Tuesday, May 25, 2010

BP facing social media backlash

The Globe and Mail reports that embattled oil company and environmental villain is set to experience a social media backlash. Virtually overnight, Facebook and Twitter lit up with former customers of the British company complaining and boycotting the providers services.

From The Globe and Mail report, the Boycott BP Facebook group is now hovering around 100 thousand fans. There are approximately a dozen albums of user-generated photos, showing everything from a pelican soaked in oil to images of a BP rig sitting on Planet Earth with a bloody sword, complete with the caption “How does it feel murdering your mother? British Punks!!!”


The backlash against BP is indicative of what has become commonplace in our hyper-connected society. If you mess up, your family might forgive you but the web world will not -- they will hold you accountable. While some companies are looking to social media as a way to clean up and promote their image, the online audience has a tendency (and the smarts) to sniff out the good from the bad (and put emphasis on the evil).

What do you think? Is this the continuation of a digital, global citizen's arrest?

Friday, May 21, 2010

A Look Back at TMRE 2009: Toyota: Continuous Improvement Through Research

The Market Research Event 2010 is taking place this November 8-10, 2010 in San Diego, California. Every Friday leading up to the event, we'll be recapping one session from The Market Research Event 2009.

TMRE General Session: Toyota: Continuous Improvement Through Research

Toyota: Continuous Improvement Through Research
Steven Sturm, Group Vice President, Americas Strategic Research & Planning and Corporate Communications, Toyota Motor North America, Inc.

Toyota runs their business according to the Toyota Way which relies on two principles:
-Continuous improvement
-respect for people

Toyota entered the US car market over 50 years ago. Their first car, Toyopet Crown, failed; it did not meet the quality or expectations of the US customer. This became the stimulus to meet more of the Americans needs

Toyota is the #1 brand in the US, and Lexus is the #1 luxury brand. Toyota is expecting affluent homes to grow over the next few years.

Lexus: best car and best ownership experience. So they then determined they’d sell Lexuses in their own dealer networks, and they would treated each customer as if they were a guest in their own home. Of 1,600 dealers that applied to be Lexus dealers at the beginning, only 80 were selected.

The #1 selling luxury brand in the US is the Lexus RX.

Toyota’s Concept of Sustainability
Core of what Toyota does is to have respect for people and the environment. They’ve capitalized on this with the Toyota Prius.

It has two power sources: gas engine and electric motor. A computer chooses which to use for maximum use, and the batter never needs recharged because it’s automatically recharged when the car breaks. It went on sale in 1997, and was not a success. They began using a family demo program. They did real road testing and got feedback directly from the customer. This also created buzz. Families felt that they were participating in a breakthrough, and also were getting attention.

People needed to be educated on how the Prius worked, as the technology for the car was unknown. Early adopters began to get their information about the Prius online. It was launched in 2000, and they exceeded their sales expectations from that year on. Media coverage, partnerships, and government incentives to purchase the car have since followed.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Webinar: New Research on the Changing Face of Beauty

New Research on the Changing Face of Beauty
Join us for a Free Web Seminar on Thursday, June 10th from 11:00 AM -12:00PM EDT

Reserve your Web Seminar seat now at:
Mention priority code MWS0029Blog

About the web seminar:
Personal care and appearance have become an obsession. Personal care product usage has increased in double digits in the past 5 years with consumers using more individual products on average every day.

In order to develop new products, companies need to identify unmet needs as well as emerging trends and attitudes. Furthermore, we need to better understand how consumers navigate through new categories.

This beauty and personal care development has created a need for new understanding. How has behavior changed? Do women feel differently about themselves?

In order to understand how the category has evolved, we need to be able to look back in time. In 2005, BuzzBack conducted a study among US women around personal appearance and their use of personal care products – from cosmetics to body and face lotion. The study utilized eCollage, our award-winning online technique for revealing visual associations and underlying emotions/feelings.

In this new webinar, five years later, we will look at what’s changed – as well as compare to new findings among women in the UK.

Attendees of this webinar will learn:
• How attitudes related to beauty and appearance have changed among females in the past 5 years and why
• How women use imagery to better express how they feel about their personal appearance on a typical day
• What remains the same -- which consumer feelings are similar today compared to 5 years ago and why
• How the recession has impacted purchase behavior and why

In addition, you’ll learn how new research methodologies, especially hybrid qual-quant online techniques, have evolved. Traditional quantitative measures will be combined with future-facing qualitative collection methods and advanced qualitative analysis.

Featured Speaker:
Brendan Light, SVP, Research and Development, BuzzBack Market Research

Brendan has been leading research development and best-practices for BuzzBack, with recent recognition by the Advertising Research Foundation as a Great Mind winner for Innovation. In addition to continually improving the quality of the quantitative and qualitative methodologies and analytics of BuzzBack's research offerings, he pioneered BuzzBack's award-winning and patent-pending eCollage and Verbatim Viewer technology, and leads a broad team of future development and research strategy for BuzzBack. He continues to focus on leveraging the transformative powers of the Internet to evolve respondent engagement, operational efficiency, and visualization of analytics and insight. He has over 10 years of client and research supplier side experience, having also served as Research Director for Grey Interactive and as the Global Director of Ipsos-ASI Interactive.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Europe's privacy laws affect ad effectiveness

Online Media Daily looked at the study that showed how effective Europe's online privacy laws are in response to the effectiveness of banner ads on webpages. In Europe, a data protection law states that companies are not allowed to track users via web bugs and cookies unless they have consent from the user. While this can allow webpages to tailor the ads to the user in the US, it can not be done in Europe. This dramatically affected the effectiveness of online advertising between the US and Europe, decreasing effectiveness up to 65%. Read the full article here.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

New York City Government Customer Serivce Line Reaches Milestone

Earlier this week, the 311 Customer Service call line for the New York City government, received its 100 millionth call.

Mayor Bloomberg set up the line in 2003 looking to: provide easier access to non-emergency services in a cost-effective manner. The 311 service consolidated more than 40 separate call centers and hotlines, encompassing 11 pages of government listings in the City phone book, into one easy-to-remember number.

To further accommodate the New York City citizens, there was also a 311 Online in January of this year to futher aid members of the community.

Source: Market Watch

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Students creating decentralized social network

Four students from NYU have set out to create a social network where large hub servers do not host users information. They have promised a completely secure platform where a users information will remain private. The group decided to put a call out for funds on the internet, and received $23,676 in donations as of Tuesday of this week. According to Finn Brunton, a professor of the four students behind the project, they have a solid plan to extend the network beyond just technical users, but to the general public. Follow them at @joindisapora and visit their webpage here. Read the full article at the New York Times here.

Facebook gets snapshots of market

In a recent article at the San Francisco Chronicle, they looked at how Facebook is becoming a great picture to the people's current feelings. While we have know this for some time, the article points out that on any given day, this chart can demonstrate the national happiness generated by Facebook statuses. The researchers have even taken it one step futher and looked at how relationships statuses affect men and women. Read the full article here.

Have you begun to use Facebook for market research? Do you look at the status trends of the biggest fans of your products? How can Twitter and Facebook measuring national happiness on a daily basis be a benefit to your research?

Monday, May 10, 2010

How is your customer using Twitter?

An interesting article at Agency Spy reveals that 53% of Twitter users do not post anything. While you may be monitoring what people are saying about your brand or product, many more are out there reading about your product. And two-thirds of the users also access the information on their phone. What does this mean for your company? Users are monitoring your product, and often times on the go. Read more about the Twitter statistics here.

Sprint sees increase in customer satisfaction

Trefis recently looked at the three reasons that Sprint is seeing an uptick in customer satisfaction that is showing in their stock prices. Over the past few years, Sprint has treaded a rocky road when it comes to customer satisfaction. They have found a way to turn this around. One reason they've increased customer satisfaction is because they've identified and supplied the need for prepaid phone cards. Supplying prepaid cards also allows for Sprint to avoid monthly subscriber losses due to unpaid bills. They've also increased the visibility of their brand and introduced new SmartPhones that are appealing to their audience. Read about their other improvements here.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Guest Post: Virtual meets IRL, again…Social Media 2.0 / #socialc20

Below is a special post from one of our 2010 attendees of Social Media & Community 2.0 Strategies. For more information on the event, please click here.

The presentations at this conference were, IMHO, fantastic. The presenters were all very frank and pretty open in terms of sharing experiences – both successful and the kind one learns from. Everything was discussed from blogging to Facebook to Twitter to Foursquare, and beyond.

This conference was also unique in that we had a “mingling”, almost “speed-dating” session with other conference attendees. The art of being social and responding in a stream-of-consciousness. It was during these conversations that I met the people I would end up speaking with most (even having dinner with!). Although, the use of the #socialc20 hashtag also linked me with some folks I would later meet IRL, as they know me as @kerbehr, and I knew them by their Twitter handles.

There was no shortage of interesting content and hearing from brands that we all know all too well: McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Sega, Intuit/Turbo Tax, NHL, Chicago Bulls, Scholastic Books, Washington Capitals, Pepsico, Wells Fargo…the list goes on! We also got sneak peaks into @charleneli’s new book “Open Leadership” and @jbernoff’s new book “Empowered”. I’m looking forward to reading both, Charlene’s comes out this month, and Josh’s sometime in September.

So, in the course of two days, I feel like I made some solid contacts, met some tremendous people, and hopefully, have some interesting things lined up for work. I also got to drink LOTS of bottled water (contaminated water situation in Boston) and was evacuated during a panel discussion Wednesday morning (I heard it was a broken pipe), so it wasn’t just the presentations that were interesting during this trip!

Some quotables (in no particular order):

“ If people get what they expect from your prod. they don’t talk. Your prod needs to exceed expectations.” - David Witt, Gen. Mills.

“No one social app is big enough to drive major sales, but they help us to engage.” – Bonin Bough, Pepsico

“‘Social networks will be like air” It’s everywhere. It’s a natural state of being. – Charlene Li

“We tend to overvalue what we can measure, and undervalue the things we cannot” – John Hayes, AmEx, via Charlene Li

“I love any application where you can make money & pay people with love” – Josh Bernoff

“Access creates content, content creates traffic” – Jeremy Thum, Chicago Bulls.

“If someone talks about you negatively, its probably better that they do it in your house.” - @stevealter.

“”If you don’t build it, they will come anyway. If you build it, but don’t know why, they will come once…and never come back again” – Steve Alter

“ The fastest way to not be a faceless corporation is to not be one. Put personality into your soc med efforts” – Kellie Parker

Thursday, May 6, 2010

One FREE pass to the Youth & Family Marketing Mega Event next week!

One FREE pass to the Youth & Family Marketing Mega Event next week! If you would like to attend the event on us and can take copious notes – this opportunity could be for you. We are looking for someone with excellent writing skills to attend the event and publish a post conference wrap up highlighting key takeaways and lessons learned at the event. If you are interested and available to attend the conference May 11 and May 12 in Chicago, contact Conference Director, Krista Vazquez at kvazquez@iirusa.com.

More info about the event can be found at www.iirusa.com/family. This is a great opportunity for a marketing student or job seeker.

Social Media & Community 2.0 2010 Wrap-Up

Thank you to all who joined us and all who followed our coverage during this year's event. We surpassed our already high expectations for this year with the amazing keynotes, speakers, sponsors and attendees. We hope that you found our coverage useful as we work to continuously bring you information to spur conversation and discussion with your peers.

To continue the discussions well into 2010, we encourage everyone to join the Social Media and Community 2.0 Strategies LinkedIn Group. Join other brand community advocates, community pros and social media professionals in this exclusive group. For those of you already in the group, let's start discussing many of the topics featured at the conference and consider new ones as we enter this new decade.

Our ongoing coverage of industry news and professional posts from across the social media spectrum doesn't end with the conference. Keep up with the latest news by subscribing to daily updates right here on our blog.

If you are interested in being a guest blogger for Community 2.0 please contact Melissa Sundaram at msundaram@iirusa.com. We'd love to have your input!

Technology Isn't an Idea

It's late, and I just got home from a five hour plane ride, but I wanted to give a much-deserved shout out to Stephen Gates from Starwood Hotels & Resorts. He provided this gem this afternoon:

"Technology isn’t an idea--nobody cares if you have a Twitter feed if you have nothing to say. It’s a tool…..like a pencil; without anything to draw, it’s just a paperweight. Technology is not the leader of what we do. We create user experiences and communities driven by the core attributes and insights of our brands, not by technology. Look at the concept or what we want to do, then look at how we can accomplish it through various channels."

Now, that said, I'll meet you in the Sheraton's online Pillow Fight ad. How cool is that?

Bringing Your Online Community Offline

Matt Warburton (@betfair) offered session attendees some good advice and ideas for taking your online community offline. He suggested that offline participation can:
  • Engage and recognize power users
  • Offer education
  • Collect feedback
  • Communicate news
  • Build loyalty and Word of Mouth
  • Put a face on your brand
Matt offered some ideas for successful offline events:
  • User Advisory Panels (fly them out in person; recruit people based on behavior; get a good mix of customer base; stay connected via phone calls; involve CEOs in the process; keep participants for 12 months to keep it fresh and avoid a sense of "entitlement")
  • Meetups Parties (usually a little cheaper; most often a casual gathering; regional, mostly social; keep tied in to brand)
  • Town Halls (regional events; use a cross-functional level of staff; usually held at a hotel banquet room with a meet and greet for an hour; open up mic for traditional Q&A)
  • User Conferences (large scale user conferences education, networking, and social components; high level executive participation (examples: eBay Live; Microsoft MVP conference; users often pay their own way to the event)
  • Official Member–Organized Events (appoint ambassadors to do the events for you; officially sanctioned member-organized events; guidelines are established to ensure standards; company provides collateral; no staff participation)

Matt offered council for judging or measuring the benefits of the offline events, as well as thoughts on how to stay connected with these users once the events were over. The key, it seems, is to make the events interactive, keep them on-brand, and then to follow up. "Real," "trust," and "engagement"can happen anywhere.

Pfizer Gives Two Stars to Amazon’s Five Stars

I had to LOL at Robin Spencer’s (#Pfizer) call out to the “Tambourine” people—folks who just want to connect everything because they can and because everyone else is doing it. Hopefully it’s been (in keeping with the musical theme) drummed into our heads by now that the primary goal of social media is always business problem solving. Yet, the biggest conundrum in social media, says Robin, is often confusion about goals.

Robin shared this Dirty Little Secret with the group: The simpler the task, the less representative the results. The example he used (after some blank stares, I imagine) was that of ratings on Amazon.com—the process whereby users click a star to indicate their level of satisfaction with a product. Have you noticed that a whole lot of products on Amazon.com have 4.5 stars? Users can “contribute to the community” with very little effort or thought. Obviously, then, the opposite of the dirty little secret is true, too: The harder the task, the more representative it is. This is where Chris Anderson’s Long Tail work comes in.

“Watch the tail,” Robin admonished. The people who answer one question each are often more important over the long run than those who answer repeatedly. Large-scale behavior is largely predictable; you’ll find that most of your contributions and value come from the occasional contributors. Don’t bias your system by quantity or reputation; you may exclude your best contributors.

Nice presentation, Robin, but I suppose five stars would be inappropriate…. :)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Kenny Rogers Rule

Kellie Parker of SEGA (who we’ve heard from earlier) did a short and sweet presentation on managing multiple brands, and then turned the conversation to the audience. The great part about Kellie’s presentation fits into what we heard in this morning’s keynote: leadership is moving away from network model to cross-functional teams.

Here are a few of Kellie’s suggestions on how to bring order to chaos:

Specialization. Each team has a brand specialist—someone who deeply understands the brand and can instantly tell if something is going to work or not. Each team also has a specialist in terms of tools.

Automation and flow. Create a process to your flow of content. Sega uses the blog as the main source of information, and then links back to Facebook, etc. But only use the tools that work for you, and makes the most sense.

Kenny Rogers. Know when to hold ‘em/fold ‘em. Sega consolidated their many forums into Close into one with different channels. They found that members started clicking around in places that they wouldn’t have gone before.

Should We Listen?

Though “listening” was a key word in every session yesterday, Conference Chair Jaime Punishill, opened the conference this morning challenging that idea. See his thoughts on that below (with his other ruminations on yesterday’s sessions). Punishill also pointed out a cool tool, Twapper Keeper—a site that archives tweets around a hashtag.

Punishill’s take aways from yesterday’s conference:

Experiment, learn, adapt
Most of the time, we don’t even know what you’re listening for in the beginning. And we don’t yet know how to interpret the information.

Leadership is clearly changing
We spent a long time listening to Charlene’s robust conversation about being open. Make sure you’re being open only to your industry. We’re naturally getting rid of pyramid system, and moving to a network model with cross-functional teams.

Metrics matter. A lot.
There are no right metrics, but they matter to your leaders.

Social Crosses the “T”
It allows us to be flat global connection, and also one of the greatest technological acceleration. It’s not an “either/ or” but an “and.”

Social media must die
Social is an extension to our entire franchise, but with social services to it. It’s marketing, research, customer services, product development, etc. It’s both not different and totally different.

Citibank's Hard Fought Journey

Rachel Happe of Community Roundtable interviewed Jaime Punishill of Citibank and starts by asking Punishill about the ranking, or lack there of, within the social media sphere. Punishill said that it was easy to make the switch to social because many of their customers were web and digital-savvy. There wasn't a choice for Citibank to go social (there was they could choose not to) but because their customers were so web-savvy; it had to happen and because of Punishill's digital background he was a perfect fit to lead the campaign. Punishill took a "design, build, fly" approach to the social media campaign. He took one project, Twitter for customer service, and tried to move it to make meaningful impact and buy-in. By having this first campaign, it allowed Punishill and his team to write the policies and procedures manual and gave them a great first-run at the social sphere. After extensive training of their customer service representatives, soon Citibank's CSR's will take over the Twitter feeds. Now there are 40 CSRs online from 8am-9pm daily. Citibank did try to pre-script the Twitter dialogues, but that lasted about five minutes - it's very difficult to pre-script a live conversation.

What we're learning from today's conversation and from the presentations Monday and Tuesday is that process is important, but ethics and simple codes of conduct are even more important when dealing with social media at an organization. As social media moves forward, we see more and more emphasis for social media professionals to be social media educators. In fact, today's discussion highlighted that about 50% of a social media manager's time is spent within the organization, educating their companies about social media. From watercooler chats like, "So do you just Tweet all day? Must be nice." to proving (or trying to prove) ROI to the executive staff, social media is now social media education.

Welcome to Day 3 of Social Media & Community 2.0 Strategies 2010!

Welcome to our third and final day of coverage at Social Media & Community 2.0 Strategies 2010. This week we’ve heard great case studies on using social media for innovation and leveraging communities for customer support, as well as some new insights from Charlene Li and former Groundswell winners. But there’s so much more to come! Today’s line-up includes multiple panel discussions, a fire-side chat, networking breaks and 8 more case studies.

Our team’s coverage continues today as we share in the twitter discussion at #socialc20. You can also follow us at our own Twitter feed, @Community20.

See you at morning coffee!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Buy the Book: How Barnes & Noble Leverages User-Generated Commerce

How do we get our customers to help us do the things we’re here for? Kevin Ryan (@KevinSRyan), formerly of Barnes & Noble, shared how B&N enabled user-generated commerce as part of their community interaction.

Obviously, much of the discussions on B&N center around book recommendations. So…..B&N integrated a product widget into their message editor that allows users to search for a product/book while composing a message or recommendation. With a direct link to “Add This Book to My Cart” available in all messages, the company has been able to drive commerce through trusted community activity—and has done so without any backlash from the community.

You can also see how B&N is empowering regional employees to aid in customer support at their Blogging Booksellers Web site.

And They’ll Tell Two Friends….and They’ll Tell Two Friends: Wells Fargo Builds a Business Case for the Social Web

Remember that Faberge Organics shampoo commercial from the 80’s where Heather Locklear promises that you’ll tell your friends about the shampoo, and they’ll tell their friends….and so on? Well, Kimarie Matthews and her team from @ask_wellsfargo have implemented a Twitter strategy that seems to be doing just that: 40% of their customers who received support through Twitter turn around and make a positive comment and 13% turn around and post to their followers. On average, Kimarie says that a re-tweeted tip is shared with 1,869 other users—a conservative estimate, she admits. In addition, WF’s support responses via Twitter are quoted by the media almost as often as formal messages from corporate communications.

Wells Fargo’s Twitter strategy? Offer help, thank customers, answer questions, share relevant content, and then measure. More importantly, though, she acknowledges that customer support is still you listening to someone else and demonstrating that you care. Customers feel loyalty when their needs are met and they feel appreciated—a huge factor knowing that “the most trusted information source about a company is from ‘people like me.’”

Kimarie concluded by saying, “What we’re doing in Twitter is incubating the next generation of customers.” The good news is, this generation is more poised than ever to tell their friends, and they’ll tell their friends, and so on….

Yes Virginia there is ROI in Social Media

A common theme today revolved around getting management to buy-in to social media initiatives.

Promoting what, Dawn Lacallade, Solarwinds, calls community health – participation, feedback – might be a nice measure of success for a community manager, but they aren’t going to convince a CEO to invest.

To gain a CEO’s commitment you need to demonstrate business value. You need to think in terms of ROI.

  • Improved net promoter score driven by a closer with your customers
  • Reduced customer service costs due to the community answering the consumer questions
  • Increased sales by better knowing what the consumer wants

The good news is case studies are emerging regarding the positive impact of social media.

  • Solarwinds’ R&D budget allocation runs approximately 50% lower than industry average driven by their community involvement in product development
  • One of the 35 ideas by Turbo Tax’s Inner Circle members has generated $19MM in revenue over three years
  • Scholastic tapped into its community to redesign its flyer resulting in a 3% increase in sales versus its former design

How are you defining the return on your social media investment?

Making Support Social with Consumer-Generated Answers

Steve Alter threw out some impressive numbers from Microsoft Answers help community right from the get-go:

· 114 million pages
· 250,000 visits/day
· 24,000 returning visitors/day
· 77% of all questions are answered within seven days

What got more “Ooos” and “Ahhhs”, however, were these stats:

· 31% of all answers come from Microsoft MVPs
· 35% of all answers come from general users

Steve pointed out that top users are scarce and can’t scale – the key is getting one person to answer one question. There are a large group of people who will be engaged at a lesser level, so DON’T just focus on top influencers—make sure you reach out to the pool in the middle. He supported this assertion with these Five Truths of Community Support:

1. One answer goes a long way
2. Hundreds will make ordinary contributions
3. Hundreds of thousands will make single contributions
4. People will take help wherever and from whomever they can find it
5. A post is forever

Steve states that one “myth” of community support is that the community will do all the work now….maybe they won’t do ALL the work, but it appears they can potentially lighten the load.

Follow Steve at @stevealter

One afterthought: My favorite quote from Steve’s presentation (referring to community support) was this: “If you don’t build it, they will come anyway, and they will be really unhappy that you didn’t build it.”

How Open Do I Need to Be REALLY? Charlene Li Responds

I've never heard Groundswell author and Altimeter Group founder Charlene Li speak before, and I'm glad I had the chance today. She makes "social" seem less scary; audience members that didn't speak up before are comfortable asking her the questions that most bother them.

The points she made in sum:

- Focus on relationships. This is about having a relationships strategy, not a social media strategy.
- Align social strategy with strategic goals.
- Support your open leaders.
- Plan for failure - there will be many.

Relationships and planning in advance for failure are two themes that keep popping up this week, so it merits taking special note of those.

Here's what Li discussed in more detail.

A recurring question she gets from companies: "How open do I need to be?" The answer: Have confidence and humility to relinquish the need for control, while inspiring commitment from people to accomplish goals. That's how you stay in command without whipping out the iron fist.

A good rule of thumb if you still feel murky about this "being open" thing: Don't just look at where people are being social; examine to what degree they are being open to one another.

This isn't about complete balls-out openness; this is about cultivating the openness that is appropriate for your strategy. An example she gives is that she walked into a room full of people and bared her soul, it would probably make everyone uncomfortable, and she'd feel weird about it too. But if she's walking into a roomful of her closest friends, it would be okay to do that, and people would get it.

Another nice example is considering Apple: people feel it's incredibly closed, and in a lot of ways it is, but the fact is it would probably hurt more than help if they were more open. When will Apple need to be more open? When it stops designing exceptional products, Li says.

Seven guidelines for moving forward in your relationship strategy:

1. Align openness with strategic goals, say, for 2011. Pick one where "open" and "social" can have impact. Make sure the strategy aligns with one of the five-odd things your CEO truly cares about; if it doesn't, you're toast.

2. Understand value. "We tend to overvalue the things we can measure, and undervalue the things we cannot." - John Hayes, CMO American Express. What's the value of Coca-Cola's five million fans, versus people that are exposed to a Coke ad?

3. Understand how open you need to be.

4. Find and develop open leaders inside your company. You may see four types: worried pessimists, transparent evangelists, cautious testers, realist optimists. Treat and use them accordingly. The higher up the organisation you go, the more "worried skeptics" you find. By far, the most effective archetype is the "realist optimist" - they see the problems the company has, but understand the end point and have an idea how to get there.

Cultivate a culture of sharing inside your company, because it's a safe place. If people can't share inside, they won't do it outside. "Mindsets only change if skills and behaviour change," sayeth Li.

5. Prepare your organisation. What areas do your frontlne people need to be ready for?

6. Organise to meet your goals. Try the social media triage:

7. Embrace failure. Wal-Mart underwent at least three major social media failures before it came up with the Check-Out Blog, which hit the right note: saving people money, no longer fabricating user conversation.

Four goals define your strategy:

Understand that the dialog is important, and you can't get to the "support" and "innovate" parts of that graph without it. Learning to create a dialog teaches you what you need to do to support users; with that, over time, you can innovate.

Finally, manage risk with Sandbox Covenants: define the limits of your company's "comfort" sandbox, so it's clear to all participants. As your relationship strengthens with users, the sandbox will expand organically - yielding not just more openness and comfort with different technologies, but innovations, too.

Don't forget users have sandboxes too; consider them. What do they expect from you? Create mitigation/contingency strategies for what happens when a line is crossed.

Li wrapped with a pretty idea: In the future, social networks will be like air. It'll seem quaint that we had to go to a space like Twitter/Facebook in order to feel connected.

Photo via Logic + Emotion, who in turn found it on Waiting for Dorothy.

Don't Build Alone! How Community Improves Product Development

Community manager Dawn Lacallade of Solarwinds is not an ordinary social enthusiast. Her talk this afternoon was less a vague preachfest about the value of transparency than a practical application of the social gene in the production process.

The talk was called "Outsourcing Product Development to Your Community." She started by observing, "We're in an industry with high-tech people that make [building community] particularly easier to do."

Communities, properly cultivated, can be integral to product ideation and development. You can literally change what you hope to accomplish, just by listening, down to the core of what your brand's supposed to represent:

"When you start actually listening to your community, you actually find out what your brand is."

Community members don't just give input; they bug fix, provide free development, and make contributions across nearly all stages in a product or service's birth.

Lacallade illustrated this by showing how Solarwinds took the typical product development cycle and souped it up with select elements of user contributions. All elements of the cycle are affected, with the exception of the release phase:

These are Solarwinds' users, and the value each level brings:

  • 80% Watchers - validate directional feedback

  • 9 Contributors - solicit for direct feedback

  • 1% Power Users - partner for deeper engagement

The 1% of Power Users tend to be the primary focus of people seeking to build a community (in lay terms, this group is often labeled "influencers"). The thing is, Watchers are not just impassive lurkers; they have a different sort of worth.

A number of hardcore users are given an NDA and invited to early reviews/product strategy discussions. They can beta test prototypes, and are invited to work hard to find what's broken - something they often succeed in doing before the product ships.

While Power Users help define what features to prioritise, and while they may be most vocal about problems or solutions for your business, it is the regular activity of the Watchers that determines whether the implementation has staying power.

In toto, Solarwinds' community efforts are composed of 90,000 content items, circulated among 40,000 members that hit an average of 8-9 pages before leaving the site. Content includes forums, blogs, content exchange and product feature discussions.

In terms of R&D spend, the difference this has made is significant.

Lacallade added that it wouldn't be possible to maintain an R&D cap of 9% if not for quick release cycles: the system has to be as responsive and quick-moving as the feedback it receives.

How do you start implementing a similar process? To start with, forget the "Field of Dreams" style community: this idea you can build a place, then get people there. "It doesn't really work," Lacallade says.

Don't get caught up in the bells and whistles of the moment; what is the tool your users will be most comfortable with? Advance them at a pace that makes sense.

Finally, make sure your measurement metrics are relevant and clear to those that need to use that data.

The full presentation above has way more useful information than this. You can also follow Lacallade at @dawnl.

Social Media & Community 2.0 In Pictures

Not only are we live-blogging from the event, we're also uploading photos! Check out our Flickr feed for great pics of this years event!

2010 Sponsors - Thank You!

Stay tuned! More photos to come!

First Up: Jamie Punishill

Jamie Punishill, of Citibank, set the stage for the first “official” day of the conference. According to Jamie—and we heard this a little bit yesterday—2010 is when the kids are going to give way to the adults. Meaning, 2010 is the year of the brands (it also feels like its 1998). Social media is already regarded just as effective as a corporate website.

What you can expect for the next two days:

How to avoid pitfalls of social media

How large companies can use real-time social media

How online meets offline

Turn customer’s interest into a brand

Intersection of mobile and social strategies

The Four Horsemen of social media: Legal, compliance, security and risk