Tag Archives: Social business

Ad hoc social business campaigns often fail to engage

Is your organisation really satisfied with its social media campaigns – or do you find that the campaigns fall short of your expectations?


If you are unhappy with the way that things are panning out you are not alone according to a report from Ragan communications.

Although many companies have engaged in social media activities, over 60 percent of companies report having no structured programs in place. Some organisations have no holistic approach to their efforts.

Only 27 percent of organisations have a dedicated social media team. 5 percent have both internal and outsourced teams. Only three percent have all of their social media activities outsourced to others.

A whopping 65 percent of organisations assign workers social media tasks on top of their current responsibilities.


Most organisations have under three people managing their social media activities (82 percent) and a quarter of companies use interns to help with aspects of social media – especially Facebook and Twitter.

Social media monitoring gets strong measurements for engagement and interaction – but only 31 percent of companies measure sales. Most companies monitor mentions about the organisation but only 57 percent measure what is being said by their competitors.

Companies look for a good return on their efforts, relying on feedback and perception rather than sales. A good return on marketing investment (ROMI) is hard to quantify. and with almost one in five leaders indifferent or not supportive, it is hard to get budget for further activities.

So how do you succeed in your activities?

  • If the C-suite requires hard financial proof, focus on sales leads and hard financial returns. If you are asking for more marketing budget, you will need to justify this with real numbers. Engagement and likes will not cut it
  • Make sure all of your activities are trackable. Join social up with your CRM system and take conversations onto the medium best suited for them (phone / email etc.)
  • Collaborate with other teams in order to make sure that your message is consistent, and inline with your business activities. Make sure that teams work together well.
  • Make sure the implications of your social efforts drive the company in the correct direction. Compliance, legal and financial outcomes need to be taken into account when considering and planning your efforts.

And most importantly – once you have started your activities, watch them all the time. You never know what triggers a crisis – until one happens.

Eileen Brown is a social media strategist and consultant at Amastra, a columnist at ZDNet and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Connect with Eileen on Twitter and or contact her to find out how she can elevate your brand and help your business become more social.


Is email all you seem to do at work?

Email costs North American businesses nearly $2 trillion annually – a huge amount of money. Collaborations specialise Contatta has published an infographic showing just how much American businesses pay employees to process email.

The infographic shows some staggering inefficiencies in the way we work:

Workers spend on average 13 hours of their workweek reading and answering email – around 637 hours annually.

Based on the average professional wage in the US of $23 per hour, businesses pay over $15K per employee to process email

Collectively, employees spend nearly 75 billion hours in email. This costs businesses nearly $2 trillion in salaries. That is around 14 times the combined wealth of Bill Gates, Oprah and Warren Buffett.

That amount of money could give everyone in the US with $5,637. But we would have no email!

The staggering cost of business email infographic

Data and statistics were pulled from the US Bureau of Labour, McKinsey Global Institute and the Radicati Group to showcase the ineffectiveness of email and the way we process things.

So why do we still send emails instead of communicating using instant messaging tools such as Chatter, Lync, and Yammer? 

Like the memos of the past, we seem to think that email gives us the permanence of a written memo. We have an audit trail and an ‘official’ message that  can be printed out and faxed or posted to anyone.

Actually, instant messaging and other collaboration tools can do this as well. Firewall filters can be applied to block unsuitable messages, or messages filled with profanities or other undesirable keywords. All messages can be archived and audited and processed like their email alternatives.

We need to change our behaviour. but after over 20 years of electronic messaging – it is going to be a long hard slog to embrace true social business.

Eileen Brown is a social media strategist and consultant at Amastra, a columnist at ZDNet and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Connect with Eileen on Twitter and or contact her to find out how she can elevate your brand and help your business become more social.

Microsoft releases global survey results on ‘Enterprise social’ adoption

Microsoft have released an interesting infographic about productivity and how workers perceive that social tools will benefit them in the workplace.

Microsoft recently commissioned a global study asking 9,908 information workers in 32 countries what social tools they’re using, the value they’re seeing, and what barriers they’re encountering.

The results show that employees across the globe are interested and excited by enterprise social tools and are taking social tools to work with them, even if it goes against company protocol. The survey results are detailed in this deck and summarised in the infographic below:

Research highlights include:

  • Nearly half of employees report social tools at work help increase their productivity; but
    • More than 30% of companies underestimate the value of the tools, often restricting their use.
  • More than 40% of employees feel there isn’t enough collaboration in their workplaces, and that social tools could foster better teamwork; as a result
    • 33% say they are willing to spend their own money to buy social tools.

There are interesting statistics about the way that men and women differ in their adoption of social tools:

  • Men are more likely than women to attribute higher productivity levels to social tools in a professional setting.
  • Women are more likely than men to believe their company restricts the use of social tools.
  • Men are more likely than women to say these restrictions are due to security concerns, while women are more likely to blame productivity loss.

Different industry sectors had concerns about social tools adoption too:

  • Financial services and government employees are most likely to say their company places restrictions on the use of social tools, likely due to the high level of regulation in those sectors.
  • Professionals in financial services (74 per cent) and government (72 per cent) are more likely than those in other fields to say these restrictions are due to security concerns,
  • Professionals those working in retail (59 per cent) and travel and hospitality (57 per cent) are more likely to blame productivity loss.

There are some interesting responses in the data and a validation that Microsoft’s acquisition of Yammer was in line with its future direction to securing its place in the market as a social business increasing team collaboration and ‘drive business value’ for organisations.

Eileen is a social media strategist and consultant at Amastra, a columnist at ZDNet and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact Eileen to find out how she can elevate your brand and help your business become more social.

7 questions to ask your social media expert before you hire


There are a lot of social media ‘experts’ out there. almost everywhere you turn, there are people that tout themselves as experts in social media, and who are ready to help you get online, enhance your presence, configure your profile.  you name it, an ‘expert’ is ready to help you with your online challenges. 

They baffle you with acronyms, have the latest devices, hardware and terminology.  They live on LinkedIn, talk on Twitter and frequent Facebook far more than you think you will ever be.

So what questions do you ask them before you hire them so you can spot the social media snake oil salesman.

Here are some strategic questions to ask.

  • What influencer programs have you had success with?  Influencers are the core of a successful business relationship with the community.  There are several ways of discovering, organising and managing influencers.  Good social media companies should be able to highlight several success stories for managing influencers.
  • What are our objectives?  A consultant should have spent time listening to you and should understand your business goals and objectives. Unless the social media company understands your business, it will not be able to work well with you.
  • How will you measure ROI?  Success is tied to sales for companies.  I know social media is all about engagement and relationships but spending hard earned money needs to provide a positive return.  Scorecards measure sales.  The other stuff is just a ‘nice to have’
  • Who will be doing the work? Will it be a junior member of staff, social media savvy but not business savvy? Will it be someone with good business knowledge who can deal appropriately with any crisis that might happen?  Choosing the wrong member of the team to deliver the outbound communications can rebound badly.
  • What components should be need in our social media strategy?  The key thing here is to focus on frameworks instead of tools. Beware of someone who talks about Twitter or Facebook all the time.  Often your strategy will be multi layered, multi-channel, with several approaches
  • How will you measure our performance? Good social media companies will use a selection of reporting tools and add a manual component into each of their analysis reports. Often the hunch gives extra measurement insight to a bland set of reports
  • How do you  manage content?  Successful companies will tie content into a specific content calendar to align with your product development cycle, marketing or business plans. It always needs to be organised and structured and in line with the organisational needs and strategy. Ensure that the marketing communications plan is also included in the content strategy.

Credit: wildxplorer

Eileen is a social business strategist, ZDNet columnist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.

Reasons to implement your Engagement strategy

Does your online strategy show how much you care about your customers?  Do you engage regularly with your audience, giving them value from your interactions with them? In this connected world, can you afford not to communicate with your customers?  Do you know what your ROI on your social activities is?  Do you even measure your ROI?


There are some staggering numbers of people online these days, and there’s also an expectation that brands will have good workable social strategies.  Take a look at these facts:

  • Over 2 billion people online are now.  There are only 7 billion people in the world.  Lots of them are still too young to read.  You can engage with 28.5% of the entire population of the world 
  • There are 1 billion accounts on Facebook.  If you have a Facebook page, potentially huge numbers of your fans can see it.  Starbucks has 30 million fans, Coca Cola has 41 million fans and lady Gaga has 50 million fans.
  • 85% of customers expect that businesses should be active in social media.  Where is your social brand?
  • Business is built on relationships.  Are you passionate about your customers>  Does your online engagement and social activity demonstrate how much you care about your customers? Customers believe that 80% of brands are not passionate about their customers
  • Do you blog?  If you do, you’ll get about 55% more visitors to your web site ad 67% more leads than if you don’t blog.  Demonstrate your credibility.  Blog regularly, be credible.  Keep up the conversation. Put blogging at the heart of your content marketing strategy
  • 77% of customers will read status updates from the brand.  They probably wont comment – but at least they are listening to you.
  • 17% of your fans will comment on your messaging.  Perhaps they will share your story amongst their friends.  That is if you are communicating with them in the first instance.
  • 51% of Facebook fans say that they are likely to buy from you if you have a Facebook page.
  • 68% of subscribers to your email newsletter are likely to buy your services.  You need to have a strong call to action to encourage them to purchase
  • Brands don’t always have a good listening strategy.  30% of customer questions and feedback do not get replied to. 
  • On Twitter the listening strategy is poor.  over 71% of complaints on Twitter are not responded to.  implement a listening framework across channels and respond to feedback, good and bad.
  • 43% of social media users talk to brands, but brands don’t listen to their social customers

Further information and facts can be found in the infographic from BitRebels.  Avoid this at your peril.  Engage or be left behind commercially.  You need to have an engagement strategy and make it work with your audience and customers.


Eileen is a social business strategist, ZDNet columnist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.

Credit: Keoni Cabral


Cloud collaboration enables the social sustainable business

What does it take to make your business more social?

Flexibility, Mobility, Accessibility and Portability.  That’s difficult if you are desk bound, and can’t do anything else…

But with access to your information from anywhere, any device, you can work anywhere.  Cisco have released a video which shows this concept rather well..


The social business works without organisational boundaries. It empowers workers making them more flexible in where and when they want to work

Access from any device, at any time, any location.  Get the information you need, on the form factor you need, in the way you need.  Collaborate in the way you want to, on the phone, face to face, via email or video.  The opportunities are endless.

Clouds work for small businesses  — that don’t want the overhead of managing the infrastructure.  The cloud also works for large businesses too.  MyStarbucksidea runs in the cloud on Salesforce.com.

The flexibility in working where you want to means that travel budgets can be managed effectively.  There is no overhead in time lost commuting, nor any extra resources used.

Make your business more social – move your infrastructure to the cloud.  Any cloud.  The Amazon cloud, the Google cloud, the Cisco cloud, the Microsoft cloud.

You’ll save server resources, improve agility, and be able to access your data anywhere…

Hat tip to Gareth for the original collaboration post

Eileen is a social business strategist, ZDNet columnist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.


8 ways to spot the social media snake oil salesmen



Everyone is a social media expert right?  I mean social media is so pervasive that everyone must know about it?


There are lots of companies just starting in social media and wanting to take their first steps – their first correct steps online.  They need help to get it right.

Unfortunately, there are lots of people who claim to be experts in social media.

They are advising companies on social media implementation without implementing a strategy or a plan.  They don’t have any ROI examples and they don’t have the depth or the breadth of experience to be able to offer balanced advice across the channels.

They don’t even have a plan implemented for their own company…

If you’re looking to hire a social media consultant to help you with your community implementation or social business strategy, there are some things that you can watch for when you’re looking around for a good consultant.

Be wary of anyone that is keen to push you towards one solution such as Facebook for your business.  Facebook is not right for every business, nor is Twitter. Make sure you talk through ALL of the possible choices with someone who knows the features and benefits of each

Watch out for over promotion.  Snake oilers are keen to promote their services over everyone else’s.  Watch what they write about.  If their blog is full of self promotion and self congratulatory posts, avoid them.  If their Twitter feed exhorts you to retweet them all the time, or like their Facebook pages, they are just trying to make themselves look good to other customers.

Look for longevity.  How long have they been working with social media?  Have they got years of experience across different platforms or are they new to the game – and only one step ahead of you? For example, Twitter has been around since 2006 and got popular at SxSW (South by SouthWest conference) in early 2007.  Enthusiasts and early adopters of the technology should have been on Twitter for at least a couple of years.  If you want to find out how long someone has been on Twitter use a tool such as When did you join Twitter to check them out

Personal disclosure.  Social media experts know how much personal and business information to share in their updates.  Whilst talking about business constantly can put people off, so can sharing too much information.  It might be ok for friends to hear their deepest secrets, but it doesn’t look good to businesses looking to hire consultants

Twitter follower / following count.  Lots of Twitter accounts automatically follow back, so some snake oilers follow these accounts to increase their follower count.  Be wary of people who follow thousands of users in the hope of getting a follow back.  The overhead of tracking thousands of followers means that quality engagement can not happen.   I know that tools such as Tweetdeck and Hootsuite can sort followers into lists, but the rest of accounts followed will be ignored

Tools and channels.  Blogs, wikis and forums are equally valid social channels for social engagement.  Your business might thrive with forum based implementation.  Make sure your social media specialist can talk through all of the different forum, wiki and blog options including in-house implementations and proprietary solutions.  Remember, it’s not just about WordPress and Joomla…

Engagement models.  Your snake oiler should be able to discuss engagement best practices, frameworks and crisis plans.  They should also be able to give practical examples of companies in similar to your industry.

Are they ‘walking the walk’?  Is their blog up to date with practical, considered credible posts?  Do they engage with their customers?  Are they practicing what they preach?  Do they understand legal, IP and data protection issues, and more importantly – how to solve them?

Remember – you are the customer.  you don’t have to hire someone when you’re not sure about their experience or credentials.  Ask them why they are proposing this type of solution for you.  Ask for examples, ask for ROI proof.  Check them out, ask others about their credibility.

Look for history.  Look for evidence. Suss out the snake oil salesmen and become more savvy with your social business hiring.

You can then relax and know that you’re in good, safe, social hands…


Image credit: Tim & Selena Middleton

Eileen is a social business strategist, ZDNet columnist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.