Tag Archives: social media

Google: social analytics is a key differentiator

According to a recent article in Advertising Age, Google’s social strategy does not involve building social networks to compete with Facebook but rather it is focusing on using social data to build better applications:

“As an example of the current strategy, [Eric] Schmidt talked about getting more information from YouTube users in order to offer more targeted video.”

YouTube already has a fairly robust recommendation engine:

but from Schmidt’s comments, development around this area of exposing social analytics is where they see real business value. This is backed up by moves such as YouTube’s purchase of movie recommendation site Fflick.

How can analytics be used to derive value?

For instance, predictive analytics solutions (like IBM SPSS) can traverse a large inventory of content and make associations based on a visitor’s past behavior and the behavior of their friends in the network. Match this with sentiment analysis, which can be used to look at the conversation around a video to determine whether it is loved or loathed (or somewhere in-between), and suddenly you have a more immersive viewing experience.

This doesn’t just apply to Google and video. Foursquare is apparently taking this approach to differentiate itself as Facebook encroaches into its space with its Places offering.

Whilst analytics can offer differentiation in a hotly-contested area, the issue of privacy has to be addressed. The interfaces can get so good at offering recommendations that they border on being plain creepy. Couple this with the growing paranoia around the extent to which our digital lives are tracked, and suddenly these interfaces appear more Big Brother rather than benevolent Jeeves. One way to address this issue is to be as transparent as possible when exposing social analytics.

So if Eric Schmidt’s comment can be taken at face value, I’d suggest it’s in the context of a growing trend in looking to maximize the value in existing networks rather than racing to build new ones. Social analytics, when handled deftly, can unlock this latent value in social data.

Do you agree?

Measuring social business ROI: results from an IBM Jam

In February this year, IBM hosted a Jam (a 72-hour online forum with participation from IBM and beyond) on the topic of Social Business.

In case you’re not familiar with the term Social Business, here is definition I hear a lot in IBM corridors:

1: a business that embraces networks of people to create business value 
2: a business that is engaged, transparent, and nimble

This goes beyond social media, which is largely the domain of marketing/comms departments to touch on the very fabric of the enterprise, including internal collaboration and social networking with partners and suppliers.

As is the case with just about any discussion around Social Business, the thorny issue of ROI came up. How do you measure the value of this undertaking?

These are some of the metrics Jam participants suggested:

  • How often the brand is mentioned in social media (marketing/support/product management)
  • How engaged customers are by how often they comment on or share information about the brand (account management/customer support)
  • How many customers are being exposed to messaging (marketing/support)
  • How many customers are active advocates for the brand (support/account management)
  • How the efforts of these advocates are resulting in new customers or increased traffic (account management/marketing)
  • How many issues are being successfully resolved—and how quickly (support)
  • How satisfied customers are and what kind of feedback they are providing (support/account management)

I’ve added in parentheses the departments that have a major stake in those metrics. As you can see, this goes way beyond customer acquisition and the normal domain of marketing/communications. Bottom line: social business monitoring goes way beyond tracking Facebook Likes and Twitter Followers.

Are there key metrics you think should be added to the list? I’d love to hear!

Read more on the Social Business Jam (pdf)

Read more about Social Business

Social Business webcast series kicks off next week

Want to understand more about social business and IBM’s role in this emerging space? Some of the major practioners will be presenting latest thoughts, concepts and applications in a webinar series that kicks off next week.

From May 17 to June 14, topics covered will include a definition of social business (a hot topic given the latest round of presentations by Deloitte’s @ChrisHeuer), the implications of taking applications into the Cloud, and producing applications that can be deployed across mobile and other platforms.

Taking into account the fast-paced nature of the social business world, each of these webcasts will delivered in a punchy 20 minutes:

Date: May 17, 11am EDT
Title: IBM Social Business Overview
Presenter: Charlie Hill
Abstract: IBM’s Distinguished Engineer and CTO, Charlie Hill will define what it means to be a Social Business and the benefits organizations can gain with successfully transforming into a Social Business. Charlie will talk about how to build social applications and embed social capabilities into existing business processes and applications. After attending this webcast, you’ll be ready to get started in building the social applications that will drive businesses for years to come.
Check out the recording

Date: May 24, 11am EDT
Title: The IBM Social Business Toolkit
Presenter: Philippe Riand
Abstract: Adding social functionality to business applications brings productivity to a whole new level.  Learn how to use the IBM Social Business Toolkit to bring your applications to a whole new level.  Social business applications leverage the collective wisdom and discover a wealth of relevant information in the context of the current task.  Learn how to make your applications do that!
Check out the recording

Date:
June 7, 11am EDT
Title: Lifting Applications to the Cloud
Presenter: Mike Masterson
Abstract: Everyone is talking about the cloud.  Customers want to know if your application runs in the cloud.  Find out how IBM can help you to answer "yes" by integrating with IBM’s premier cloud solution, LotusLive.
Check out the recording

Date: June 14, 11am EDT
Title: Social Applications Go Mobile
Presenter: Tyler Tribe
Abstract: People need to access your application from anywhere, and it’s no different for social business applications.  Learn how IBM’s strategy allows you to write once and run everywhere, whether on a PC, smart phone, or iPad.  Find out how to build Websphere Portal applications that can be accessed from your favorite mobile device.
Check out the recording

We’ll use crowdsourcing to come up with future subjects to provide insights from subject matter experts.

The business value in social networks

I just had the wonderful opportunity to present to the students of City University of New York (CUNY) along with Bilal Jaffery on where we see the business value in social media.

You can watch the presentation, which is part of the ongoing Roundtable series here:

CUNY Presentation: The Business Value in Social Networks from Daryl Pereira on Vimeo.

Or rifle through the slides:

Bottom line is that social media is transforming the way we do business: we are realizing massive efficiencies and humanizing corporations by providing employees the tools and knowledge to develop deeper relationships with each other and the extended ecosystem. Gone are the days when communications from a brand only came through the marketing and communications department.

As with any presentation, the following Q&A session was fascinating. Questions ranged from how does an individual make a dent in the social media landscape to how do you expand into foreign markets. We also touched on how we use crowdsourcing here at IBM for feedback on everything from our social media guidelines to the positioning of marketing campaigns.

More on the CUNY Institute for Virtual Enterprise

Service management blogger? Follow and share news from IBM Pulse

Only a matter of days before IBM’s premier integrated service management event kicks off in Las Vegas.

Whether you are going or not, you may still want to share some of the excellent content that is sure to come out of the event. Social media maven Tiffany Winman has done an excellent job of collating all the social media embeds in this excellent post.

I thought I’d share my two favorites:

Livestream Channel

Live coverage of the keynotes for those of you who can’t make it (or get stuck in the crowd behind the guy with the Afro).

Watch live streaming video from ibmsoftware at livestream.com

Cheat Sheet for Social Media at Pulse

A handy reference guide for all the official social media properties covering the event

As I said before, visit Tiffany’s blog for more information on these widgets or visit the Pulse website for more information on the event.

Google social search and Twitter: natural bedfellows?

Google has now officially rolled out the latest iteration of its social search which includes much tighter integration between social elements and what the big search giant is commonly known for uncovering: web pages.

Google has been displaying results from social networks such as Twitter, LinkedIn and its own Buzz in its search results pages, but these were typically segmented out at the bottom of the page.

With the latest update, these are now intermingled with other page results:

(see the first and third result)

The New York Times points out benefits, such as seeing links to pictures from your friend who recently went to Mexico when performing holiday searches for that same destination.

I’m not convinced this will hit such mainstream applications for one reason. There’s a big elephant that is still not in the room: Facebook.

Let’s face it, this is where most of the sharing happens. According to recent reports, we’re talking about 100 million photos a day that just wouldn’t make it into the Google search result pages. Going back to the New York Times example, there’s a big chance that Facebook is where those Mexico pictures would have been posted, so they’ll never make it to the Google search results page.

What kind of results will show up? Areas where Twitter is particularly strong: news (as the recent events in Egypt made clear), technical information (eg. the code samples and tips often searched for by developers), and location-based searches that could show up results from Foursquare, Gowalla and other similar services from local searches.

At the individual level, those who stand to gain are those who have built up a following by sharing content – the curators. (A by-product of social search could be an increase in SEOs employing Twitter curation/syndication models). It will also help breakdown the time zone barrier that has long segmented the Twitter crowd: if you post a Tweet at lunchtime in London, it will be pushed way out of my Twitter feed by the time I wake up in San Francisco. However, if you happen to be in my network, I could see your tweets show up in my search results, even weeks after the tweet.

If these social results start showing up in a larger number of searches, this is obviously a boon for Twitter (as well as the other networks Google features). It’s effectively a free SEO boost.

And what could be construed as a snub to Facebook.

The fight for content from each other’s network has been pretty public. Will this be enough pressure from Google to force Facebook’s hand into releasing its well-guarded trove of user activity data?

That remains to be seen. One potential issue of adoption is that Google social search is heavily tied to Google Profiles and the search giant still has some way to go to make these as visible and user-friendly as other services out there (um, Facebook springs to mind).

Still, go ahead and hook up your Twitter/LinkedIn/YouTube accounts to your Google profile and try social search for yourself.

Lotusphere 2011 opening session: mobile, social business has arrived

Lotusphere Opening General Session So IBM’s premier social business event, Lotusphere 2011, is now fully underway.

Who better to get things started than Hollywood legend Kevin Spacey: few have done a better job of capturing the zeitgeist. Whether it’s a portrait of middle-aged, middle-America ennui in American Beauty or producing the Aaron Sorkin-scripted dissection of the rise and rise of Facebook (‘The Social Network’), Kevin Spacey is a man with his proverbial finger on the pulse. (If you missed it, I can recommend his recent appearance on the Colbert Report). “Stay open and listen to other’s points of view” is one of his takeaways.

Key themes from this year’s opening:

Marketing page creation

The energetic Brian Cheng shows off some of the powerful new features of Lotus Connections 3 (LC3) for building an external web presence. Drag-and-drop functionality allows a marketer to build a web landing page on the fly – fully incorporating those social features demanded by the market today. You can even see how the experience will be for someone who is logged in to the community (eg. maybe they see their network connections and have the ability to comment on specific parts of the page) versus what a new visitor will see. Full integration with Coremetrics and SugarCRM means you have can see instantly just how well the page is performing.

Interesting development from Lotus Connections given its general perception as an intranet tool. Will we see a further crumbling of the iron curtain that separates the intranet from the external presence of an organization? 

The mobile experience

As mobile usage continues to soar, we demand more of our web applications to be accessible from our smart phones as we wait in line for our Chai Tea Latte. This morning we see multiple demonstrations of just how LC3 performs in the mobile space. Cheng shows how marketing pages created with the Customer Experience Suite can have a specific look for a specific device (in this case demonstrating how the site will appear on an iPad). We also see how presentations shared within LC3 can also be viewed via a Blackberry app. The Sametime messaging system will have mobile support, making it easier to get on the phone when your Sametime instant-messaging chat conversation goes south.

Video support

During the demo, the Lotus Connections team show new web-based video capabilities integrated with enterprise communications systems like Polycom. For instance, video conferencing a la Skype can be embedded directly into the page of a presentation, creating a more interactive experience. The team showcases web-based video so there is no need for the installation of any plugins. Not quite sure what technology underpins this but there is the announcement of a big commitment to HTML5 in the later press conference (yey!). 

Sub-communities

So you want to organize your communities by brand, function, department, etc. LC 3 now supports sub-communities so that you can group together related networks. All settings (including permissions) can be defined at the sub-community level. So, for instance, you can use one sub-community to surface part of a project for external stakeholders whilst keeping the internal workflows more private.

Integration of mail and social

Activity streams can be woven into the mail experience (regardless of mail server) so a user can see all conversation in a single interface. No doubt this will continue to grow and form the segue of modern corporate communications, especially amongst the younger workforce who relate to email the way I relate to fax technology.

So, a lot to look forward to in the next three days in Orlando as IBM’s vision of social business unfolds.

Be sure to check out the live stream recording and live blogging from ReadWriteWeb.

Photo courtesy of Jacques Pavlenyi.

#LS11

Lotusphere 2011 is coming to a social network near you

Collaboration, social networking, disruptive technologies, social media… the list goes on. Lotusphere is IBM’s premier event dealing with this emerging space where technology intersects with people intersects with business.

The event takes place from Jan 30 – Feb 3 in that last vestige of sunshine at this time of year: Orlando, Florida.

As you’d expect for a conference covering all things social, there are a number of ways to connect if you can’t make it down there this year.

Definitely check out the social media aggregator pulling together relevant content from blogs, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube. If you are planning on generating one iota of content around the event, register and remember to use #LS11 or #LotusKnows  in your blog posts/tweets to bask in the social glow this aggregator provides.

For the big announcements, keep an eye on the Livestream channel which will be broadcasting highlights from across the conference.

For the extended community (albeit in Twitter, YouTube, Facebook…), the developerWorks team have done an excellent job of putting together a community page.

Let’s face it, Orlando’s a fitting place for a conference on social business: this has to be one of the ‘hottest’ areas of the tech industry right now.

#LS11