Tag Archives: Social Media

Game mechanics increases employee collaboration and innovation

With social media incorporated into most enterprise technologies, like SharePoint 2010, we now have the ability to collaborate and innovate at scale.

The challenge is that traditionally in the knowledge economy employees were rewarded for what and who they knew, and it is counterintuitive for most employees to share this. So how do we change this behaviour to reap the synergies of multiple minds? Well one of the ways is to reward employees. Employees get paid to do their work and I am not for a minute suggesting that they get financially remunerated every time they collaborate. Game mechanics is another way to reward employees over and above their task driven remuneration by making working together more fun.

At Digital Bridges, we have developed a technology adoption model, which can be extended into changing most behaviour. This model says that people will adopt a technology (or behave in a desired way) if there are three conditions in place – they must see the point, it must be easy to do and they need to look and feel good doing it.

So how do we get people to collaborate and innovate? We make collaboration and innovation part of what they are paid to do on a daily basis through strategic alignment, ergo they see the point. We make it easy to do by aligning it with the organisational processes and we make them look and feel good by turning collaboration and sharing into a game.

Game mechanics are constructs of rules intended to produce an enjoyable, engaging game-like experience. They can take the form of competitions or rewards or other enjoyable activities which are designed to elicit certain behaviours. Games are a tremendously powerful medium to captivate employee attention.

Some forms of game mechanics have been used for centuries, while others are relatively new, having been invented within the past decade with the advent of social media.

Conversations about game mechanics are changing. Formerly a topic mostly discussed by game designers and gamer geeks, gamification is now part of the business discussion. In the burgeoning world of gamification, Gartner predicts that half of innovation-based companies will be gamified by 2015.

Game mechanics also allow you to reach both your passive and enthusiastic employees.

Let’s break the business down by common social business tools and target ways to effectively gamify them.

1. Getting contributions

Whether it is ideas you want, or just content which will improve a proposal, you need to encourage people to participate.

By incentivising contributions, employees become more engaged; this makes their work richer and more dynamic. For example top contributors could get accredited for great quality contributions by letting others rate or “like” them and measuring the numbers. The person with the most votes gets points and they earn a reputation for being innovative or adding value.

In addition to this great ideas are automatically “crowdsourced” to the top, because they are the ideas voted the best by the employees. This reduces the amount of management time in evaluating the contribution. A word of caution though, it is important to ensure that there are rules in place for determining what a good idea or contribution is, otherwise the most popular idea, such as “double all employees salaries” will receive the most endorsement from employees.

2. Collaboration

Collaboration is mostly achieved through simple vehicles like comments, ratings or reviews.
You could reward comments on other people’s contributions. Perhaps allow “weighted commentary” where the people associated with the best comments get a higher weight attributed to them based on the community’s votes by using algorithms to drive the weighting up based on the value they add. This kind of reward gives the most active users a highly desirable reputation within the organisation for adding value to a project or as a great team player.

Sharing is also a form of collaboration and can prove incredibly useful in syndicating ideas and content. With gamification elements rewarding users for sharing, users feel even more compelled to syndicate contributions.

One way is to have users work toward a larger overall goal or ranking as a result of sharing. Doing so gives people the idea that sharing has value, but does not drive toward mindless clicking. Instead, they’ll share what actually matters to them instead of just spamming their networks.

Contributions such as documents and templates could also be shared back to people’s content. For example someone could see a proposal to a client which is similar to something they have prepared in the past and they could attach a document containing relevant background information to the proposal.

3. Keeping Score

Any good game mechanics implementation goes out of its way to show the audience an indicator of their progress within the activity they are participating in. You do this by integrating game mechanics into activity feeds and leader boards. These activity feeds not only allow users to view their ratings and ranks, but also to find other like minded employees.

4. Cashing out

You can enable employees the cash out their points for tangible and intangible rewards such as vouchers for duvet days or other privileges. Maybe you want to give cash rewards, but don’t be surprised to find that position on the leader board and recognition for their efforts is reward in itself.

One additional advantage to game mechanics relates to problem solving. Games are inherently puzzles. This builds a kind of mental muscle memory amongst employees for troubleshooting. A gamer gets to a point where a problem solution is instinctive rather than requiring thought. This will make our organisations vastly more efficient at innovation and collaboration at scale.

About Digital Bridges

Digital Bridges creates high performance organisations by unlocking the business value of the web. We create digital strategies, user requirement and functional specifications for Intranets, websites and web applications. We also develop and implement social media strategies and create powerful digital brands using eMarketing and Communication.

Digital Bridges has recognised the changes to the enterprise environment, brought about by enterprise technologies like social media and SharePoint 2010 and is focussed on this. We partner with great technology companies in order to ensure that our solutions are fit for purpose and deliver on organisational strategy.

We have also partnered with Innocentrix to bring Spigit Innovation software into this country.

Digital Bridges approaches the web from a management consulting position and relies heavily on rigorous academic thinking as well as business experience. It is headed up by Kate Elphick who has a Law degree and an MBA from GIBS. Kate has spent the last fifteen years of her career on the business side of the IT industry with companies such as Datatec, Didata, Business ConneXion and Primedia. Her skills include innovation and growth through marketing, communication, collaboration, knowledge management, human capital, performance management, process engineering and BI.

Digital Bridges has a broad range of experience working with significant, successful clients in the Financial, Gaming, Tourism, Pharmaceutical, ICT, Legal, Airline, Professional Services, Media and Public Sectors.

To find out more about Digital Bridges, please visit www.digitalbridges.co.za or contact Kate Elphick on katee@digitalbridges.co.za.

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Filed under Business, Collaboration, Crowdsourcing, Enterprise 2.0, HR Intranet, Innovation, Interactive Intranets

Mindsets and Innovation into the future

We are watching markets tumble and increasingly it looks like a double dip recession is on the cards. Last time the global economy wobbled, we had come out of a period of growth. We had money to pump into the markets, fat to take out of the system, greed to blame and the wear-with-all to spend our way out. Nowadays it may require a complete rethink to address the economic downswing.

Inherently our thinking has been guided by our experience, but confronted by a new series of variables that we haven’t seen before, we need to address the thought architecture which informs our decision making.

For example, the banking sector is very risk averse and is guided by credit risk, rather than economic growth. This means that credit is effectively granted to those people who don’t need it. This effectively excludes most of our population from the opportunity to become entrepreneurs.

In the recession of 2008, those people who were most at risk, lost their jobs and livelihoods. This time around it is going to be those people who were economically less at risk, who will be left blinking in the train light wondering what happened. People who were secure in their jobs and with sensible saving plans are going to feel the fall out.

Already London is falling victim to the mob violence, perpetrated by marginalised youth who have seen their parents exposed to the austerity measures, losing out on health care, the job market and support. This youth is using social media to propogate their agendas. No-one is condoning the looting and violence and we recognise that this has been taken advantage of by criminal elements, but the underlying truth is that the economy forms the backdrop to some very disturbing events. Social media is not only a weapon for good, but also a weapon for social mayhem. Human behaviour, good and bad is exacerbated.

The only way out of this potential crisis is to change our way of thinking and to reinvent our response to a new economic future, whether we are individuals, businesses or politicians. We need to recognise that more people are disenfranchised and that it is not just bad people who are losing out.

The world has changed; we need to innovate to meet new challenges. Perhaps we need to start looking at the fundamental variables which have changed, like the economy, societal changes, globalisation and social media to adjust our thinking.

About Digital Bridges

Digital Bridges creates high performance organisations by unlocking the business value of the web. We create digital strategies, user requirement and functional specifications for Intranets, websites and web applications. We also develop and implement social media strategies and create powerful digital brands using eMarketing and Communication.

Digital Bridges has recognised the changes to the enterprise environment, brought about by enterprise technologies like social media and SharePoint 2010 and is focussed on this. We partner with great technology companies in order to ensure that our solutions are fit for purpose and deliver on organisational strategy.

We have also partnered with Innocentrix to bring Spigit Innovation software into this country.

Digital Bridges approaches the web from a management consulting position and relies heavily on rigorous academic thinking as well as business experience. It is headed up by Kate Elphick who has a Law degree and an MBA from GIBS. Kate has spent the last fifteen years of her career on the business side of the IT industry with companies such as Datatec, Didata, Business ConneXion and Primedia. Her skills include innovation and growth through marketing, communication, collaboration, knowledge management, human capital, performance management, process engineering and BI.

Digital Bridges has a broad range of experience working with significant, successful clients in the Financial, Gaming, Tourism, Pharmaceutical, ICT, Legal, Airline, Professional Services, Media and Public Sectors.

To find out more about Digital Bridges, please visit www.digitalbridges.co.za or contact Kate Elphick on katee@digitalbridges.co.za.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111903366504576490841235575386.html

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Filed under Business, Enterprise 2.0, Innovation, Internet, Macroeconomics 2.0

Social media can destroy your brand – a case study in how not to do it

Companies who have a social media pages or fan groups need to rethink their service policies. You might get away with poor service in the real world, but in the social media space it could go viral. Even worse someone could pretend to be managing your media for you.

Recently my Mum went to Dubai to visit my sister for Christmas. While she was there she bought an expensive walky talky set from Hamleys for my son. She paid 159 dirham for it, not a small amount in anybody’s books. When she got back to South Africa, we found that it doesn’t work.

She tried turning to their websites for recourse and wrote eMails to both the Hamleys in Dubai and England, to no avail.

Eventually in January she went onto the Hamleys Dubai Facebook group and wrote “I bought an expensive toy in Hamleys in the Dubai Mall while on holiday and now I’ve got it home it doesn’t work. I wrote to you but have had no response”.

Later she commented “I wrote to Hamleys in England but they won’t exchange it. What is your return policy for overseas purchasers? My grandson is so disappointed.”

Six weeks later she wrote “I would still like to know how to exchange the broken toy. Do you ever look at this Facebook page?”

In April she received this message from an “employee” of Hamleys Dubai on their Facebook group “U can not exchange it.” We thought that this was extremely rude and reflected very negatively on the Hamleys brand.

It used to be as a rule-of-thumb that unhappy customers would tell between three and ten people if they were dissatisfied. Between my sisters and I we have over two thousand “friends” on Facebook. That’s a lot of people who potentially have been made aware of this appalling service. Not only that, but all the members of the Hamleys Dubai group page can also see this interaction.

I went to the group, the same “employee” had posted “I love Hamleys”. I commented “You shouldn’t, look at how badly you treat your customers! See post below where you have ignored a customer who bought an expensive toy which was broken and you refused to exchange it. Hamleys Dubai should be ashamed of themselves!”

Now, there are three negative comments in a row on the Hamleys group.

One of my friends then pointed out to me that there was no group administrator and this might be a rogue group or an abandoned site, left over from the days before companies could set up Facebook pages. So I went into the profile of the person who had answered my Mum. From his photograph, he looks like a young man, may be even a teenager, from India. It is not clear whether he works for Hamleys, or whether they have outsourced their social media management to a company in India or whether he is just a (misguided) fan of Hamleys.

On his profile he had a link to the official Hamleys page. I clicked through and it was even worse. There was a deluge of comments about how unresponsive they are.

Here is a sample “I would be grateful is someone from this company would reply to any of the many hundreds of emails, calls or message that have been left for you in the last twenty four hours about your stupid idea of having live penguins in your hot and noisy store. You have removed all reference from your website but the public are not stupid and you can not just keep ignoring this issue because thousands of us are not going to let you. Oh and if you delete this I will just keep posting messages, emailing and calling until you put out an official response to this issue.”

There are some positive comments too, to be fair.

Social media is incredibly powerful, not only because of the sheer numbers of participants on line, but also because of the viral nature and the ease with which it can be shared, not to mention the risk of rogue curators who can manage your brand to your detriment.

If you don’t manage your digital footprint, you can be sure your customers will.

About Digital Bridges

Digital Bridges creates high performance organisations by unlocking the business value of the web. We create business cases, digital strategies, user requirement and functional specifications for Intranets, websites and web applications. We also develop and implement social media strategies and create powerful digital brands using eMarketing and Communication and manage brand conversations with consumers.

Digital Bridges approaches the web from a management consulting position and relies heavily on rigorous academic thinking as well as business experience. It is headed up by Kate Elphick who has a Law degree and an MBA from GIBS. Kate has spent the last fifteen years of her career on the business side of the IT industry with companies such as Datatec, Didata, Business ConneXion and Primedia.

Digital Bridges has a broad range of experience working with significant, successful clients in the Financial, Gaming, Tourism, Pharmaceutical, ICT, Legal, Airline, Professional Services, Media and Public Sectors.

To find out more about Digital Bridges, please visit www.digitalbridges.co.za or contact Kate Elphick on katee@digitalbridges.co.za

 

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Filed under Digital Communities, eMarketing, Facebook

Social Media and the Mix

The marketing world is full of “social media experts” running around proclaiming the end of marketing as we know it. Many of these experts have a technical background rather than a marketing one. People are creating Fan pages on Facebook and marketers are tweeting left right and centre, writing keyword dense articles for SEO and blogging like mad. But has our world really changed?

Although there is a strong correlation between some companies’ growth in share prices (notably Nike and Starbucks) and the number of followers and fans of their social media, this is probably more attributable to the fact that they are growing their brand awareness and engagement. But there is more to marketing than promotion. These companies are getting the rest of their marketing mix right too.

We were all taught about the famous four P’s – Price, Product, Place and Promotion.

The term “marketing mix” became popularised after Neil H. Borden published his 1964 article, The Concept of the Marketing Mix. Borden began using the term in his teaching in the late 1940’s after James Culliton had described the marketing manager as a “mixer of ingredients”. The ingredients in Borden’s marketing mix included product planning, pricing, branding, distribution channels, personal selling, advertising, promotions, packaging, display, servicing, physical handling, and fact finding and analysis. E. Jerome McCarthy later grouped these ingredients into the four categories that today are known as the 4 P’s

Recently the four P’s have fallen a little out of favour but they are still relevant. Some academics have also included a fifth P – People – the value your people bring to your business by providing service to your customers and this is critical to the social media mix as your employees network and engage with your audience.

As marketers, social media is changing our advertising, branding, promotion, fact finding and analysis, but we still need to get the other ingredients right in order to be successful. When we incorporate social media into our marketing mix, we need to make sure that the novelty and technologies don’t overshadow the strategy and we need to focus on the rest of the mix too..

http://www.netmba.com/marketing/mix/

http://homebusiness.about.com/b/2007/07/24/search-engines-and-the-5-ps-of-marketing.htm

About Digital Bridges

Digital Bridges creates high performance organisations by unlocking the business value of the web. We create business cases, digital strategies, user requirement and functional specifications for Intranets, websites and web applications. We also develop and implement social media strategies and create powerful digital brands using eMarketing and Communication and manage brand conversations with consumers.

Digital Bridges approaches the web from a management consulting position and relies heavily on rigorous academic thinking as well as business experience. It is headed up by Kate Elphick who has a Law degree and an MBA from GIBS. Kate has spent the last fifteen years of her career on the business side of the IT industry with companies such as Datatec, Didata, Business ConneXion and Primedia.

Digital Bridges has a broad range of experience working with significant, successful clients in the Financial, Gaming, Tourism, Pharmaceutical, ICT, Legal, Airline, Professional Services, Media and Public Sectors.

To find out more about Digital Bridges, please visit www.digitalbridges.co.za or contact Kate Elphick on katee@digitalbridges.co.za

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Filed under Business, Digital Communities, eMarketing, Facebook, Google

Six principles of social media management

Many of my clients want to create a page on Facebook, because they see it as a free way of exposing their products and services to potential customers. How many times have you been asked by someone you are friends with to “like” some arbitrary page? You do it out of a sense of politeness, in the hope that they are not going to pee with the exuberance of a puppy all over your news feeds.

Many pages start off enthusiastically and the dwindle into the metaphorical attic, never to see daylight again, but at least “we have a Facebook page – check social media box”.

The ability to post on social media is a right, stealing your audience’s valuable time and attention is not.

There are no hard and fast rules, but in my experimentation I have developed six guidelines to effective social media management. The list is by no means finite.

1.         Be the DJ

For those of you who listen to the radio, you do so to be entertained and informed. Consider who you or your company are and entertain your audience in the same way as radio DJ’s do. What would they find interesting? Why should they see what you put out there? Are they really interested in being spammed with product price lists?

If you keep them entertained, they will look forward to seeing your posts in the clutter that is social media. You will be top of mind when they are in the market for your offerings.

2.         Take a strategic approach

Just because it is on Facebook doesn’t mean that your brand is frivolous. It actually means that you are even closer to your (potential) clients. Decide why you want to use social media; is it to position your brand in a certain way, or to enhance your relationships with your clients?

You cannot allocate a junior resource to manage your social media brand. This is particularly true if you have a knowledge brand like universities, ICT’s, media, pharmaceuticals, finance houses, management consultancies etc. You need someone with the experience and strategic insight to represent your brand in real time on line.

3.         Not everyone is going to like you

It is impossible to be all things to all people, but you can improve your relevance to the groups of people who follow you. Experiment with your posts and see who “likes”, “retweets” what.

Your audience consists of real people. Divide them up by demographics or into other groups that make sense and try different things. Some people respond to comedy, others to interesting articles. Look at what other people are doing and who responds to them. This will let you improve the value you provide your audience.

Of course you can’t see the lurkers who just watch what you are going, but then that is the nature of the beast. There will also always be people who don’t appreciate your efforts. If they are not your target audience, it is OK if they go. If, however you find yourself losing friends and followers who you would like to keep, you need to question the quality of your work.

4.         Reciprocate

Comment on what other people are doing, retweet and like what they are saying. People like responses and validation. The magic of social media lies in your ability to have conversations.

5.         Be real

Organisations are not people. The choice of your digital presence depends on who you are. Are you your brand or is it a separate entity, an amalgamation of the people behind the brand?

The people within the organisation should be visible behind the brand if you decide to create a company page.

Organisations can make announcements about events and competitions, but real people should ask questions, joke or comment.

6.         Be present

Decide what the optimum number of posts should be and be prepared to put the time in. Make time to engage with your audience regularly.

Social media is an incredibly powerful marketing tool, but it is not necessarily an easy one. It takes time, effort and strategic insight to reap the rewards. It doesn’t replace your real world marketing, but should seamlessly complement your physical engagement with your customers.

About Digital Bridges

Digital Bridges creates high performance organisations by unlocking the business value of the web. We create digital strategies, user requirement and functional specifications for Intranets, websites and web applications. We also develop and implement social media strategies and create powerful digital brands using eMarketing and Communication and manage brand conversations with consumers.

Digital Bridges approaches the web from a management consulting position and relies heavily on rigorous academic thinking as well as business experience. It is headed up by Kate Elphick who has a Law degree and an MBA from GIBS. Kate has spent the last fifteen years of her career on the business side of the IT industry with companies such as Datatec, Didata, Business ConneXion and Primedia.

Digital Bridges has a broad range of experience working with significant, successful clients in the Financial, Gaming, Tourism, Pharmaceutical, ICT, Legal, Airline, Professional Services, Media and Public Sectors.

To find out more about Digital Bridges, please visit www.digitalbridges.co.za or contact Kate Elphick on katee@digitalbridges.co.za

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Filed under Blogging, Business, Digital Communities, eMarketing, Enterprise 2.0, Facebook, Web 2.0, Web Marketing

Blogging for Business

As we start to see business blogging becoming more main stream, it is time that we turn our attention to how we can best use it in business. Here are six reasons to blog for business;

  • To promote your business brand;
  • To educate your audience;
  • To increase findability;
  • To demonstrate Thought Leadership;
  • To engage with your audience; and
  • Drive website traffic.

The reason that we blog determines the way we blog, the length, style and content.

Promoting your business brand

When promoting your business brand, you need to know what your business stands for as well as the qualitative and quantitative brand attributes. Is your business funky or serious, does it stand for having fun, security or making money? These attributes will determine whether you use words like “phat” or “optimise.”

Your messages behind your blogs will also be determined by the brand attributes. What would a funky brand customer like to hear about – the latest dance party, fashion in shoes? What would a serious brand client find interesting, trends in your field, conferences you attended, interviews with speaker?

Educating your audience

Often, when you have an intangible product or service, it is difficult to get your concept over in 30 seconds or a print advert. You need to spend time contextualising your offering and explaining why it is important to your audience. Very often educational blogs follow themes that build upon each other and reinforce central concepts.

Increasing Findability

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is not the only way you can ensure that your audience is exposed to your brand. SEO might help when your audience is using search terms to research the service that you offer, but what happens when they don’t know that they need you?

Your blogs should appear in places that people who need your offerings hang out on line, for example on Industry websites. They may not be looking for you, but if the blog is located in a place where they are interested in the category, they will become aware of your offering and may read on.

Generic blogging sites or websites are best for this. For example a general marketing website could be a great place to talk about the latest trends in CRM. Of course to get onto the general sites, your blogs must be interesting and informative, rather than biased and self promoting. Unless your blog offers value to the site’s reader, the site owner won’t publish you.

Demonstrating Thought Leadership

Thought Leadership is a powerful form of competitive advantage. It sets you apart from your more prosaic competitors, and if your customers learn from you, they are more likely to engage and eventually do business with you.

Generally, thought leadership articles have an authoritative tone and tend to be longer, sometimes even representing white papers. Are you in an industry where you sell IP? The thought leadership may also be part of your employees’ personal branding as thought leaders. Organisations that trade in IP tend to be an aggregation of individuals with high levels of IP and your audience will be interested not only in the content of the blogs, but also in the combined gestalt of all the thought leadership in your organisation.

To engage with your audience

Seth Godin is the master of engaging. His blogs are pithy and provocative. Audiences are encouraged to comment and share his copious wisdom.

Blogs aimed at engaging need to stimulate conversations not only between you and your audience, but also between the audience members themselves.

Driving website traffic

Driving traffic to your website is usually only the objective if you are

  • gaining new audiences;
  • your website is dynamic and constantly changing;
  • you are soliciting new members of a network or online community; or
  • you have an eBusiness where you can transact on line.

If your website is a bog standard brochure site, think carefully about whether this business objective is likely to result in bottom line benefits to your organisation. A high hit rate with a high bounce rate may be an indicator that you need to rethink your digital strategy because your audience doesn’t find any value in your site. Blogging is time consuming and resource intensive, don’t waste it chasing the wrong objective.

Getting the most out of your blog

In order to gauge whether your blog is working for your business you need to quantify the success indicators. Do you measure your blog on:

  • Findability – Number of hits?
  • Sharing – Number of times the blog is shared, pinged, retweeted, quoted etc. If sharing is your objective, make sure that your audience is equipped to do so with “share this” buttons, “follow me”, retweet or link with me etc.
  • Conversion into sales – if you have an eBusiness, you should be able to quantify your conversion of hits into sales. Increasing conversion ratios can indicate that your blogs are working for you
  • Commenting and engaging – sometimes the number of comments and quality are an indication of the value that your audience derives from your blog. Of course different types of blogs will solicit different types of comments. Provocative blogs may stimulate a conversation while thought leadership blogs may merely solicit a terse “nice post”.

There is no one right answer to how to blog, each blog must be designed to deliver on your specific blog and brand objectives. The one rule however, is to keep adding value, keep experimenting with what drives your objectives and results in you achieving material rewards for your efforts.

About Digital Bridges

Digital Bridges creates high performance organisations by unlocking the business value of the web. We create digital strategies, user requirement and functional specifications for Intranets, websites and web applications. We also develop and implement social media strategies and create powerful digital brands using eMarketing and Communication and manage brand conversations with consumers.

Digital Bridges approaches the web from a management consulting position and relies heavily on rigorous academic thinking as well as business experience. It is headed up by Kate Elphick who has a Law degree and an MBA from GIBS. Kate has spent the last fifteen years of her career on the business side of the IT industry with companies such as Datatec, Didata, Business ConneXion and Primedia.

Digital Bridges has a broad range of experience working with significant, successful clients in the Financial, Gaming, Tourism, Pharmaceutical, ICT, Legal, Airline, Professional Services, Media and Public Sectors.

To find out more about Digital Bridges, please visit www.digitalbridges.co.za or contact Kate Elphick on katee@digitalbridges.co.za

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Filed under Blogging, Business, Digital Communities, eMarketing, Enterprise 2.0, Web 2.0, Web Marketing

Digital Conversations – Science or Art?

One of the things that I find so fascinating about social media, is that it transcends the traditional artificial barriers that we have erected in business, letting us do things we never thought possible, or that in the past were more trouble than they were worth.

For example, an Interactive (web 2.0 enabled) Intranet means that now a marketing project can span the boundaries between HR, Marketing, Finance, Project Management and Operations, because they can all collaborate with each other on the success of the project, not just report to each other on their progress.

Social media also negates the barriers between organisations and employees. Employees are becoming an integral part of the corporate brand and customers are interacting more directly with the individuals in an organisation. I have direct relationships with many of my business partners and clients on Linked-In and we IM each other on Facebook, rather than going through the company switchboard.

Social media transcends the barriers between the public and private self; your private behaviour on-line is now part of your professional brand. When you Google someone you can find out a lot more about that person than his professional profile on the company website.

We can micro analyse niche groups and still have to contend with the “law of big numbers”, which means that mass community behaviour is not an aggregation of small communities of interest.

When communicating with our customers on-line, we can participate in their conversations. Their behaviour and personal networks are much more explicit than in the past. We can experiment with certain triggers to see what influence they have on consumer activity and we can analyse and detect quantifiable patterns and improve our product design based on what our customers are doing and saying on-line to whom etc.

But our ability to do things we have not done in the past brings about a requirement for a new type of skill, we have to become generalists, rather than specialists, both right and left brain thinkers. Although our ability to measure initiatives and behaviour on-line has greatly improved, because of the breaking down of barriers and the fact that our customers are dynamic and participating in the market on their own terms, we are going to have to find ways to skill ourselves up on understanding the intangibles, like behavioural drivers and the psychosomatics of our audience too.

Social media requires us to become both artists and scientists, an interesting challenge which I look forward to.

About Digital Bridges

Digital Bridges creates high performance organisations by unlocking the business value of the web. We create digital strategies, user requirement and functional specifications for Intranets, websites and web applications. We also develop and implement social media strategies and create powerful digital brands using eMarketing and Communication and manage brand conversations with consumers.

Digital Bridges approaches the web from a management consulting position and relies heavily on rigorous academic thinking as well as business experience. It is headed up by Kate Elphick who has a Law degree and an MBA from GIBS. Kate has spent the last fifteen years of her career on the business side of the IT industry with companies such as Datatec, Didata, Business ConneXion and Primedia.

Digital Bridges has a broad range of experience working with significant, successful clients in the Financial, Gaming, Tourism, Pharmaceutical, ICT, Legal, Airline, Professional Services, Media and Public Sectors.

To find out more about Digital Bridges, please visit www.digitalbridges.co.za or contact Kate Elphick on katee@digitalbridges.co.za.

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Filed under Business, Digital Communities, eMarketing, Enterprise 2.0, HR Intranet, Interactive Intranets, Web 2.0, Web Marketing