Yesterday as well as Wednesday this week I had the privilege of joining the Enterprise Social 2.0 conference (tagged #es20 on Twitter) here in Amsterdam, Netherlands with a crowd of some 50 social media enthusiasts, experts and evangelists. Not to mention top-notch and authentic speakers like Ellen Petry Leanse (Google), Michael Heiss (Siemens), Sean MacNiven (SAP), Georges-Edouard Dias (l’Oreal) and Kees Mulder (KODAK). Blue chip, large enterprise experience was fortunately complemented by Adam Wallace from the NY Roger Smith hotel and Chicago’s 2nd most famous citizen and top twitterer Ramon DeLeon (@Ramon_DeLeon) who’s running 6 Domino outfits downtown there.
The two days brought tons of insights, ideas and great encounters that I will be covering in 2 consecutive blogposts, this being the first one.
Mobile & ubiquitous
“Nothing is closer to my heart than my iPhone”, l’Oreal’s VP monsieur Dias stressed. Therefore, business should embrace going mobile to more closely connect to their customers. The world’s distances, boundaries and differences are becoming smaller thanks to social media. Earlier this week the first tweet from outer space was sent. Britain’s ocean rower Roz Savage even leverages her virtual network in mid-ocean asking for advice and suggestions to fix a broken waterpump. As people’s nature is social, social media are being taken up in the western hemisphere just as much as in places like Brasil or India, where the rikshaw driver puts the picture just taken of him and the US tourists he carried on Facebook. By large, listed companies, the public sector as well as the Boston café that’s put out a sign “we have Twitter”. And unlike popular thought this is happening not just in B2C but in B2B as well. With B2B customer decisions based on peer reviews and word-of-mouth in 93% of all cases (82% B2C), this is a no-brainer.
Most speakers and participants in #es20 agreed there is no one way to properly or honestly measure the ROI/ return on investment in a business going social. I’d suggest we perhaps should start spelling ROI as ROi as the financial investment is relatively low and key investment is all about time and ongoing commitment. As there’s no social currency or common denominator yet, a 2010 priority to Vodafone is to find a suitable KPI. Enterprises should be starting their 2.0 journey small and gradually reaping the benefits of social media. When it comes to measuring the benefits, more traditional metrics don’t always fully suffice as eg HITS nowadays equals How Idiots Track Success according to SWIFT’s Matteo Rizzi. The ratio of conversations & comments per blogpost or the relative share of voice or conversation might make more sense. Rizzi from SWIFT just like the Philips 2.0 duo (no that doesn’t make 4) on stage stressed social media benefits to their business are being realized in terms of efficiency gains primarily. Perhaps most powerfully, Kees Mulder of KODAK referred to ROI as Risk of Ignoring. With 1 billion people on social communities (and counting), how can any sensible business ignore these masses as possible customers, partners or employees?! Finally, the inspiring SIEMENS’ Michael Heiss presentation almost took a scuba-diver’s approach to social media. To him, it’s Rip4ROI; or stop, think and rest before you act and reap the benefits. Benefits that are made up of a host of factors as shown in this driver tree below.
Social marketing and media are shifting the world from Megaphone & Shout mode to Connect & Listen mode. The power of listening as well as the sheer need for it are being rediscovered. Besides personal extra ‘ears’ like Tweetdeck (I begin to prefer Hootsuite btw) or Seesmic, there’s solutions including Radian6.com, Social.Arc.com, Buzzmetrics.com, Alterian.com and the pleasantly sounding Cymfony.com to enable the Enterprise Social 2.0 to do just that.
To me as marketer, one of the key take-aways of the conference was phrased by all 3 German companies present: SAP, Siemens and Airbus. For social media to be effective, one should start small, building incremental steps internally (eg in knowledge management or internal feedback platforms using fora, blogs and wiki’s) with top management commitment first. This helps answering the question “who do we in essence want to be to whom” – in search of corporate DNA. And helps changing a culture into one that’s receptive to the paradigm shift that 2.0 entails. One can’t change a company’s identity with a bit of make-up on the outside, or doing one-off campaigns sporting a 2.0 image. Customers, employees and other partners increasingly expect companies to show ‘a human face’ based on a culture of openness, trust, transparency and dialogue. With management are often apprehensive of losing control, employees often feel restrained to provide open feedback. With people across the organisation have learned how to better connect, listen and learn internally, this will surely bear fruit when seeking better relationships outside the organisation.