Cisco was well positioned for the intra-social market in that they had many of the existing components that are essential for a world-class ECP. Cisco already had many very capable collaboration applications such as the following:
a) Video teleconferencing and team conferencing
b) Instant chat features via their ‘Click-to-chat’ functionality
c) Instant meeting management via their ’click to meet’ functionality
d) Group management and profiling.

The Quad platform allowed them to effectively integrate these pre-existing capabilities with some additional ‘Facebook like’ features such as the following:
a) Community development and management,
b) Blogging and Wiki collaboration,
c) Team member or team activity broadcasting and management,
d) Team expertise profiling, etc. 

The integration of all of these components as well as the integration capabilities with existing corporate applications like document management, CRM system integration, social profiling for customer service and many other features brings Cisco to the forefront of ECP platform vendors and is well positioned to remain a leader in this space

* IBM – IBM Lotus Connections.  IBM was an early entrant into enterprise social tools, and this has enabled the IBM Lotus offering to remain in a leadership position.  IBM Lotus connections has many of the same features/functions as Cisco Quad such as Communities, file sharing, Wikis, team profiling, blogs, team activity tracking, home page activity and preference management, etc.  In addition to these features, the IBM offering has a Social Analytics function that facilitates the user on profiling those who might be good connections both on an individual level and community level. The IBM offering also provides mobile access to access the technology from a mobile device and also provides chat forums to share insights, ideas and concerns.

* Jive with Microsoft SharePoint & SharePoint Connector: Jive in conjunction with Microsoft SharePoint is a very powerful collaboration platform.  Jive is used as the hub for socializing and sharing content broadly across the enterprise. SharePoint can be used in conjunction with Jive with the SharePoint connector by integrating SharePoint with Jive, using SharePoint as the workflow and document storage system (what is was designed to be best at). Together, these two applications drive awareness of enterprise activities by socializing content and team activities, wherever it originates, to inform better business decisions.

* SalesForce.com – Chatter. Following on their success with their Sales application, Salesforce.com has developed a very robust intra-social ECP application called Chatter which allows all people within the company to interact and collaborate on projects. Many times the Sales Force of a company will be the first to adopt this technology due to the fact that the sales force is already using the sales application, hence is a good pilot group to pilot the intra-social application.  Similar to Cisco’s Chatter application, the features and functions are designed to maximize team interaction and collaboration so that teams can operate more efficiently by eliminating the need for many manual cycles to coordinate and conduct meetings, collaborate on documents and projects, and develop deep insights based on team specialization and expertise.

* Oracle  Beehive. Oracle Beehive is also a strong contender due to the size of the company, its existing installed base a relatively strong product line. Similar to many of the software vendors above, The Oracle Beehive product provides an integrated set of modular collaboration services including email, calendar, team workspaces, instant messaging, and conferencing.

Challenger ECP Software Vendor & Tools:

The companies below are considered challengers due to their smaller company size, relatively new entrance to the market place and/or their set of smaller customers that have their products currently installed.

* Atlassian Confluence: Atlassian’s confluence product is mostly seen as a productivity wiki tool, geared toward technology departments. However, the product is highly extensible with integrations into Microsoft SharePoint and Lotus Connections.  The product is also most geared toward content sharing, discovery, creation, etc.

* Novell – VibeCloud.  The company’s acquisition of SiteScape brought the company beyond email and calendaring and more into the collaboration space. Novell has many of the futures as some of the leaders above such as document management, social messaging, conversation tracking, group & community management, etc.

* PBworks – PB Works appears to be geared to mid-sized companies in providing collaboration Software for Smaller Advertising Agencies (PB Works Agency Edition), Legal Firm, Consulting, Medical, Associations.

* Socialtext: Socialtext was best known for bringing Twitter-like status functionality to the enterprise called “signals”.  Social text has many of the same features as the leaders above, but is a smaller sized company than an IBM or Cisco.  Socialtext also provides integration with Lotus Connections and Microsoft SharePoint.

* Traction Software: Traction software is highly focused on managing projects in that their own tagline is “Social Software meets Project Management” . Forrester lauds Traction for bringing blogs and wikis to the enterprise

D) How do you implement an ECP capability – what are the steps and considerations on implementing this capability within your organization and company

Social Media Implementation & Program success requires comprehensive visioning; with stepwise implementation, guided by a roadmap and integrated project plan.  I have developed this capability for several Fortune 500 companies and the capability can be enabled via three (3) Major steps as follows (Summarized):

1) Step #1: Develop a ECP and Intra-Strategy including the following:
a) ECP  Strategy/Vision, Objectives, Business Drivers, Critical Success Factors, Community/ Forum Listening Strategy, Key Metrics & Performance Plan, Organizational Plan, Change Management Plan, Communications & Risk Management Plan, monitoring policies, governance plan
b) Put together an implementation roadmap and a centralized PMO to manage the implementation of the roadmap/ECP vision
c) Form your intra-social strategy & vision with key stakeholders

2) Step #2: Social Media Technology Platform Evaluation & Selection
a) Identify potential ECP platform & community management vendors
b) Develop Needed ECP Requirements and Capabilities
c) Perform Technology Platform Vendor Selection
d) Onboard Vendor
e) Build a techno-functional architecture to support the roadmap

3) Step #3: Develop Social Media Program Pilots & Deployment Plan
   a) Develop Pilot Project & Deployment Plan
   b) Develop ECP management processes that provide organizational confidence and exercise process excellence transparency to solidify user/stakeholder buy-in and acceptance.
   c) Develop Technology Pilots
   d) Develop  Program Pilots
   e) Invest in Organizational change management to instill solid user/stakeholder adoption
   f) Develop Organization & Process Pilots
   g) Deploy Pilots and Programs including
      1.  Center of Excellence Deployment
      2.  Multi-Channel Integration
      3.  Policies/Processes
      4.  Roles, Rules, Responsibilities
      5.  Change Management, Change Management, Change Management

That last bullet point is not a typo as I would honestly say that the #1 main key to success in implementing this type of software is an extremely capable change management program. This type of software requires a behavior change on the part of your employees and management and it won’t come easily.   I can say this with confidence – If you are not considering a heavy dose of change management as part of this implementation, your implementation is most likely going to fail!

In summary, ECPs and intra-social applications are gaining a great deal of Momentum.  Many Fortune 500 companies are either planning to implement this capability or already have.  Is your organization planning on implementing this potentially game-changing capability? If so, give me a call, I call help you achieve world-class programs that enable you to surpass your competition and bring your organization or agency to the next level of market and intra-social collaboration capability.

Leveraging Social Listening Programs To Develop Market & Competitive Intelligence to Leapfrog Your Competition

Leveraging Social Media Capabilities and Applications to Develop Competitive Advantage – Three Current Social Media Mega-Trends
Part One – Leveraging Social Insights & Intelligence to formulate better decisions to gain market, competitive, political and social advantage

In keeping a very close eye on the trends on the rise in the marketplace on how companies and government agencies are leveraging new social media capabilities and technologies, there are several on my radar screen that are coming up over and over again and again.  These trends are evidenced by the numerous requests I am receiving in these topic areas in the form of responses to proposals and information, requests for ‘lunch and learns’, requests to speak on the topic, etc.

Some of the hottest trends in the social media space from a corporate or governmental agency perspective are as follows:

1) Leveraging of Social Media and ‘Social Intelligence’ as a component to developing overall competitive and Market Intelligence Insights & Capabilities
2) The use of Intra-Social Enterprise Collaborative Platforms (ECPs) to enhance organizational productivity, internal collaboration and decrease overall go-to-market cycle time
3) The use of Intra-Corporate Social Crowd Sourcing ‘Innovation Acceleration’ Applications & Capabilities

Over the course of the next three blog entries, I will cover each of these social media mega-trend areas in the following format:
A. What is it – Description of the functionality this capability enables
B. What are the benefits – Why are companies and government agencies adopting and using this capability and how are they benefitting from its use
C. The hottest tools/applications in the market for this capability – who is leading, lagging, emerging
D. How do you implement it – what are the steps and considerations on implementing this capability within your organization and company

There are several instances where the use of social media insights could have helped organizations be better prepared for market shifts, product issues & defects, crisis management, and better able to spot trends regarding regulation, key opinion leaders, competitors, and go-to-market issues (sales, marketing, customer service, warranty claims, etc.). In the rest of this blog I will cover the first topic/trend of “Leveraging of Social Media and ‘Social Intelligence’ as a component to developing overall competitive and Market Intelligence Insights & Capabilities”:

A. BP Gulf Oil Spill – Admiral Thad Allen, Admiral from the Coast Guard who managed the gulf oil spill cleanup, indicated that if he had better insights into the issues and ‘mood’ of people through social media listening techniques, he would be much better prepared with action plans to respond to concerns, issues, inquiries, etc.

B. Toyota Stuck Accelerator Recall – If Toyota was monitoring the chat and commentary via many social media sites, it is very likely that they would have been able to spot potential automobile defect issues starting to trend and handle them earlier vs. blowing up in the media.

C. Egypt Social Unrest – Many of our intelligence agencies were caught off guard at the speed and magnitude of the protests that eventually topped the Mubarak regime. A few experts say that the information that this was going to occur was right in front of them in the form of Twitter, Facebook, blogs, etc. If they had a social intelligence platform and methodology to interpret the information, it is also likely that this would not have been such a surprise to the CIA and other intelligence agencies.

D. Drug Issues & Recalls – Had Pharmaceutical and Life Sciences Companies had a social or market intelligence solution in place, many say that companies would have been able to spot very early the issues with Vioxx, Tylenol, etc. Many people were commenting about the problems with these drugs via social media, but many companies were not listening, hence unable to respond until the issue hit crisis mode.

A. What is Social & Market Intelligence – Social Intelligence is the collection, aggregation, assimilation and dissemination of information from social media forums, blogs, wikis, websites in order to spot key trends around topics of interest such as the following:
1. Key opinion leader sentiment,
2. Regulatory issues, news, public sentiment trends,
3. Consumer feedback on your products and services,
4. Consumer concerns with product safety or availability,
5. Public sentiment about current issues, political leaders, public policy, etc.
6. Public sentiment about how a crisis is being (mis)handled
7. Information on your company or brand activity such as consumer feedback, market issues, market facing issues or trends, new products/services, news, etc.
8. Information on competitor activity such as consumer feedback, market issues, market facing issues or trends, new products/services, news, etc.

This function is usually developed into a single Market or Competitive Intelligence portal as a one stop shop to all market insights. The information will also bring together functions such as text mining, comingling of structured and unstructured data and text, and trend analysis and alerting and will also integrate with Business Process Management (BPM) functions in order to make the insights collected – actionable.

B. What are the benefits – Why are companies and government agencies adopting social Intelligence capabilities?
There are many benefits to adopting this social and/or market intelligence capability as follows:

a) Ability to capitalize on competitor trending market issues or weaknesses
b) Ability to spot competitor trends or new market initiatives before they erode you market share
c) Ability to accurately spot Key Opinion Leader (KOL) issues, trends, or preferences in order to  respond with products/services/policies that are in-line   with these stated needs/preferences
d) Ability to spot consumer sentiment trends that will impact or change regulation that might impact your company or organization
e) Ability to gauge unmet market demand or needs via consumer sentiment
f) Ability to gauge trends in the social-political climate and mood of the country in order to accurately predict needed public policy changes
g) Ability to spot and respond to potential product defect trending issues early before they get to crisis mode and erode your brand image
h) Ability to have an integrated  ‘one stop shop’ repository for all market relevant information – news, blogs, web feeds, RSS feeds, structured data, unstructured data, text feeds, etc. 
i) Ability to accurately gauge social moods and perceptions during the time of crisis in order to develop responsive programs and messaging in order to demonstrate proactiveness and responsiveness
j) Ability to filter out social noise and one-off commentary vs. significant trends and market shifts

The trick in realizing these benefits is twofold. One, you must develop robust trending functionality in order to filter out the noise associated with a few comments being said about a certain topic in order to be focused on rapidly building or significant trends vs. sentiment blips.  The second is integrating the social insights with Business Process Management (BPM), so that actionable projects or programs are put in place once significant and impactful trends are spotted. Chart 1 Illustrates how the social media listening lifecycle should be structured in order to develop a robust social and market intelligence capability.




C. The hottest tools/applications in the market for this capability

Some of the hottest platforms in the social listening space are as follows:
Leading Social Listening Tools:
1) Attensity – Attensity Analytics Suite. Social Monitoring and Analytics
2) Converseon – Conversation Monitor, Conversation Miner. Converseon also performs outbound social conversation management via their Conversation Manager
3) Jive – Social Media Engagement Platform – Inbound Monitoring and Outbound Community & Conversation Management
4) Lithium – Social Media Monitoring Console (formerly Scout Labs). Lithium is also a leading conversation management platform.
5) Nielsen  – BuzzMetrics. Nielsen also performs outbound social conversation management via BuzzMetrics.
6) Radian6 – Radian6 Listening Dashboard. Radian6 also performs outbound social conversation management via the Radian6 Engagement Console. 

Next Tier (alphabetically):
1) Alterian – SM2
2) Collective Intellect – Social CRM Insights
3) Cymfony – Cymfony Maestro Platform
4) Dow Jones – Dow Jones Insight
5) Evolve 24 – The Mirror
6) Visible Technologies – TruCast Suite

In addition to the social listening companies and platforms above, many new firms are entering this space at an incredible pace. I recently performed a vendor selection for one of my clients with many of the above tools and the selection process was extensive.  If anybody needs additional insights into these vendor or platform capabilities, please feel free to contact me for assistance.

D. How do you implement it – what are the steps and considerations on implementing this capability within your organization and company

I have developed this capability for several Fortune 500 companies and the capability can be enabled via three (3) Major steps as follows (Summarized):

A) Step #1: Develop a Social Media Monitoring and Strategy including the following:

1) Social Intelligence Strategy/Vision, Objectives, Business Drivers, Critical Success Factors, Community/ Forum Listening Strategy, Key Metrics & Performance Plan, Organizational Plan, Change Management Plan, Communications & Risk Management Plan, monitoring policies, governance plan

B) Step #2: Social Media Technology Platform Evaluation & Selection
     1) Identify potential social media platform & community management vendors
     2) Develop Needed Listening Requirements and Capabilities
     3) Perform Technology Platform Vendor Selection
     4) Onboard Vendor

C) Step #3: Develop Social Media Program Pilots & Deployment Plan
     1) Develop Pilot Project & Deployment Plan
     2) Develop Technology Pilots
     3) Develop  Program Pilots
     4) Develop Organization & Process Pilots
     5) Deploy Pilots and Programs including
           a.  Center of Excellence Deployment
           b.  Multi-Channel Integration
           c.  Policies/Processes
           d.  Roles, Rules, Responsibilities
           e.  Change Management

In summary, Social Intelligence, Social Monitoring, Competitive Intelligence and Market Intelligence are gaining a great deal of Momentum.  Many Fortune 500 companies are either planning to implement this capability or already have.  The practice has gained so much momentum there are even associations and groups being formed like the Strategic and Competitive Intelligence Professionals (SCIP) group (http://scip.org/index.cfm ) in order for members to collaborate and share best practices. Is your organization planning on implementing this potentially game-changing capability? If so, give me a call, I call help you achieve world-class programs that enable you to surpass your competition and bring your organization or agency to the next level of market and social intelligence.

Governance & Organizational Design for World-Class Social Media & Customer Management Programs

Governance & Organizational Design for World-Class Social Media & Customer Management Programs

By Steven M. Jeffes
1) Background – Lack of Effective Governance can Wreak Havoc on Social Media & Customer Management Programs
In my previous blog entry titled “Social Media Pitfalls and Mistakes – the Seven Deadly Sins of Social Media Programs”, I covered the major mistakes companies make when developing and managing enterprise level Social Media programs.  One of the points that I focused on was not developing an effective governance model and organization in order to oversee and manage the strategic direction and overall success of a social media program.
The lack of an effective social media governing organization is the most widely encountered issues by companies and can, by far, be the most damaging to the activities of social media & customer management program. An effective governance model is absolutely critical and will directly influence the overall quality of a social media and customer management program.  The following lists the potential impact of not having an effective governance model for your social media and customer management programs:
1) Inconsistent and overlapping customer communications
2) Infighting amongst departments and functions leading to highly inefficient operations
3) Inefficiencies and cost escalation due to inter-departmental duplication of effort
4) Programs that are consider unfair, confusing, inconsistent and ineffective by stakeholder and customer groups
5) Inability to improve or scale the program due the lack of focus on cross-organizational continuous improvement
The bottom line, if you can’t develop an effective governance model, you are not likely to have a very good social media & customer management program. The remainder of this blog post will highlight the critical considerations in developing a highly effective social media and customer management (CRM)
governance model.
       The following chart (Chart 1) from my firm’s SMARTE methodology depicts two different governance models for social media and customer management. On the left, governance of social media and customer management is performed with brand silos, each having their own unique version of dealing with their stakeholders and customers. While each program is effective in each silo and meeting the needs of the specific brand, there are many issues created from a company and stakeholder management perspective. There also many missed opportunities in terms of revenue optimization and cost containment.

Chart 1

In addition, the left side governance model in silos is prone to the following:
1) Duplication of effort between brands – higher costs
2) Lost customer management opportunities (i.e. cross/up-sell) – lost revenue
3) Lack of focus on cross-company efficiency and continuous improvement – higher costs
4) Perception by customers that the social media and customer management programs are not very effective – lost revenue, wasted capital
5) Frustration by employees of continually having to reinvent the wheel in terms of programs and customer interactions – higher costs

As seen below in Chart 2, the left side governance model in silos is much more likely to generate frustration and contempt from the customer’s perspective vs. the holistic governance model on the right. Refer to the following chart for a sample of the different types of customer comments each of these governance models is likely to generate. Obviously, the left side of the chart generates many more positive stakeholder and customer comments and it much more likely to result in higher customer loyalty, share of wallet, customer cross/up-sell opportunities and will generally result in lower costs and higher revenue.

Chart 2

Based on the above outcomes on both sides of the chart, the following rules apply to social media and customer management (CRM) governance:
Programs In Silos Stifle Effective Delivery (PISSED) – 
      These silo’s programs tend to create PISSED   
      stakeholders & customers
due to perceived inconsistent,
      inefficient and ineffective program delivery
Programs Leveraged Enterprise-Wide Aid Synergistic & Effective Delivery (PLEASED)
      Remember,  these non-silo’d programs tend to create 
      PLEASED stakeholders & customers due to perceived
      consistent, efficient and effective program delivery.

2) Impacts from Ineffective Social Media & Customer Management Program Governance

Based on my firm’s SMARTE methodology (SMARTE stands for “Social Media Adaptive/Responsive/Transcendent Enterprise”) and direct client experience, I have found that in order for Social Media and CRM programs to be highly effective, a company must develop and maintain an organization design and corresponding governance structure that maximizes the ability of the company to build and leverage enterprise-wide synergy. This governing structure must be built to avoid developing programs that exist in brand or channel specific silos such whereby everyone is developing their own flavor of social media and customer management that appears to the outside world to be inconsistent, unfair, non-relevant, unappealing or just another one-off initiative.
The following are the top 5 Impacts of poor organizational design and governance for social media and customer management programs from both an internal and external perspective:

Internal Impacts of Poor Organizational Design & Governance:
1. Many individual departments are attempting to develop their own flavor of Social media without any regard to consistency
2. Infighting exists between functions & departments on which direction the SM program should take
3. The department(s) that led the introduction of the social media program thinks they own the social media program and is attempting to control the program by dictating program rules, standards, policies, etc.
4. Lessons learned and cross-brand insights are not being cultivated and leveraged for the benefit of the entire company vs. individual brands
5. Social Media & customer initiatives seem ad-hoc and are really not driven by solid metrics, business cases, enterprise-wide strategic business plans, etc.

External Impacts of Poor Organizational Design & Governance:

 1. Stakeholders & customers receive contradictory messages from organizational silos (i.e. different brands, different messages – brand A special vs. brand B special discount vs. valuable customer total discount – all brands)
2. Stakeholders & customers are treated inconsistently based on the department they are interacting with or channel they are interacting with (Facebook vs. Twitter, on-line vs. traditional off-line channels)
3. Stakeholders & customers find your company’s content and messages ad-hoc (vs. themed) in terms of relevancy, timing, venues by which messages are communicated, etc.
4. Stakeholders and customers are not recognized cross-functionally, but rather just in brand silos which tends to create frustration (i.e. “I just told ‘brand A’ my preferences, why do I have to repeat this all over again for brand B!?”)
5. Stakeholders and customers are not treated differently based on their specifics needs and enterprise-wide profile (e.g. valuable customers that buy both brands A and B do not receive differentiated ‘valuable customer’ treatment across the company)


3) Best Practice Social Media & Customer Management Governance Design Principles:

In order to avoid a sub-optimized governance model and one that is in silos, some best practice design principles must be followed when developing and/or optimizing a social media or customer management program. The following chart (Chart 3) depicts a very small sample of the governance design principles put forth in my firm’s SMARTE social media methodology:

Chart 3

These governing principles are accompanied by an entire set of practices and methods for developing a governance model and corresponding governing organization. These were developed following over 50 successful consulting engagements on Fortune 500 clients involving the development and/or improvement of social media and customer management programs.
4) Sample Governance Organizational Structure:
A very typical governing organization for social media and customer management is shown in the following chart (Chart 4):

Chart 4

The key message in this chart is as follows:
1)  Policy and strategy for social media and customer management program must be holistic, based on cross-functional leadership direction that is applied and leveraged enterprise-wide
2) Program planning and tactics must be developed by mid-managers who have direct expertise and responsibility for stakeholder and customer communications & touch-points.
3) Operations and Interactions must be carried out by professionals who are well versed in customer management, social media interactions (i.e. social media conversation managers – topic to be covered in a future blog post), and who are incentivized to optimize the customer experience to the point of best in class stakeholder and customer excellence.

5) Conclusion & Share Your Stories:

The bottom line here is that, without a strong and well thought-out governance model for customer management and social media, you will likely end up with a chaotic and ineffective program.  Trust me I know as I am hired by many companies to help re-engineer the situation after they have gone awry. Anybody wanting to hear more about social media governance, please feel free to give me a call. 

Anybody else run into governance issues that they’d like to share?

The Social Media Balanced Scorecard: Balanced External and Internal Social Media Metrics – Critical Components of a World-Class Social Media Program

by Steven Jeffes

In my previous blog entry titled “Social Media Pitfalls and Mistakes – the Seven Deadly Sins of Social Media Programs”, I covered the major mistakes companies make when developing and managing enterprise level Social Media programs.  One of the points that I focused on was not utilizing the correct key performance indicators (KPIs) in measuring the success of a social media program. This blog post will highlight the critical components in developing a highly effective social media measurement system and how to craft an effective social media balanced (measurement) scorecard.

Based on my firm’s SMARTE methodology (SMARTE stands for “Social Media Adaptive/Responsive/Transcendent Enterprise”) and direct client experience, I have found that, in order for a large-scale social media program to be successful, a balance must be struck between the internal success metrics and the external success metrics.  By simultaneously establishing and tracking metrics in the following areas, a program can be built on the balanced scorecard concept so that the most effective social media program is delivered externally via the optimal internal delivery model:

External Balanced Scorecard Metrics – How the program is perceived by external stakeholders and participants to be fair, engaging, referable, worth following, responsive, etc.

Internal Balanced Scorecard Metrics: How the program is perceived by internal company stakeholders to be efficient, effective, systemic, consistent, compliant, repeatable, etc.

If we place the external scorecard metrics in the numerator of the Equation and the internal scorecard metrics in the denominator the result is the Social Media Program Balanced Scorecard.

Before we demonstrate an example how this balanced scorecard can be used, let’s take a look at some of the specific measures for both the external success metrics (balanced scorecard numerator) as well as the internal success metrics (balanced scorecard denominator) for this balanced social media measurement scorecard.

Top 10 Market & Stakeholder Focused/External Social Key Performance Indicators (KPIs):
1. Forum Engagement Score: Rating by stakeholders in each forum on how creative the program is in terms of engaging and interacting with the overall community
2. Forum Referral Score: How often program followers and stakeholders refer other people to follow the forum of interest
3. Forum Audience Score (Relative to Other Community Audiences): Rating by forum participants on how fair the program is in terms of consistent responses
4. Forum Responsiveness/Quality Metric: Rating by stakeholders on how responsive the social media program is to their needs and sentiment
5. Content Quality Score: Rating by stakeholders on how engaging the content is perceived
6. Content Relevancy Score:  Rating on how relevant the content and engagement is to forum participant’s needs and preferences
7. Content Timeliness Score: Rating by forum participants on how timely the content and engagement is to forum participants
8. Content Referral Score: Rating by forum participants on how likely they are to refer people to the company forums, initiatives, contests, etc.
9. Brand Quality Score: Rating by stakeholders on how brand perceptions are increasing/decreasing based on their social media interactions
10. Overall Program Quality/Appeal Score: How program participants perceive the quality and appeal of this program relative to all other social media programs they’ve been exposed to and/or interacted with

The top five benefits of measuring these external social media success metrics are as follows:
1)  Allows program participants to feel empowered to provide input into the programs’ design
2)  Enables companies to govern program delivery based on external/objective measures
3)  Enables development of best-in-class social media programs as rated by their constituencies
4)  Facilitates the development of a dynamic, exciting, engaging program
5)  Enables maximized creativity for program interaction and delivery

Top 10 Company Efficiency & Effectiveness Focused/Internal Social Media Key Performance Indicators (KPIs):
1. Social Media Process Efficiency: Cycle time by which major program components (contests, new offerings, special topics, new forums, etc) are developed, deployed and adapted. This would include meeting critical process excellence Service Level Agreements (SLAs) for sign-off and completion of program materials as part of a social media process excellence model
2. Social Media Engagement Timeliness Score: Cycle time to address stakeholder concerns, comments, sentiment, needs, preferences, etc.
3. Social Media Sentiment Analytic Score: Effectiveness in locating and performing analytics on sentiment trends, issues, critical response items (i.e. product defect early warnings)
4. Social Media Forum Coverage Score: Coverage metrics on how comprehensively analytic platforms are sourcing data from social media forums and how well the company is responding to forum sentiment (both positive and negative) from all applicable forums
5. Social Media Internal Engagement Score: Metrics on how well  internal employees feel engaged with and empowered to act as an effective component in the social media program delivery
6. Brand and Forum Consistency Score: Rating by brand management on how well all of the social media participants are maintaining brand and forum consistency as to engage stakeholders and participants in a highly qualitative and consistent manner
7. Social Converter Score – Metrics on how well the company converts social engagers, social brand detractors and ‘brand interested’ into traditional prospects, brand advocates and brand customers respectively?
8. Social Media Program Value Score: Based on the Social Converter Score as a baseline, what is the current and cumulative value of the social media program and how has it delivered tangible value from a brand perception/value, prospect conversion, or customer (cross-sell, up-sell, higher share of wallet, etc) perspective.
9. Social Media  Service Line Contribution Score: From a service line perspective (Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, Product Management, etc), how much has the social media program contributed in terms of sales lead increases, increased marketing reach and customer conversions,  new product ideas (i.e. via Crowd Sourcing), customer service improvement suggestions or actionable feedback, etc.  –Refer to service line specific metrics** below.
10. Overall Program Quality/Appeal Score: How well is the social media program perceived by internal stakeholders and constituencies relative to all other social media program these departments/employees have been exposed to and/or interacted with

The top five benefits of measuring these internal social media success metrics are as follows:
1)  Allows companies to deliver cost-effective social media programs
2)  Enables companies to deliver consistent, repeatable program content
3)  Enables companies to convert social media interactions into prospects, customers and sales for bottom line results
4)  Enables companies to rate the comprehensiveness of their social media program coverage
5)  Enables company employees to feel excited about the program and to be engaged for brand, company and constituency benefit

Now back to the Social Media Program Balanced Scorecard. If we were to weight each of the ten external and internal measures at 10% (or 10 points each) , we would have 100 maximum score for external measures and a 100 maximum score for internal measures.  Here are some example scores and their potential meaning as an example:

External Social Media Score – 100
Internal Social Media Score  – 50 
   or a Balanced Scorecard result of 2 (100/50).
This typically means that stakeholders consider the company’s program to be great, but the company is struggling internally to deliver the program
External Social Media Score – 40
Internal Social Media Score  – 100 
   or a Balanced Scorecard result of .4 (40/80).
This typically means that stakeholders consider the company’s program to be weak, but the company is effective and efficient in its delivery

The bottom line here is the best (balanced) score is when the program has a 1 to 1 ratio or a score of 100 for both external and internal metrics. This mirror effect indicates a well-balanced social media program that is considered world-class by the external program participants, yet is (internally) efficiently and effectively delivered by the company. Obtaining a Social Media Program Balanced Scorecard score of 100, while somewhat demanding, can have a dramatic impact on the ability of your company to increase sales and market share.
The following is a list of other best practices to follow on developing a highly effective social media measurement capability:
1. Monitor success via social media dashboards – Track social media metrics via organizational dashboards for various company levels and functions to ensure everyone has a view into the success of the program
2. Institutionalize the metrics – Ensure that achievement of the metrics identified for social media are tied to departmental and individual performance measures
3. Establish preliminary metric benchmarks – Establish early performance success benchmarks to gauge the success of the program from day one
4. Evolve metrics via continuous improvement – Evolve the metrics each year as to improve year-over-year performance in each metric category.
5. Operationalize the business case – Ensure that a business case is built and maintained for the social media program and ensure corporate stakeholders take ownership for achievement of the projected benefits

** Function Specific Metrics:  Here is a small sample of the service line metrics I establish for my clients in terms of measuring the impact social media has on individual company functions:

1) Sales (sample):
• Social Media Lead Generation Score: Number and value of Sales Leads generated via social media
• Social Media Event Sales Score: Number of company event attendees that are attending the event as a direct result of social media marketing activities
• Social Media Sales Closure Score:  The number of sales closed as a direct result of a social media lead
• Social Media Sales Referral Score:  The number of sales generated as a direct result of a referral from an existing social media participant

2) Marketing (sample):
• Social Media Ad Effectiveness Score: Additional prospects or customers sourced as a direct result of social media advertising
• Social Media Campaign Management Lift: Additional prospects or customers sourced as a direct result of social media campaigns (i.e. direct marketing)
•  Social Media Community Lift: Number of community members acquired over a period of time into company community forums, communities, sites, etc.

3) Customer Service (sample):
• Customer Service Delivery Efficiency Score:  Rating on how effectively customer service is administered via social media venues and forums (internal/external)
• Brand Issue / Concern Resolution Satisfaction & Cycle Time Score: Rating on how responsive customer service is administered on brand specific issues or concerns via social media venues and forums (internally & externally measured)
• Brand Issues / Defect Analytic Score: Rating on how well customer service can develop trend analysis in order to correlate a number of customer service complaints to specific brand and/or product defects and serious issues (manufacturing issues, chemical contamination, safety issues, assembly issues, etc.).  (internally measured)

4) Brands/Products (sample):
• Product Insight & Engagement Score:  Score on the engagement with social media communities to source product ideas, implement feedback and suggestions for improvement and  how well this feedback is incorporated back into the product life-cycle.
• Brand Positive Perception Score (BPPS):  From a brand perspective, how well is each brand regarded from a social media perspective (externally measured)

Questions for Readers of this Blog:
1) What are some of the critical social media measures, metrics and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) you use to gauge the success of your company’s social media program?
2) How do you judge a great social media program?
3) What types of impressions do you have (i.e. what are the words come to your mind) of a company that delivers a great social media program?
4) What are some other things companies can do to enhance the measurement of their social media program(s)?

Social Media Pitfalls and Mistakes – the Seven Deadly Sins of Social Media Programs

Social Media Pitfalls and Mistakes – the Seven Deadly Sins of Social Media Programs

By Steven Jeffes

How Fortune 500 Companies Make Critical Social Media Mistakes and How These Can be Avoided

The following is a synopsis of the seven deadly Social Media Sins that Fortune 500 companies commit when developing & managing social media programs and are detailed in my post below:

1)      Organization & GovernanceDepartmental infighting and inconsistencies cause social media disconnects and customer confusion

2)      Program Measurement: Companies are lulled into a false sense of security by believing they have a great social media program

3)      Policy & Standards:  Companies do more harm than good by being erratic & unpredictable to their customers

4)      Program Process:  Successful delivery of a social media program is not repeatable due to the lack of a process excellence model

5)      Legal & Regulatory Compliance: Social Media Program exposes the company to huge compliance and customer management issues

6)      Human Resource Management (HRM): Human resources misses the opportunity to empower and excite the workforce about social media

7)      Financial Performance: Success of social media is judge via subjective vs. objective and financial performance measures

Remember the dot com days in the 1980’s and early 1990’s when companies furiously scrambled to add an e-channel or internet communications to their list of capabilities and rarely gave a second thought on how to efficiently integrate these capabilities with existing off-line & traditional channels? Remember when ‘just adding something’ and demonstrating any e-channel capability to the public was critical and ‘online’ departments, organizations and functions were added as separate silos within the overall organization? Also remember the effort that went into trying to undo some of the inefficiencies caused by these non-integrated and dichotomous processes, procedures and operations?

Any guess to what is happening today from a Social Media standpoint for many companies? In short, Dejavu is occurring in regard to Social Media and many companies are ignoring the hard lessons that should have been learned during the 80’s. Indeed, many companies are proceeding down the same path without fully considering the correct methodology to use and unfortunately will end up designing programs with the same discontinuities and pitfalls as they did when developing an internet capability.

The following chart is a quick comparison of the companies in the dot com 80’s and the parallel to the development of social media capabilities of today:

Dot Com 1980’s Internet Capability Development

Social Media Capability Development Current Comparison

Adding Capabilities just to show up


Build now/fast, determine how to integrate later


Build functions in silos or with just a few departments


Ad-hoc inter-organizational program governance


Processes and organization not totally optimized


Standards and Policy Developed on the fly


Financial Business Case Not Fully Developed Yes

As part one of a series of blog posts, the following post will provide you with an overview of the seven areas where I have seen my Fortune 500 clients make major mistakes when attempting to develop top-notch social media programs. Following this post, I will address how a best-in-class social media program development methodology I have developed called SMARTE – The Social Media Adaptive/Responsive/Transcendent Enterprise enables companies to avoid many of these pitfalls and mistakes, but rather facilitates the development of a world-class social media program that leads to increased market share, higher brand values and increased customer loyalty.

The seven deadly Social Media Sins – Pitfalls and Mistakes Companies Make in Developing a World-Class Social Media Program:

1)    Social Media Organization & Governance:

One of the largest of the seven deadly social media sins is not determining the optimal way to govern a social media program, including determining who sets social media policy, develops social media standards, develops and/or approves processes, optimizes or aligns the organization, etc. Efficient and optimized social media programs are governed by governing organizations that include a great deal of cross-organizational representation and include legal, finance, marketing, customer service, brand management, human resources, etc.  In this fashion, decisions are made holistically and with insight into all organizational considerations prior to proceeding. Many companies I’ve analyzed commence social media program development with one or a few departments considered and the resulting programs are generally ad-hoc, non-systemic, disjointed and often myopic to their own department’s needs.  Ideally they should be holistically focused on the needs of the entire enterprise.  Some of the specific sins committed for social media organization and governance are as follows:

  • Social Media Programs are governed in silos vs. holistically, systemically, and cross-organizationally.
    • Issue Created: this creates many of the same problems as the issues that were create between the ‘on-line’ vs. ‘off-line’ organizations including discontinuities in customer communications, customer management inconsistencies, etc.
  • Social media program is started with just one or a few departments.
    • Issue Created: When additional departments develop social media capabilities, many times, much re-work needs to be done to standardize the process across departments
  • The Social Media Programs Organization is separated from the Customer Relationship Management Functions: Brand Management, Marketing, Sales, Customer Service, Field Service, Shareholder management, etc.
    • Issue Created: Customer management is handled inconsistently across all customer facing departments and functions which leads to customer frustration, confusion and resentment.  
  • Social Media customer intelligence is not integrated and managed as a strategic asset across all departments and organizations including Product Management, Branding, Campaign Management, Customer Experience, Sales.
    • Issue Created: Pockets of social media learnings and opportunities are not operationalized across all departments and functions, leading to many missed improvement opportunities.

2)    Social Media Program Measurement:

  • Social media metrics & Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are not balanced between both internally and externally focused measures
    • Issue Created: By measuring too heavily on internal measures, companies can be lured into a false sense of social media success by believing they are successful when customers do not reflect this sentiment.  Additionally, by focusing too heavily on external measures, companies can be ignoring key internal efficiencies in delivering the social media program, hence driving up the cost of the program unnecessarily.
  • Social Media is treated as a ‘check-box’ and treated as a victory for just showing up vs. measuring sales, marketing, brand value gains
    • Issue Created: A feel good social media program is created and perpetuated where companies pat themselves on the back for just having a social media presence while potentially damaging customer relations (i.e. many programs that do more harm than good in terms of brand reputation). 
  • Social Media performance dashboards are not available for CxO level management to gauge program performance against key measures like brand value, average public sentiment, brand buzz and excitement values, etc.
    • Issue Created: Key issues impacting shareholder and/or stakeholder value are not missed and are not managed to create a positive impact.

3)    Social Media Program Policy & Standards:

  • Standards are not developed to consistently ascertain and respond to the ‘average customer sentiment’
    • Issue Created:  Each social media interaction is handled inconsistently; thus leading customers to perceive the program to be biased, unfair, and/or just poorly managed.
  • Brand consistency is not considered when developing social media programs and customer interaction is highly inconsistent
    • Issue Created: Companies do not present ‘one face to the customer’ and appear inconsistent, disjointed between departments and company’s brand quality is perceived to be highly variable
  • Standards and policy have not been created in terms of managing customer communication protocols: This includes frequency of responses, tone/manner of the responses, handling or rebutting negative brand or company comments, opt-ins/opt-outs, etc.
      • Issue Created: Companies do not present ‘one face to the customer’ and appear inconsistent, disjointed between departments and the company’s brand quality is perceived to be highly variable.

4)    Social Media Program Process:

  • A best practice process and organizational framework has not been fully considered for the social media program
    • Issue Created:  A best practice social media program is not just about technology and applications, but must be equally supported by a robust organizational and process framework. Lacking this structure, the program continually languishes in mediocrity without a governing continuous improvement process framework to evolve the program to world-class status.
  • Acknowledgement of customer brand input is not acknowledged and responded to which translates into a negative customer brand experience
  • Brands feel compelled to respond to every negative comment posted about their brand, products and/or organization
  • Utilizing traditional media tactics for bi-directional and conversational social media venues
    • Issue Created: Social Media interactions appear non-interactive, disingenuous, or canned, which in turn, leads to negative sentiment about the social media program being a corporate ivory tower programs that are perceived to not listen well or interact effectively. 
  • Inability to synthesize and analyze intelligence from across multiple social media venues or not listening to all relevant communities and platforms creates an inability to develop a coherent brand action plan
    • Issue Created: Key social media input and ‘intelligence’ is overlooked, creating many missed opportunities to positively influence brand perceptions, customer loyalty and company product & service quality perceptions. 

5)    Social Media Legal & Regulatory Compliance:

  • Regulatory compliance is or was not part of the overall social media program design such as the following sample regulatory rules that impact social media program design:
    • Financial Services: NASD 3010 and 3110, SEC Rule 17a-4, Gramm-Leach-Bliley.
    • Cross-Industry: Sarbanes Oxley Compliance.
    • Pharmaceutical: Fair Balance Act, Adverse Event Reporting, HIPAA Privacy Rule
  • Developing Social Media programs that assume customer opt-in permission and channel preferences are the same for traditional media
    • Issues Created: Huge customer trust issues are created that negatively impact brand value and company perceptions. Regulatory compliance publicity or fines are also at risk if compliance is not fully considered when designing a world-class social media program.

6)    Social Media Program Human Resource (HR):

  • HR does not tie social media program performance to individual key performance measures
  • Human resources fails to facilitate a sense of excitement about social media and is treated like ‘just another program’
  • Customer sentiment values are not tied to program and individual performance measures
  • Company employees are not encouraged, trained and incentivized to become social media conversation managers, Tweeters, Bloggers, etc  in order to converse with and positively influence constituencies, customers and stakeholders.
    • Issues Created: Employees feel left out and uninspired by the social media program vs. being excited, engaged and empowered to participate/communicate in order to facilitate program success.  

7)    Social Media Program Financial Performance:

  • Business case development for social media is not tied to financial  performance goals
  • Social media optimization tests do not take into account financial performance
  • Program are initiated with strong dose of intuition vs. realistic business cases vs. initiating each program based on ROI, payback periods, net present value discounting, etc.
    • Issues Created: Social Media is success is measured exclusively by highly subjective measures such as customer & program reach, customer sentiment, etc. vs. highly objective and financially driven measures such as sentiment vs. share of wallet, program reach vs. acquisition costs, etc.

Do you have any war stories that you like to share about social media programs that have gone awry? Has your company committed any of the above seven deadly social media sins? Do you have any other perspectives on mistakes companies make in developing and managing an enterprise-wide social media program?

My next series of blogs will be taking you through my SMARTE social media methodology on how to avoid all of the above mistakes in developing and managing an enterprise-wide social media program and will enable your company to develop a social media program that is considered world-class.

Social Media Campaigns That Drive Bottom Line Results!

By Steven Jeffes

Infrastructure Establishes a Social Media Foundation, Campaigns Capture Business

Many firms can say they can help your business in social media, all offering help in setting up Fan Pages, web pages, event and photo pages, groups, SEO, etc.  All of this will help you establish a basic presence with Social Media as the bare minimum you will need in setting social media infrastructure, but very little of this foundation building activity will actually help you drive real business by now merely showing up on social media. What is needed to be successful in the realm of social media, after setting up this basic infrastructure, is architecting a robust campaign management program to help drive additional prospects, inquiries, build relationships, and drive actual new or repeat customers.  A sample of the many social media components many firms will attempt to sell your company explains why most are not revenue generating, but rather basic infrastructure and foundation setting in nature:

Component Description Net Result
Fan Pages Establishes a landing area about your organization and business Basic Facebook web page to be discovered – infrastructure
LinkedIn & Facebook Groups Establishes a group for people to join with a common purpose or affinity Building a basic presence on which people ‘might’ join – infrastructure
LinkedIn Events Establishes events for direct 1st level contact to sign-up with intent to attend Building a basic presence on which people ‘might’ attend – infrastructure
Twitter Pages Established a landing area about your organization and business Basic Twitter web page to be discovered or ‘followed’ – infrastructure
Social Media Analytics or Sentiment Analysis Tools Develops listening posts at various social media venues and communities to gauge public sentiment about your company, products, brands, services Develops intelligence on what conversations are occurring that are relevant to your business – infrastructure
Social Media Campaigns such as connection to me campaigns or fan campaigns that drive increases in fans, friends, or connections (refer to sample campaigns below) Drives increases in general audiences and in specific segments for campaign targeting and for sales closure. Increases the universe of potential customers and specific groups with affinity toward your specific products and/or services. Closes sales for your products and services

The bottom line with the above is that many activities will set up a presence within social media, but few activities drive real leads and closed business like social media campaigns.  Social Media pages, events, groups, etc. all develop the repository (setting up the pool) for people to come to when asked, but social media campaigns actually drive people to sign-up, join, fan, friend, etc. (filling the pool with high quality water) that will then be captive for driving and closing new business.  The following sections will look at some examples of how social media campaigns have driven increased prospects and real/closed business.

Social Media Messages All Seems Like a Stream of Consciousness with No Rhyme or Reason”…

Several times in the past few months, several of my clients have commented to me that they see many firms putting out messages via Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. that are mostly a stream of consciousness and seemingly have “no rhyme or reason”.  My comments back to them was that, for many companies who do not know how to use social media effectively, that is the impact they are having – sending out uncoordinated and unfocused streams of consciousness without a consistent theme, goal, brand message, and in many cases annoying messages about mundane and uninteresting topics more about themselves vs. anything anybody else would be interested in reading.  In essence, these companies are turning off the very people that they are trying to sell to via social media.

I was then asked if there was a way to change this so that companies were sending more coordinated, interesting communications that all made sense and built upon one another to generate a common and interesting theme.  This would encourage people to read more, and more importantly, make them interested in potentially purchasing the company’s products and/or services.  My response to this seemingly silly question was “of course there is.” 

One of the main ways companies can end this stream of consciousness existence on social media, is to utilize a campaign planning template I use for all of my clients in order to facilitate a more professional and coordinated presence on all social media sites.  Similar to the campaign plan/brief/planning template that many of the best of breed Marketing Automations software tools employ like Unica, SAS, Oracle CRM, SAP CRM, Chordiant and Alterian, this campaign planning template can bring order, clarity and relevancy to your messaging on social media sites. It can literally transform your presence from the realm of annoying, irrelevant, and to be ignored – or worse, de-friended, opteded-out, de-connected, etc. to being highly engaging, referred to via viral forwarding, and saved on ‘favorites’ list and other must follow mechanisms.

This campaign template also enables your campaigns to be successful in converting new business by be synchronizing them from a cross-platform perspective (e.g. Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.) such that present consistent and complimentary messaging that supports your overall brand strategy and campaign themes.  Employing this facilitates your firm in building intelligence into your social media campaigns by pre-designing a campaign brief around key message themes for each platform.  This template is a very small part of a Social Media Best Practice Design Methodology and toolkit that I have developed called SMARTE – The Social Media Adaptive/Responsive/Transcendent Enterprise.  A sample of this Social Media Campaign Planning Template, which is part of this SMARTE methodology, (in summary form), is as follows:

Social Media Campaign Planning Template:

Campaign Brief: Theme, Goals, Tactics, Platform Targets, etc.
Campaign Theme: Social Media for Automobile Dealers Campaign Timing: May 1 – May 30th Campaign Periodicity: One message ever other day on each platform
Platforms: Twitter, LinkedIn Facebook Campaign Success Metrics: Ten  Inquires, Two signed Contracts Campaign Goals:  Convince automobile dealers and brokers
Campaign Targets: Automobile Dealers and Brokers Campaign Tactics: Generate dealer general interest in social media from May 1-15; Communicate how to be success in social media from May 15-20; Communicate we know how to from May 21 – 30th. Lead Follow-Up:  E-mail “Social media for dealers” white paper, dealer testimonials, and invite to June 15th Webinar – “Dealing for Dollars – A dealer’s social media success guide.
Platform Specific Campaign & Message Plans
LinkedIn Campaign Messaging Plan: May 1: Auto Dealers benefit from social media via 7% lift in sales in March May 3: Dealers find that social media generated leads account for top 35% of most profitable customers.
….May 16th: First steps to developing a highly effective dealership social media program: http://xys123.com …May 28th: Auerback dealership recognizes Edgeup Marketing for excellence in social media: http://abc711.com  
Twitter Campaign Messaging Plan: May 1: … May 3rd: …
Facebook Campaign Messaging Plan: May 1: … May 3rd: …

The top part of this template under the heading “Campaign Brief: Theme, Goals, Tactics, Platform Targets, etc.” lays out the overall plan for the campaign and form the global parameters governing the campaign such as goals, timing, success metrics and KPIs, tactics, lead-follow up plan, etc. As part of my SMARTE methodology, I employ an SCAPE of Social Campaign Analysis, Planning & Execution methodology to plan and architect highly successful social media campaigns.

The bottom part of this template under the heading “Platform Specific Campaign & Message Plans” lays out the overall plan for the platform specific campaign messaging that support the campaign such as goals, timing, success metrics and KPIs, tactics, lead-follow up plan, etc. The development of this part of the template is also part of the SCAPE of Social Campaign Analysis & Planning methodology from the overall SMARTE Methodology.

Campaign Execution & Follow-Up

During and following the execution of these campaigns, a similar template governs the follow-up to all campaigns activities, leads generated, inquires, 2nd wave follow-up campaigns and needs to be carefully considered when developing the original campaign.  In this SCARF or Social Campaign Analysis & Response Follow-Up template, all contingencies are accounted for in terms of plans needed to follow up on the campaign including the business rules needed to support the follow-up, the campaign resources required, the type of response required by segment, etc.  I chose SCARF for this component since every aspect of the campaign response needs to be wrapped up and accounted for in order for the campaign to be considered actionable and successful.

Social Media Campaign Success Samples:

The following are a few sample campaigns I’ve executed via social media with this method that have netted huge results in very short periods of time that have helped me acquire several new contracts representing net new business for my firm:

A)   LinkedIn – 15,000+ group members in ~1.5 years!

Consider the following real accomplishments I have accumulated in the realm of group management via the execution of intelligent and coordinated social media ‘connect to me’ campaigns:

  1. In the past year or so I have established and grown the following mega-groups on LinkedIn, each with over 1,200 members by leveraging effective social media viral campaigns:

a)      Current and Former CSC Employees  – 8,100+ Members

b)      Lockheed-Martin Employees – 2,100+ Members

c)       General Electric Current & Former Employees – 1,600+ Members

d)      Capital District & Upstate NY Professionals – 3,200+ Members

e)      IBM Current & Former Employees1,380 Members

When these groups were first formulated, I adopted an ‘invite a friend’ campaign for many of these groups whereby I encouraged and incentivize people to invite their friends, colleagues, associates, etc. to join these groups. The incentive to invite a friend encouraged each existing member to invite their friend, colleague, associate to the group to grow each of the group’s membership. Where I am still employing this campaign, the Capital District & Upstate NY Professionals is adding about 200 members a month across New York State. I also recently re-branded and expanded the group to include most of New York State – from Plattsburgh to Tarrytown and from the Berkshires of Massachusetts all the way to Rochester and Ithaca. Through this active campaigning, this group is now the largest social networking group in all of Upstate NY. 

While the above numbers do not rival the number for some other broader groups categories like ‘Marketers’ or ‘Job Seekers’, the groups member drives above have done well given the limited and narrowly audiences for each group.

These group connections now enables me direct access to over 15,000 professionals world-wide that I can promote my consulting services. As a result, I have landed several consulting contracts through these LinkedIn groups worth $500k+, by using these now large social media groups as a sourcing area for new business – thanks directly to intelligent and **free** social media campaigning.

B)    LinkedIn – 3,000 connections in ~1 year!

By utilizing the group template function of LinkedIn, I employ and ongoing campaign to send a personalized message to everyone who joins one of the above groups to connect to me and to follow some of my activities as follows:

Welcome to the “Capital District and Upstate NY Professionals” Group!

I am the President, Founder and Group Manager for the “Capital District and Upstate NY Professionals” Group and I’d like to welcome you to the group. Please feel free to reach out to me if you might need any assistance from this group and/or any of the members of the group.  Good news – this group just surpassed 3,200 members since I formed this group in late last July! **We are now the largest (and most active) social networking group in Upstate NY!!**

Please invite me to your network if we are not already connected http://www.linkedin.com/in/stevenjeffes. Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/steven.jeffes, Twitter: http://twitter.com/SocialSteven

Also – check out my brand new blog on Social Media at: https://stevenjeffes.wordpress.com/

Please send the following link to your friends and colleagues to invite them to this group: http://www.linkedin.com/e/gis/153859

Lastly, please also check out my career profile website (Social Media & Marketing Subject Matter Expert) at http://www.Stevenjeffes.com and my consulting company website at http://www.edgeupmarketing.com and my awards/client letters at: http://www.stevenjeffes.com/stevenjeffes_awards.html. I am also an adjunct professor at Excelsior College teaching an array of Business & Technology classes.

Thank you,

Steven M. Jeffes, LinkedIn Founder & Group Manager

(518) 339-5857 (Cellular, message)

Capital District & Upstate NY Professionals – Upstate New York’s Largest and Most Active Social Networking Group

Through this “connect to me upon joining” campaign, I now have built over 3,000 first line contacts on LinkedIn in approximately a 1 year period of time by soliciting a connection to me from everyone who joins the above groups. In addition, everyone invites me to connect with them, which totally precludes me from using up any of my limited LinkedIn invites.   This pool of 3,000 highly accomplished current and ex-professionals from Lockheed-Martin, IBM, GE, etc. now become my audience for business development activities for my consulting services.

C)    Facebook – 4,400 friends in four (4) months!

As a result of intelligent campaigning, I have now amassed 4,400 Facebook friends in a four (4) month period of time – almost unheard of according to many Facebook experts.  Many people take several years to accumulate this many friends and 5,000 is currently the lifetime limit you can have on Facebook.  Through an intelligent execution of Facebook Friends campaigns, I amassed this many friend in the period of October 1, 2009 and January 31st, 2010 – just a four month period of time.  Through a ‘suggest a friend’ campaign, 3,800 friends were referred to me, all of which were highly correlated to the needs and interests of my marketing, CRM, and social Media consulting business.

In addition, most of these 4,400 friends are businesses and not persons as is typically the case and include the following business categories:

Albany NY Businesses, Appliances, Architects, Ashville NC Businesses, Auto Dealers, Banks & Credit Unions, Bridge & Port Authority, Brokers, Chambers of Commerce and Convention & Visitor’s Bureaus , College & Education, Computer, Construction, Contractors, Cosmetics, Culinary, Dental, Energy, Environment, Equipment, Fire & Police, Fishing Charters, Foods, Furniture, Gifts, Golf, Government, Health, High School, Hospitals & Medical, Hotels, HR & Recruiting, Insurance, Jewelers, Library, Limo & Transportation, Manufacturing, Media & Films. Metals, News, Not For Profits, Optical, Payroll, Pharmaceuticals, Politics, Pools & Spas, Printing, Professional Friends, Public Interest, Real Estate, Recycling, Restaurant & Wineries, Roofing, Security, Spas, Sporting Goods, Stadiums & Arenas, State & National Parks, Supermarkets, Technology, Travel, Utility Companies, Veterans, Yacht Companies

Personalized Campaigns – Messaging Specific to Each Group:

As a result of being able to save my Facebook friends into the above customized business categories, I can personalize campaigns and messages to individual businesses within these industries. For example and as a result of having a great deal of business experience with pharmaceutical companies in the area of CRM and social media, I just launched a customized campaign to Pharmaceutical companies with the title of “Social Media in the Pharmaceutical Industry – Mastering the Four C’s: Challenges, Concerns, Considerations, Capabilities. Based on this campaign, I am now planning of delivering several workshops on the topic to several pharmaceutical companies. 

Social Media Campaign Success – Similar Stories?

The above shares a small sample of the success I have enjoyed planning and executing campaigns for my own firm and for other companies.  I would open this blog up for people to share their own success stories in social media campaigning and to share insights on what other methods, campaigns, tools, and techniques you have utilized to drive social media campaign success for bottom line results.

About the Author

Steven Jeffes is a thought leader in developing world-class CRM, marketing, social media, loyalty, customer retention and customer experience programs. The recipient of many awards (http://www.stevenjeffes.com/stevenjeffes_awards.html), Steve is expert marketing  strategy  design & optimization: design, development and launch of world-class and best practice marketing and social media programs; change management organizational design and process excellence in marketing, sales, customer service, engineering, product management; and development of successful sales and sales management programs for Fortune 100 companies and government entities. He holds dual B.B.A. degrees in Computer Science and Finance from Temple University and a Master’s in Organizational Design and Excellence from the University of Pennsylvania/Wharton.

Steve can be e-mailed at stevenjeffes@yahoo.com or contacted via phone at 518-339-5857.

Effective SRM Programs: Leveraging the Power of Social Media to Boost Customer Loyalty and Build Customer Relationships

By Steven Jeffes

As companies seek ways to increase profitable revenue growth, the topic of Social Relationship Management (SRM), also known as RM 2.1, keeps getting more and more attention. Traditional RM systems reached out from the organization to target prospects and customers. By contrast, SRM tools put consumers in the driver’s seat, letting them interact with your company and brands on their own terms — reviewing products, creating community, making suggestions, creating brand sentiment. This outpouring of consumer activity translates into data to be sifted, analyzed, and reported, requiring new tools and techniques, often tied to traditional RM systems, in order to convert raw data into social media intelligence.

Unless you have been living in total isolation for the last 24-36 months, you have likely heard of or used Twitter, Facebook and/or LinkedIn among other social networking platforms. Chances are also likey that your company is vigorously interacting with customers and prospects online. You also also likely be unsure how to harness the new social media to raise your company’s profile on and off the Internet. Even more basic, you may be unsure how to discover what people are saying about your brand/products, and in which forums, called influence communities, they are commenting.  Most companies are just starting to climb the social media learning curve. But time is of the essence since companies ‘not in the game’ are considered to be laggards in terms of being stakeholder and constituent proactive.

Your customers, prospects, and competitors are all using social networks like LinkedIn, Plaxo, Facebook, YouTube, and Identi.ca in record numbers every day — and new sites and tools appear almost as frequently. These tools are a powerful way to connect with people, ascertain their needs, liste to their preferences, and more flexibly and quickly respond to their needs. Although consumers have been leading the social media revolution, Business-to-Business (B2B) companies can learn from the successes and failures made by other businesses that sell to consumers in this new social community. Harnessing social media in the context of B2B is the next major frontier to master.

Ranging in price from free to fairly expensive, SRM tools provide a robust means of interacting with your customers, gathering intelligence on your competition, and staying abreast of topics, trends, and sentiment that will be impactful to your brands/products/services/etc. While somewhat more rudimentary, even the free tools can help you find out who’s talking about your organization/brands/products/services/etc. and what is being said.

Establishing an Effective SRM Program

If you are not already doing it, you should start monitoring what your customers and others are saying online about your brand & products. This way you will get early warning if there is a public relations disaster in the making or, conversely, advance notice of good news like a new product finding its targeted audience. Sites like Yelp let customers post reviews of businesses. Some say that, if Toyota employed an effective social media listening program, it might have discovered the set of product issues earlier than was the case. Listening, however, it just the first step toward building an effective social media program.

Customers are posting their opinions on all sorts of Web sites and forums, and not just in the obvious ones. You need to get a ahead of the tide of customer opinion — good, bad, ever-changing — and monitoring all of the potential sites manually is likely to be more than you can handle. Tools that help you aggregate and analyze social media sentiment or manage social media conversations in masse can keep you from drowning in the vast sea of on-line opinions. 

I recently helped a credit card company analyze customer sentiment around its new-customer onboarding process. Using a sentiment analysis tool, I set thresholds for comment similarity and frequency. For example, if the number of negative customer comments regarding a certain credit card fee went over the pre-set threshold, an alert would be sent to the marketing and customer service teams, urging them to take action.  

Each alert kicked off a workflow of tasks which provided guidance on how to respond to what was being said. An abundance of negative comments relating to fees might trigger a strategic set of campaigns to educate customers on how to reduce their fees, as an example. Additionally, if a significant number of customer comments concerned customer service issues relating to on-boarding process, then that would launch a workflow to address and rectify the situation. My client was able to adjust the number of comments that would trigger the alerts, and this threshold was easy to fine tune as necessary.  Keeping on top of customer opinion helped this credit card company address customer complaints in a timely manner while also understanding which parts of the on-boarding process were working well and which processes needed improvement. The company was able to reduce its total on-boarding cycle time by 11 to 16% by implementing a continuous improvement program based on what was being learned via this social media ‘listening’.  This credit card company has since expanded its sentiment analysis to other sectors of the business.

Identify & Interact with Key Influencers

Using an online sentiment analysis tool provides you with real-time awareness of the tide of customer/consumer opinion. What you do then with that knowledge is critical to successful social media program. Like my credit card client, you will likely want to tweak (or even completely change) your campaigns and communications strategy according to major trends in social media sentiment from key influencers. Whatever you do, my advice is to proceed with caution.

Although it is tempting to respond in kind to every negative commentary, that can be a dangerous path. I have all seen cases of tit-for-tat on all sorts of Internet forums — decorum is often not part of the debate. It is best to steer clear of vitriolic exchanges in any forum, no matter how tempting.

On the other hand, if done with common sense and sensitivity to the overall audience, there are certain instance in which you might choose to respond on an individual basis to a negative comment. You may want to engage if the comment is wrong or unfair, especially if the poster appears to be a key influencers (i.e., other people in the forum and/or community appear to be swayed by that person’s opinion).

As an example, Campbell’s Soup Co. recently used Twitter to take on a poster’s critique of the company’s advertisements for its 80-calorie Select Harvest Light soup. The person making the post via Twitter took exception to the commercial’s implication that competitors’ 300-plus-calorie soups were fattening. Campbell’s Soup Co. immediately fired back on Twitter, pointedly calling the poster’s views ‘extreme’. It remains to be seen if this was the right approach, but if a company believes it has been wrongly called out by someone, it has the same right to use social media to defend their brand image and reputation. Just beware of unintended consequences such as being considered brand myopic or being ‘big brother’ and not allowing any reasonable 3rd party opinions.

Another situation in which you should engage directly with a customer or influencer is when there is a legitimate customer service issue. In fact, some companies are using Twitter (e.g. Dell Computers, Southwest Airlines, Home Depot, Pandora, Starbucks, Comcast, H&R Block) as a customer support platform because of its ease of use and real-time interaction capabilities. The are many classic case stories such as the person stranded in the airport, stuck between flights and miserably tweeting about their negative experience. In a point-of-service situation like this, the airline can and should intervene to help this customer. By responding in a positive way, the potential for increased customer loyalty is immense, both from the customer who was helped and anyone else who might hear (and re-comment) about it. Everyone loves a feel-good story about a company going above and beyond to help their customers in need.

Get Them on Your Side: From Brand Detractor to Brand Advocate

Another technique for handling specific negative commentary is to try to win him or her over and transform him or her from being a brand detractor (i.e., negative brand perceptions) into becoming a brand advocate (i.e., positive brand perceptions). Anyone who frequently makes posts to opinion web sites and micro-blogs clearly is willing to devote time and effort to the influencing the topic at hand. Many of these types are key opinion leaders and key influencers (i.e., the top reviewers on Amazon.com). If you can succeed in getting this key influencer on your side, you may gain a tireless brand champion, an invaluable asset in swaying online opinion toward having a positive image of your brands, products, services, etc.

In any case, you must approach a key opinion leader cautiously, as they are likely to be cynical about ‘corporate intent’ and ‘influencing’ efforts.  Start incrementally by asking for additional input on a particular topic.  Or, ask that person to join a client advisory board — but be sure to provide meaningful opportunities to provide feedback. Due to their savvy nature, key opinion leaders will immediately sense any attempt to manipulate their opinions, so small incremental interactions and progress is recommended. It is hard for customer, or even the sharpest critics, to fault a company that keeps asking for their thoughts and ideas in order to make their brand and customer experience better.

Another strategy to accomplish the same goal is even more subtle. Without interacting with key opinion leader directly, try to drive them to links to pages or sites where you are gathering specific product feedback. By allowing them to participate in shaping things, you are them demonstrating to them you are responsive and listening to your constituencies, communities and people who really count – their key stakeholders.

Some companies even go a little further, allowing online visitors to become active participants in shaping their next set of products, new services, or even TV advertisement (i.e., the Doritos user-generated Super Bowl ad). Called “crowd sourcing,” this technique may seem risky and chaotic, but can result in new products that more closely match customer needs. (Twenty million visitors all saying they want the same thing can’t be all that wrong).

Steps to Developing World-Class Social RM & Loyalty Programs

For many companies, developing an effective SRM strategy is still a work in progress. That’s understandable, but I strongly recommend to get started as soon as possible. If you’re unsure what to do next, consider the following concepts:

  • Create your social media personality and develop positive brand perceptions. Social media offers strong opportunities for organizations to reinforce their brand image and differentiate themselves from other companies and brands. Social media can enable your brand to set forth and brand ‘personality’, one that customers, prospects and influencers can better resonate with. I recommend using short-term promotions to shape your visitor perceptions and create a positive buzz around your organization’s brand image.


  • Engage customers, prospects and key influencers in bi-directional conversations in order to develop relationships. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and other similar tools offer you a chance to develop a relationship with your on-line visitors that goes beyond traditional transactions. The interactive capabilities of social media offer the chance to ask questions and post comments – finally a way to enable a two-way dialogue vs. the traditional company to customer monologue. For the organization, it enables an online & bi-directional relationship (SRM) that can assist in the improvement of customer service, product development, marketing, investor relations, etc.


  • Interact and Disseminate Information at the ‘Speed of Need’: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn can rapidly disseminate a message to a wide group of members or interested parties. This can be especially helpful for product alerts, special promotions, fraud alerts, service outages, or weather-related schedule changes. While your physical message might not reach everyone, getting the information even to a smaller group reinforces the perception of good customer service and might just become viral if the message is structured such that it encourages repeating via word-of-mouth means.  The key here is to communicate at the speed of when it is needed (speed of need) by your customers and constituencies.

Social media sites, tools and programs are here to stay, and I consider that a good thing for your company and your brand. Arriving at the right SRM strategy requires a good deal of thought and care, but it is worth undertaking. With each passing minute, more of your competitors are mastering SRM, and in order to be considered credible in the marketplace, you must at least match their program. (The company with 3 million followers is demonstrably better off than the one with 3,000.)

More importantly, when your SRM program is optimized, customers will feel more connected to your brand. Social media also enables bi-directional customer intimacy, which customers in increasing numbers are expecting, and is a powerful hedge against the forces that are constantly eroding customer loyalty. The traditional push (i.e., monologue – company to customer) method of information flow does not mesh well with the on-line world. In this world, your customers are seeking more honesty, forthrightness, and transparency, and if you give them what they want, the potential for increased customer and brand loyalty is enormous.

About the Author

Steven Jeffes is a thought leader in developing world-class CRM, marketing, social media, loyalty, customer retention and customer experience programs. The recipient of many awards (http://www.stevenjeffes.com/stevenjeffes_awards.html), Steve is expert marketing  strategy  design & optimization: design, development and launch of world-class and best practice marketing and social media programs; change management organizational design and process excellence in marketing, sales, customer service, engineering, product management; and development of successful sales and sales management programs for Fortune 100 companies and government entities. He holds dual B.B.A. degrees in Computer Science and Finance from Temple University and a Master’s in Organizational Design and Excellence from the University of Pennsylvania/Wharton.

Steve can be e-mailed at stevenjeffes@yahoo.com or contacted via phone at 518-339-5857.

 [LP3]Happened around 2/1/10. http://jezebel.com/5459672/the-low+calorie-soup-war-campbells-defends-its-honor-on-twitter/gallery/

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